I’ve lived in New York for six years, and have lived in the West Village for two. When I first moved here I would wander around, pick a neighborhood, and just walk. That’s how I discovered the West Village.
The West Village is quite diverse, there are so many well dressed people, and so many interesting creative types.
Fairfax is a great all day spot. You should come here if you need a spot to work (they’ve got great natural light and wifi), if you want wine over lunch, or dinner and drinks. It’s all you need: wifi, good food and wine, coffee, and amazing decor. Whenever I come here I love feeling like I’m in someone’s living room. I once saw Sarah Jessica Parker sitting at a table across from me. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen her in New York, but I had to keep my cool.
I’ll mention Smalls really quickly. It’s jazz bar that’s a really a fun place to go for a low-key night. If you want a nice option for for an alternative evening this is the spot. Buy tickets in advance, there’s always a line.
Three Lives & Company is a cozy bookstore with a great, curated selection. The staff know so much about books and are so friendly, I’ll just pop in to talk to them sometimes.
I think the sheer volume of restaurants and bars in the West Village is pretty incredible. You can find anything you want here, except for maybe a good place for dancing. When people ask me for dancing spots I say go to the Lower East Side or the East Village. In the West Village there are so many amazing places for cocktails now that don’t have that air of “you need to wait an hour to get in.”
I always go to Highlands. You can tell by the name, they have have a great scotch selection, and attract a really fun crowd. It can get busy on the weekends, but you can always get in.
Across the street is Bell Book & Candle. They have a bar in the front that’s really cute for dates, and they have a big eating area and a whole back area. The food is good, I’ve loved their seasonal soups. If you want to throw a party, they have space they’ll reserve for you that’s free of charge. This is so rare in New York.
Grove Street is my favorite street in New York. Via Carota is one of my favorite spots. I love everything on their menu. Their cacio e pepe is amazing. All their vegetable dishes are amazing, especially anything with artichokes. One of my favorite things to do is bring a book, sit at one of their outdoor tables on Grove Street, order a glass of wine, and nibble on something delicious.
Jody Williams and Rita Sodi are the chefs behind Via Carota, I Sodi, and Buvette (we’ll talk about those places in a bit.) I love anything these women do. They’re really talented chefs and have a great partnership.
Buvette is the best. I celebrate my birthday there every year, it’s one of my favorite traditions. Their tarte tatin, their coq au vin, everything on Buvette’s menu is phenomenal.
This German beer hall called Lederhosen is a really underrated neighborhood spot. It’s really small, and doesn’t attract the screaming 23-year old crowd.
Marie’s Crisis Cafe is so cute, its a really, really fun piano bar. So you’ll need to like Broadway show tunes, but they’ll throw in some Disney songs too. A lot of people sing here who have amazing voices, and there’s a live band that accompanies them. It’s cash only, just so you can prepare. Wednesday night is the best time to go here. There’s usually a line most Fridays and Saturdays.
There’s really cute shop that sells candles, jewelry and some homeware. I love their aesthetic, it’s like the inside of an adorable little jewelry box. It’s called H.P.F, CHRISTOPHER. They had an artist showcase her work here recently. They do these artist shows every other month. They’ll have wine and bring together a lot of friendly people. This store is also one of the few places in New York that carry PATCH NYC candles, which funnily enough is a company based on South Boston. It’s one of my staple candles so I was really glad to find it here.
Across the way on Christopher Street is I Sodi. It has a really cool Japanese aesthetic, and the most amazing artichoke lasagna, its incredibly delicious. It’s phenomenal. I had it and basically died. It’s made with the best pasta and the thinnest layers of cheese that work really well with this elevated spinach artichoke dip.
On Hudson Street is another adorable boutique called The Meadow. They have chocolate from all over the world on one wall, flowers along a middle table that runs the length of the store, and salt from all over the world along an opposite wall. In the back are shelves stocked with everything you need for amazing cocktails. They have the best collection of bitters.
Decoy (right below Red Farm on Hudson Street) has the best peking duck in New York. You’ll pay for it, it’s not cheap, but it’s unlike any peking duck you’ll get anywhere else. It’s amazing. You must make a reservation here, they serve their peking duck as long as its available.
Next we’ll go to Elk, which is my favorite neighborhood coffee shop. I love coffee. I normally get a cappuccino or a regular coffee with 2% milk or skim. The sandwiches here are really good. They also sell cute candles. Elk has wifi, so its a great spot to work. Just make sure you only use your laptop at the counter so people can eat at the tables (laughs). I know the rules here. There’s also wifi outside so you can sit on the sidewalk bench when the weather is nice.
The West Village can be very trendy, Automatic Slims is a good old school bar that’s very different from other places in the neighborhood. It’s got old vinyl stools, classic rock, and a solid menu for gin and tonics, glasses of wine, and good beer. This is a great spot for weeknights, just remember that they’re cash only.
The last place I want to take you is Entwine. This is a great wine bar, and, PSA, they have mulled wine. It’s so good. Great food, wine, cocktails…what more do you need? Plus there’s an adorable back patio. I’ve come here on quite a few dates, it’s just got a really good intimate vibe.