WHERE: 150 Nevins Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Upon stepping inside The Brooklyn Circus, it’s evident that the store’s moniker is somewhat inappropriate. Tucked away on a quiet, leafy corner of Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill neighborhood, the menswear boutique is a far cry from the bedlam and cacophony of the big top. There are no lions or clowns or bearded ladies to be found—instead, you’re greeted only by classic jazz, a group of nattily dandified young men, and racks upon racks of impeccably tailored duds.
When it opened in 2006, The Brooklyn Circus was mostly targeted at the streetwear set, stocking a plethora of rare sneakers and brands only regular readers of Hypebeast would be able to identify. But by 2008, the shop and its team—led by owner and creative director Ouigi “The Bearded Man” Theodore—shifted focus, acquiring a new, more mature aesthetic that falls somewhere between their streetwear roots and a 1930s haberdashery. “It’s modern Americana mixed with a little Renaissance and a vintage twist,” says store manager Troy Brooks of the store’s idiosyncratic style.
Nowadays, the shop carries an eclectic mix of vintage clothing, watches, and jewelry, beautiful shoes from designers like Mark McNairy, Grenson, and Wolverine, and its much-heralded in-house label. Designed by The Bearded Man himself, the eponymous line runs the gamut from classic varsity jackets and bowties to oxford shirts remixed with boldly patterned sleeves and hefty leather belts outfitted in electric hues. Many of the fabrics are sourced from Japan, and the entire line is made in America.
With its rustic, well-considered interiors, the shop is a lot like Ron Burgundy’s apartment: it has many leather bound books and smells of rich mahogany. Neckties are slung over velvet-covered couches, bags sit propped up on antique chests, while clothes hang perfectly in hand-carved wooden cabinetry.
Because of its midcentury clubhouse vibe, a visit to The Brooklyn Circus feels more like stopping by your favorite bar than it does like shopping. The dapper gentlemen behind the counter are just as eager to strike up a good conversation as they are to offer you sartorial advice. “We’re not afraid to get down on one knee and get dirty to make sure our customers to get the full Brooklyn Circus experience,” Brooks says.
At the heart of its ethos is “The 100 Year Plan.” According to Brooks, rather than being “one of those companies that blow up fast and then burn out,” the aim is to build a reputation for quality and service slowly over time. With an artfully designed, well-curated shop, fantastic in-house label, and a pleasant, family-like atmosphere, they’re ahead of schedule.