It’s funny because nearly two decades ago, this neighborhood was little more than an industrial park comprising factories, run-down warehouses, a large parking lot, and a steakhouse (which is still there).
Today, Williamsburg has evolved from an industrial epicenter into a bustling cosmopolitan filled with some of Brooklyn’s most eclectic bars, live music, restaurants, parks, iconic shopping centers, and other establishments.
Pete’s Candy Store, one of the oldest stores in the area, is a major contributor to the neighborhood’s popularity.
And no, Pete’s candy store is not a candy store; well, it was but not anymore. Now it is a performance space, bar, and club in one establishment. Think music, arts, fun, and being who you are! That’s what this place is about.
Established in the 1920s, Pete’s (as I’ve said) wasn’t always what it is now. It started as a general store (popularly known as Funzi’s) for local old-timers.
The bar and music venue only began operations in 1999 and has since metamorphosed into an iconic spot for entertainment in Brooklyn and the New York metro area.
Live music, comedy, poetry!
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One of Pete’s main attractions is the live performance stage which has hosted many musicians, actors, comedians, writers, and poets.
Popular acts to grace their stage include Norah Jones (she performed her most successful single Puss n Boots here), Joanna Newsom, Will Oldham, Bandits On The Run, Milton, Rufus, Ludon, The Walkmen, and Dirty Projectors.
Even Dua Lipa as she filmed her “don’t start now” music video at this infamous entertainment venue.
Punch Brothers shot their video for Movement and Location in here, too.
Not to mention the scenes from the 2011 film Our Idiot Brother.
The performance stage is in the back, uniquely separated from all other store facilities. This allows revelers to enjoy live acts and performances without distraction.
The décor at Pete’s is casual and classically turn-of-the-century (if that makes any sense). From the former train car attached at the back with tiny lights, a picturesque stage, and walls that look like giant candy bars to the bar area, the atmosphere is unpretentious and one of friendliness.
While the interior décor is not “wow” by any stretch of the imagination, patrons love the outdoor seating area, soft music, strung-up lights, a garden of Japanese maples and other vegetation, and bamboo.
It is the perfect spot to relax and get some fresh air away from the loud music and crowd.
Food and drinks
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Pete’s has a decent bar area out front with a fantastic barkeep. The bar is super chilled and relaxed. You can sit anywhere and walk up to the bar for a drink.
The drinks are fine and reasonably priced, but the beer and cider selection disappoints compared to other bars in the area.
However, their cocktails are a bomb. These are well-mixed with fresh ingredients at a price of just $13.
If you’d rather stay sober, sorry, but there are only two non-alcoholic items here: the Hibiscus Mule (a delicious mixture of hibiscus, soda water, ginger syrup, and lime) and the golden ale.
It would be nice if the owners had another bar in the back, though! It’s weird that when there’s an event, and you want to enjoy the music/performance, you have to walk out to the back to get to the main venue.
The good thing is that you can bring your drink from the bar to enhance the fun in the backroom.
Don’t forget to bring some change (at least $5) for the donation bucket, as most performances at Pete’s are ticketless and have no cover charges.
Also, EAT before coming! Except for grilled cheese sandwiches and chips, there aren’t any other food offerings at Pete’s Candy Store.
The sandwiches are incredibly delicious.
Pete’s Candy Store events
Aside from drinks and enjoying live music at Pete’s, you can get in touch with your inner artist here through the Open Mic every Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00. p.m.
Signups for the open mic usually begin at 4:00 p.m.12pm, so don’t be late if you want to perform.
If you can’t make it on Sunday, make it to the Eye Candy Open Mic on Thursdays at 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 3:30 p.m.
Every Wednesday, the store hosts fun and witty Quizzo trivia night where the winners walk away with bragging rights and cash prizes for their bar tabs.
Comedy aficionados enjoy a night of laughter every Tuesday featuring various stand-up comedians hosted by producer Joe Perrow and his crew. At the same time, fans of the literal works have a recurring reading event dubbed the Pete’s Reading Series.
Primarily designed and hosted by Vanessa Chan and Brian Gesko, the reading series features literacy icons and “up and coming” stars as well.
Other in-store events include Pete’s Big Salmon (poetry series), Play Date (writers come together to share their works), and Dead Pete’s Society (open mic poetry).
Pete’s also hosts special occasion events that are not to be missed throughout the year. There is always something going on at this atypical establishment!
So make sure to check their event schedule to see what quirky events are on the calendar for when you’re in town.
In addition to these events, Pete’s provides rent spaces for parties, social events, company BBQ, weddings, photoshoots, shows, and more. Visit their website or call them via 718-302-3770 for more information on booking and fees.
Hours, location, and how to get to Pete’s Candy Store
The Pete’s Candy Store is located at 709 Lorimer Street, just at the corner between Richardson and Lorimer Street.
It is easily accessible via the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and subway, bus, and taxi.
A taxi is the quickest way to get to the store. It takes about 8 mins from Union Square, NY, and costs between $20 and $30.
A direct train services the route seven days a week, from 14 Street, Union Square, NY, to Lorimer Street. The subway takes approximately 14 mins and costs $1 to $3. Pete’s candy store is 520 meters away from the Lorimer Street station and a block away from McCarren Park and The Shank.
Pete’s Candy Store address: 709 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 5 p.m.-2 a.m.
Where to park near Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn
Pete’s Candy Store does not have onsite parking, but you can get parking nearby at the following addresses:
- 695 Lorimer St., free parking (up to one day)
- 504 Union St., MTP parking at $14
- 7 Richardson St., MTP parking-Union operating LLC garage at $14
- 169 N.11th, Impark 101-Bedford Avenue garage parking at $11
- Brooklyn-Queens expressway, free parking up to 20hrs
- 568 Union avenue, Union operating LLC garage at $10 for 2 hours
- 415 Leonard St., free parking with a maximum allowed stay of up to 8hrs.
- 29 Withers St., MTP parking-Union operating LLC garage; charges start at $14 for 2hrs
- 404-464 Rodney St., city parking, payable at $10 for 2 hours
- 503-505 Union Ave, parking management-PPS Union LLC Garage at $10 for 2 hours
Does Pete’s Candy Store have Karaoke?
Yes, there is Karaoke in the backyard
Does Pete’s Candy Store accommodate singer/songwriters?
Yes, Pete’s is an ideal venue for singers and songwriters alike.
Are there costs attached to performances at Pete’s Candy Store?
No, Pete’s is generally a “pass the hat” kind of venue. Patrons don’t pay a penny to watch, and artists don’t pay to perform, except for live multitrack recordings, which cost $125 a set.
What is the age limit at Pete’s Candy Store?
The age limit for both customers and artists is 21 years and older. IDs will be checked at the entrance.
Does Pete’s Candy Store take reservations?
No. But the stage room at Pete’s isn’t the biggest, so come early if you want to get a seat.
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