This week’s neighborhood takes us over to Manhattan; the East Village to be exact. At one time considered part of the Lower East Side, the East Village developed it’s own unique personality as a young and hip counterculture haven. It is known for the booming nightlife, art scene, and diverse residents. You can also tell the neighborhood by the grungy old feel and look of the buildings. The EV is bound from the North and South by 14th Street and Houston Street respectively and West by Bowery all the way to the East river and is easily accessible from the F, L, or 6 train.
For my first stop I went to Empellon Al Pastor. It’s a Mexican street style restaurant that serves tacos al pastor which translates to “in the style of the shepherd” and is similar to schwarma. Head to the bar to order your tacos and some chips and guacamole. They say the best way to judge a place like this is to get the Al Pastor (pork, chiles, and pineapple). They also have a full bar so make sure to grab a drink to go along with your meal. You can stick with a classic margarita or try one of their other Mexican style cocktails. Empellon Al Pastor is a great place for a quick snack or a great meal at a really affordable price.
Now that you’ve had some food it’s time for dessert. I know I originally said I would highlight one food place but I couldn’t not stop by Davey’s Ice Cream while I was talking about the East Village. This place handmakes all their ice cream in-house from scratch. They have a core selection of 7 flavors to choose from or you can try one of the rotating specials. I had to go with a classic cookies and cream and of course you’ve got to get sprinkles on it. You can get your ice cream in a sugar cone but c’mon, you know you would rather have it in one of their fresh made waffle cones.
While you’re in the area you should probably go to a UCB show. I know it is a pretty popular thing to do but I feel like it also gets forgotten as a low cost great night out. Upright Citizens Brigade is a comedy theater that specializes in improv. The shows are usually about an hour and range in the $5 – $15 area. There are even free shows! Plus, sometimes comedy greats that got their start there will stop by and perform. If you live in New York you can even sign up for classes! I love that you can go to one of the earlier shows around 7:30pm and still have the whole night ahead or you can go to one of the midnight shows. Make sure you show up to the right location, though, there are 2 different ones in Manhattan.
Been looking for a great cocktail lounge? Well look no further than Pouring Ribbons. Hidden behind this unassuming entrance is a staircase that leads you up to a wonderful old school looking lounge. Grab a seat at the bar or a table and hit that menu. Pouring Ribbons is known for its craft cocktails so be sure to try one of those. The bartenders are more than happy to talk to you about anything on the menu and even give you customizable samplings. I decided to try the Get Up And Go, a rye, scotch, amaro, drink with orange and cinnamon bitters. Let me tell you, the cinnamon bitters added the perfect note to the drink. Try all the drinks but you should probably bring friends for this one since the cocktails are made strong.
Here are some more shots of the East Village.
And of course a list of other places to check out in the East Village.
Boiler Maker, Death & Co., PDT, 13th Step, Summit, Wayland, Mayahuel, International, Coal Yard, Niagara, Lunasa, Linen Hall, Penny Farthing, Terrior, Cabin Down Below, Lover’s of Today, or Amor y Amargo.
Ginger Snap, Westville (East), Empellon Tacquieria, Jeepney, Esperanto, Pylos, The Smith, Mimi’s, Hearth, Crif Dogs, Momofuku Milk Bar, Urban Pita, or Brodo.
Tompkins Square Park, Under St. Mark’s Theatre, The Stone, St. Mark’s Comics NYC, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 14th Street Y, Obscura Antiques and Oddities, Village East Cinema, the Presidential Mural, or the nexus of the universe
As always, this list is not comprehensive but I hope it’s a good starting place for you. And be sure to let me know other neighborhoods you’d like to see!