Where to eat, drink and rock out in NYC right now
L Magazine may call New York home, but to plan a trip for our out-of-town readers, we turned to two industry pros for help. Heather Braun, a Brooklyn-based music writer, tapped into her rock-and-roll side to identify three must-hit music spots, and nightlife writer Carson Griffith gave us a few food and drink recommendations (whose merits we took it upon ourselves to verify). In summary, a rock-heavy, high-calorie weekend awaits—now all that’s missing is you.
Root & Bone’s brunch-appropriate Blackberry Saddle cocktail is crafted with Chartreuse, Deaths Door gin, horseradish, lime and thyme
What: Brunch at Root & Bone
Where: 200 E. Third St., Alphabet City
Why: Start your day at the brand-new establishment of chefs Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis, formerly of cult Miami eatery Yardbird. The duo’s unexpected twists on Southern American classics are making waves among foodies and critics alike and will fill you up for the busy day ahead.
Autumn-appropriate dishes like short rib meatloaf and “Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits”—the recipe for which is a McInnis family heirloom—are musts, but the star splurge here is fried chicken and green tomato stuffed in a cheddar cheese waffle. “Brine is usually made up of salt, sugar and water, but instead of water, we use sweet tea, and the chicken is fried 24 hours and pressure-cooked,” Booth says. “The end result is a really juicy, sweet, briny bird.”
Root & Bone’s bar boasts a wide selection of bourbons and whiskeys, some of which have been barrel-aged by the restaurant (which explains the row of barrels lined up behind the bar), as well as tart twists on cocktail classics that are perfect for soaking up the food.
In New York, of course, a restaurant’s staying power relies nearly as much on its ambience as on its menu, and Root & Bone has a light, romantic vibe. “I wanted to take this feel from the garden next door with fairy lights and attach it to the restaurant space,” Booth explains. “You’ll see a lot of light wood, old doors. We took big chunks of the floorboards and made a light fixture out of them. That’s a main feature in the dining room.” The farmhouse feel is completed by flower accents, antique china and tap handles that are made of teeth, tusks and—yes—bones.
Learn More: rootnbone.com
What: A Stop at Other Music
Where: 15 E. Fourth St., Greenwich Village
Why: Work off your brunch with a stroll west to this Greenwich Village institution. Over the past decade, roughly 80 vinyl-centric spots have relinquished their keys but not because of lack of demand. When Other Music opened in 1994, it fast became a favorite outlet for indie bands and local acts to release their new albums, and strong customer loyalty soon followed.
As you browse the racks for the latest Interpol or Sia LP, keep your fellow patrons in mind. “At Other Music,” says longtime patron Patty Metten, “you know you are surrounded by like-minded fans. As I browse the latest musical imports bins, I’m always open to music suggestions from other shoppers as well as from the staff.”
New music and new friends—Other Music has it all.
Learn More: othermusic.com
What: Strumming at Matt Umanov Guitars
Where: 273 Bleecker St., West Village
Why: Now that you’ve been inspired by all that indie vinyl, it’s time to make your own music. Head to Bleecker Street, where the oldest guitar shop in the city offers pristine 1968 Gibson Doves and Hummingbirds and counts Jimmy Page, Jeff Tweedy and Jack White among its regular customers.
If performance anxiety’s got the best of you, the knowledgeable staff can lecture for hours on the subtleties in look and sound that make each guitar unique—or they’ll leave you alone to browse the shelves to “gradually build the confidence necessary to procure a quality instrument,” says General Manager Danny Reisbick.
The no-pressure vibe seems to work: Many who buy their first guitar at Umanov come back for more. “This place is a home away from home for so many touring musicians,” Reisbick adds. “A lot of them stop by every time they come to town to check out our latest in vintage arrivals.” Who knows, you just might walk out with a signed guitar.
Learn More: umanovguitars.com
What: Dinner at Claudette
Where: 24 Fifth Ave., Greenwich Village
Why: French needn’t always mean formal—just ask restaurateur Carlos Suarez and partner Mark Barak, who opened Claudette on the so-called Gold Coast of Greenwich Village in May 2014. The Mediterranean restaurant exudes a laid-back aura that gainsays the stuffy stereotype of traditional French eateries.
Claudette’s delicate pink Aznavour cocktail fits in beautifully among the bar’s Moroccan tile and whitewashed wooden accents
“I spent a little bit of time in Provence years ago and really enjoyed it, thought about bringing that food to New York and was surprised there weren’t more restaurants in New York that celebrated the Southern version of French food,” explains Suarez, who also counts Bobo and Rosemary’s in his restaurant portfolio.
As with any New York spot worth visiting, reservations are hard to come by. But Claudette’s 14-seat bar allows for walk-ins to partake of Mediterranean- and African-inspired dishes like ratatouille tarte and chicken tagine, crafted by James Beard Award–winning chef Koren Grieveson. Plus, an extensive wine list keeps the crowd buzzing and rowdy.
The design, meanwhile, is transporting, featuring 100-year-old reclaimed barn-wood siding, hand-painted multicolored tiles and a custom wall design created in Mexico. “Specifically,” says Suarez, “we wanted to invoke residential settings in Provence.”
Learn More: claudettenyc.com
What: A Show at the Bowery Ballroom
Where: 6 Delancey St., Lower East Side
Why: In addition to musical acts like Mineral, OK Go and the Drums (all scheduled to perform there in September 2014), fans come to the Bowery Ballroom for the excellent acoustics, direct sight lines and three full bars scattered throughout the building. A champion of indie bands since its founding in 1997, this venue has a knack for discovering new sensations—once a triumphant performance is achieved here, many bands are catapulted into commercial success.
Grab a post-dinner, pre-show drink at the concert hall’s subterranean lounge before heading upstairs for the first act. Shows typically start at 9:00 p.m., and the mezzanine area offers a relaxed alternative to the main standing-room-only floor. But don’t think you’ll get away with passive attendance. “When the music sounds right, everyone feels it,” says Peter Young, a New York–based lighting engineer. “No matter what kind of music you love, you are witness to something special. It can be a very spiritual experience.”
Learn More: boweryballroom.com
What: A Nightcap at the Garret
Where: 296 Bleecker St., West Village
Why: Recap the show at the Bowery Ballroom at the Garret, a gem that opened in March 2014 and is hidden above a Five Guys outpost in the heart of the West Village. Formerly a dive bar called the Bleecker Heights Tavern, the Garret is an upscale cocktail den that partners with local artists—fitting since the word garret can be defined as “a top floor or attic room, traditionally inhabited by an artist.”
One of the artists featured in the space is Bradley Theodore, who has become well known for his street mural of a skeleton-version of Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour on Kenmare Street. Theodore’s depiction of Kate Moss can be seen above the fireplace at the Garret, and Grace Coddington is the subject of a piece in the main area. But those who aren’t art aficionados should still make their way to this second-floor hideout, which is decorated to look like a mysterious friend’s home, with taxidermy, chandeliers and dried flowers in every corner.
As for that nightcap? Try the Beatles at Shea, one of the six specialty cocktails named in honor of the British band’s rumored appearance on the property back in 1965, after their famous concert at New York’s now-defunct Shea Stadium. “It features a peach-infused Bourbon, so it’s like the English peach, with an American bourbon,” explains partner Adam Fulton. (Bonus: If you get the late-night munchies, feel free to bring your Five Guys order upstairs—the Garret approves. Just be prepared to share.)
Learn More: garretnyc.com
With their calm palette and crisp white linens, guest rooms at the Ludlow Hotel provide a respite from the neighborhood’s color and chaos
What: Crash at the Ludlow Hotel
Where: 180 Ludlow St., Lower East Side
Why: After a day of music, food and booze, head to the Ludlow for a luxurious finish. Maison Martin Margiela trompe l’oeil bath mats and bathrobes, Bellino Fine Linens, Red Flower bath products and a huge flat-screen TV in each room are indulgences peppered in among items that look like they were recovered from a vintage fair.
A suite’s sitting area is ready for guests (and guests of guests) with its plush velvet chairs and stocked bar
“The design intent is to pay homage to NYC’s Lower East Side during the time when one could still rent large lofts,” says hotelier Sean MacPherson, who is also behind the Bowery Hotel, the Marlton Hotel and the Waverly Inn. He, Richard Born and Ira Drukier (the Greenwich Hotel, the Mercer Hotel) are the masterminds behind the property, which quietly opened in June 2014.
A distressed limestone fireplace and marble mosaic floors decorate the lobby. Beyond the space are a large lounge with a bar, which extends into an outdoor garden and is open late for cocktails; 184 rooms, many with their own private terrace; and 20 suites. Each window offers sweeping views of the constantly redeveloping Lower East Side.
And just in time for New York Fashion Week in September, the Ludlow has rolled out its highly anticipated restaurant, Dirty French, headed by Major Food Group’s Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick (Carbone, ZZ’s Clam Bar, Parm). Open from breakfast until late at night, Dirty French serves up—you guessed it—Gallic classics with a gritty New York twist, such as lamb carpaccio and roasted chicken with crepes.
Those looking for something a little more casual will be pleased to learn that the Ludlow is within wafting distance of one of New York’s great traditions: Katz’s Delicatessen.
Learn More: ludlowhotel.com
- Top photograph by C. Taylor Crothers; courtesy of Getty Images
- All other photographs by Weston Wells for RL Magazine