So it seems that The New York Narrative haunts are going over quite well so let’s continue with SoHo and NoHo! They’re basically the same thing…New Yorker’s get very particular about neighborhood boundaries…
SoHo has been my work neighborhood since I moved here five years ago and I walk through NoHo every morning to get to SoHo, so I’ve picked up a few places along the way. Seeing as I work in these neighborhoods I don’t particularly love to hang in them but there is some fun stuff to do.
Left off is retail stores because SoHo has basically become an outdoor mall and this list would have been endless. If you really need to do some shopping, get off your couch and head on in— you’ll find whatever you’re looking for, and more.
So take a look, and let me know of anywhere else you guys like to hang!
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If you’re looking for some authentic Cuban-Mexican Realness, look no further. I’ve never, ever, had a bad meal at Cafe Habana and I always leave very, very happy. You’ll find it more into the NoLIta territory…oh man, more neighborhoods…
TNYN Recommendation: Get the Cuban Sandwich, you’ll thank me.
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While I usually brown bag it to work (healthier, and much more economical), when I don’t or if I’m feeling like something healthy and affordable (SoHo lunch prices are absurd) I head to sweet green. It’s organic, free range, and any other verbiage related to healthy— you name it, they got it. They offer tons of variety and super fresh.
TNYN Recommendation: Skip Chopt, go here.
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Fanelli Cafe represents classic SoHo : rough around the edges, is anything but fancy, has a gruff staff, and allows Dogs in the bar. It’s on one of the trendiest corners and it’s managed to keep it’s authenticity. Well done, Fanelli. Also, they make fantastic burgers.
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If you’re feeling fancy and like a celeb sighting*, head on over to Balthazar. They have really amazing food and the ambiance is a mix of snotty and old school New York. I personally prefer the small to-go nook they have next door; you can get their coffee and pastries to go there. Oh, and a $16 salad.
*I saw Sarah Jessica Parker here on a team lunch once, completely interrupted a meeting telling everyone at the table she was there, and I was the only one that cared…I still don’t regret my decision. It was quite a New York moment.
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Considered in NoLIta, Tacombi at Fonda Nolita is seriously the best Mexican in the neighborhood. It’s super authentic, the staff is beyond nice, and there’s a massive VW vintage 70’s bus in the middle of it. On top of the high ceilings and delicious food, it’s a great little getaway from the office.
TNYN Recommendation: Their fish tacos are to die for.
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There are just some (hungover) days where you need to walk to Ben’s and get a slice. That’s all I’ll say.
TNYN Recommendation: If you’re having a deja vu “Sex and The City Moment” it’s because Carrie and Miranda got a slice here. It’s basically the most authentic New York Pizza joint that’s left in this neighborhood.
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If you’re stuck on what to get for lunch and you work in SoHo, just go to Spring Street Natural. They have everything from Taco Salad’s to grilled chicken. It can be a little on the expensive side (for no reason), but the food is good and their take-out is super quick.
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Possibly the best burger in the neighborhood, Cafe Select is a one of the few gems left in SoHo. It’s narrow tight quarters make for a fun team lunch and while the staff is a little too cool for their own good, the food is really good and the scene is always interesting. Cute waiters never hurt no one.
“Don’t talk to me until I’ve had Coffee…”
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My love for La Colombe coffee is going nowhere, so I tend to frequent this coffee shop quite a bit. It’s not as easy to get in and out of as the 4th St. location, but when you need coffee who cares?
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Off the beat and path a bit, Saturdays coffee shop that leads into their retail store is another gem of SoHo. Crosby street is cobble lined and feels very Downtown chic. Friendly staff, shipping, and great coffee: win, win.
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If you don’t feel like battling the crowds over at La Colombe, hit up Gasoline Alley Coffee. It has a unique setup—entrances on both sides, fun indoor/outdoor feel—and is bright and approachable. They also have killer little breakfast desert things that’ll make you weak in the knees.
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Also the holder of killer little breakfast desert things that’ll make you weak in the knees, French pastry from Ceci-Cela offers yummy treats and a delicious cappuccino. It too is super narrow and a fun experience to have.
“Ugh, today sucked. Let’s get a drink…”
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Easily my favorite bar in Soho, Botanica is the definition of a dive bar. It’s unpretentious, fun, cheap, and just the right amount of smutty…a lot like SoHo used to be…
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If you want something more aesthetically pleasing, Brinkley’s Broome St. is for you. It’s just the right amount of decorated without being ostentatious and is on a relatively quite corner in the neighborhood. Which is rare.
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Caught in between dive and chic, Sweet & Viscous is a happy medium for whatever you’re needing; celebration, a place to talk smack about people over drinks, you name it. Plus it has a cute back garden patio situation for the warmer months.
TNYN Recommendation: This is a good place for a Happy Hour; it can hold a lot of people and they always have a special.
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I visited Gold Bar with one of my best Girlfriends for a Holiday party a few years back and I must say, for someone who doesn’t dig the club scene I was into it’s lush and extravagant vibe. The walls are lined in gold skulls which is very “Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom.” Naturally this won me over. If you’re looking to drop a ton of dough (free for us, perks of good ol’ Holiday cheer), then head on into the Temple of Doom.
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Much like Botanica, this is a run of the mill divey classic NYC bar. If memory serves me correctly, you cannot wear tank tops here. Just an FYI.
TNYN Recommendation: A scene of Kate Hudson’s “Something Borrowed” was supposed to take place in this bar, but it wasn’t. It was just the exterior. But don’t let that discourage you it’s still a super fun place to go.
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Want to get lost for a few hours and play with random trinkets? Pearl River is the labyrinth for you. Part food mart part knick-knack holder, Pearl River has an array of products that you didn’t even know you needed. I mean, you don’t really need anything in there but you’ll walk out with something.
TNYN Recommendation: Ge there NOW, New Yorkers! This old school gem unfortunately is closing at the end of the year. Run, do not walk!
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Need a fashion magazine that you can only get in Thailand airport? Head to Mulberry Iconic Magazines, they’ll have it. They also have really good iced coffee.
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One of my favorite downtown spots, McNally Jackson is one of those great bookshop/ cafe/ magazine stand hybrids that is warm and inviting and just the right amount of cool. They have an excellent selection of anything you need and a very friendly staff.
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Like McNally Jackson, the MOMA downtown shop has unique books, merchandise, cards, and more that any fan of the modern arts could possibly want. It’s also smack in the middle of SoHo so you can’t miss it.
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The Angelika Film Center is one of the few old-school cinemas left in our fair city. They show both mainstream and independent (mostly art house flicks) so there’s something for everyone. Every time I go I feel like I’m in a Woody Allen movie, which, isn’t that what every New Yorker at some point wants to feel like?
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