Kim Pham shares her guide to Bushwick, Brooklyn

Where to eat and drink

Pham wants you to know that Tong pulls no punches with their spices. “It’s a heat you sweat for,” she said of the dishes served there. But you can also enjoy [it] in a multitude of other ways.”

Tong is a trendy Thai restaurant on Starr Street that offers a number of Thai small plates, and Pham is a regular here. She’s probably already tried every dish on the menu and she says they’re all firecrackers. If you’re looking for a sexy aphrodisiac, you can’t miss their oysters. “[Tong is] this really nice kind of perfect date night,” she said. “The decor reflects the genre as a sexier, livelier place.

No date? Carefree. Pham knows the perfect place to enjoy your own company. Ichiran’s Bushwick location is the Japanese restaurant chain’s first American outpost, and it’s Pham’s favorite ramen restaurant in town.

Solo diners can enjoy a hot bowl of tonkatsu ramen in one of Ichiran’s individual booths. You sit at your own cubbyhole table, and when the bamboo curtain in front of you opens, the waiter is ready to hand you your meal. “It’s just a great place to reflect while enjoying a delicious bowl of ramen,” Pham said.

by Carmelo
Self-proclaimed pool-goer Pham loves this bar every day of the week. Carmelo’s is the no-frills bar where you’ll find Pham drinking “maybe a little too much” with his friends on the weekends, as long as you’re not there for candlelight cocktails. It vaguely resembles a church both inside and out, but it’s far from a religious landmark.

“You can have fun on a Tuesday. You can have fun on a Thursday. The vibe will be the same,” she said. “It’s just a good bar.” According to Pham, everyone is super friendly, and it’s a great place if you want to make friends or just hang out with your team. “You’re not trying to flex there,” she pointed out. “It’s just very welcoming and it’s not pretentious.”

mood ring
If you love the indie vibe of Brooklyn, you’ve definitely heard of Mood Ring. And if not, Pham is here to praise it. She is obsessed with this place.

“I can’t tell you how many nights I ended up dancing until the wee hours of the morning,” she said. “I usually have a nice drink and just go dancing.”

Mood Ring is an astrology-themed bar and lounge. For Pham, who is a big believer, this is the place to be. Mood Ring is very inclusive and welcomes everyone, even those who don’t attribute meaning to their zodiac sign. “It’s a really great place that’s incredibly welcoming of subcultures [and] it’s super queer friendly,” Pham said. “I also love that it’s Chinese American-owned.”

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