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Hotlantic! Brooklyn’s main street is sizzling

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Call it Hotlantic!

One of Brooklyn’s main thoroughfares — which runs through Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill — is hotter than ever, thanks to an influx of cute coffee shops, hip boutiques and go-to bars. There’s always been are edgy air to Atlantic Avenue — how else can you describe Hank’s Saloon at the corner of Third Avenue? — but now there’s a trendiness that’s reached critical mass. The fun extends all the way down to the new Pier 6 playground at the foot of Atlantic.

But with all the new stuff, you’ll need our guide to Atlantic’s newest and best organized as a walking tour from west to east.

Roebling Inn

This sparse old-school bar has filled the nightlife hole left by the closing of Magnetic Field two years ago.

It’s not too classy for the kitchen to churn out such pub grub as bratwurst, soft pretzels and meat pies, and provide a dart board for the sport’s local enthusiasts, but it’s high-end enough to offer a tap with 16 local brews, including some obscure brands.

The feel is a bit like a modern take on Brooklyn Inn a few blocks away in Boerum Hill. What a surprise, both joints are operated by Jason Furlani, a legend.

Charlie-n-Diamond

Elizabeth Lind and Anna Man’s chic new boutique offers pricey but pretty hand-made and hand-printed clothes

Tazza

This charming, European-style café has been a great hang-out for the borough’s legions of late sippers since opening four years ago. While you’re getting your coffee fix, nosh on a flavorful panini, such as the fresh ricotta, figs and honey sandwich, or the heftier prosciutto, roasted pear and Parmesan toasted delight.

Henry Public

The antiquey bar looks like something that’d welcome you in on a cold night off a gaslit street, where once inside you’d have your choice of meat offerings and cocktails made with whiskey and egg whites.

Since opening last fall, it’s quickly become one of the neighborhood’s most popular destinations, mostly thanks to its quirky drinks and grass-fed “hamburger sandwiches.”

As for the drinks, the Summer Fancy — a stone fruit, verbena honey and champagne mix — sounds nice this time of year.

Hibino

Inconspicuously situated off Atlantic Avenue on Henry Street, this three-year-old food nerd destination serves cuisine from Kyoto, whose food is rather rare around these parts.

The menu offers Kyoto-style sushi, known as hako, that’s pressed into a box to form rectangles, rather than rolled. But it’s Hibino’s small plates, called obanzi, that really stand out. The selections change daily, but tend to include complex compositions of seafood and dainty veggies. You can order these Japanese tapas a la carte for only $4 a pop, or get a bento box with a few at lunch for only $9.

Crop to Cup Café

Until this spring, Crop to Cup coffee importer has been limited to just the Brooklyn Flea, but now, Brooklynites can enjoy its inventive fare, made from organic, local products from places like Smith Street Bakery, at its new Atlantic Avenue café.

Of particular note is the asparagus sandwich ($8), a flavorful and filling treat made by Brian Donahoe of “Bread Meats Bread” that is inspired by banh mi sandwiches.

Of course, it’s also about the coffee, and Brooklyn Heights residents have been getting their fix with its Uganda-grown beans. Also for sale are the store’s antique furniture and whatever you may find inside, so while you come for the joe, you may also leave with a unique new dining piece.

Casa Tua

The artisanal pizza craze has finally reached Atlantic Avenue in the form of this cozy Italian restaurant and its charred Neapolitan-style pies. The Margherita is classic, but other, more innovative menu options are worth checking out, such as the luxurious Piemontese, which boasts razor-thin beef carpaccio and truffle oil.

Urban Outfitters

Stop any fashionable girl on the street, and chances are, she’s wearing something from Urban Outfitters. So to have the hyper-trendy national retailer open two years ago on Atlantic Avenue is just one example of the strip’s certifiable hotness.

Hip dressers got not one but two floors of ironic T-shirts, cute, floral-print dresses and trendy hats and jewelry to shop. And let us not forget the housewares that make this the hipster alternative to Ikea.

Trader Joe’s

It may not be hip, but Trader Joe’s has been a huge hit since it opened two years ago, thanks to its reasonably priced organic produce and meats and health-conscious snack foods. Seeing the success, other national retailers have eyed that stretch of Hotlantic as well. Barneys Co-op will open next door this September.

Brooklyn Wine Exchange

Alcohol meets eco-friendly at this Court Street spot. Brooklyn Wine Exchange focuses on family-owned wineries, including local and great international choices. And it’s a true neighborhood joint, as there are free wine and cheese tastings, along with chef demonstrations, most days of the week. Mark your calendars: upcoming events include a seminar on sparkling wines (July 31) and rose samplings (Aug. 14).

Brooklyn Tattoo

A steady hand and an eye for detail keep the ink flowing at the eight-year-old Brooklyn Tattoo, which moved to its present location on Smith Street two years ago.

The ink parlor doubles as an unofficial art gallery, but you won’t find any sketch books filled with daggers or pirate skulls here.

“We’re a custom shop,” said Willy Paredes, who operates the space with Adam Suerte, who created that awesome Hotlantic tattoo graphic for us.

Vintage Signage

A little microcosm of the famous Le Marché aux Puces in Paris, the aptly named Vintage Sign, which opened four years ago, crams a wonderland of French memorabilia into a little space smaller than your bedroom. There isn’t really enough room to fit it all; Cinzano signs, French-looking lamps, and antique wooden chairs spill out onto the sidewalk.

Besides signs, there are beer trays, 1960s concert posters, and a record collection with albums ranging from two bucks to $200. There’s even a pinball machine.

Clover’s Fine Art Gallery and Café

Someone stuck a café inside an art museum.

Clover Barrett, owner of Clover’s Fine Art Gallery and Café, has made it possible for you to order a cup of coffee, or, if you’re feeling feisty, a glass of wine, bring it into middle of the airy gallery, and sit on one of those flat benches that you’d find in a museum. Now that’s the life.

This month, the space features works from Caribbean artists.

Jodi Arnold NYC

Atlantic’s so hot that even high-end fashion designers are heeding its call.

Designer Jodi Arnold is the latest example. She’ll open her high-end, contemporary women’s fashion boutique on the strip this Saturday.

Arnold was drawn to the area for its lack of pretense.

“Brooklyn isn’t as transient as other parts of the city; it reminds me of home,” said Arnold, who’s an Alabama native. “Most people wouldn’t put Brooklyn and Birmingham in the same sentence, but they both have a sense of community and warmth.”

Mile End

This six-month-old Montreal-style Jewish deli offers a take on pastrami — er, “smoked meat” — that is so good that you’ll forget there even is a Katz’s.

And owner Noah Bermanoff even sells a version of the Quebecois classic poutine ($8) that makes you realize what all the French Canadian passion for the gravy-covered fries is all about.

Deity

Deity opened in 2005 in a former synagogue, and remains one of the area’s only nightclubs. Last fall, Boerum Hill revelers had even more to be excited about, when the spot added food to its repertoire, turning the main room into a supper club.

The food’s not a second thought, either; rising culinary star Cesar Ramirez, of the nearby Brooklyn Fare, created the menu, with standouts including the deconstructed Caesar salad ($8) and braised short ribs ($17).

“As Deity gets more popular, we find more creative ways to the use the space,” said bartender Blake Galeas.

The joint even does bar mitzvahs!

Loretta’s Coffee and Tea

From the avenue, it’s as plain as its name, but out back, this no-frills, year-old coffee shop offers up a little slice of Eden, apple tree and all (well, the tree is in the neighbor’s backyard, but still!).

Rothschild’s

In response to the changing neighborhood, restaurateur Stan Williams closed down his New Orleans-style restaurant and opened in its place a “more local” joint.

Rothschild’s, which opened last month, serves fresh American fare with a lingering hint of NOLA. Entrees top out around $16 — including the nightly fish special — making Rothschild’s a place where locals can eat at several times a week.

“I felt we needed a restaurant that reflected the change,” says Williams. He has been in the neighborhood 15 years and has watched it go from a sleepy strip into a bustling destination spot.

Blue Marble

Blue Marble is a superstar of the Brooklyn ice cream scene, with locations in Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Prospect Heights, as well as stands at Brooklyn Flea and, hopefully soon, Pier 1. But the Atlantic Avenue spot started it all.

Three years ago, Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen introduced Brooklynites to their deliciously sinful ice cream, made from the milk of grass-fed cows and organic sugar. The heavenly flavors include chocolate, vanilla, ginger, mint chip, blackberry, coffee, strawberry and so much more. Just look for the blue ice cream cone.

Betty Bakery

The Twinkie finally goes gourmet. Yep, Betty makes the popular mind-altering snack cake along with another classic favorite, Ring Dings, at this four-year-old bakery. But this bakery doesn’t stop at low-brow junk food. Rising tall above the hoi polloi confections stand towering cakes of epic proportions, shining with unbridled sophistication. That’s for adults.

Roebling Inn [97 Atlantic Ave. between Henry and Hicks streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 488-0048].

The boutique focuses on colorful clothes with floral designs, and there’s even a selection of clunky, ostentatious jewelry, perfect for summer’s bold prints. Charlie-n-Diamond [105 Atlantic Ave. between Henry and Hicks streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 858-9300]. Closed Mondays.

Tazza [311 Henry St. between Atlantic Avenue and State Street in Brooklyn Heights, 718-243-0487].

Henry Public [329 Henry St. between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street in Cobble Hill, (718) 852-8630].

Hibino [333 Henry St. between Atlantic and Pacific avenues in Cobble Hill, (718) 260-8052].

Crop to Cup Café (139 Atlantic Ave. between Clinton and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights, no phone).

Casa Tua [145 Atlantic Ave. between Clinton Street and Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 855-6400].

Urban Outfitters [166 Atlantic Ave. between Court and Clinton streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 488-7143].

Trader Joe’s [130 Court St. between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street in Cobble Hill, (718) 246-8460].

Brooklyn Wine Exchange [138 Court St. between Atlantic and Pacific avenues in Cobble Hill, (718) 855-WINE].

Brooklyn Tattoo, [99 Smith St. between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street in Cobble Hill, (718) 643-1610]. Closed Mondays.

Vintage Signage [334 Atlantic Ave. between Smith and Hoyt streets in Boerum Hill, (718) 834-9268].

Clover’s Fine Art Gallery and Café [338 Atlantic Ave. between Smith and Hoyt streets in Boerum Hill, (718) 625-2121].

Jodi Arnold NYC [347 Atlantic Ave. at Hoyt Street in Boerum Hill, no phone]. Opens on July 24.

Mile End [97A Hoyt St. between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street in Boerum Hill, (718) 852-7510].

Deity (368 Atlantic Ave. between Hoyt and Bond streets in Boerum Hill, no phone). Closed Monday and Tuesday.

The lush backyard comes with some beautiful blooming trees of its own lending some shade to the coffee connoisseur. Loretta’s brews locally roasted beans from Ozzie’s in Park Slope, and nothing costs more than $7 from the light menu of paninis and salads. Loretta’s Coffee and Tea [407 Atlantic Ave. between Bond and Nevins streets in Boerum Hill, (718) 237-8880].

Rothschild’s [411 Atlantic Ave. between Bond and Nevins streets in Boerum Hill, (718) 596-3110].

Blue Marble [420 Atlantic Ave. between Nevins and Bond streets in Boerum Hill, (718) 858-1100].

Betty Bakery [448 Atlantic Ave. between Nevins Street and Third Avenue in Boerum Hill, (718) 246-2402]. Closed Mondays.

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Reader Feedback

Mike Curatore from Carroll Gardens says:
What about Brazen Head?
July 21, 2010, 1:50 pm
Vinnie from Carroll Gardens says:
How about the huge beer selection at Peter Waterfront & the Chipshop? Best casks in town!
July 22, 2010, 2:57 pm
FLIP from CCARROLL GARDENS says:
WHAT IS GOING ON AT JAKE WALK AT 282 SMITH ST.
BKLYN N.Y.?
July 22, 2010, 8:18 pm

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