The West Village & Soho Guide
Every individual neighborhood in NYC has its charm, but there’s arguably a super-cluster of neighborhoods below 14th street that stretches from the west side into the center of the Manhattan, roughly encompassing: Meatpacking, West Village, Greenwich Village, Soho, Nolita, and Little Italy. Old school West Village is the kind of neighborhood, despite its small size, that you want to get lost wandering around all day, admiring its quintessentially compact, ivy-clad apartment buildings, with plenty of cafe- and wine bar-pit stops along the way. Attached to the northwest corner of the West Village, the Meatpacking District is home to the end of the Highline and the new Whitney, and is still a buzz-y night-life destination for a younger set. Heading east, there’s Greenwich Village, NYU’s territory, and the oft-photographed Washington Square Park. South of Houston Street can admittedly get a little touristy, but you’ll still find some of the best shopping in Soho; Little Italy, decorated in strings of lights, is unapologetically festive; and tiny Nolita complements them both. Below, some of the essential places to see and things to do in this super-cluster area of NYC.
Ballroom at the Jane Hotel113 Jane St., West Village | 212.924.6700
Don't be fooled by the Persian carpets, the roaring fireplace, or the woody interiors—this spot functions more like a night club than a sleepy hotel bar. There's a DJ and you can expect dancing (on the couches), a bit of a line at the bar, and a wait at the entrance (with bouncers). It's worth it for the drinks, the music, and the scene.
Boom Boom Room848 Washington St., Meatpacking District | 212.645.4646
Located on the 18th floor of The Standard Hotel—with spectacular views of the Hudson and the High Line—the Boom Boom Room is even better when you're looking in. With its intimate, velvety banquettes, and great people watching, it's always fun. While there, migrate over to André Saraiva's pet project, Le Bain, next door, which has a swimming pool among other attractions.
La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels249 Centre St., Little Italy | 212.343.3660
This downtown wine bar is from the same team behind some of our favorite bar-restaurant spots in London and Paris. The concept is a cozy, candle-lit, living room-esque space with plush couches and decorative throw pillows, mod chairs, and marble-topped tables. The wine list is unsurprisingly very French, and impressive, plus there's a small but sufficient small-plate snack and dinner menu. In other words, this makes an excellent date spot.
The Blond11 Howard St., Nolita | 212.235.1111
Aby Rosen's new nightclub, which spans the entire second floor of Nolita hotel 11 Howard, is supposed to be a total scene at night (that is, if you can catch it on a date when it's not closed for events), but we actually like it just as much in the early evening for after-work drinks. The room is lined with velvet banquettes and a long bar that's lit from underneath, with bouquets of cherry blossoms and fresh blooms in every corner.
The Rusty Knot425 West St., West Village | 212.645.5668
All the way on the West side (i.e., immediately across from the river), this bar boasts a short menu of your basic tiki drinks, and the interior looks like the inside of Gilligan's Island era yacht. The vibe is casual and, well, happy, and it's always packed (in a good way).