Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain: A New Old-Time Spot for NYC Kids
We love writing about our favorite retro haunts, like old-school soda shops around New York City, but we're always on the lookout for cool new spots. Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, which opened in Carroll Gardens last year, is a bit of both: a new, family-friendly eatery set in an authentic 1920s apothecary.
After decades of lying dormant, this former pharmacy was transformed by Peter Freeman and his sister Gia Giasullo, with a little help from the defunct Discovery Channel reality show Construction Intervention. The pressed-tin ceiling and antique wooden shelves were left intact thanks to a beautiful and careful restoration, and the new elements have an old-time feel. It's like walking into another era. If you want to give your kids a literal taste of nostalgia, this is the place to go.
Freeman says Farmacy's "mission" is to serve the best egg creams in Brooklyn, and my family and I are true believers. Farmacy makes its signature treat (a combo of chocolate syrup, milk and soda water) with Fox's U-Bet chocolate syrup. If your kids (or you) have never had an egg cream, this is the place to try one. With a swirl of history and tradition, it's pure magic in a glass.
Of course there are lots of other yummy items on the menu. The quirky yet friendly Farmacy "jerks" mix all-natural sodas from artisanal syrups. The offerings change seasonally, from refreshing ginger ale to delicious cherry-lime rickeys. Little girls are partial to the Pink Poodle (ice cream float with Hibiscus soda) while parents appreciate the strong Dallis Bros. Coffee.
There are a variety of baked goods with a modern twist, like red velvet Twinkies, Adirondack Creamery ice cream, homemade fruit pies and a selection of savory eats. All of food is made fresh from local ingredients and prepared traditionally. Even the canned goods are locavore, like Sweet and Sour Pickled Maine Fiddleheads and Anarchy in a Jar preserves. Drop by on weekends and enjoy special sweets, such as Peter Pan doughnuts on Saturday mornings and sticky buns on Sundays courtesy of the Trois Pommes Patisserie.
"The Farm" (as regulars call it) is a place where Carroll Gardens' eclectic community comes together. Appaman-clad kids sit at the counter alongside old-school members of local Italian social clubs. Loyal customers gather to tell stories or share a joke. In the evenings, you'll see young sweethearts sharing a malted. There's a real collective spirit, and a dedication to connecting the dots with respect to the neighborhood's past and present.
Kids are encouraged to wander freely. My son loves the back room, which has a communal table, classic board games and a coveted Magic 8 Ball. There's also penny candy, a vintage juke box, spinning seats and a cup of nickels for the fortune-telling scale.
Brooklyn Farmacy also offers party packages. Become a Facebook fan to find out about tastings and special events, like fiddler jam sessions, ice cream socials and kids' entertainment such as Karen K and the Jitterbugs on weekend mornings. Remember to snap a picture to enter in the spot's monthly "Wicked Cute Photo Contest." Winners snag a free root beer float.
Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain is located at 513 Henry Street at Sackett Street.
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