Jan. 26 is Australia Day, when many Australian citizens both at home and abroad celebrate the day 227 years ago when their colonial forbears dumped a bunch of prisoners on an island in the Asia-Pacific and proceeded to systematically brutalize and dispossess the people who had been living there for the past 60,000 years.
Not content with conquering one country, Australians are now quietly invading a new land: Brooklyn. Over the past decade, the borough’s Antipodean population has exploded, with waves of young immigrants forming ethnic enclaves in Williamsburg and Cobble Hill where they have opened a broad range of businesses such as cafes, bars, and cafes.
To help you navigate this brave new world of babyccinos and $7 avocado toast, I — The Brooklyn Paper’s resident Australian — have put together a guide to Australian things in the borough of Kings.
Deadset, you seppos, these places are bloody ridgy-didge. So get your arse into gear, ya drongo, and give them a burl. I’ll see ya round like a rissole.
Gentrified Greenpoint is about as far from the real Northern Territory (where giant crocodile and unidentified flying object sightings are common, but craft beer and artisinal cocktail sightings are not) as you can get, but this rooftop bar serves up authentic Aussie pub food and beers (though sadly not the Territory’s beloved NT Draught, which comes served in a 67-ounce bottle).
[12 Franklin St. at Meserole Avenue in Greenpoint, (347) 689–4065, www.northernterritorybk.com].
The spacious Williamsburg outpost of this Australian-founded coffee empire is the place for Australian expats to hang out with other Australian expats, drinking Australian coffee and eating Australian food amidst Australian decor, and talking about how much better Brooklyn is than Melbourne.
[125 N. Sixth St. between Berry Street and Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, (347) 457–6160, www.tobysestate.com].
This Williamsburg restaurant and bar was originally co-founded by Australian actor Heath Ledger, though he died before it was completed. There is only one Australian beer on the menu (Coopers Green, a perfectly serviceable pale ale), but the breakfast and lunch menu is legit.
[18 Bedford Ave. at Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 383–5345, www.fiveleavesny.com].
Australians have a proud history of claiming anything good New Zealanders produce as our own (see Peter Jackson, Crowded House, and, once upon a time, Russell Crowe, but we’ve since given him back). So while this meat pie shop was founded by a Kiwi, let’s just call it Australian.
[211 Prospect Park West at 16 Street in Windsor Terrace, (718) 788–2448, www.dubpies.com].
Milk Bar and Brunswick
These sister cafes (the owners also have a couple of other similar joints in Manhattan) are both solid riffs on Australian-style cafes — where you come for a latte, but stay for brunch (which is served all day long, every day of the week).
Milk Bar [620 Vanderbilt Ave. at Prospect Place in Prospect Heights, (718) 230–0844, www.milkbarbrooklyn.com].
Brunswick [144 Decatur St. at Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (347) 404–6832, www.brunswickcafe.com].
This unpretentious Aussie pub makes its own meat pies, but is probably best known for its burger, which is made the correct way: with beetroot, pineapple, and a fried egg on top. Yes, that is the correct way.
[149 Fourth Ave. at Fourth Street in Park Slope, (718) 857–4337, www.sheepstation.net].
The organic-heavy menu at Australian-owned cafe Smooch — which you may remember as a location from television show “Bored to Death” — describes its Vegemite Soldiers as such: “If you don’t know what these are you probably shouldn’t have them.” Wise words.
[264 Carlton Ave. at Dekalb Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 624–4075, www.smoochorganic.com].
There are approximately eleventy bajillion Australian tourists on the Indonesian island of Bali at any given time and many of its dishes have become staples of Australian cuisine. So this Balinese restaurant, co-owned by an Australian, gets an honorable mention. For maximum Australian tourist authenticity, come badly sunburned, wearing a Bintang Beer tank top and flip-flops.
152 Driggs Ave. between Humboldt and Russell streets in Greenpoint, (718) 701–4333, www.selamatpagibrooklyn.com].
It is not difficult to find Australian artists exhibiting in New York galleries, but you need look no further than this Bushwick gallery, which exclusively features works by contemporary Aussie artists.
(56 Bogart St. between Harrison Place and Grattan Street in Bushwick, www.chasmgallery.com).
If you wanna see some real football, head down to the Midwood Athletic Complex (1550–1598 Avenue K between E. 15th and E, 17th streets in Midwood) in the middle of the year to catch Brooklyn’s own rugby league team the Brooklyn Kings in action. The team was founded by an Aussie expat last year, and plays the form of rugby more favored by everyday Australians. But if you want to see some really real Australian football, head instead to Red Hook Ball Fields (155 Bay St. between Henry and Clinton streets in Red Hook) to barrack for the local Australian Rules Football team, the New York Magpies — bravely named after the most hated team in Australia — which plays some of its matches there.
Prospect Park Zoo
The zoo’s menagerie includes both emus and dingoes. Hold onto your babies.
[450 Flatbush Ave. at Empire Boulevard in Prospect Park, (718) 399–7339, www.prospectparkzoo.com].