Kent Avenue keeps it gritty, grimy and just inconvenient enough to trek to, that your typical G and L train traffic will probably give up mid-journey and bail for The Whiskey. If you’re looking for a DIY dance party, mosh pit under a parachute, or the occasional gathering of like-minded Brooklynites who’ve decided to paint feline features on their faces, all roads point to Kent. The usual suspects of nightlife-friendly food are well-represented on Kent and given a gourmet edge, from hearty chorizo burritos to grass-fed burgers and fries. Take in the waterfront and maybe even explore an abandoned warehouse or two; who knows when the old Domino’s Sugar Factory is going to finally be developed into the “Williamsburg’s version of the Highline”? These are the spots to get your grub on before braving that steamy-walled pile of bodies that is the Woods.
Continuing our round-up of…
Monk Bar and Pizzeria
Mercado on Kent’s replacement, this Neapolitan pizza parlor leaves behind the prior tenant’s Basque cuisine for, in their words, “simple Italian food.” The kamut pizza, with every square inch of surface space covered in prosciutto and bufala mozzarella, is a good place to start. Pizza is of course a well-known hangover helper and greasy friend on the path back to sobriety; the name Alligator Lounge ring a bell? But this more upscale establishment maintains an underground vibe thanks to low-hanging lights and expansive metal bar meeting hardwood surfaces. Consider it the perfect pit stop before lowering your classiness and stashing your coat in the bowels of Glasslands.
Monk Bar and Pizzeria
291 Kent Ave
The first location to open literally across the bridge, Mole NYC’s contribution to Kent Avenue is pretty crucial. Mexican staples from a large tableside bowl of guac to queso fundido are available in spades, and tacos stuffed with every meat and veggie, as well as the acclaimed cochinita pibil of shredded pork and salsa verde. Making it to Mole’s 4 pm to 7 pm happy hour is pretty much an impossible feat, unless you work locally or arrive for the early show at 285 Kent. But if you are able to partake, keep it in check, or you may find yourself sinking into the couch in 285’s lobby a few hours later (I don’t recommend this; the removal process for such people looks more than a little unpleasant).
178 Kent Ave.
Kent Ale House
Dangerously close to the Whiskey, yes, but Kent Ale House is worth walking the 12 blocks along the Williamsburg Waterfront for the rewards of sweet potato fries, rosemary shoestrings and more that await you. Kent Ale House is a laidback meeting place to gather your friends and figure out who knows exactly where Ran Tea House is and who the hell is performing. In addition to the aforementioned ale, sourced from locations as exotic as that brewery around the corner or Providence, RI, shovel down honey BBQ wings, spicy popcorn, or even a burger with toppings from garlic aioli to gruyere. Essentially, the kind of cuisine you’ll be sad to throw up after a 16-year-old crowd surfs into you at the all ages show.
Kent Ale House
51 Kent Avenue
I know, turning off of Kent and on to North 3rd does not a Kent Avenue eatery make. But the pickings on Kent are delicious but slim at the moment. The kitschy Mexican restaurant cum music venue (the restaurant is Cantina Royal and the performance space goes by La Sala)hosts noted DJs and dance-pop groups and provides revelers a menu of affordable and authentic options that almost entirely ring in at under $10. Pork confit in a corn tortilla clarinet may sound a bit rich for your taste, but waiting on line for the bathroom in any of these lovably terrifying spots will have you wondering why you left the cozy confines of Cantina Royal in the first place.
58 N 3rd St