Do you want to feel like a celebrity or socialite in New York for a night? If your answer is no, you might want to change your mind. If you answered yes—I like your attitude—follow my instructions: check out Beauty & Essex, the new IT place for dining and drinks, from the owners of Stanton Social.
If you ask for a dinner reservation, you may be told the only opening is at 10:30 p.m. Take it! Just remember to eat a snack around 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m.to avoid starvation. Take your time choosing your outfit; you have to look the part. Break out a pair of your highest heels, sport that metallic dress, wear that hot new shade of red lipstick, and add a final touch with that sparkly clutch.
Once you get there,in the heart of the Lower East Side, it’s all about attitude. You’ll see a line at the door, but since you are a V.I.P. you’ll go straight to the host, who will check your name on an iPad and let you in. You’llenter the restaurant through a pawn shop—so cool! Once you get into the actual dining space, a big spiral staircase and a beautiful chandelier will welcome you. You’ll be seated in about 20 minutes, so in the meantime you’ll order a drink at the bar and maybe take a look upstairs. There, you’ll find a cozy, modern lounge and an amazing lamp made out of large pearl necklaces. I will not explain every detail of the decor, so you can find out for yourselves!
I do have to say that the ambiance of the place is amazing; you will feel like a celebrity and think everyone there is one too. The server told me that I looked familiar and asked me if I was famous, and of course I had to go along with it. I said that I was famous back home in Venezuela, where I did Latin soap operas, and those were my 15 minutes of fame. I actually did spot some celebrities the evening I visited Beauty & Essex. I saw John Mayer, who told my friend that it wasn’t a “flash-appropriate” night because he was hanging by himself. I also saw Vienna Girardi, the winner of The Bachelor Season 14, who was dressed with sexy knee-high boots and posing on the stairs like a real celeb. Other celebs that have stopped by Beauty & Essex include Ashley Olsen, Kim Kardashian, Kelly Rutherford, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Ali Fedotowsky.
The food was extraordinary; chef Chris Santos’s menu of tapas and small plates is designed for sharing at the table with friends and family. The food is multi-ethnic in inspiration and casually elegant. My favorites included the Tomato Tartare with a Sunny-Side-Up Quail Egg, the General Tso’s Monkfish, the Yellowtail Crudo, the Kobe Beef Carpaccio, the Branzino, and the Charred Shishito Peppers. Finger-licking good!
Follow my instructions and you’ll have a great time feeling like a celebrity for the night! —Daniela Apeloig
Beauty & Essex
146 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002
Remember those silly virtual gifts that you could send to your friends via Facebook? Well, these online gifts are about to get real. If you spend a lot of time on Facebook (of which I admit I am guilty, and not just because I work with social media) you can’t help but notice the new application that is causing a sensation called Bartab. Officially launched only a month ago, the application allows users to buy vouchers good for real drinks—cocktails, beer, wine, you name it!—for friends from both Facebook and their cell phones. The best part is that the drinks cost the sender and recipient only $1 apiece. All your friend has to do is show the bartender the voucher from a cell phone and pay the $1 to collect the drink. Currently available in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, the service plans to keep expanding nationally with bars in Washington DC, Chicago, and more getting in on the action. So, instead of sending your friend a pixilated pint from Facebook, purchase them the real thing. I promise they’ll be more than happy to accept! —Kate Bryan
With the economy in its current state and young 20-somethings not wanting to give up their weekends out on the town, the Exchange Bar & Grill, which opened in the Gramercy area this past April, offers an alternative to the expensive nightlife scene in New York. The bar serves up affordable drinks and a fun night out. The gimmick? Bar as stock exchange—prices for all drinks and food fluctuate depending on what’s popular at the moment. We sense a global trend. Footsie in Paris and Bar La Bolsa in Barcelona operate on the same stock-exchange principle with a ticker tape listing drink prices scrolling across the bar. You won’t regret investing in a night here.—Ariel Gononsky
Exchange Bar & Grill
256 3rd Avenue (between 20th St & 21st St)
New York, NY 10010
To be honest, I don’t consider myself a sports buff. I occasionally watch tennis or tune in to the Olympics for an event or two. But when it comes to my nightly TV viewing, I’ve got my channels fixed to a different kind of high-stakes competition—reality shows. Every four years however, the World Cup turns me into a sports fanatic! There is something so amazing about all of the different nationalities gathering to show their undying support for their country. So, where are the best bars to catch all the excitement?
Rebar, 147 Front Street between Jay and Pearl Streets; (718) 766-9110
This place not only serves amazing food but also has an extensive list of beers and wine, both foreign and domestic. The staff is extremely knowledgeable in their food pairings and is very eager to share their expertise. Check out the games in Rerun, their new stadium-style theater!
Sunburnt Calf, 226 West 79th Street between Amsterdam and Broadway; (646) 823-9255
This Aussie-powered joint cooks up authentic down-under grub and creative cocktails (you can even get them served in baby bottles!), all from the most welcoming staff! Southern hospitality the Aussie way! —Hyejin Kim