It’s hard to be twee when you’ve got your own NBA franchise and plenty of new skyscrapers. But even if the handcrafted cachet of the Brooklyn brand is waning in New York, the aesthetic most closely associated with the borough — beards, hipsters, brick, and plenty of Edison bulbs — is still very marketable in other parts of the world. Just how far-reaching is Brooklyn love? You can’t get a Bed-Stuy burger in Minsk (yet), but people in Slovenia, Poland, Russia, and elsewhere all have Brooklyn-themed bars and restaurants to call their own. Here are ten spots designed to swipe some of the Kings County prestige.
The place: Brooklyn Hengarnica
Where it is: Ljubljana, Slovenia
The idea here is to offer a very Brooklyn combination bar, performance space, vintage shop, and foosball hall. There’s a Brooklyn Lemonade Bar, and the customers’ haircuts look about right.
One reviewer says: “We come early in the evening, pick the best seats, wait for the right beats, drink beer, and play table football.”
The place: Fort Greene
Where it is: Tokyo
Japan’s largest city has no shortage of Brooklyn-themed restaurants — there’s a Brooklyn Pancake House, for example — but this single-table restaurant, specializing in French food, is the most unique. Owner Makoto Asamoto spent a year living in Fort Greene and decorated the spot like he went on a Brooklyn Flea spending spree.
One reviewer says: “It’s like visiting the loft of your most eccentric aunt.”
The place: Brooklyn Hide Bagels
Where it is: Sydney, Australia
Everything at this Australian bagel shop is locally sourced, and the bagels are rightfully boiled. Owners also proclaim it’s all made with “Brooklyn love.” Clocks are set to Eastern Standard Time, and menu items are named after New York City neighborhoods, though plenty of them — the Chinatown, Hell’s Kitchen, or a lemon dessert called the Upper East — aren’t actually in Brooklyn.
One reviewer says: “I’m not a fan of bagels, but Brooklyn Hide has changed my outlook on it.”
The place: Williamsburg Grill
Where it is: Moscow
Despite the name, this studio is really a food shack in Gorky Park, located next to a skating rink. Shivering Mumfords can cozy up with burgers and corn on the cob inspired by Cafe Habana.
One reviewer says: “If it were not for my fear of having a huge ass, would eat here every day! For me, the best burger in Moscow.”
The place: Brooklyn Local
Where it is: St. Petersburg
On those occasions when young Russians want a dimly lit bar that also serves bagel sandwiches, Brooklyn Local is there to fill the void. The font on the signage could have been taken right off of a Park Slope wine shop.
One reviewer says: “An ideal place to wear a beanie hat and be ironic.”
The place: Brooklyn Cafe
Where it is: Helsinki
The two sisters who started this tiny Finnish coffee shop are actually from Brooklyn, so the offerings here are less about co-opting the borough’s handcraftiness and more about curing American homesickness. That means red, white, and blue cupcakes on the Fourth of July and hot apple cider with whipped cream and caramel in the fall.
One reviewer says: “If you’re missing the USA, definitely stop by for a great tasting bagel and a cup of joe.”
The place: Brooklyn Burgers & Wings
Where it is: Warsaw, Poland
The “Brooklyn” here seems to really be shorthand for “all of America,” as the menu mostly focuses on fast-food favorites that have nothing specific to do with Kings County. That said, the servers’ denim vests would probably play in Bushwick.
One reviewer says: “They need to turn the lights up, but the fries were excellent and the burger was tasty.”
The place: Kåken
Where it is: Stockholm
As noted previously on Grub, the Swedish bar co-opts plenty of “traditional” Williamsburg design choices and offers drinks like the Park Slope Collins.
One reviewer says: “Slightly pricey, but conversely very tasty, bourbon drinks prepared by seasoned and professional bartenders.”
The place: Bococa
Where it is: Kraków, Poland
Named for the portmanteau of Boerum Hill–Cobble Hill–Carroll Gardens that no one uses, this café has the exposed fixtures and painted brick that are necessary in Brooklyn-themed restaurants. Mercifully, though, the menu omits bagels and burgers in favor of a simpler farm-to-table vibe.
One reviewer says: “Spirit of Southern California brought to Poland. Great idea!” [Editor’s note: Um … ]
The place: Brooklyn Café
Where it is: Paris
Here’s a novel concept: This café combines classic Brooklyn foods (bagels, cheesecake, milk shakes) with some classic Parisian snobbery — the restaurant’s website calls gluttony “distinctly American.”
One reviewer says: “I had a late breakfast here. It was awful… Had to go and have a second breakfast elsewhere.”