Where To Eat Before A Show At Brooklyn Academy Of Music
Where to grab a meal before that new wave production of Hamlet.
Brooklyn Academy of Music is the cool Brooklyn cousin of Manhattan institutions like the Met or Carnegie Hall where you can see anything from new wave takes on Hamlet to Greek tragedies told through K-Pop lyrics. Shows generally start around 7:30pm, so you should have some time for an early dinner. Sure, you could grab a burger at Shake Shack with the Barclay’s crowd, but a nice sit-down spot feels more fitting for an evening that's higher on the snobbery scale. Here are some of our favorite restaurants that are less than a 10-minute walk from BAM.
Almost every great Brooklyn neighborhood has a great French bistro, and in Fort Greene, that’s Cafe Paulette. Just under a 10-minute walk from BAM and right across the street from Fort Greene Park, this is a quintessential dinner-and-a-show date spot. Seatings start at 5pm, so you can grab an early meal of bistro classics like steak tartare and duck confit and still make your 7:30pm showtime. They’ve also got a bunch of natural wines with labels you’ll wish were available in t-shirt form.
Black Iris is a casual Middle Eastern spot on the border of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill where people who live in nearby brownstones like to drink mojitos on weeknights. They’re open from 12pm-10pm with no break before dinner, so you can grab some fluffy pita sandwiches and pitzas as early as you need to. Their pita-pizzas are topped with things like lamb and sun-dried tomato, and you get a decent portion for the price in case those tickets to see King Lear got a bit pricey.
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Olea is a neighborhood restaurant in Fort Greene with a Mediterranean menu and a few quality houseplants. Service is casual, prices are reasonable, and they serve a range of food that should please just about anyone. Stop by and share a bunch of tapas, or have something bigger like a piece of fish with kale and cauliflower puree.
Walter's is one of those spots that's perfect for pretty much everything, like a last-minute meal before a show at BAM or a nightcap and snack afterward so you can discuss exactly what that one-man show of millennial angst meant. They know what every neighborhood restaurant needs to thrive: simple, well-executed classics (like fried chicken and a burger), reasonable prices, and a friendly environment where everyone feels at home.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Karasu is an izakaya hidden in the back of Walter’s in Fort Greene with unique cocktails and very good versions of karaage and tonkatsu. You don’t knock on any fake doors or turn a giant bookshelf to get in. You just need a friend or a date who wants to get to know you before you spend two hours together weeping at contemporary dance pieces inspired by dodo birds. Although you should probably make a reservation to guarantee that you’ll get in and out within your pre-show window.
With its menu of ricotta, hummus, and chicken, Miss Ada might seem unremarkable—like the kind of spot you'd choose last-minute when you realize that your stomach might start heckling the performers during a four-hour production of A Little Life. But before you head to Shake Shack, consider coming here for a surprisingly memorable meal instead. Their falafel, hummus, and kebabs are unlike any others in the city, and they have one of the best backyards in Brooklyn.
This casual Caribbean restaurant in Fort Green serves jerk chicken that we can’t currently remove from our dreams. Island Shack’s menu has everything from Jamaican oxtails and rice and peas to Trini-style roti and curry goat. It’s a high-energy place to meet a date or a couple friends for a group dinner before the show.
Endswell can be whatever kind of place you need—from a laid-back cocktail bar to a spot for a pre-show dinner of coq au vin or steak frites. On weeknights, you should have no problem grabbing one of the few high top tables on their outdoor patio, but you might encounter a bit of a wait on the weekends, so plan accordingly.
photo credit: Kate Pauley
If you’re going to sit silently in a theater for most of the night, your dinner should be a social affair. Dinner Party is a Fort Greene restaurant where you can eat a prix-fixe meal at a communal table. It's like a real dinner party, complete with unpretentious cooking, a welcoming host, and good conversation with friends and new faces. Weekday dinner seatings are at 7:30, but Friday and Saturdays have an additional early 5:30pm seating, so you can get out of here on time to make a show.
Park Slope may be stroller city, but you have those strollers to thank for all the restaurants serving kid-friendly (AKA really good) food. If you’re not feeling BBQ, burgers, or hot dogs, we can’t really be friends, but we can direct you to excellent pizza in the area. It doesn’t get more classic than Patsy’s, and you can never go wrong with that plain pie.