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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.

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