Last week, we premiered a brand new track from our friend and part-time professor Ant LaRock. It was taken from his just-released album BK, a love letter and tribute to the city of Brooklyn. NYC has always been a staple for house music, playing host to the world's greatest DJs for decades. When things shut down, NY was hit hard. But Ant didn't let that stop him from pushing on. In fact, he used that as an inspiration and a way to reflect his feelings for his city in musical form. So we had him explore the borough for a new City Guide.
Seeing as the album is literally called BK, we thought it was only appropriate to ask for a tour around his home via the latest installment of our City Guide series, and below, he gives us the inside scoop on the city's hot spots.
Words by Ant LaRock
We all like a good pre-night out spot, so where are the top spots to head to before a night out?
Brooklyn has so many gems. I often go to Brooklyn Heights and pick a random spot to eat and have never been disappointed. However, my favorite pre-game spot would have to be Black Flamingo in Williamsburg. I really enjoy the plant-based food in BK and this spot has an amazing selection of dishes. Black Flamingo tends to get lively early evening then all you have to do is head downstairs to their club for a show. The spot is partially owned by Eli Goldstein of Soul Clap so the DJ selection on any given night is on point.
Where can you find the best clubs / late-night venues in town?
After the 2018 closing of the infamous Output club in Williamsburg, all the action shifted to Bushwick. Now with House of Yes, Elsewhere, and on the border in East Williamsburg, Avant Gardner/Brooklyn Mirage, you can’t wander far without stumbling across some amazing DJs. Pre-pandemic, I had some really special nights spinning at House of Yes and Elsewhere…I’m so ready to get back to that!
Best dirty late-night street food option?
Street meat, wouldn’t we all like to think we are better than that?! It’s easy to get caught up in the Brooklyn Hustle here and suddenly realize its 10 pm, and you’ve been surviving on black coffee for the last 15 hours. Thankfully I was introduced to this tasty taco truck on the corner of North 7 street and Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg. Everyone simply calls it the “Taco Truck” because there is legit no other markings on it. Mysterious, maybe. Delicious, definitely. I think this is the perfect example of why I love Brooklyn so much; whatever neighborhood you are in, there are always these little gems that need to be explored and witnessed first-hand. Ya, a friend could suggest a super hipster vibe coffee shop but it’s that random one that you stop at on the way to work where you get to know the locals and they have all local suppliers, that become your favorite.
Where can we shop for records and music memorabilia in Brooklyn?
I’ve always loved exploring through Rough Trade. It’s more than a record shop really. I love playing a game of ping pong or catching a live show randomly on the weekends. Kind of an all in one stop for a Saturday. Not only do they have a decent selection of House and Techno but all the indie rock stuff that reminds me of the music I used to vibe on.
Your Sunday escape plan when you need to get away from it all?
Prospect Park in Park Slope has been a great way for me to detach from music (and life) on Sundays. It’s in the opposite direction from the clubs and my studio so as soon as I leave the house, I feel like I am doing something different and refreshing. Even if I just go for a quick walk, it feels like a must needed reset. Prospect Park, then some Indian food on a Sunday….winner.
Something everyone should do when visiting Brooklyn, but probably hasn’t?
The Lot Radio is a very Brooklyn experience. If you asked me to go have a drink at a shipping container in a parking lot, in any other city in the world, I’d tell you to kick rocks. Here, it just fits. Amazing local acts or headlining DJs, honestly no one cares because status doesn’t really matter in this chill setting. The music is low and eclectic, the beer is in cans and it’s all a vibe.
A track that reminds you of the city?
Every time I drove into the city before I lived here, whether it was as a child in the late 90’s or as an adult, I would always have Danny Tenaglia’s “Elements” playing in my head. It's just classic NYC to me. Dark, moody, intense - 20 years ago or last week, it’s truly the perfect track to describe the House/Techno scene here.
What are other great exports that come from Brooklyn?
How do even begin this list? On the House/Techno DJ side of things, it’s an All-Star list. Larry Levan, Kenny Dope, Todd Terry, David Morales, Victor Calderone, Danny Tenaglia, Tony Humphries…the list goes on and on. Half of the legendary House/Techno DJs and producers on the planet are from NYC and half of those are from Brooklyn. I grew up in Connecticut and these artists were the initial reason I was always so attracted to live in Brooklyn.
A gift for friends across the world that you can’t leave Brooklyn without?
In the last two years, I have been obsessed with the brand OnlyNY. Granted they started in Manhattan, but last summer they had a pop-up in BK, then ultimately a store in Greenpoint. Think of it as the classy streetwear version of the “I❤NYC” shirts we all know. Anything from their collections makes an amazing gift for my out of town friends.
Grab your copy of Ant LaRock's new album BK on Brobot Records here.