Williamsburg for Life

The prevalence of abandoned real estate projects in Williamsburg has sparked a lot of media speculation over the `hood's future. But loyal fedora-wearing residents won't be bullied into accepting the "Billyburg is dead" hype. And why should they? These top bars and restaurants are proof that the neighborhood has staying power. From the best of the old to the brightest of the new, Williamsburg is more alive than ever. (Photo: East Side River State Park)

Updated: September 16, 2009

Williamsburg Mainstays

DuMont Burger

314 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

This tiny burger spot is the little sister of a fancy New American resto nearby, but when people hear "DuMont," they think of a juicy beef patty on a brioche bun, and that's the main focus of this offshoot. Even Manhattanites often name DuMont's as their favorite burger, and it's no wonder that many are willing to trek across the bridge for it. Whether enjoyed at a sidewalk table outside or inside the restaurant, the DuMont burger served with all the fixings is a legitimate New York City staple.

Marlow & Sons

81 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

A casual cafe in front leads to a back dining room with dark wood and milk-white lamps at this ever-popular spot. To experience the best of both worlds, head over in the morning for a large cup of fair trade joe and an inventive pastry (think raspberry scones infused with lemon curd), then come back later for oysters and specialty cocktails. With its simple menu of solid fare and its stylish clientele, Marlow & Sons is the embodiment of Brooklyn chic, morning, noon and night.

Brooklyn Bowl

61 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Sure, Brooklyn's bowling enthusiasts had Gutter Bar, but that retro-fitted alley was begging for some healthy competition. The 2009 arrival of this impressive, 23,000-square-foot spectacle, which is outfitted with 16 lanes, leather couches and HD projection screens, screams "Williamsburg has edge." Even the food--designed by the owners of the much-hailed Blue Ribbon restaurant group--surpasses the norm. And in our book, any neighborhood that needs (and can sustain) two bowling alleys is alive and well.

Peter Luger Steak House

178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

The secret behind the lasting popularity of this storied cash-only restaurant, which has been in business since 1887, is its adherence to the old-school steakhouse formula: The decor is bare bones but that's because the focus is on the food--large platters of meat served family-style, sans fringes. And in case the steaks aren't enough of an incentive, the restaurant's location at the base of the Williamsburg bridge makes it easy for even the most Brooklyn-phobic carnivore to make the trip.

Radegast Hall & Beer Garden

113 N. 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Every neighborhood needs a vast, Austro-Hungarian beer hall with a staff of dirndl-clad waitresses. But not every neighborhood has one. Williamsburg does. Fashioned from a 150-year-old barn, Radegast is big. So are its mugs of beer, which are delivered by short-skirted barmaids to boisterous groups of grateful customers seated at long, communal tables. 'Nuff said.