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A guide to Australian things in Brooklyn

New York, roo York: An artist’s impression of Brooklyn, after the Aussies take over completely.
The Brooklyn Paper
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King oath!

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.

Northern Territory

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].

Toby’s Estate

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].

Five Leaves

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].

Dub Pies

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].

Sheep Station

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].

Smooch

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].

Selmat Pagi

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].

Chasm

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).

Football

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].

Ruth Brown is the arts and entertainment editor at The Brooklyn Paper. Reach her at rbrown@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8309. Follow her at twitter.com/rbbrown.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
nice list. Wouldn't mind being in Oz where its summer there right now as we face this impending blizzard.
Wait/ How about watching some Australian rules football in a bar/ got any recommendations when that comes into season?
Jan. 26, 2015, 8:48 am
Kas from Bay Ridge says:
The Three Jolly Pigeons bar in Bay Ridge (6802 3rd Ave) has celebrated Australia Day for as long as I can remember, and bartender Callum Sigg has been bringing his homemade meat pies to the celebration ever since people started offering to buy them!
Jan. 26, 2015, 10:13 am
Ruth Brown (Brooklyn Paper) says:
bkmanhatman: at the risk of losing my job for recommending something in Manhattan, the Australian bar in Midtown is the only place I know of that shows the regular season. And only the afternoon games on the east coast line up time-zone wise to watch live. But there could be others -- I only really make the effort to watch the Grand Final (and only really if Hawthorne is playing), and plenty more Brooklyn bars show that.
Jan. 26, 2015, Noon
KiwiSheepLover from Park Slope says:
Don't forget Kiwiana in Park Slope (if you want to list Kiwi places the Aussies can claim).
Jan. 26, 2015, 12:26 pm
Ruth Brown (Brooklyn Paper) says:
Kiwiana is disqualified for having Marmite on its menu. No self-respecting Australian would ever go near that filth.
Jan. 26, 2015, 12:55 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
So at the Kiwiana perhaps feature the All Blacks and a haka too?
Jan. 26, 2015, 3:11 pm
Jenjijdel from Australia says:
No, never wear flip flops or jandals. Thongs are compulsory footwear except perhaps in blizzards. Uggs are acceptable then. But if you can afford Jimmy Choos (Aussie rhyming slang for shoes), then go for it.
Jan. 27, 2015, 4:44 am
Denis from Prospect Heights says:
Great list - thank you!

I love Milk Bar and Sheep Station - legit Aussie spots. Can you help me with something since I've moved back to the States after a few years in Sydney? I loved Vegemite on Turkish toast, but I have not been able to find the bread anywhere. I've heard there might be a place in Queens. My friend Glenn called it the Gallipoli Special. So wrong. So tasty.
Jan. 27, 2015, 9:53 am
Gus from Bay Ridge says:
A couple of Turkish grocery spots on Fifth Ave in Bay Ridge carry legit Turkish bread (Flat loaves, with and without sesame seeds). There's one next to Long's liquor store. Also the grocery store outside the 96th St subway stop on the east side of Manhattan (6 train).
Jan. 27, 2015, 6:44 pm
Ruth Brown (Brooklyn Paper) says:
There are also some Turkish bakeries in Sheepshead Bay. Oh man, I haven't thought of Turkish bread in years, and now I'm craving it.
Jan. 28, 2015, 6:21 pm

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