Alfresco dining is one of the best ways to experience spring, summer, and fall in New York. And that’s precisely what Brooklyn Crab aims to offer, plus summer vibes with an out-of-town experience without having to leave NY.
This establishment took up residence in the Red Hook in 2012 and has been gathering pace ever since; a definite outdoor dining destination, especially for crab and seafood lovers.
It’s a number’s game at this crab shack overlooking New York harbor.
Why the numbers? One, throngs of people flock here – it’s a madhouse during the weekends. Summers are worse! Every time is prime time! The place is usually constantly packed to the brim, whether it is a weekday or weekend.
Two, the menu is limitless. But we will talk about that later.
There is also an extensive selection of drinks: ice-cold beers, ciders, wines, Pina Coladas, frozen margaritas, bloody marys, you name it! These are plentiful and in infinite variety.
But that is not all.
The establishment is set up in a three-story wooden building.
An 18-hole mini-golf course, three corn hole courses, and a below deck bar area are on the first level. There is also a bean bag toss and a pool table here.
Level two of the building is the ultimate crab house hideaway. It has an enclosed, nautical-themed bar (that’s pretty dedicated to appeasing the waiting hordes) and a large patio area complete with wooden benches, tables, and umbrellas to shelter you away from the scorching sun.
Continuing the eclectic, beach-house theme is the third level, more like a rooftop. It consists of an additional dining area with a roof over it (that does little to protect it from the sun).
This upper spot has the best views (or so they say) of the Red Hook area and Staten Island (views of the Hudson River and the statue of liberty, anyone?)
If you prefer a little more breeze, there is a delightful outdoor space at the back, which they call the Reed Park.
It has a private bar (for lovers or not) that serves a full bar and a selection of beers and their signature frozen drinks. There’s also a full-time kitchen in the intimate bar area to cater to your hunger and cravings.
Although, only a limited selection from the crab house menu is offered in this kitchen.
Would you like to reserve a seat at the private bar? Definitely not! The private bar operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. No waiting and everyone is WELCOME, lovers or not (yes, I said that again!)
The menu at Brooklyn Crab is resplendent with meaty goodness.
If you’re not so fond of the idea of eating buckets of crabs (bibs, crackling sounds, and all), there are other options to try, including all kinds of seafood sandwiches, lobster rolls, lobster cakes, crab rolls, crab cakes, and mix shrimps and oyster dishes.
Side note: the Sewansecott oysters, which hail from Virginia, are a bit puny, no offense.
Also, note the spicy boil. It can be a bit overwhelming (or is it just me?).
And since the crabs come out cooked whole, you’ll have to open them up yourself to get to the meat inside (just like everyone else).
If you are a newcomer, these are a lot, and I mean a lot of work. But there are instructions on the back of the menu, luckily.
Also, for the boil, the peppery and salty flavor is only on the shell, so you’ll probably have to lick it off your fingers to enjoy it with the meat. Is that a downer? Not quite, in my opinion.
The Brooklyn Crab Royale for two is a popular choice at this Brooklyn crab joint. It has all the crabs in the house (Maryland Blue crab, Dungeness crab, Alaskan king crab, Snow crab, etc.) and a giant lobster. It is the perfect choice for groupings.
Don’t be fooled; the steam pot is just a little bit of everything offered here. But it’s hot, and it comes with steamed corn and potatoes.
Offer food options include salads, clam chowder, deviled eggs, assorted fishbowls, smash burgers, mac and cheese, and various dessert options. There is also the good ‘ole guacamole!
Events and gatherings
The Brooklyn Crab space is quite ample and with lots of character that the management occasionally rents out the outdoor space for parties and other private events.
The crab shack itself hosts several parties and festivals like the Oyster fest held every May and the annual Octoberfest.
Hours and Location
24 Reed Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
- Monday to Thursday – 12:00 pm – 10:00pm
- Friday – 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
- Saturday – 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
- Sunday – 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
How to get to Brooklyn Crab
Although accessible by bus or subway, Brooklyn Crab is deep in Red Hook. If you are a visitor to the borough, you may find the commute quite exhausting.
Nonetheless, transportation options include the F and G subways to Smith-9th Street, South Brooklyn, the B61 bus, or the IKEA NY water taxi, which is free on weekends (hooray!).
The B61 bus to Downtown Brooklyn boards at Beard Street, and the transfer is free if you still have the MetroCard that you used to get on the train.
As for the water taxi, it departs from Pier 16 on the East River and travels to IKEA Brooklyn via Governors Island. The journey takes about 20 minutes and will cost you $5 per person on a non-weekend.
For out-of-towners, the water taxi is an excellent idea as you can enjoy the sights of the Red Hook waterfront and Lower Manhattan while onboard.
Get the NY water taxi routes and schedules here: https://www.ferry.nyc/routes-and-schedules/route/south-brooklyn/
Ferry tickets can be bought via app or directly at the venue counter. The app is more convenient if you want to avoid long lines.
It’s only a half-mile from the Ikea store to the Brooklyn Crab. Just turn left twice onto Hometown BBQ and then right. The Brooklyn crab will be right in front of you.
If you have a car, don’t worry, Red Hook is one of the few neighborhoods in New York that still has decent street parking. You can also take a taxi.
- Do I need a reservation for the Brooklyn Crab?
The Brooklyn Crab operates on a first-come, first-served basis. But with the crazy weekends and summers here, booking a table in advance is advisable.
- Does Brooklyn Crab admit dogs?
Yes, Brooklyn Crab is an amiable place for your four-legged friends. You just need to make sure the dogs (s) are fed in moderation.
- Is the Brooklyn Crab suitable for children?
On a good day, there are just as many small children as four-legged friends running around here. They have a really nice big space in the back with picnic-style seating and play areas for the kids.
Brooklyn Crab also has a kid-friendly menu you can sample, i.e., fish and chips.
- Does Brooklyn Crab have Sunday Brunch?
Yes, the place is usually open on Sundays from 12 pm to 10 pm. And there is Sunday brunch.
- Are there Gluten Free options on the Brooklyn Crab menu?
Yes, while the crabbing spot doesn’t have a dedicated gluten-free menu, most items (except for breaded foods) can be made gluten-free. But be careful; Brooklyn Crab may not be safe for people with celiac disease.
I know that there is also a limited selection of vegetarian options if that helps.
- Is there a dress code?
Not at all; the Brooklyn Crab is more of a chill spot than a “see and be seen sexy” summertime spot. So I would say go with your most comfortable fit. But if you want to dress up, feel free to do so.
- What are forms of payment accepted at Brooklyn Crab?
Mostly it’s cash and credit card.