To keep tabs on every New York restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Bon appétit.
Eataly (2 images)
Images via Eately/Facebook.
You’re here for: The city’s best winter-specific rooftop. Birreria at Eataly just put on a new outfit for colder climes, and it involves large wooden tables, flannel blankets, fairy lights and a literal greenhouse — all the herbs and spices that go into the dishes are grown hydroponically on site.
You’re dining on: A totally revamped Italian cheese menu that includes gooey slabs of raclette and beer-battered Piave Vecchio. And you’re pairing it with the city’s largest library of amari, aka sweet, herbal Italian digestifs.
Image via Liz Clayman
The Water Tower
You’re here for: The kind of mythologically exclusive nightclub experience the Butabi brothers dreamt about, an intimate lounge with a small dance floor circumscribed by plush, velvety couches. But here's the kicker: as you might have guessed from the name, the whole thing is set inside of a water tower. The project has been in the works for a few years (the water tower itself was never functional, originally erected for exactly this purpose), but has finally come to fruition, with London studio Michaelis Boyd heading up the design. The bubble lights overhead create a more subdued, ethereal vibe than your average nightclub, as do the nearly 360-degree views and a wraparound smoking patio.
You’re dining on: While they do offer some small, decadent plates (caviar tastings, a seafood platter, a $70 truffle grilled cheese), you're more likelier here for a buzz. The drinks come from renowned former Standard mixologist Rael Petit, whose menu here features a number of exotic, rare citrus fruits. He led us to the Les Gnomes, a vodka and brandy concoction infused with the juice of the yuzu lime and served in an appropriately gnome-shaped copper tumbler.
Image via Devoción.
You’re here for: Some serious catching up on your stack of unread New Yorker mags in a nature- and light-filled city oasis.
You’re dining on: Possibly the world’s freshest coffee and the only thing this trés picky editor/addict will put in her mug. Plus, a delightful assortment of Colombian-inspired light bites and pastries should you accidentally down one cup too many and are on the brink of going full Rahad Jackson.
diego (3 images)
Image via Diego.
Lower East Side
You’re here for: Meal-length conversations about everything and nothing in Public Hotel’s revamped lounge with a companion you’ve been meaning to hang out with for the last 6-10 weeks or years.
You’re dining on: Well … cocktails. But concoctions of the high-falutin variety, with experts mixes like the The Peacock (comes in a metal bird and serves eight people) and the Prada Colado, a delightful snowball of moscatel, amontillado sherry, Smith & Cross, banana, and coccount cream.
Image via Hortense Catteau.
You’re here for: Whispering sweet nothings to someone you fancy in the light, bright, home-away-from-home atmosphere that Maman has become known for.
You’re dining on: Indulgence. By name: Lavender Hot Chocolate Pie, Nutty Chocolate Chip Hot Chocolate and more savory options like the Maman’s Breakfast Sandwich dressed with homemade bourbon bacon.
Gup Shup (3 images)
Images via GupShup.
You’re here because: You’re suffering from complete fatigue of the restaurants in the area and want to rejoice in something new for post-work dinner meet-ups.
You’re dining on: Bombay-inspired street food. Think heaps of homemade breads stuffed with foie gras butter, mango chutney and pink rose accompanying big hit large plates like Grilled Lobster with moilee. Of note, the Wild Himalayan Morels were so tasty we were tempted not even to mention ‘em to keep the dish all to ourselves.
Main image via GupShup.