Travel

Lower East Side

Establishment neighborhood
John Dolan Photography
246 Bowery, Lower East Side
Scrolling through John Dolan’s website is the digital equivalent of flipping through a beautifully curated coffee table book. Dolan does his fair share of editorial and advertising work, and his images have the dramatic, energetic quality of both. When it comes to weddings, he’s a master of discretion. He excels at capturing intimate moments—a quiet conversations in the corner, the setting of a veil, guests’ expressions when they catch their first glimpse of the bride. Dolan prefers film over digital and is based in New York City and the Berkshires.
The Flower Shop
107 Eldridge St., Lower East Side
This ‘70s-inspired Lower East Side bar-slash-restaurant is one of our favorite spots. Upstairs there are comfortable booths to melt into after a long day, short day—or anytime you just really need a cocktail. The bar snacks are good, especially the cauliflower steak on a bed of farro drizzled with tahini. Downstairs feels like a tricked-out version of your cool neighbor’s basement—pool table, sunken fireplace, and jukebox included, plus walls covered with tapestries and kitschy-cool posters.
Chillhouse
149 Essex St., Lower East Side
A sort of choose your own wellness adventure, this light, bright, Lower East Side spa has a luxe nail salon with 5-free options, massages, and a café all under one roof. Start your experience with an adaptogen-spiked turmeric latte (they have their own line of Chillblend powders to help you relax, energize, and detox) while you check out the nail-art menu that changes seasonally—we’re totally obsessed with the Matisse- and Yayoi Kusama-inspired designs. Massages range from the short Express (25 minutes of deep tissue work) to the more-intense, aptly named hourlong Chill Pill. Photos: Dillon Burke
Contra
138 Orchard St., Lower East Side
New York's new guard of young chefs are doing things differently at Contra. Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske (also of Wildair) are striving to create and define a new food identity specific to New York City alone, and given the packed seatings, awards, and consistently good reviews—their approach seems to be working. They serve a set menu self-described as "ambitious," so expect everything from uni paired with verbena to skate with beets. The restaurant does not accommodate any changes to the menu, so be sure to check it ahead of the time if you have dietary restrictions.
Public Hotel
215 Chrystie St., Lower East Side
If you think about it, the concept for this East Village hotel is pretty revolutionary: Offer topnotch service and accommodations without the pretense or hefty price tag. Rates for the elegant, generously sized rooms are reasonable and include breakfast; instead of traditional room service, there’s the market-style Louis). Whether for dinner (Jean-Georges Vongerichten is in charge of the menu) or a drink, the Public Kitchen is a favorite. The rooftop bar is quintessential Ian Schrager, with clubby lights and a serious late night crowd.
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