During the Summers of my College years I landed an internship in New York City and decided then and there New York was for me. I also decided I wanted to conquer every neighborhood navigating the subway and streets with ease— thankfully I picked it up quickly.
The first neighborhood I devoured was the West Village; I still don’t know if there’s a difference in referring it as the Greenwich Village or West Village, but I loved it. While a bit of a labyrinth, the West Village feels slightly magical and like you’re in a very different part of the city. It’s cozy and quirky— truly a whole different world down there.
With tons of charm and windy streets, the history alone is enough to make you want to check it out. Think Beatniks, Bob Dylan, the heart of the LGBT movement, Patty Smith, and general Bohemian behavior. Even though a lot of it has been revamped, there is still a sense of the heritage that made it an artists escape.
I have put together another list of places I like to frequent while there and maybe you will too. So take a look, and let me know of anywhere else you guys like to hang!
Image courtesy of Diablo Royal
Need a good brunch spot that actually has good food? Go to Diablo Royal; the staff is quirky and friendly, the food (Mexican) is delish, and the Brunch special is pretty decent. It’s also centrally located to anything worth going to in the West Village.
TNYN Recommendation: Go with friends— you’ll have a blast. My Girlfriends and I had one of the most epic days there about 2 years ago…no comment, day is in the vault.
Image courtesy of Fiddlesticks
For me, Fiddlesticks is a quintessential slightly divey not-so-pretentious West Village spot. Unfortunately, a lot of the neighborhood has been gentrified and lost some of it’s charm; what was fun and a bit dangerous has turned into a Jamba Juice. Fiddlesticks isn’t pretending it’s something it’s not: it has a decent Happy Hour with slightly overpriced food. Just enjoy it’s simplicity.
Image courtesy of It’s My Bash
There’s an episode of “Sex and The City” (“Baby Talk Is Cheap,” Season 4— to be exact…) where Carrie and Miranda have a very awkward date with Steve and Aiden in a very cool Mexican restaurant dressed up like it’s Cinco De Mayo. As soon as I saw it all those years ago, I knew I had to go there. Lucky for me, trying to be like Carrie Bradshaw payed off as Tortilla Flats is one of the most fun spots in the city in addition to having great food.
If you need good Mexican and want to have a great time, go here. They have a great Happy Hour as well with Sangria you’ll keep ordering by the pitcher. And yes, it’s always decked out like Cinco.
TNYN Recommendation: The later you go, the better the music gets; ranges from 70’s Rock to 80’s Top 40. It never disappoints.
Image courtesy of Taïm
Something challenging about being a New Yorker (number 15 of about 10,928,575,032…) is finding a decently priced lunch if you dont brown bag it. It doesn’t matter the neighborhood, you’re either stuck with street meat or smelly deli food that ends up being $15. Enter Taïm; delicious and relatively healthy falafel with several reasonably priced locations.
TNYN Recommendation: You can beat the lunch rush if you go between 12-12:15.
Image Courtesy of NY Restaurants
The West Village has a decent amount of solid Mexican spots in addition to Tortilla Flats, including Agave. The vibe here is very different; it’s a bit more class than party but the food is just as good if not maybe a little bit better. Fun Fact: This Summer my friends, because I have the best friends in the world, threw me a surprise party for my Birthday in addition to taking me to dinner here. Lucky boy, I am.
My amazing Birthday Cake the amazing Julia of HauteAndSoul made for me (sorry for the blurriness). Yes the First Wives Club, Muriel of Muriel’s Wedding, and myself are on that cake.
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A whole shop dedicated to meatballs is somewhere I want to be. With several locations (including Brooklyn), The Meatball Shop is not only delicious, but it’s a fun experience. You can get meatballs, both meat and meatless, about any way you want and all the sides that go with it are fresh and seasonal. It’s just the best. Why are you still reading this? Go there…
TNYN Recommendation: If the Bitches Brew is in season, please get it.
Image courtesy of Cafe NYC
La Ripaille is the kind of hole in the wall you want to visit. It’s hard to find a spot in the West Village that is chic but low-key and they fill that void. Good wine. Good food. Nice bar. Classy and casual, check it out.
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If you want to people watch and have semi-decent semi-mediocre Mexican slightly on the go, check out Benny’s. They’ll give you an endless supply of chips and salsa and are located very close to Chelsea.
TNYN Recommendation: The Happy Hour there is deadly…make sure you have Advil before bed…
“Don’t talk to me until I’ve had Coffee…”
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The corner of W.4th and Bank is gorgeous. It feels like you’re on a movie set it’s that cozy and magical. On one of the four corners, is Cafe Minerva. Incredibly coffee and a nice staff, can’t go wrong.
*If you’re an aware New Yorker, you may remember this used to be where the amazing La Foccaccia was (R.I.P.) and where part of “Sex and The City” movie was filmed.
Image courtesy of The Daily Tea
Like Porto Rico Importing Co. I featured in my East Village spotlight, McNulty’s is a little escape from the concrete; you feel like you’re in a market in another country. They have any kind of coffee or tea you’d like, trust me.
TNYN Recommendation: Spend some time in here, it’s fun.
Image courtesy of Urban Spoon
Cafe Cluny is a Catch 22: it has great breakfast and coffee, but is always packed and is a little pretentious and pissy for my taste. Solution? Coffee to go, it’s worth it.
Image courtesy of UrbanSpoon
Need a jolt? Grab an Americano here; it’s small and unassuming and an easy in and out coffee spot.
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I like to stop at WhyNot Cafe on my way to lay out at the Christopher St. Pier. The staff is friendly and they make a mean iced coffee. It’s also on the cutest part of Christopher St..
TNYN Recommendation: It’s okay to go in the shortest bathing suit in the world, trust me.
“Ugh, today sucked. Let’s get a drink…”
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The White Horse Tavern is an institution. It’s also a great bar because the bartender is an old man who doesn’t care if you want a vodka soda or a vodka tonic: he’s probably going to just give you a beer. Old school and kind of bad ass, check it out.
TNYN Recommendation: Skip the food, it’s the definition of bad bar food.
Image courtesy of Vada Magazine
Need a random Tuesday night Drag show? Or a good Happy Hour? How about a night of horribly Karaoke? Go to Pieces. It’s cheap, easy for groups, and they always have a great Gay Icon film on— last time it was “Death Becomes Her” which made my life.
Image courtesy of New York Pictures
The Stonewall Inn is an institution— the West Village seems to be filled with them. The site of the 1969 Gay Rights riots (the history is incredible, check it out), there’s always a diverse crowd and it’s one of the few bars left that is primarily for Lesbians— why aren’t there more Lesbian bars? LAME. The upstairs is really fun for dancing, downstairs is more bar-y. Got something for everyone.
TNYN Recommendation: Check it out if not just to say you’ve been a part of history.
Image courtesy of TimeOut
Around the corner from Stonewall and across the street from Diablo Royal, you’ll find Galaway Hooker. With two floors, decent bar food and drink specials, I have had very good times at Galaway Hooker. One particular Memorial Day my Girlfriends and I stayed in the city, the staff there was A-OK with us ordering prosecco bottle after prosecco bottle claiming we were The Real Houseweives of Nothing. Without batting an eye…got to love a judge free zone.
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If you don’t feel like the Gay dive bar vibe at Pieces, then check out the Gay dive bar vibe at The Duplex. There’s two floors and usually a cabaret show (with a hidden theater upstairs, which is kind of cool) or some kind of piano thing happening. Sometimes they just have music on and it’s more chill— this is when The Duplex excels.
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Beer. Wings. Drinking games. Very attractive straight men. Down the Hatch is divey and exactly what you need for a day drinking/ hangover spot.
Image courtesy of Houston Hall
Relatively new, Houston Hall is a great spot for groups who want to make new friends. Communal seating and gigantic mugs of beer give it a very Medieval feel (fun?) and there’s always a pretty good crowd happening.
TNYN Recommendation: For some reason, it’s a little expensive. Start here then head somewhere else. Also, get there early as the tables fill up really quick especially post work and on Saturdays.
Image courtesy of Yelp
If it’s not Down the Hatch, it’s Amity Hall. Low key and unpretentious, it’s really good for groups. It’s also apparently acceptable to play Heads Up very loudly…not that I would know…
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Full disclosure: you will only end up at Marie’s Crisis after a boozy brunch or if you’ve been day drinking. This piano bar is fun, but it’s also where everyone who is tone deaf (present party included) thinks they’re Kelly Clarkson. It’s loud, it’s cheap, and it looks like an abandoned basement.
TNYN Recommendation: Tip the singers and they’ll play whatever you want them to.
Image courtesy of Smith & Ratliff
It’s hard not to hit Bleecker St. when you visit the West Village. Running through the heart of the neighborhood, it’s the longest street ever (starts at the Bowery in the East Village) and is full of shops, restaurants, fun street art, and bars. Mostly anything you want to do in the West Village is off Bleecker so you can check out all it has to offer en route to Brunch.
Image courtesy of The Standard
The Standard Biergarten, aside from Boiler Room, is my favorite bar in the city. While it’s technically in Meatpacking, I am not covering that neighborhood because it’s serious no longer fun so I wanted to include it here. Like Houston Hall, it’s communal seating and a true Biergarten. You’ll make friends and most likely have a Celebrity sighting; last time I was there I saw Cameron Diaz looking all blonde and cool.
TNYN Recommendation: It’s a little expensive so the beer tickets are a wise investment.
Image courtesy of Racked
Towards the end of Bleecker you’ll find all the Marc Jacobs shops including their bookshop Bookmarc. Filled with original books and uniquely quirky trinkets, it’s always good to pop in. You wont leave empty handed, like, ever.
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