If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed the few (hundred) photos of New York recently.
Charlie and I spent just over a week in the big apple, and, to coincide with all of the usual tourist attractions, we made a seriously long list of places we wanted to eat in and drink at along the way. After all, isn’t that what being on holiday is all about? Unfortunately we didn’t manage to hit every spot, however, there were a few stand out places that I wanted to share with those of you who might be planning a trip to NYC soon:
If you’re visiting New York, you have to eat a slice of pizza – it’s basically the law. Artichoke is a straight up independent pizzeria that deals in excellent slices for less than $5.
The Standard Grill
This beautiful bistro situated inside a boutique hotel is the perfect place for dinner – especially if you’ve worked up an appetite walking The High Line, which runs underneath the belly of The Standard. Popular with the Meatpacking District/Chelsea crowd, you’ll be met with excellent service, strong cocktails, and the best duck bolognese ever.
Note added 2018: Charlie still talks about this duck ragu – that’s how good it was!
Famous for it’s huge sandwiches and Meg Ryan’s fake orgasms, Katz’s deli is THE place to go for a lunch you’ll never forget. You won’t be faking anything when you sink your teeth into one of their huge pastrami on rye sandwiches – you might want to split one between two of you or save half for dinner as they’re real doorstoppers.
Lanterns Keep is a wonderful (albeit tiny) cocktail bar, tucked away inside the Iroquois hotel. The secret salon is open when the lantern on the exterior of the building is lit and delivers everything a girl could want; excellent service, the best cocktails, and attractive staff. Let the barman suggest a drink for you, you won’t regret it.
Beauty & Essex
A slightly more expensive eatery that’s well worth the hype. I heard about Beauty & Essex through Dawn Porter on Twitter and after doing some research and drooling over hundreds of tweets of recommendation, we decided to give it a whirl. Situated on the Lower East Side, you’ll enter into this dark and stylish restaurant through a real pawnshop, be handed champagne in the Ladies, and feast on small plates of everything from lobster tacos and bone marrow, to bacon and tomato soup dumplings.
In the lead up to our trip, a couple of friends grabbed me by the shoulders and said “YOU HAVE TO GO TO BALTHAZAR”, so we did. It didn’t disappoint – the food is well cooked and the wine list is extensive – but if it’s a toss up between here and Beauty & Essex, I’d go with the first. If you can’t afford a trip to New York just yet, you can find Balthazar in London now too.
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
A glittering unicorn muriel painted on the wall, She-Ra defending the Universe on a shelf near by, and an ice cream called ‘the salty pimp’. Do you need any other excuse to visit Big Gay Ice Cream?
Death & Company
Impossible to find at first, this cocktail lounge turned out to be just a 3 minute walk from our apartment! Death & Co is a dark-as-hell exclusive bar with a standard no reservation policy. As you step inside, you’ll see why they don’t accept groups large than 7 (it’s small, narrow and almost pitch black) but if you can secure a seat at the bar, the cocktails will soon knock you off it.
McSorley’s Old Ale House
McSorley’s was the last ‘men only’ pubs (it only started admitting women in 1970) and is, according to local legend, the oldest watering hole in New York. E.E. Cummings apparently drank “the ale which never lets you grow old”, and there’s even a photo of Abraham Lincoln drinking at the bar. There’s also sawdust on the floor, newspaper cut outs, bottle caps and photos covering the walls, and you’ll only find 2 drinks on the menu; light or dark beer. This snug ale house doesn’t have a website, but you can read more about it here.