I go to New York a lot, but like most people visiting the city rarely venture outside Manhattan. It’s understandable because Manhattan is familiar, easy and to be honest, who likes leaving their comfort zone? Even when business takes me to one of the other boroughs, I like to stay near Central Park. Hell, for me, staying down in Soho or the Meat Packing District and leaving the touristy Mid City area feels like a huge departure from the norm.
Recently I was in New York to cover an event in Brooklyn at The Barclays Center and for some odd reason I thought to save time I would stay on that side of the river. My wife lived in Brooklyn, close to Barclays, when I met her, and maybe that’s when I first formulated my bias against the borough. It was clearly unfounded, and I think the real issue was that I hated her apartment which was the size of a small minivan. So I needed to be reintroduced to the area, get a fresh start and clear perspective.
I booked a room at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg. When I arrived, I was greeted by a block long line of hipsters waiting to access the rooftop bar. It’s at that moment that I realized I was in a “cool place” and that my hotel was about to make me feel incredibly hip. I took a chance on Brooklyn and Brooklyn was about to love me up.
The Wythe is a turn of the century warehouse, turned hipster hotspot, but not so hipster that it makes a veteran travelers run for the safe confines of the Peninsula or one of manhattans high end hotels. It is quaint, small and very cool.
Sparsely decorated, the rooms are chic but uncluttered and offer all the creature comforts and few small surprises. I love the in wall speakers that you can plug your phone or music device into, the minibar has an eclectic mix of snacks and drinks and the bed is perfectly comfy. But the real win with the Wythe is the neighborhood and the amenities.
The Rooftop bar is worth the trip and is nothing short of spectacular during sunset. Once the sun goes down, you are surrounded by clubs, bars and places where you can get in the mix. I ventured across the street to Brooklyn Bowl, a bar, club, slash bowling alley that often features live music. I was there just long enough to see, sample and dip out. The streets were full of people searching for a party but not in the rushed, or fussed way things shake out in Manhattan. There was a much more relaxed feel to the area.
The Wythe is situated close to two beautiful parks and the food trucks are a fun and adventurous dining option on Sundays. My one beef with the Wythe was that there is no room service which was “no bueno”, but they do have a robust list of restaurants deliver.
The Wythe, in my opinion, is a legit alternative to spending the weekend in Manhattan and your always just a subway ride away if you really feel the need to do a little sightseeing. Brooklyn, you’re back in my mix! I will return for the hotel, the views and the flavor of Williamsburg.