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Eat and Drink

Gowanus' new bar and restaurant scene: Insa, Strong Rope and more

There’s never been a better time to go to Gowanus — especially if you’re looking for a fun night out.

“A lot of the new businesses are very fun-centric,” says Sohui Kim, chef at the new restaurant Insa. “You can come down to this crazy part of Brooklyn where this canal is super dirty and it’s a Superfund site, and there’s lots of space for grown-ups to get drunk and celebrate.”

Insa fits right in — the Korean barbecue joint also has karaoke, where patrons can belt out ’80s classics after enjoying their beef short ribs and bibimbap.

“We do some serious cooking here, but it’s also about being with friends and having a raucous good old time,” Kim says.

In recent years, the neighborhood has also welcomed a bar dedicated to the game of shuffleboard (Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club), an outdoor, seasonal canal-side bar (Swan Dive) and, for the kids, too, a giant outpost of Ample Hills Creamery.

In a nod to its manufacturing past, the area is also home to several breweries, including Threes Brewing, Other Half Brewing Company and, new to the mix, Strong Rope Brewery.

“I just really enjoyed the area — the past manufacturing, the history, the culture of it, and the whole vibe of the area,” says Jason Sahler, who opened Strong Rope in December. “It was a good feeling to get in and help be a part of the manufacturing resurgence and other things going on around here.”

Here’s a look at what’s new in Gowanus, from recent openings to forthcoming additions.

Strong Rope Brewery

Strong Rope Brewery's taproom is open Thursday through
Photo Credit: Strong Rope Brewery

Strong Rope Brewery's taproom is open Thursday through Sunday.


The bar at Insa.
Photo Credit: Insa

The bar at Insa.

Surfish Bistro

The second location of
Photo Credit: Surfish Bistro

The second location of "Chopped" winner Miguel Aguilar's Peruvian seafood restaurant -- the four-year-old original is just a stone's throw away on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope -- offers more room to enjoy its various ceviches, soup and tapas, with two levels and two bars. 550 Third Ave., 718-788-8070,

2 Duck Goose

This restaurant may already be familiar to locals.
Photo Credit: 2 Duck Goose via Facebook

This restaurant may already be familiar to locals. The Cantonese restaurant closed in November, but will be reopening with a new concept this spring. Stay tuned. 400 Fourth Ave., 347-987-4808,

Dirty Precious

This casual cocktail bar will offer a mix of "high- and lowbrow brow" drinks and a small food program when it opens, anticipated for later this month. "The idea is that as grown-ups in this city we appreciate good cocktails, whilst in the next minute may want a simple can of beer," says operator Katipai Richardson-Wilson. 317 Third Ave.,

Freek's Mill

Gowanus' past gets some love with this farm-to-table restaurant, which is named after a mill that once upon a time stood on the shores of the Gowanus Creek. Expect wood-fired meat, fish and veggies when it opens early April. 285 Nevins St., 718-852-3000,

A&E Supply Co.

Chef Adam Harvey, who was a contestant on season 12 of "Top Chef," is at the helm of this forthcoming establishment, which is part coffee shop, part butcher, part restaurant slated to open this summer on the first floor of a luxury rental high-rise. 548 Fourth Ave.,


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