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Six Book Recommendations and Where to Read Them in Brooklyn

January 4, 2012

Milk and Roses

The temperature is plummeting, and along with it your enthusiasm to leave the house. When cabin fever strikes, grab one of our recommended books (or download it onto your Kindle) and get cozy at any of these six low-key cafes across Brooklyn.

The Place: Milk and Roses | 1110 Manhattan Avenue | Greenpoint
Why Try: If you took everything you loved in a café (legit food, unpretentious baristas, room to spread out) and shook it up like a snow globe, you’d get Milk and Roses. This bistro, run by a charismatic French transplant, is aaaaall the way up on Manhattan Avenue – just shy of Queens – but well worth the journey.
Suggested Reading: There’s a strict “No laptop” policy on the weekends, meaning you can uncover the hidden symbolism in Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding minus the distracting clickety clack of a keyboard.
How to get there: G train to Greenpoint Avenue, exit at Manhattan and Java and head 6 blocks north.

The Place: Van Horn Sandwich Shop | 231 Court Street | Cobble Hill
Why Try: There’s only enough seating for four people at the window overlooking the always-bustling Court Street. Though it’s prime real estate and there’s always a ton of traffic, you’ll never be asked to move or pressured to ordering something from the waiters (though we dare you not to).
Suggested Reading: Reading Adam Gopnik’s The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food will certainly make you hungry. Order arguably one of the best chicken sandwiches in Brooklyn as you chew on the role of food in your life.
How to get there:
F or G train to Bergen Street, exit at Smith and Warren and head one block west.

The Place: Sit & Wonder | 688 Washington Avenue | Prospect Heights
Why Try: As the name suggests, this is the place to go to do your best thinking. It’s library-quite and the patrons are happy to keep to themselves. Stumptown Coffee flows like water, which means you’ll be fully fueled for your marathon reading session.
Suggested Reading: The café houses an impressive selection of books at your disposal. One may come in handy when you need a break from Julian Barnes’ heady The Sense of an Ending.
How to get there: S train to Park Place, exit at Prospect and Franklin, head west three blocks and make a right at Washington Avenue.

The Place: Atlas Café | 116 Havemeyer Street | Williamsburg
Why Try: offManhattan asked three bibliophiles for their favorite place to devour a book, and they all said Atlas. They credit the big open windows and the natural light that abounds in this no-fuss café. Apparently the word is out, they admitted, and it can get a bit crowded at times, so have a back-up plan.
Suggested Reading: There’s free wifi if you need to look up that massive word you just read in Infinite Jest by the ever-sesquipedalian David Foster Wallace.
How to get there: L train to Lorimer, head west on Metropolitan Ave and make a left at Havermeyer.

The Place: Union Hall | 702 Union Street | Park Slope
Why Try: Fireplaces. Comfy couches. Book-covered walls. Late hours. If this place doesn’t scream Stay a while, I don’t know what does. Being a pub, you can order an adult beverage like a seasonal drink served warm (hot toddy, coming right up) while losing yourself in a book.
Suggested Reading: Reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? has you questioning your true friends. Screw ‘em all and make new ones during a pick-up game of bocce ball.
How to get there: D, N, or R train to Union Street, exit at Union and Fourth and head east on Union one block.

Urban Vintage

The Place: UrbanVintage | 294 Grand Avenue | Clinton Hill
Why Try: Not only is the owner of this corner bistro slash home goods boutique an absolute pleasure, but she also makes a mean chicken noodle soup. But that’s not to say the vegan pastries, pressed sandwiches, or crop-to-cup coffee should be overlooked.
Suggested Reading: If it’s a trip down memory lane you seek, purchase an antique relic for your home after going back in time with 11/22/63 by Steven King.
How to get there: G train to Clinton/Washington Avenue, exit at Lafayette and Waverly, head west on Lafayette one block and make a right onto Grand Avenue.

View Six Places to Read in Brooklyn on a map.

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