Living in New York City is all about eating, drinking and living in style. One of the main topics that comes up in conversations between New Yorkers is what restaurant or bar they have checked out lately. So, the moment you arrive in the Big Apple get ready to do some serious taste testing. While staring out from the top of the Empire State Building or taking a ferry to The Statue of Liberty can make for a nice Christmas card opportunity to send to all your relatives in Iowa, it isn’t the real New York City. Skip the long lines and paid attractions the next time you’re in NYC, and follow this guide to have the best 72 hours of your life (fine, we’ll sprinkle in a few tourist attractions, but that’s it!) Here’s your 72 hour guide to getting your ass kicked by the greatest god damn city in the world, New York City.
Start your adventure downtown around Battery Park. Here you will be able to get some tourist stops in to show Mom, Dad and the Facebook community you did something you’re “supposed” to do when you visit New York. You will be able to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, take a walk down Wall Street, and take in the breathtaking views of the new One World Trade Center Tower and 9/11 Memorial.
If you get thirsty while bumming around this tourist invested area, check out one of the oldest and more historic bars in the city, Fraunces Tavern. This is where George Washington used to drink away his sorrows and celebrate his awesomeness while enjoying a world famous chicken pot pie. They also do a great job with hand crafted brews and have a hefty list of whiskey to choose from.
Moving on up the island try to make a stop in Chinatown, whether it’s just to see the craziness or to purchase a nice “Rolex.” As long as you’re in Chinatown, stop into Joe’s Shanghai for the the best dumplings you will every have and a great Chinese experience. Joe’s looks a bit like a run down hole in the wall but is world renowned and will not disappoint.
For the Evening…
Forgo the tourist traps in Midtown to drink like a local in the East Village for your first night out. Head to Elsa for a great aperitivo and some classic ambiance. A very young and hip vibe, Elsa has an amazing list of craft cocktails to choose from.
Once you’ve worked up a little hunger at the bar head over to Cienfuegos for amazing cuban food and an environment that takes you away from NYC. Enjoy their different rum mixtures, some punch bowls and be sure to snack on some of the plantain chips, you won’t be disappointed.
After dinner catch a little fresh air by cutting through Tompkins Square Park on your way over to The Blind Barber, located on the North Side of the park. This stylish barber shop turned evening speakeasy is a great place to grab a cocktails and hang with some NYC locals. If nothing on their extensive drink menu pops out at you, tell the extremely talented bartenders what your goto drinks and flavors are and they will craft you up something dangerously delicious.
If you’re a real trooper and still in the mood for cocktails after you depart from The Blind Barber it’s time for the perfect late night spot. Hit up Doc Holliday’s, a hidden East Village gem that will have you feeling more like you’re in cowboy country than Manhattan. This old school Western themed dive bar is arguably one of the best drinking bars in the city. You’ll think you’re shooting whiskey with Wyatt Earp by then end of the night, and there is a good chance you’ll see some ladies dancing on the bar. Does a late night bar get any better than this?
We’re going to assume you’ll be in need of a long walk to help jumpstart your body. A walk through the park and a bloody are a surefire cure to any (mild) hangover. Head to Central Park for a stroll through one of the most beautiful and iconic parks in the world. The Boat House is one of my favorite places to stop in for a quick drink and a relaxing view. Located in the middle of the park with great outdoor seating and unbeatable views this is the best place to catch a little fresh air and get your day started out correctly, pair that with their killer bloody Mary and you’re ready for day two.
Make your way down to Chelsea and jump on the High Line. A favorite of New Yorkers, The High Line is a park that used to be an elevated train track used to ship freight into the city. Having been closed down to trains since the 80’s, it is now a beautiful elevated park with breathtaking images of the surrounding Chelsea and Meatpacking districts, as well as a good look at the whole city. The track starts around 23rd and goes to Gansevoort, so there is a good amount of room for whatever your park festivities may be. If you need to take a quick break, I recommend you go to the Chelsea Market. A great place for a quick bite, drink, and some shopping. Best of all, you’ll be in with the locals and away from the picture taking crowds at Times Square, just make sure you aren’t the one to stop in the middle of the sidewalk.
At the end of the High Line lies the well known Standard Hotel. This new age Hotel/ hot spot complete with restaurants, bars, and night clubs is a major hang out for the NYC socialites. Head to The Standard Beirgarten for a quick trip to Bavaria. Open air in the summer, glass enclosed in the winter, there’s sausages, pretzels, beer and ping pong all year long. Make sure to grab your drink tickets on the way in, and definitely choose the big glass.
After you’re good and buzzed up, move down to the West Village and get a quick dinner and Corner Bistro. This bohemian bar in West Greenwich Village has been around since the early part of the century and the original ambience has remained relatively unchanged. They have an amazing burger to go with that beer you drank earlier, and with a slightly lower key atmosphere you can unwind and recharge to get ready for the evening.
Staying in the West Village head to Employees Only for a bad ass experience. This ultra hip bar invokes the sprits of the roaring 20’s when people really knew how to tip back drinks and socialize. The service is phenomenal, the employees take real pride in bringing their customers a truly remarkable experience. You’ll feel like you’re drinking a Negroni in Milan or a Manhattan right out of the 20’s, and that is a damn good feeling.
No NYC trip would be complete without a late night slice of pizza. After drowning in booze, indulge at Joe’s in Greenwich Village. Pino “Joe” Pozzuoli, who originally is from Naples, has been serving arguably the best sliced pizza in NYC for 40 years. Grab a slice or two, go back to your hotel, AirBnB, or wherever it is you’re staying, and get some shut eye– day three is right around the corner.
If you want to act like a local you’re going to need eat like a local. Get your ass out of bed and get ready for one hell of a Sunday, it’s time for boozy brunch. I recommend Clinton St. Baking Co. on the LES. This place is nothing short of heavenly and will set you right for the day. Go for the brioche french toast, or the farmer’s breakfast, or really anything you want on the menu because it is all absolutely delicious. Wash it all down with your choice of mimosas, specialty cocktails and beer, or a boozy shake. You really can’t go wrong.
After brunch spend some time walking around Soho and taking in all the energy the neighborhood has to offer. Soho (South of Houston Street) is a very vintage area of New York filled with beautiful cast iron building and home to some of the best shopping and fashion in the world.
We can only assume you’re still pretty full from brunch, but if the need for a quick snack hits while you’re shopping stop by the pop up window for Baked by Melissa mini-cupcakes. Grab a few tiny flavors and enjoy.
Continue your trek and head up toward Flat Iron and check out famously hidden Raines Law Room. This prohibition style speakeasy is easy to miss if you aren’t paying attention. Once you find the stairs and door on 17th street, ring the bell and talk to the door man to get into this exclusive bar. This swanky, sexy old school vibe will make you feel like one of the classiest sons of a bitches in the city. And rightfully so.
Assuming you don’t want to spend the entire day in an underground bar, head west to the The Mckittrick Hotel for an unforgettably wild show. Sleep No More, an interactive play which won which won the 2007 Desk Drama Award for Unique Theatrical Experience is a must see. It’s a well done mix of a haunted house meets MacBeth vibe with a topping of contemporary acting and dancing.
Everyone is given a mask that you are asked to wear the whole time. There are 5 floors, and around 3-5 different sections on each floor featuring roughly 10-12 actors. It’s one show with different scenes going on at the same time on each floor. The shows runs twice before ending so you can be sure to catch the different scenes. There’s only one ending but they run it twice just in case you missed a detail the first time around. There’s no telling what’s going on, you’re in a completely different world. The actors stay in character at all times so you just keep following them or walk around until you find another group or scene. They also bring “audience members” into the scenes at different times. The main objective of the show is to separate people or groups that come together. They aren’t out to scare you at all, just get you wrapped up in the performance.
After the show is over and your appetite is ready again, walk over to The Dutch. Indulge in some of the freshest seafood around and mingle with a the trendy young professionals of lower Manhattan. If you aren’t in the mood for seafood try the Asian white boy ribs. You won’t regret it.
For your final libation walk down to the James Hotel and head up to the rooftop bar, Jimmy. Enjoy 360° views of the city in an enclosed floor to ceiling windowed bar. Or step outside to sit by the wood decking of a private Manhattan roof top pool. You will be dazzled by the tremendous views of the city as well as the locals who flock there.
We Hope You’ve Enjoyed Your Trip
All in all, 72 hours isn’t a lot of time to experience the greatest city in the world, but this is a damn good start. NYC is all about the food, the drinks, the atmosphere and the vibe, and a lot less about the movie theatre landmarks. Next time you’re in the city that never sleeps, play like a local and rest when you’re home. You’ll have the time of your life.