Refinery29 is proud to team up with the LYCRA® brand to encourage the discovery of new destinations. Join us as we explore the neighborhood of Gowanus, Brooklyn, and put on your 7 For All Mankind jeans — equipped with LYCRA® dualFX® technology for a great fit that lasts — to hit the streets in style.
The best kind of Friday night is one without a dress code. Sometimes, that means cropped tees; sometimes, a silk tank for a long, leisurely dinner with friends; other nights, it means donning your highest heels in preparation for a wild, once-in-a-blue-moon evening out on the town. But whether your sweet spot is on the couch, seated at the dinner table, or out at a bar, it holds true that jeans are always the proper uniform — which is why we threw on our favorite 7 For All Mankind denim equipped with LYCRA® dualFX® technology for a night out in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Nestled between a number of favored Brooklyn neighborhoods — Red Hook, Park Slope, and Boerum Hill — Gowanus expertly walks that delicate line between accessible and tucked away. A mix of converted warehouses juxtapose a handful of chic yet understated bars and restaurants, frequented more often by locals than tourists. And it's no secret how invaluable a Brooklyn native’s endorsement is: When a local gives you their recs, you take them to heart.
For our Friday night out, there were a few spots we HAD to hit: Public Records, the triple-threat bar-café-sound-room; Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club (the name says it all); Insa, for all the Korean BBQ and karaoke lovers (which is to say, all of us); and Threes Brewing, arguably home to Brooklyn’s favorite IPA. And for an evening this eclectic, naturally, we had to sport a look that was equally versatile. Think: 7 For All Mankind denim (with not one but TWO stretch LYCRA® fibers for a lasting, comfortable fit).
Ahead, take a look at what we learned, and, of course, what we wore for our big night out in Gowanus.
This hi-fi music venue is just as committed to its 100% vegan food offerings as it is to its tunes. And while that in itself is a rarity, it’s not the only thing that makes this spot unique: The space was originally home to the ASPCA, before transforming into a vintage guitar store, and later, a church organ shop. Stop by for a lunch date or a live concert in the Sound Room — either way, the space serves as a refreshing antidote to the often dark, stuffy, exclusive clubs of Manhattan. And for the first spot on our itinerary, we served looks in keeping with the vibrancy of our destination.
“[Gowanus] still feels a little wild and receptive to radical expression,” says Public Records partner and creative director Shane Davis. “The fabric is diverse and evolving. It’s sort of this little canvas for experimentation sandwiched between beautiful established residential neighborhoods. We love all of the creatives nearby that have come out of the woodwork in the past two years.”
We dropped into the venue in the perfect combination of casual and cool: cropped 7 For All Mankind denim with shimmer accents, walkable heels (a must), and an appetite for adventure. After grabbing a quick coffee, we browsed the vinyl selection and geared up for the rest of our evening out on the town.
Royal Palms, the home of the largest shuffleboard league gathering in the world, has been bringing the best of Florida kitsch to Gowanus since 2014. Think hot pink flamingo wallpapered bathrooms, a stage covered with golden streamers, a GIANT orange from which piña coladas are served nightly, and — of course — the shuffleboard courts themselves, all located in a 17,000-square-foot facility. Better yet, our outfits instantly clicked with the dynamic spirit of the space, glitter and all.
Back in 2012, when Albert and Schnapp were first scouting out venue locations around Brooklyn, Gowanus seemed to have something special from the get-go. “There’s all this jewel box secret wonderfulness hidden behind really industrial, unassuming facades,” Albert says. “You could never imagine what's behind these buildings until you go inside. That happens over and over again in Gowanus. It’s always like, you can’t believe it! There’s a secret specialness to it. People are doing incredible things here.”
The love of shuffleboard runs deep for Albert and Schnapp, who rank as the #10 and #4 best players in the world, respectively. Now, over 100 teams compete in fall and winter leagues at Royal Palms every year. But don’t be intimidated by all that shuffleboard skill: All levels are welcome, just be sure to put your game face on — and wear comfy jeans with plenty of stretch. Luckily, we were well-equipped: LYCRA® dualFX® technology supplied our denim with just the right amount of stretch, meaning that this denim could really MOVE while still maintaining its shape (even after more than a few rounds of competition).
If a pre-dinner beer is on your Friday-night itinerary, it's probably best to go straight to the source and tap a brewery itself. We stuck with our trusty denim — taking it from day to night by swapping out our sweaters for silk tops — and headed to Douglass street for Threes Brewing: a neighborhood staple since December 2014. Here, you'll likely find plenty of folks from the collaborative, creative community local to Gowanus enjoying a post-work beer. By nature, it's a neighborhood joint.
“First off, we needed manufacturing zoning to make our own beer, and Gowanus is a manufacturing area — albeit, one that is undergoing a massive transformation,” says events director Gretchen Thomas. “From a retail customer perspective, there are 3,500 people that work in Gowanus every day, mostly in creative fields. This is not to mention the longtime residents, both within Gowanus and in neighboring areas including Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Fort Greene, and Downtown Brooklyn. There is still a dearth of bars and cafés in the area to support all these people.”
For the Threes' team, the “melding of the old guard and new” is part of what makes Gowanus so unique. After finishing our brews, we hopped across the street for dinner and karaoke at Insa.
Known for their upscale Korean barbecue offerings, Insa owners Sohui Kim and Ben Schneider have a proven expertise when it comes to their signature food. Apart from this Gowanus BBQ haven, they also run The Good Fork in nearby Red Hook, another Korean food favorite. The real reason we’re here, however, is for karaoke: the only appropriate way to end a night out in Brooklyn, and the perfect activity to put our shape-holding jeans to the test.
For Kim and Schneider, Insa was born out of a long-standing love for both Korean barbecue and karaoke. Having grown tired of making the drive to Flushing, Queens to get their fix, they decided to launch their own version of the winning combo in Gowanus. It’s been a neighborhood favorite ever since its opening in 2016.
“They saw this space and they saw an opportunity here,” says assistant general manager Sunny Lim. “They wanted a place that they would love to hang out in and not have to drive an hour to get to, so that’s what they created.”
We closed out the night in the Underwater Room (one of five karaoke rooms at Insa), our 7 For All Mankind jeans STILL looking fabulous — thanks to that LYCRA® dualFX® technology — while nailing all of our extravagant duets.
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