The InsideHook Guide to Northside Festival


By The Editors
May 14, 2015 9:00 am
The InsideHook Guide to Northside Festival

Northside Festival kicks off June 8th in Williamsburg, and boy, oh boy, is it a doozy.

450+ bands. More than 150 speakers. Films screenings everywhere from Nitehawk Cinema to the Wythe Hotel.

Little overwhelming.

Thus we present this practical guide, cluing you in to not only the festival’s can’t-miss attractions, but also the key spots to grab a bite or beverage while you’re in the area.

And if you’re looking for tickets, they can be found right here. If you’re interested in winning a pair, we’ve got you covered on that too.

So read on. Sally forth. Enjoy.

Northside’s official film lineup hasn’t been announced just yet, but venues like Nitehawk Cinema and the Wythe Hotel are reason enough to be excited. Below, an early line on three of the indie faves you should be sure to keep an eye (or both, preferably) on:

Eden – An affecting trip into the ’90s Parisian electronic dance movement through the eyes of the DJ credited with inventing French house music, and whose friends Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter went on to become Daft Punk. Sex, drugs and — naturally — a killer soundtrack.

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Devil Town – Hailed as the “indie equivalent of a Woody Allen movie,” Devil Town focuses on a young woman’s quest through Brooklyn to find her missing sister, on which she enlists the help of a “motley crew of New York weirdos.” Stupendous ensemble cast including delightfully acerbic Girls star Alex Karpovsky.

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Aspie Seeks Love – Heartwarming doc about artist David Matthews, who has spent the past 20 years posting quirky personal ad-fliers to telephone poles in an attempt to find love. The twist: Matthews finds out at age 41 that has has Asperger’s, the diagnosis of which changes his entire life.

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Williamsburg’s quickly becoming a regular NYC restaurant Mecca — no matter the mealtime, no matter the type of grub you’re in the mood for, you’re pretty much covered. Below, our favorites for each use case:


Cherry Izakaya – The Williamsburg outpost of the Dream Hotel’s Asian fusion haunt just launched their brunch menu, and it is a banger. The tuna crispy rice Benedict with yuzu hollandaise and “breakfast ramen” bowl with poached eggs and braised pork belly should not be missed. Bonus: bottomless booze for just twenty bucks.

Sweet Chick – Do you like fried chicken? Do you like waffles? If you answered yes to either of these questions (both, if you’re smart), this is your spot. Damn good shrimp and grits to boot.

Manila Social – A recent arrival to the ‘hood plating up an artful blend of Filipino and New American cuisine. And while evening specialties like “bulalo” (see: bone marrow) topped with grilled pork belly are most certainly top-notch, brunch’s mango soufflé pancake ala mode is the one to write home about. 


Cafe Mogador – Step one: request a table on the glass-encased patio. Step two: order the chicken tagine. Step three: bask in some of the best people-watching Williamsburg has to offer.

Rosarito Fish Shack – Damn good lobster tacos, a raw bar chock-full of bivalve goodness, and a happy hour with two-for-one margaritas that runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Get into it.

Juliette – French charmer with an excellent rooftop patio and an ever more excellent grass-fed burger to enjoy on it. The 15-deep cocktail list’s just the icing on the gâteau.


BrisketTown – Pitmaster Daniel Delaney is, for lack of a better term, obsessed with Texas-style BBQ. And it shows. His slow-smoked brisket is the dish that launched a thousand napkins, but don’t sleep on those pork ribs with an eight-spice rub and touch of molasses.

Delaware and Hudson – a Michelin star and a spot on Pete Well’s Best Restaurants of 2014 should be all the endorsement you need, but the fact that their daily-rotating three-course tasting menus (think braised veal cheeks and lamb meatballs with mint and peas) only run you $48 sure doesn’t hurt either.

St. Anselm – One of the best steaks in Brooklyn, and at 16 bucks certainly the most wallet-friendly. Pair it with some pan-fried truffle mashed potatoes and a big glass of red and you’re good to go.

A festival is not a festival if drinks have not been consumed. Luckily for Northside-goers, a rock thrown in Williamsburg hits a quality watering hole more often than not. Below, our picks based on your poison of preference:


Radegast – Brooklyn’s got no shortage of beer halls, but this old German standby’s our favorite. Plethora of suds on tap, live tunes and a grill in the cavernous main hall dishing out sausages galore.

Kent Ale House – Rare beer, and lots of it. Kent Ale House’s chalkboard menu changes regularly and often features high-test brews like Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, clocking in at a hefty 13.8% ABV. Plus they’ve got ping pong in the back.


Hotel Delmano – One of Williamsburg’s original cocktail haunts, and still going strong. Best practice: tell the chap (or lady) behind the pine what type of spirit you like and then let ’em do their thing.

Maison Premiere – Absinthe, oysters and a wonderfully leafy garden patio upon which to enjoy them. Try to pop in for happy hour, when bivalves go for a buck.


The Camlin – The duo behind Hell’s Kitchen hotspot Ardesia bring their wine-and-charcuterie gig across the East River, where you’ll find date-friendly small plates for sharing and a wine list that won’t break the bank (priciest glass: $18).  

Brooklyn Winery  Conveniently just a skip from the Bedford L stop and boasting a homey tasting room where you can enjoy flights of BW’s wares. Warning: the tasting room is often closed for private events, so be sure to check their schedule before heading over.


Turkey’s Nest Tavern – Yes, it’s dirty. Yes, it’s filled with crusty old lifers harping about one New York sports team or another. Yes, it’s occasionally been deemed a “public health hazard.” But your correspondent considers these selling points, along with the fact that the barmen conveniently fail to notice when you take your massive styrofoam-cupped margarita “to go” out into McCarren Park. You didn’t hear it from us.

With 400+ bands playing at this year’s festival, a fella could be forgiven for being a little overwhelmed by Northside’s lineup. Below, the five acts you should carve some time out of your summer schedule for — individual show tickets are available, but if you’re planning on catching a few, you might want to grab a badge:

Run the Jewels – Bemoaning the hip-hop state of Yeezus? Try this killer combo of NYC producer El-P and Atlanta rapper Killer Mike, who deliver aggressive polemics like a modern-day Rage Against the Machine (which is why Zach de la Rocha came out from hiding to guest on their latest LP).

Sunday, June 14th 
50 Kent Ave. 
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Rhye – It’s hard to imagine that Rhye’s silky vocalist — Milosh — is a dude. But he, alongside his musical partner Robin Hannibal, have crafted an R&B debut masterpiece with an agenda, appropriately titled Woman. A little Sade, a little The xx. Smooth as all hell.

Friday, June 12th 
50 Kent Ave. 
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Against Me! – From self-aware folk-punks to wary arena rockers (opening for the likes of Silversun Pickups and Foo Fighters) to their current, best state: as gender-bending rockers who deliver scorching singalong anthems that unite more than divide. You will clap along and start class warfare.

Saturday, June 13th 
McCarren Park 
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Best Coast – Singer Bethany Cosentino spends most of her new album exploring the dark side of Los Angeles, but filling her dourness with hooky pop and huge guitars straight out of the alt-rock ’90s playbook.

Saturday, June 13th 
50 Kent Ave. 
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Ryan Hemsworth – Is it hip hop? Electro? House? These are questions you will ask yourself — in vain — while listening to Hemsworth, who has remixed everyone from Cat Power to Frank Ocean. Heed not concerns over genre but your feet, which will move instinctively and with great vigor for the duration of his bass-heavy set.

Friday, June 12th 
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Northside’s innovation slate features more than 150 dynamic thinkers and doers from every field imagineable dropping knowledge at venues like Kinfolk Studios and Brooklyn Brewery. Below, the five speakers you should be sure to catch.

Andy Dunn: Founder, Bonobos – In 2007, Andy Dunn started casual menswear line Bonobos with $100,000 he borrowed from his Stanford Business School professor. Today, the company’s revenues are estimated to be over $40 million. 

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Casey Neistat: Filmmaker – If you’re not familiar with Neistat’s work, get into it — the guerilla filmmaker’s gonzo DIY style and YouTube channel full of wacky adventures have earned him gigs stumping for the likes of Nike, J.Crew and Mercedes Benz.

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Bradford Shellhammer: Founder Bezar/ – Fast Company named Shellhammer one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business,” and that creativity has served him well — earned $120M in its first year, and his new online design marketplace Bezar is earning raves.

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Bill Macaitas: CMO, Slack – Your pals here at InsideHook use Slack, and it’s transformed the way we operate. And we’re not alone — last month the New York Times jumped on board as well. 

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Lesley Eccles: Founder, FanDuel – Some call it “Daily Fantasy Sports.” Some call it “a gambling loophole.” Either way, Eccles’s FanDuel is the largest player in the space, having recently inked a strategic partnership agreement with the NBA.

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Whether due to an especially late DJ set, an extra beverage or two at the Hotel Delmano or just a desire to use Northside as an excuse for a good ol’ fashioned staycation, there’s a chance you may wish to spend the night in Williamsburg. If so, you could most certainly do worse than the three auberges below.

Wythe Hotel – Housed in a refurbished factory building on the Williamsburg waterfront, Andrew Tarlow’s industrial-meets-posh haven remains the neighborhood’s gold standard. Clean simple digs (boasting mod-cons like heated concrete floors), an excellent restaurant downstairs and a rooftop bar featuring arguably the best NYC skyline view in the entire city.

McCarren Hotel – The cats behind uberpopular Montauk haunt Ruschmeyer’s and the recently revamped Martha Washington in Manhattan have taken over this 64-room joint overlooking McCarren Park with tremendous results – the rooms are a solid marriage of cozy and stylish, the rooftop lounge boasts great drinks and a rotating cast of DJs, and the massive saltwater pool is one of the largest in the city (and opens, incidentally, tomorrow).

Urban Cowboy B&B – No matter how many times your correspondent recommends this slice of Adirondack charm tucked inside an unassuming Williamsburg townhouse, it will never be enough. Opt for the private cabin out back, grab some fixins to cook breakfast in the open kitchen, and don’t be shy around the house — owner Lyon Porter and resident house mom Jersey Banks are two of the friendliest locals you’ll ever come across.