It’s a bar, it’s a florist, it’s Sycamore. This Ditmas Park bar-cum-flower shop lets you sip while you sniff, imbibe while you browse. The bar, focusing on American whiskeys and craft beers, is open seven days a week; the recently renovated flower shop, specializing in flowers by the stem and unique bouquets, is open five days a week, starting February 11. There’s also a year-round garden swaddled in ivy. Check the website for a roster of events, including various tastings (of the booze, not the flora).
Plenty of places sell jewelry, sure, but few offer the selection at The Clay Pot. Still going strong after more than 40 years, this beloved store in Park Slope is now run by the daughter of the original founders. The ring department represents over 200 designers and artists from throughout the United States, working in a range of materials and styles, and the patient salesfolk let you try on as many as you want. From February 2 to 18, the annual sale gets you 10 to 15 percent off custom engagement rings and wedding bands.
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Valentine’s Day means chocolate, and chocolate in Brooklyn means the Mast Brothers. The two bearded siblings carefully, thoughtfully source their ingredients from around the world, producing such flavors as “vanilla and smoke,” “serrano pepper,” and “Stumptown coffee.” What they don’t add are chemicals or fillers or anything that’s unnatural. Their outpost in Williamsburg offers tours, tastings, and bars. Each one is handcrafted and handwrapped, often in paper designed by members of the staff.
Two things are particularly great about Brooklyn Fox Lingerie: first, this Williamsburg store describes itself as “like a candy store for your body.” Second, this so-called candy store has something for everyone. Its wares, including bras, pajama sets, bustiers, and hosiery, range in size, meaning that folks of all shapes can find something sexy, or lovely, or captivating, or whatever the situation necessitates. OK, there’s one more thing that we love about this tiny boutique: it’s located in a former girdle factory. True story.
Founded by three well-known winemakers and distributors, Red Hook Winery likes to “[let] the juice tell the story.” This small winery relies on grapes from about 15 different vineyards in New York State, especially Long Island, and wants its customers to “discover what New York means in liquid form.” There’s red, white, and rose, some as bold and brash as the city itself. Severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Red Hook Winery could use some extra lovin’ this Valentine’s Day.
Although Kings County Distillery has only been around since 2010, it is New York’s oldest functioning distillery. (The New York Farm Distillery law, which legalized distilleries after decades of prohibition, was passed in 2007.) It may yet be a toddler, but its bourbon and moonshine have already won medals in national competitions. This stuff is painstakingly crafted in very small batches by people deeply committed to what they’re doing. And, once a year around February, they commit to doing chocolate whiskey. While not a traditional Valentine’s gift, it is smooth and delicious, and just might become one.