Eating and Drinking Your Way through Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

Straight from the outer boroughs
By Jerry Del Priore

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn--photo by pixonomy via Flickr

Bay Ridge has been a nightlife destination since Saturday Night Fever helped spark the disco inferno era. Though the white polyester suit has gone the way of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and thankfully, Bay Ridge is still a great area to venture out and grab an unbelievable meal, a sinful cocktail or a smoothed brew. In my opinion, no other neighborhood in the Borough of Kings rivals its stellar nightlife and restaurant scene.  

With an eclectic cultural mix of Irish, Italian, Greek and Middle Eastern people, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. But there’s only one problem --- with so many places to choose from, it’s hard to decide which ones will get your hard-earned bucks. With that being said, we’ve comprised a list of places that will surely leave you feeling full, buzzed and satisfied in Bay Ridge.

Gino’s Restaurant and Pizzeria – 7414 5th Ave – Train Stop: R to 77th Street 
When it comes to price and quality of Italian food, nothing beats Gino’s. Sans the pretentious crowd and stuffy ambiance, yet stylish, this is the place I frequent when I have a hankering for Italian and I’m not eating at one of my many Italian relatives’ homes.
Family owned and operated since 1964, Gino’s Restaurant is a long-standing tradition in Bay Ridge. The menu is simple and straightforward, but the food is pure, magical bliss.
Pasta dishes such as the Rigatoni with Italian Eggplant and Sausage and the Bowtie with Sweet Peas, Shiitake Mushrooms and Grilled Shrimp are must tries. As for its pizza, the Grandma Pie is the best in the neighborhood.

To complement its menu, Gino’s offers a wide variety of wines by the bottle ($19-$120), along with its house selections by the glass ($6.75) and sparkling wines ($27-$70).

Have a hankering for Italian food? Try Gino's in Bay Ridge. Photo via Gino's Restaurant and Pizzeria

Burger Bistro – 7217 3rd Avenue – Train Stop: R train to 69th Street
I’ve never had a bad experience at Burger Bistro, that’s because they stick to a simple formula: use the finest, freshest ingredients available, and allow the customer the option to build their own burger masterpiece. With over 20 different cheeses and toppings, six specialty sauces, and five fresh breads to choose from, Burger Bistro is sure to satisfy the carnivorous beast within.

For appetizer and sides, the Fried Artichoke Hearts with horseradish cream and Yellow Split Pea Salad are a nice change a pace from the typical favorites.

Burger Bistro allows the customer to build their own masterpiece.  

Blue Zoo Lounge 8402 3rd Ave – Train Stop: R Train to 86th Street
What do you get when you mix hot dance music, good looking twenty-to-thirty-something partygoers, and stunning bartenders slinging the trendiest cocktails in a dark, sleek jungle-themed lounge—complete with wooden voodoo statues atop exotic fish tanks while blue lights rock in the background?

The Blue Zoo, that is. Hey, they must be doing something right since it’s been a mainstay on the Bay Ridge party scene for over 13 years. And that speaks volumes considering most bars and clubs in NYC have a relatively short shelf life.

Blue Zoo Lounge in Bay Ridge has been open for 13 years --photo via Blue Zoo

Twenty3 Supper Club – 8915 5th Ave (between 89th St & 90th St) – Train Stop: R Train to 86th Street
Whether you’re looking for a place to kick back a few adult beverages or dine in hip elegance, Twenty3 Supper Club is the ideal establishment to accomplish both. Twenty3 is as close as possible to Manhattan (price and atmosphere) without leaving Brooklyn.
The luminous lounge area looks and feels the part of a trendy bar, with a beautiful waterfall behind the bar that accents its ultramodern vibe.
Without skipping a beat, as the DJ pumps club music, the lounge area gives way to the cordial, inviting dining area. The chic ambience wouldn’t mean a thing if the food didn’t measure up, but it does.
The menu, which illuminates upon opening, (nice touch) at this contemporary Brooklyn sizzle spot offers a variety of ethnic small dishes such as crab croquettes, mussels, meatballs, glazed ribs, mac and cheese, Kobe sliders, lamb skewers and chicken empanadas that will absolutely please your palate. 
As for main dishes, the Osso Bucco, Duck Two Ways and the Day Boat Cod are surefire succulent selections.

the DJ pumps club music through Twenty3 Supper Club--photo via Twenty3 Supper Club
 Owl Head’s Wine Bar479 74th Street – Train Stop: R train to 77th Street
Free of pageantry and pretentiousness, Owl Head’s is a cozy wine bar that features an eclectic and reasonably priced variety of international wines ($6-$12, glass/$25-$40, bottle) and craft beers, coupled with artisanal nibbles outsourced from D.Coluccio & Sons, Stinky’s Bkyln, Cookie Fairy Sweets and Robicelli’s.

A handcrafted bar top constructed from a single maple tree harmonizes wells with the refurbished tin ceilings and brick walls of the dining room. The ambience of this wine-lover’s hangout makes it an ideal place for a special date or a friendly get-together.

Owl's Head is a cozy wine bar.--photo via Owl's Head

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