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bell house

Best Night Ever: Where to Eat and Drink When You See a Show at The Bell House

By / November 26, 2018

The Bell House might be the ideal Brooklyn venue. Housed in a converted warehouse that was once a 1920s printing press, it carries off a chic-meets-dive vibe. With a large bar in the front and a maximum capacity of around 500 people, it’s one of the best places to see live music and experience culture.

Nestled in the quickly changing neighborhood of Gowanus, The Bell House is the sort of place you’d expect to be gutted and made shiny by a huge corporation, but nope. It’s still here, with the same charm it had when it opened a decade ago.

And even though it’s a popular spot, attending a show at The Bell House feels like being part of a hidden secret: The concerts somehow still feel intimate. They often host up-and-coming acts that will definitely play way larger venues in the next year, and cult-favorite bands from your past that you’d never expect to see again.

The Bell House also hosts great comedic acts, cool low-key, high-concept festivals, and your favorite touring podcasters. All that, plus bands you’ll never again see in such a small setting, all in the heart of a super-cool neighborhood? Yes, please. Next time you get tickets, check out our picks for the best places to eat and drink before and after your show at The Bell House.

Pre-show eats

Bison & Bourbon
Walking time: 1 minute

A full steakhouse on the same block as The Bell House would have sounded ridiculous a decade ago, but it’s delicious and makes it so easy to have a really nice sit-down meal without having to worry about rushing across Manhattan to the venue after dinner. (They’re closed on Friday and open late only on Saturday, so double-check their hours before heading over.)

Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Walking time: 3 minutes

This Gowanus staple makes some of the best pies in Brooklyn, and going to The Bell House is the perfect excuse to stop by for a slice. Try their signature Salty Honey or Black Bottom Oat pies, or check out the seasonal fruit selections available. A cup of Stumptown coffee will balance the sweetness and get you pumped for the night ahead.

Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue
Walking time: 3 minutes

When you want to shove a ton of home-cooked meat in your face, the newly reopened Fletcher’s is the place to do it. Get a plate of double-smoked burnt ends, some smoked and fried chicken wings, or their saucy, spicy barbecue fries. Finish it off with some homemade banana pudding and you’ll forget you were ever hungry. This is also a great place to go if you’re with a group, as the space is large and you’ll have the perfect excuse to order one of their shareable barbecue platters.

Court Street Grocers
Walking time: 12 minutes

The sandwiches at this cult-favorite Carroll Gardens shop are worth the walk across the canal. Try the “macho man or woman,” made with pulled barbecue pork, cheddar, coleslaw, jalapeños, and homemade duck sauce on garlic bread. If meat isn’t really your thing, their squash-filled “vegitalian combo” might be the best vegetarian sandwich in the city. Honestly, you can’t go wrong — just get there before 6pm or 7pm, when they close.

Pre-show drinks

Bar Tano
Walking time: 5 minutes

If you’re headed to The Bell House on a weeknight, go to Bar Tano for their great Italian-inspired happy hour from 3pm–7pm. With specials like $6 Aperol spritzes and $3 bottles of Narragansett, you can save your money for the merch table and still have a great time. They also serve mini pizzas and other appetizers during happy hour, in case you’re hungry but don’t have time for a full dinner.

Dirty Precious
Walking time: 9 minutes

This hidden gem of a cocktail bar offers a chic, modern-meets-deco space in the middle of industrial Gowanus. With a menu ranging from “Easy” to “Boozy” to “Booziest,” you’ll find a well-blended drink for exactly how tipsy you want to be. Try the Ti for Two, a rum punch served in a teapot with teacups. It was inspired by the owner’s trip to Sri Lanka, where women aren’t supposed to drink beer, and bartenders would sneak it to her in teapots.

The Owl Farm
Walking time: 10 minutes

Get your fill of happy pets at the most dog-friendly bar in the area. Dog owners are allowed to bring their furry companions in before 6pm, so get one of the two dozen beers or ciders on tap and enjoy playing with some pups. Not that into dogs? There are pinball machines, too. Plus, everyone’s super friendly, so you might make some new human friends, too.

Canal Bar
Walking time: 11 minutes

The oldest bar in Gowanus, Canal Bar is a true dive with the friendly bartenders, welcoming regulars, and low prices you’d expect (but might be surprised to find in modern Brooklyn). Come before 8pm on weekdays for $4 drafts and $5 whiskey shots, or anytime for a $7 PBR-shot combo. Enjoy the backyard in the summer, or some board games inside when it gets cold.

Post-show eats

Walking time: 9 minutes

NYC isn’t known for our Mexican food, but this cute modern restaurant is a great example of it. The chefs are two brothers who grew up cooking in Oaxaca before working for years in the Los Angeles restaurant scene, and it shows in their authentic, creative menu. Get an order of guacamole made to your favorite spice level, then pick an entrée from their regular or vegetarian menus. They’re open until 11pm during the week, and midnight on the weekends.

Daisey’s Diner
Walking time: 10 minutes

Like any good diner, Daisey’s is open 24 hours a day, so even if you stay late at the venue to finish up your drinks, you can get a table and a predictably delicious meal. They also serve breakfast during all of those hours, and pour unlimited coffee for under $2 a head — meaning you can eat like it’s Saturday morning even if it’s 5am. Plus, the people-watching is always top notch.

Barrel & Fare
Walking time: 10 minutes

Open until 12am during the week and 2am on the weekends, Barrel & Fare is the place to get solid New American food when other places have closed their kitchens for the night. Enjoy some lobster mac and cheese, buttermilk fried chicken, or spicy glazed pork belly, or go a tiny bit healthier with their golden beets and couscous bowl, or the crispy farro topped with confit tomatoes.

The Best Joe’s Pizza of Park Slope
Walking time: 11 minutes

The story behind this pizza joint is peak NYC: The owner opened this spot after working for years at the Joe’s Pizza in Greenwich Village, and kept (stole?) the name when he started his own venture, even though they aren’t the same business at all. So, is it actually the best? Well, when it closes at 5am on the weekends, does it matter? Get a slice and satiate yourself.

Post-show drinks

Walking time: 3 minutes

The easiest place to grab a drink after a show at The Bell House is in their bar, but if you want a change of scenery, this chill, non-pretentious cocktail bar is a great bet. Order something classic like an Old Fashioned made with Old Overholt, or one of their house creations like the Cape Horn Fever (yeast-infused vodka, butterfat-washed rum, cinnamon/clove syrup, lemon juice, and egg white). You might even catch a late-night event in their back room.

Lucey’s Lounge
Walking time: 6 minutes

What’s better than free popcorn? Free popcorn served alongside inventive cocktails created from house-made ingredients. Along with classic drinks made modern with ingredients like rhubarb bitters, housemade cranberry cordial, and prickly pear syrup, you’ll find an entire section on their menu dedicated to cocktails made from seasonally made shrubs. Plus, you can take advantage of their patio during the warmer months.

The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
Walking time: 13 minutes

No need to be a shuffleboard fan to hang out at this vibey joint. With two fully stocked bars and tons of board games, it’s a great place to grab an easy drink and maybe make a new friend, even if you don’t want to spring for an hour-long game. They always have a food truck on site, too, in case you want a last-minute bite before heading home for the night.

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Quinne Myers is a writer, illustrator, apparel designer, and lingerie industry pundit living in Brooklyn. Loves sweaty concert dancing, eating dessert, feeling feelings, and petting every dog.

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