Dreading the Holidays? You Need This Cranberry Sauce Margarita.
Best chicken sandwich: Shake Shack
170 Flatbush Ave
Conveniently located right across the street from the arena, the local outpost of restaurateur Danny Meyer’s popular burger chain serves up perhaps the finest example of NYC’s latest comfort-food obsession: the chicken sandwich. Crisp and juicy, dressed with lettuce, pickles and a creamy buttermilk mayo on a soft potato roll, the ChickenShack made its big debut right here in Brooklyn. And it beats anything comparable that you might find at the stadium. (Sorry, Carla Hall.)
Best beer: Uncle Barry's
58 5th Ave
With 18 taps and an extensive selection of bottled and canned brews (check the beer list!), this no-frills watering hole, located just two blocks from the arena, is the perfect spot for pre- and post-event suds sipping. The bar doesn’t serve food, but it does offer vintage games and trivia -- mind over matter, dude.
Best barbecue: The Smoke Joint
87 S Elliott Pl
Head a little farther north in Fort Greene for some seriously tasty 12-hour hickory-smoked pulled pork and St. Louis-style rib racks. The hot dogs -- topped with pulled pork, beef, or chicken -- also require mention, because meat on meat is a God-given right, or something.
Best cocktails: Weather Up
589 Vanderbilt Ave
Expect strictly no-nonsense cocktails and a fun, uncontrived atmosphere. Not sure what to order? Opt for the bartender’s choice: pick a spirit and the crafty character behind the stick will custom-make you something seriously sippable.
Best ramen: Chuko
565 Vanderbilt Ave
New ramen shops keep bubbling up in South Brooklyn, but this cozy spot in Prospect Heights is unique. Unlike most NYC noodle shops, where tonkotsu-style pork broth reigns supreme, Chuko’s specialty is a veggie-based soup swimming with tofu and fresh produce, though meatier options are equally slurp-worthy.
Best slice: Pizza Town
85 5th Ave
This old-school pizzeria is a cut above your typical NYC-style slice joint, with ample seating and a whimsical decor. The standard triangular and square-shaped portions are both solid options (each just $2.75), but the pro move here is the stuffed slice, jam-packed with Italian sausage and cheese inside a double crust.
Best sit-down restaurant: Bricolage
162 5th Ave
This casual yet stylish Vietnamese-inspired gastropub is one of the best places to eat right now in NYC. Period. Even if you’re perplexed by the house’s signature “unshaking” beef -- nevermind the metaphysical descriptor, just think: saucy rib-eye -- the Sriracha butter chicken wings are approachable enough for the most simple-minded sports fan. Grab a seat on the lush back patio, if weather permits.
Best for groups/bocce: Union Hall
702 Union St
It’s hip in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard, even though there are bocce ball courts, frequent karaoke/slam poetry nights in the basement, old-book-lined walls, and slouchy couches taken up by bespectacled fathers journaling while waiting for their wives to finish shifts at the food co-op up the block.
Best pub: Alchemy
56 5th Ave
This dark, laid-back food & drink den has above-average taps, big booths, and shelves crowded with knickknacks that make so little contextual sense that they actually make complete sense. As for menu specifics, the grass-fed Angus burger is a standout, served on an onion brioche bun.
Best whiskey: Pork Slope
247 5th Ave.
Chef Dale Talde and partners David Massoni and John Bush, the dudes behind the super-successful Talde, opened this little roadhouse-style bar a few years back and have been slinging classic American eats to the neighborhood’s delight ever since. Pair your affordable porky melt -- cheddarwurst, griddled onions, mustard, rye -- with a pour of Pappy Van Winkle just because you can. Bonus: best tater tots ever.