Brooklyn’s Black Gold is a dark horse on BoCoCa’s sunny, stroller-packed main strip. This café in New York is a coffee shop cum cornucopia of carefully curated curios, perfectly out of place in the leafy, gentrified neighbourhood where Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens collide. Fans of Stumptown coffee, vinyl-philes who can’t stay at the Ace Hotel New York without using the in-room record players and design devotees who go ga-ga for the eccentric decor of Cotswold88, will love this place.
A spin around the snug space reveals birds on branches under Victorian bell jars, mixed-media art fashioned from human hair, and delicate lithographs. Oh, and an amazing selection of vinyl and superior coffee.
Owners Sommer Santoro and Jeff Ogiba (the record buyer) have worked behind the counter, making cappuccinos and chatting with customers, ever since this quirky antique-peddling pitstop opened in spring 2010. When Sommer’s husband Daniel is not working as a tattoo artist, he sources taxidermy as a side gig.
You can feel the glassy eyes of the preserved animals staring at you as you flip through the mint-condition record collection: a treasure trove of rock, indie, R&B, hip-hop, dark-wave and punk. Many of the records are secondhand, but you won’t find any scratches; all wax must be pristine to be purchased.
As for that cup of Joe – it is rich and aromatic (and definitely a contender for the title of best coffee in Brooklyn). Black Gold’s house coffee blend, created by Sommer and Jeff, has a chocolatey, brown sugar flavour with a hint of spice. And their salted-caramel hot chocolate is as exotic-tasting as some of the sights in the shop. The eerie ambiance – helped along by creaky hardwood floors, rich velvety curtains and tchotchke-lined shelves – sets a moody tone that makes you want to don a monocle and take up smoking from a lacquered pipe.
Staying in Manhattan? We say hop on the subway and take the F Train to Carroll Gardens. Then have a browse, belly up to the bar, and sip a rich salty-sweet cocoa, served with a cinnamon and peppercorn marshmallow. Worth its weight in gold…
Black Gold Records, 461 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
(+1 347 227 8227)