New York Hot Spots
New York Hot Spots
STAR PATRONS Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, George Clooney
THE SCOOP Celebrities flock to this Mexican eatery as much for the mystery as for the eats. V.I.P. patrons know to enter the street level taqueria and proceed through a dingy door marked "Employees Only" to reach the subterranean dining area, but just knowing how to get there isn't always enough-the restaurant operates on a strict reservations-only policy.
WHAT TO ORDER Indulge in the Costillas de Puerco, a charred Chipotle-Guava Glazed Pork Spare Ribs with sweet plantains and escabeche, $21
106 Kenmare Street
STAR PATRONS Demi Moore, Janet Jackson, Eva Longoria Parker
THE SCOOP N.Y.C. nightlife gurus Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum run this lounge in the heart of the city's uber-trendy Meatpacking district. The decor is nothing short of decadent-featuring a marble fireplace leather-lined bar and zebra-print tables-and the clientele is nothing short of A-list. While Sean Combs has taken a turn in the DJ booth, artists like Kanye West have surprised patrons with impromptu performances.
WHAT TO ORDER Enjoy the Don Julio Margarita-a sweet mix of Don Julio Blanco, Grand Marnier and fresh lime juice, $14
26 Little West 12th Street
Empire Hotel Rooftop
STAR PATRONS Kelly Ripa, Sean Combs, George Clooney
THE SCOOP Nestled in between two N.Y.C. landmarks-the bustling Lincoln Center and the idyllic Central Park-this boutique hotel is the perfect base of operations for visiting culturehounds. After a gut renovation, the hotel now boasts a thoroughly modern decor and luxe amenities like teak showers and Frette linens. The rooftop bar is the perfect place to have a drink and take in the sweeping panoramas of the New York skyline.
WHAT TO ORDER: Try the Kobe beef sliders, $16 or theirmillionaire deviled eggs with white truffle oil and gold leaf & caviar topping, $15.
44 West 63rd Street
STAR PATRONS Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively
THE SCOOP No fuss, no frills. Five years ago the posh Le Parker Meridien hotel set up a casual spot where celebrities and New York insiders can enjoy an authentic backyard burger and fries. The décor is minimal-wood walls, diner banquettes and bar stools are all part of the charm of this midtown spot. Tip: the restaurant is hidden beside the front desk at the hotel, so be on the lookout for the neon hamburger over the door.
WHAT TO ORDER Cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, sliced pickles, mustard and ketchup, $7.50 and French Fries, $3.50. You can also get a Pitcher of Beer, $17 if you're in a big group or a milkshake with your order after 3 p.m., $5.
119 West 56th Street
STAR PATRONS Ed Westwick, Mary-Kate Olsen, Chace Crawford
THE SCOOP Located inside the newly re-designed Gramercy Park Hotel, this is the place to be for New York City's pretty young things and the people who love them. Once you get past the notoriously exclusive velvet rope-even celebrities have been turned away!-take in the works by artists like Andy Warhol, Basquiat and Julien Schnabel, rack 'em up at the pool table, and mingle with a crowd that's as cool as it gets.
WHAT TO ORDER Try the Elderflower Smash, pineapple spiked with ginger and shaken with mint, lemon and a dash of angostura bitters, $19.
2 Lexington Avenue
STAR PATRONS Ashley Olsen, Blake Lively, Rachel Bilson
THE SCOOP At this hipster haven, it's the details that count. From fashionably worn antique furnishings to fresh-baked cookies at turndown, this establishment aims to please its guests. And whether you're staying in a standard room or in one of the terrace suites-which come complete with either an outdoor hot tub or shower-you'll enjoy perks like a handwritten welcome note, complimentary DVD library and C.O. Bigelow toiletries.
WHAT TO ORDER Try one of Gemma?s most popular dishes, a Focaccia Robiola with white truffle oil and creamy robiola cheese, $14 and sip on the Bowery cocktail of gin, bitters, and champagne, $18
STAR PATRONS Sarah Jessica Parker, Leighton Meester, Beyonce
THE SCOOP On Monday nights, Butter sizzles with actors, models and musicians, but this East Village hangout is known as much for its impressive menu as it is for the celebrity clientele. Getting your foot in the door after-hours isn't easy, so book a table for dinner, take time to enjoy your entree and hang around for the late-night action.
WHAT TO ORDER Try the Butter Raspberry Crush cocktail-a fruity blend of Belvedere Vodka, fresh raspberries, fresh lemon juice, syrup and soda, $14. Start dinner off with a Spring Pea Salad, $14. Popular entrees include a Grilled Florida Grouper, $26 and Roasted Hudson Valley Duck Breast, $27.
415 Lafayette Street
STAR PATRONS Ashton Kutcher, Salma Hayek, Bruce Willis
THE SCOOP This Cuban-inspired lounge and restaurant recalls the glamor of old Havana, complete with leather couches and an antique bar. While a house list of about 350 guests are always welcome, mere mortals will have a better chance of getting in if they make a reservation for pricey bottle service. Once you're inside, the baristas will bend over backwards to mix you a custom cocktail, arrange for car service to get you home, or even persuade the kitchen to whip something up if you get the late-night munchies.
WHAT TO ORDER Order The Socialista, a house drink created with citrus vodka, house spiced, syrup (cinnamon, nutmeg, glove) and Patron Citronge, $14. Try the Duck leg empanada appetizers, $14.
505 West Street
STAR PATRONS Britney Spears, Demi Moore, Sting
THE SCOOP Hidden behind a graffiti covered door on N.Y.C.'s gritty Lower Eastside, this unique venue gives a whole new meaning to the words "dinner theater." Plan to see a circus act, burlesque show or some other twisted take on performance art if you go for the entertainment-which doesn't even get started until 1:30 am most nights. And while the venue holds up to 300 people, be prepared to get cozy with friends and strangers alike in the intimate space.
WHAT TO ORDER Chef Justin Hilbert-former chef at WD 50-changes up the menu every night, so ask your server for a recommendation. Cocktails start at around $15.
189 Chrystie Street
STAR PATRONS Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow
THE SCOOP The uptown version of a Tribeca classic, Nobu 57 attracts the New York elite for scrumptious new-style Japanese fare in an incredible atmosphere designed by architect David Rockwell. Owned by famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Oscar-winner Robert DeNiro, this boite is famous for family-style eating and scrumptuous sushi, not to mention celebrity sightings.
WHAT TO ORDER Try the White Fish Tiradito Nobu Style, $18.00 and Broiled Black Cod with Miso, $26.00. Sip on the Miso Lychee Martini made with Belvedere Vodka, Hokusetsu Sake and Lychee Juice, $16.00.
40 West 57th Street
The Yard at Soho Grand
STAR PATRONS Ed Westwick, Kristen Dunst, Rachel Bilson, Liv Tyler, Helena Christensen, Susan Sarandon and Josh Harnett
THE SCOOP This exclusive space is closed off to the public from 11AM to 4PM. For instant access, book a room at the hotel. Guests and VIPs can visit the sandstone-tiled courtyard for sunbathing, reading, or dining al fresco. From towels, to sun block, or a cool water mist spray, the cocktail servers in the Yard accommodate every request. Check out their savory menu filled with dishes like grilled swordfish skewers, king crab legs, lobster rolls and mini ice cream cones or key lime pie while sipping their Grand creations like the Grand Margarita and the Tartini.
WHAT TO ORDER Order their tasty king crab legs, $22; and try their Butter Pimms Summer Punch, $65 (pitcher) and $16 (glass)
310 West Broadway
STAR PATRONS Kate Moss, John Legend, Prince, Donald Trump, Jeremy Piven and Halle Berry
THE SCOOP Nightlife guru Matt Levine likes focusing on the finer details, creating a space where bartenders are called butlers, security guards are called chaperones and where hospitality consultants accommodate every request. This hotspot has a strict guest policy and it’s advised that ladies should not wear flats. One insider tip to gain access is to make reservations. Once you’re inside, choose from a menu full of a tasty range of cuisines while sipping international premium beers, top shelf/premium liquors against a Armand de Brignac champagne wall-valued at over $650,000. At the end of the night patrons can get escorted home in a branded Escalade-the SmartNightlife program with Smartwater.
WHAT TO ORDER Try their most popular cocktail-The Grand.-a sweet fruity blend with Milagro Select Barrel Reposada tequila, $26.
247 Eldridge Street