The New York City Hipster Guide
New York City has always been pace-setting and envelope-pushing, in no small part thanks to the crowd now commonly referred to as hipsters, who seem to be perennially establishing what’s cool next. Here’s where to find them.
Carbone181 Thompson St., Soho | 212.254.3000
This Italian spot on Thompson Street boasts Vito Schnabel's artwork on the walls, Zac Posen designed uniforms, a floor inspired by The Godfather, and a slightly more upscale version of the Italian-American fare you'll find at their other restaurants: It's pretty 1950's meets hipster chic. And like the good old days, the food is rich and luscious from lobster ravioli to rich sides like creamed escarole and corn tartufato.
Charlie Bird5 King St., Soho | 212.235.7133
Apart from the tasty Italo-American dishes—a now famous uni pasta, homemade spaghetti (kids go nuts for it), perfect roast chicken—the music is what really sets this restaurant apart. Colorful old-school boombox prints decorate the walls, and Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, and Dre boom from the speakers, making the meal a good one for a big group (they actually have a private dining room if you're inviting more than ten people), rather than an intimate gathering.
Egg109 N. 3rd St., Williamsburg | 718.302.5151
For years, this little restaurant has attracted lines around the block for its unwaveringly delicious brunch. If you can go on a weekday, you'll have better luck sampling their spectacularly soft, eggy french toast, or their famous Eggs Rothko basically, the best egg in a hole ever.
Glasserie95 Commercial St., Greenpoint | 718.389.0640
Perched on the northern tip of Brooklyn, and housed in a former glass factory, this is inarguably Greenpoint’s most notable new opening—which says a lot, as it’s a burgeoning culinary scene. Chef Elmdad Shem Tov’s heritage influences the menu significantly, as flourishes from Israel and the Middle East dot the contemporary offerings.
Lucali575 Henry St., Carroll Gardens | 718.858.4086
Arguably one of Brooklyn’s best pizza joints, you’ll find rustic, wooden tables surrounding a brick oven here, which is the perfect stage for the pie-throwing theatrics of chef Mark Iacono. Lucali doesn’t take reservations, so get there at around six to snag a table—the thin-crust pizzas and calzones are absolutely worth the wait.
Mile End Deli53 Bond St., Greenwich Village | 212.529.2990
Hearty, meaty sandwiches and Montreal-style deli food (house-smoked meats, poutine, brisket, and more) are served here, deluxe. Make sure to get a pickle on the side and wash it all down with a good glass of wine. There's also a location in Brooklyn.
Mimi Cheng’s179 2nd Ave., East Village | 212.533.2007
For years, the Lower East Side has played host to the New York dumpling craze, of which we were avid participants from the start. However, every time we picked up those steaming pockets of goodness from a LES hole in the wall that started it all (which shall remain unnamed), in the back of our heads we worried about the provenance of the ingredients. They were so good, but at what cost? Then, Mimi Cheng’s came along and began serving up delectable Taiwanese-style dumplings made with antibiotic-free, local meat and fresh veggies. And, their hole in the wall is beautiful, whitewashed and dotted with bright yellow stools. For a fun date night, sign up for a Monday evening dumpling making class.
Okonomi150 Ainslie St., Williamsburg | 718.302.0598
We love this pretty little spot for Japanese home-style breakfasts and lunches. It’s worth waiting for a seat, as the chef sets the menu daily, and then serves the beautiful offerings on traditional ceramic dishes. On Mondays and Tuesdays the team behind the legendary Yuji Ramen (two ex-Roberta’s alumni) set up shop as a special treat. The fresh seafood—all of it sourced locally, never imported from Japan—is a major part of the pre-set Sansai meal, which can include anything from egg omelets to uni noodles and always miso soups and rice.
Pies ‘n Thighs166 S. 4th St., Williamsburg | 347.529.6090
Great fried chicken, end of story. Owned and run by three women who met while working at Diner, this is a super casual spot that offers an authentic spin on Southern food. The wonderful savouries are matched only by their sweet, down-home American pies. There's a new location on the Lower East Side.
Roman’s243 Dekalb Ave., Fort Greene | 718.622.5300
Andrew Tarlow and team have a tight grip on the Williamsburg dining scene, and so they've finally made their first foray deeper into Brooklyn. At Roman’s, the short menu of simple Italian dishes changes daily, making it the kind of neighborhood joint you can hit on repeat. As the food is delicious, there’s always a crowd—if you’re looking for a quiet meal, opt for earlier on in the week.
The Smile26 Bond St., Greenwich Village | 646.329.5836
Hip, but not overrated or overrun, this all-day cafe from the guys behind The Jane Hotel is a great place to meet up for a coffee or casual lunch/dinner. They sell artisan goods up front.
St. Anselm355 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg | 718.384.5054
This is the best new-wave steakhouse in the neighborhood, as evidenced by the fact that it's usually at capacity by 6pm. It's worth the sometimes two hour wait (we leave our number and head next door for a drink) for an insane aged steak for two or four, not to mention a perfectly-dressed bibb lettuce salad, lush truffle oil mashed potatoes, and delicious, seasonal options from the grill.
Maison Premiere298 Bedford St., Williamsburg | 347.335.0446
This restaurant/bar feels like an old-school New Orleans club that’s been recently rediscovered. Distressed walls, gas lamps, a deco bar, and Thonet bentwood chairs just add to the effect. With a raw bar and a menu of seafood classics, it’s a solid choice for a weekend brunch or dinner, but we prefer it later in the evening for an old-fashioned drink at a dimly lit table. There’s also a long list of absinthes to choose from, which is fitting for the epoch this spot evokes.
Black Seed Bagels170 Elizabeth St., Nolita | 212.730.1950
The hand-rolled, wood-fired bagel sandwiches at Black Seed are actually easy to eat (they’re much smaller than their brethren), and for the most part, they’re great—particularly for those times when the only thing that will satisfy is a bagel sandwich. Favorites include: beet-cured gravlax, a basic tuna salad, Tobiko spread, and the egg salad (though it’s heavy on the dill). There’s now a location in the Financial District and East Village, in addition to the Nolita original.
Diner85 Broadway, Williamsburg | 718.486.3077
Operating out of a renovated 1920s train car, this quirky little spot from Andrew Tarlow has served Williamsburg since the late 90s. In the past 20 years, it’s lost none of its appeal, thanks to a seasonal and daily menu of American classics, from one of the best burgers in Brooklyn, to a solid roast chicken on any night of the week. The atmosphere gets downright rowdy the later it gets with scores of hipsters rolling up for late-night eating to a soundtrack of old-school hip-hop. The restaurant sticks to a strict no-reservations policy, so expect to wait for a seat. Luckily, you can get a strong drink at the bar to tide you over or head next door to Marlow & Sons for a glass of wine.
Cocoron37 Kenmare St., Nolita | 212.966.0800
This is definitely one of the best soba joints in the city: We like the Nolita location the best, as the spot in the LES is really tight. Go for the Mera Mera Dip Soba, with minced chicken and a fiery broth: The noodles are packed with flavor, chewy, and perfectly al-dente. Don’t miss the homemade silky tofu, sprinkled with grated ginger, scallions, nori and bonito flakes, which is as creamy and delicious as a hunk of fresh burrata.
Frankies Spuntino457 Court St., Carroll Gardens | 718.403.0033
Whether you head to the Carroll Gardens original or the West Village outpost, you can expect a home-style Italian meal in a casual, neighborhood setting from Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo. We love their vegetable-centric offerings, house-made pasta, and hearty Meatball Parmigiana, which is pretty great for lunch.
Cafe Erzulie894 Broadway, Bed-Stuy | 718.450.3255
Whether you’re looking for a place to buy flowers, sip coffee, or enjoy a cocktail and dance to a live DJ set, you can find it all under one roof in Brooklyn. Cafe Erzulie—named after the Haitian Voodoo goddess of love, beauty, and dance—is a lush indoor-outdoor tropical cafe. A flower shop by day, it seamlessly transforms into an intimate cocktail bar at night. On Thursdays, there's live Caribbean jazz set under strings of lights in their outdoor space, and on the weekends, the dance floor opens up for some of Brooklyn's best up-and-coming DJ’s. Don’t leave without trying the green tempeh sandwich, and for a drink, the summer sorrel