The Lower Manhattan Guide
While Lower Manhattan used to be somewhat of a ghost town on the weekends—and a sea of bankers during the week—a lot of businesses have been moving south, and with them, a slew of new shops and restaurants. And while the Financial District is still pretty quiet on the weekends, you can count on Tribeca (which is home base for a lot of families) to be full of activity Saturdays and Sundays. Meanwhile, Chinatown, with its close proximity to the Lower East Side, is playing host to a new generation of hipster coffee shops and restaurants. Below, our favorite spots below Canal Street.
Grand BanksPier 25, Hudson River Park, Tribeca | 212.960.3390
From June through October, this oyster bar aboard the historic Sherman Zwicker schooner docks at Pier 25 in Tribeca. Under yellow and white stripe canopies, servers in appropriately nautical outfits distribute casual sea-side fare and cocktails from the built-in bar. During weekend days, it’s a fun lobster roll destination with kids, and in the evenings, thanks to a solid list of schooner-themed cocktails and oysters and small plates, it’s a pretty great night out. While the location is a bit remote, it’s still conveniently close to downtown—plus, how cool is it to eat on the water?
Evening BarSmyth Hotel, 85 W. Broadway, Financial District | 212.220.4110
For late-night revelers, Little Park—the restaurant beneath the Smyth Hotel—offers the adjoining Evening Bar, a cozy spot to sip on mixologist Anne Robinson’s inventive cocktails.
Puffy’s81 Hudson St., Tribeca | 212.227.3912
This long, dark bar on a lonesome corner in Tribeca is handsome, yet non-descript, which is kind of what you want when the sole intent of the night is to grab some drinks with friends. You can generally always get a small table or seat at the bar, and well, there are darts in the back. This isn't fancy (no craft cocktails in sight), so swing by when you want something basic or a beer.
Smith & Mills71 N. Moore St., Tribeca | 212.226.2515
This cool little hole-in-the-wall bar in Tribeca is delightful for a quick, quiet drink (or two), and a delicious seafood dinner if you can nab a seat. There are oysters and mussels on the menu, as well as an excellent brioche bun burger.
Terroir24 Harrison St., Tribeca | 212.625.9463
Terroir is the kind of bar where even wine connoisseurs might learn something new. And on the flip side, if you've always found wine intimidating, the incredibly knowledgeable staff are more than happy to make recommendations and teach you everything they know. Their wine menu is vast, as as is the meat-heavy small bites menu. During the summers, they set up shop on The Highline, too.
Weather Up159 Duane St., Tribeca | 212.766.3202
This is the second outpost of the Prospect Heights bar, loved for its great music and relaxed vibe.
Walker’s16 N. Moore St., Tribeca | 212.941.0142
This is one of Tribeca’s most history-laden taverns, with the pressed tin ceilings and sagging floors to prove it. The menu is a bit random—hummus, cowboy chili, chicken tenders—but most people really come for a cocktail and a seat at the wonderfully worn-in bar.
The Hideaway Seaport22 Peck Slip, 151 Water St., Financial District | 212.385.2222
At first glance, this looks like a laid-back bar with a good cocktail list; but the major appeal, here, is that on Sundays, they bring in Maryland Blue Crabs. These are served alongside nicer bar food than you'd expect, like truffled fries and a homemade burger. There is another downtown location in Tribeca.
The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog30 Water St., Financial District | 646.422.7906
This award-winning bar is incredibly well-executed to feel like a 19th-century Irish pub that’s been subtly turned on its head. (For one, the mixologists are some of the world’s best.) On the ground-floor, you’ll find a classic, though impeccably-designed taproom with bottled punch, whiskeys, and craft beers (along with a hearty menu of sandwiches and pies); Upstairs, it gets a little bit fancier as they make 72 historically accurate cocktails from the 19th-century in a lounge-like room. The food menu upstairs is actually the same, with offerings like sausage rolls, oysters, and burgers. Funnily, there’s a mini-grocery, too, in keeping with tradition where you can buy things like Irish Cheddar and salami to go or eat at the bar.
Pier A Harbor House22 Battery Place, Financial District | 212.785.0153
This historic 28,000-square-foot building used to be the headquarters of the Harbor Police. Built in 1886, it's a designated New York City landmark and registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Thanks to a gigantic refurb, it's now a multi-bar/restaurant destination, and its unparalleled views of the harbor are now open to the public. On the main floor, you'll find the Long Hall and Oyster Bar, which is kind of the perfect pitstop after a long walk along the Hudson—though there's also the whiskey-themed Harrison Room, complete with a really gorgeous stained-glass ceiling, and The Commissioner's Bar, where you'll find old-fashioned cocktails and a deep list of champagnes. Upstairs, there's a fancy restaurant, and above that, a private event space.
Vintry Wine & Whiskey57 Stone St., Financial District | 212.480.9800
The emphasis at this wine bar is on Burgundy, as evidenced by the dozens of excellent options from the region behind the bar. As the name suggests, they also offer carefully-crafted cocktails that generally revolve around whiskey. While it’s best as a post-work or pre-dinner pit-stop, they serve a limited menu of share plates.