Welcome to South BrooklynWhen a local is referring to “South Brooklyn” they don’t mean the geographical region of the borough but are using the historical term that references the neighborhoods south of the original Village of Brooklyn. For this guide, we will be highlighting our favorite neighborhoods of South Brooklyn; Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, and Park Slope. These neighborhoods, once the stomping grounds of old-school dock hustlers and the working class, have been transformed into the gentrified urban landscapes that we now know so well. While the neighborhood old-timers may reminisce of the good ole' days, before $5 cappuccinos were standard and when there was still plenty of parking, South Brooklyn (in typical New York City fashion) has adapted and transformed itself into one of the premier, quintessentially “Brooklyn-esque” areas of the borough.
WOOF: In Case of Emergencies
WHO RESCUED WHO: Local Rescue Groups & Shelters
LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE: Pet-Friendly Hotels
Our Favorite Pet-Friendly Neighborhoods of South Brooklyn
The Vibe: The Italian dock workers who once ruled Carroll Gardens laid their claim to this charming community at the turn of the 20th century and their families, understandably, never left. The Italian Roman Catholic presence is proud in these parts and still holds strong. So even though Smith and Court Streets have been infiltrated by the typical “New Brooklyn” cafes, bars and boutiques, they coexist beside the old Italian restaurants and social clubs from the days of yore. Thanks to the old timers, the romantic mafia reputation of the hood (Al Capone was married at St. Mary’s Star Of The Sea Church), the Gambino crime family is still reported to hold sway, and The Sopranos recently gave it some new street cred, Carroll Gardens is still the ultimate “fogettaboutit” Brooklyn experience.
The Pets of Carroll Gardens: That bulldog hanging out in front of the Italian social club, the one next to the large, cigar-smoking man, looks like he will shake you down for your bone before you can even bark twice. You might want to head over to Smith Canteen where delicious croissant crumbs fall like snow and sit outside with the stroller set.
Wag Like a Local: Stroll down any side street and gawk at the charming row houses and turn of the century brownstones that showcase Carroll Garden’s signature “enormous front yard” look, a testament to how Carroll Gardens got its name. And while the neighborhood lacks a designated dog run, Carroll Park is still a great pit stop for small, kid friendly dogs.
The Vibe: This landmarked neighborhood encompasses the “slope,” or hillside area, between Prospect Park and the Gowanus Canal. For the pet owner, the love is all around the 526 acres of Prospect Park, but as for the rest of Park Slope, aka “down the hill”, the historic limestones and brownstones are now owned by affluent Brooklyn families and the neighborhood is brimming with children (so expect to be dodging Razors and baby strollers down the street).
The Dogs of Park Slope: It’s 8:30 am, and Long Meadow in Prospect Park is jammed packed with all your friends. You’re running as fast as you can, chasing your favorite frisbee, while your person is yacking away on the phone. The sun is shining, and there’s grass under your paws. Oh, life is real good for the dogs of Park Slope.
Wag Like a Local: Weekend mornings between 8-9:00 am at Long Meadow in Prospect Park is the prime time place for dogs to sniff and be sniffed. Check out the fabulous Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket on Saturday for all your farm fresh goodies, and depending on the season, the neighborhood is abuzz with street fairs, outdoor concerts (Celebrate Brooklyn!) and more.
TREAT TIME: Pet-Friendly Restaurants in South Brooklyn
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: 604 Union St. – Find your inner caveman, order the Big Ass Pork Plate and make your pup proud. He will thank you for dropping the scraps.
Bar Bruno: 520 Henry St. – A festive, funky Mexican joint with great tacos and pet-friendly outdoor dining (which was one of the most important features for the owners who are true blue dog lovers).
Sotto Voce: 225 7th Ave. – A charming, cozy and classic Italian restaurant with enough outdoor seating to accommodate large parties or lots of doggies.
Pig Beach: 480 Union St. – If you took your favorite whiskey bar and your favorite BBQ joint and stuck them in an outdoor industrial warehouse space then you would have spawned the amazing… Pig Beach.
Owl Farm: 297 9th St. – Considered one of the great watering holes of Brooklyn, an authentic dive bar with an extra helping of funky cool. Owl Farm is everything a Brooklyn bar should be and pups are allowed in before 6pm and after 12 pm.
DOGGYSTYLE: Pet-Friendly Shopping in South Brooklyn
Foxy & Winston: 392 Van Brunt St. – Fantastic home finds and great gifts! Plus their beagle, Beatrice, is always on hand to help you make the difficult decisions.
Botta di Vino: 357 Van Brunt St. – Check out their incredible selection of wines, which are dutifully guarded by their resident cat, and stay for one of their tastings.
Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store: 232 5th Ave. – A little slice of Americana in the heart of Brooklyn, here you can find amazing gifts, books, and trinkets in this neighborhood stalwart.
Kiwi: 119 7th Ave + FiG: 121 7th Ave. – One of the cutest women’s and men’s apparel stores around town (in fact one of the few dedicated to just the men!). They love dogs so expect them to fawn over your pup while you’re working it in the dressing room.
Chelsea Garden Center: 444 Van Brunt St. – A beautiful nursery and flower shop extraordinaire, it’s worth just walking your dog around this garden center and checking out the amazing flora and fauna.
Smith & Vine: 317 Smith St. – Carroll Garden’s friendliest liquor store always has an ample supply of dog treats on hand, and they just moved closer to the subway, so it couldn’t be easier to pick up your booze after a long workday.
SOCIALIZATION: Dog Parks of South Brooklyn
J.J. Byrne Memorial Park Dog Run: 3rd & 4th Sts. b/t 4th & 5th Ave. Ren says: Nice gravel filled run with plenty of room to play around. It’s pretty basic, but it gets the job done.
DiMattina Park Dog Run: Hicks & Woodhull Sts. Ren says: Small run next to ballfields, lots of kids and neighborhood dogs, especially on weekends. But it’s next to the BQE and super loud, which makes it hard to hold a decent conversation.
Coffey Park Off-Leash Area: King Street and Pioneer Streets. Ren says: This neighborhood gem is a favorite, with lots of grassy areas for playing, just enough trees and plenty of squirrels to keep things interesting.
Prospect Park: 95 Prospect Park West. Ren says: The doggie mecca of Brooklyn with off-leash hours between 9 p.m- 9 a.m is like Brooklyn’s own version of “dogs gone wild.”
WHO YOU GONNA BARK AT: Pet Associations of South Brooklyn
Fellowship in the Interest of Dogs and their Owners (Fido) is New York city’s largest off-leash community of dog owners. These guys are the unofficial liaisons between Prospect Park and local dog owners. All of your Prospect Park dog questions can be answered here. And check out Prospect Park Coffee Bark: Fido’s monthly gathering at the Long Meadow Picnic House in Prospect Park where dog owners mingle over coffee and bagels while their dogs romp around the park. It’s a tight-knit community and very welcoming.
THROW ME ANOTHER BONE: More Pet-Friendly Activities in South Brooklyn
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church: 199 Carroll St. – Because you can have your pet blessed here at the Blessing of the Animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, and if you’re not into that sort of thing, watching the animals lined up outside is def worth the trip.
The Transit Garden: 2nd Place & Smith St. – This off-the-beaten-path park is a gem of a community garden, and if you’re lucky enough to be a member (or know one) it is certainly worth a visit.
The Modern Chemist: 191 4th Ave. – Like the good ole’ days, these guys bring back the personal touch of real local neighborhood pharmacists. They are super welcoming towards dogs and even better, they fill orders and will mix and flavor your pet’s medications for you!
Rescue Chocolate: Red Hook, Bk. – Their motto is “The Sweetest Way to Save a Life” and we couldn’t agree more. Not only is this company Brooklyn born and bred here, but the sales from their chocolates are donated to local animal rescue organizations.