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The tasting room at Brooklyn’s Other Half Brewing Co. Photo: Matt Coats.

Fresh, locally roasted coffee. Just-baked pies. A lump crab roll to make your knees buckle. Craft brewing that elevates beer to an art form. A 21st century ice cream parlor. You’d be hard-pressed to find all this within a 10-minute walk in any neighborhood in the world, but in the Gowanus, you’re just getting started. How did this once-sleepy enclave, home to a few Old-School Italian joints best know for serving chops and pasta to Wise Guys, turn into a serious dining and drinking destination in such a short time? It’s probably not something in the water. Whatever the cause, you’ll want to venture out often to try these boundary-pushing spots. There are seriously too many to count, but we at Food Republic guarantee that you’ll be stoked to try any of these places.

Ample Hills Creamery
Besides making some of the tastiest house-made ice cream in deliciously inventive flavors that don’t get too gimmicky (chocolate milk & cookies, salted crack caramel), Ample Hills’ Gowanus location also features a rooftop deck. It’s the place to be on a warm summer afternoon. 305 Nevins Ave., 347.725.4061, amplehills.com

Baba’s Pierogies
Pierogies aren’t just for Greenpoint anymore. This tiny shop fills its dumplings with quality ingredients in imaginative combos like spinach and feta and bacon cheddar—not to mention the now-beloved mac and cheese. The pierogi recipe comes via an owner’s grandma (or baba), and the sunlit dining room adds to the homey appeal. 295 3rd Ave., 718.222.0777, babasbk.com

Black Mountain Wine House
From the outside, it looks like an Adirondack boat house that took a wrong turn down the Hudson, but this cozy wine bar is a nearly 10-year veteran of the Gowanus for a reason: it’s the most romantic place around to sample well-curated wines (with over 30 by-the-glass options) while sharing a cheese or charcuterie plate. 415 Union St., 718.522.4340, blackmountainwinehouse.com

Buttermilk Channel
This long-running New American restaurant—named after another local body of water—near the Gowanus in Carroll Gardens first came to fame for its high-profile diners (Jay-Z and Beyoncé and other celebs could be spotted through the big corner windows) but it’s the farm-fresh brunch and reliably excellent dinners (buttermilk fried chicken is an all-star dish) that keep the crowds coming to this no-reservations spot. 524 Court St., 718.852.8490, buttermilkchannelnyc.com

Canal Bar
What would the Gowanus be without a good dive bar? When this no-frills, wood-paneled drinking establishment opened back in 2005, only the most adventurous would venture in for a PBR or shot of Jack. While the Canal Bar has adapted to the times with craft brews and such, it’s remained a purist’s drinking den. 270 3rd Ave., 718.246.0011. canalbar.com

Court Street Grocers
Sure, Gowanus residents have easy access to a shiny new Whole Foods, but discriminating palates should walk a few blocks further to this highly curated grocery store for offbeat items like Geechie Boy grits (from South Carolina), boxed spaetzle mix and a curiously clever condiment selection. The sandwich counter is among NYC’s best for breakfast or lunch, and the cafeteria-style dining room offers free Wi-Fi. 485 Court St., 718.722.7229, courtstreetgrocers.com

Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Besides having the most awesome name in the pie-baking game, this bakery and café is one of the best places in all of NYC to sit with a cup of hot coffee or tea and a slice of something sweet (or sometimes, savory). Owners the Elsen sisters also offer takeout pies to order, and their endeavor’s success has led to an acclaimed cookbook and devoted following. 439 3rd Ave., 718.499.2917, birdsblack.com

RS Pretzel dip slice salt
The making of the pretzels at Runner & Stone (photos by Mark Shaw)

Lavender Lake
Locals winked when this festive bar with a spacious back deck opened, sporting a sardonic nickname for the river that practically flows beneath it. Years on, it’s the Gowanus’ go-to gathering spot for friend-filled birthday bashes or just run-of-the-mill revelry. The small-plates menu has become a draw in itself, along with a top-notch burger. 383 Carroll St., 347.799.2154, lavenderlake.co

Littleneck
A New England–style seafood shack might seem out of place in the Gowanus, but this gritty little restaurant has crab rolls, clam chowder and a killer weekend brunch, all of which has made it a must-visit in the ‘hood. 288 3rd Ave., 718.522.1921, littleneckbrooklyn.com

Other Half Brewing
Brooklyn’s smallest, least designed tasting room is also its coolest, which is why this non-descript place with a view of a McDonald’s parking lot and the BQE is packed with beer aficionados whenever it’s open. Stay for a pint, then bring home a growler—Other Half’s prodigious menu of IPAs and select other styles rank with the country’s best. 195 Centre St., no phone, otherhalfbrewing.com

Pickle Shack
Only in the Gowanus will you find a vegetarian sandwich shop spawned from a collaboration between a pickle brining operation and a craft beer behemoth (Dogfish Head). Though it’d be even more surprising if this veggies ‘n beer concept doesn’t catch on in other cool neighborhoods around the country. 256 4th Ave., 347.763.2127, pickleshacknyc.com

The Pines
The décor is rustic, but the menu is sophisticated at one of the area’s most acclaimed and avant-garde fine-ish dining restaurants. The all-natural wine list is one of only two in this part of BK (the other is at June, across the Gowanus on Court Street), and the backyard occasionally features DJs and more affordable eats. 284 3rd Ave. 718.596.6560, thepinesbk.com

Prime Meats
Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli opened Frankies 457 on this once-far west block of Court Street 15 years ago, and are still serving some of the cities best pastas, salads and meatballs out of the cozy space. Down the block (and sharing a courtyard) with Frankies is the German steakhouse offshoot Prime Meats, with an A-list cocktail program and a crowd-pleasing menu of steaks, sausages and German/Austrian specialties. Its dark, airy dining room is the area’s best for a group dinner or a candlelit night of romance and great food and drink. 465 Court St., 718.254.0327, frankspm.com

Runner & Stone
What happens when an experienced chef teams up with an accomplished baker? A multi-faceted, well-designed spot where you can find nosh on a baguette with your morning coffee, or turn up at dinner for house-made pastas and seasonal salads. 285 3rd Ave., 718.576.3360, runnerandstone.com

Threes Brewing
More than any other place on this list, Threes embodies the DIY spirit of the Gowanus. The place seemingly went up overnight, and in less than a year has become a hub for thirsty craft beer fans who also flock to experience the weeks-long pop-ups by the city’s coolest chefs and restaurants, from the Battersby guys to the Good Fork to Tortilla Nixtamal. Upstairs is Ninth Street Espresso, an ace craft coffee shop that’s open daily. 333 Douglass St., 718.522.2110, threesbrewing.com