Your Neighborhood Guide to Greenwich Village

By Kathy Buccio | January 24, 2018 | Lifestyle

Affectionately referred to as ‘The Village,’ Greenwich Village is one of the oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods in New York City (not to mention one of the most expensive), with its street-lined pre-war buildings, and booming arts and dining scene. The Village was and continues to be a soap box for political, cultural, and artistic activists demanding progression and change to a neighborhood that has never lost it’s bohemian edge, despite gentrification and the city’s population boom. From famous authors to Village moms pushing strollers, the Village is home to New Yorkers from all walks of life. Charming cafes and bars, off-broadway shows, boutique hotels, and landmark art haunts await you on your next trek to one of NYC’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

Where to Stay:

Walker Hotel Greenwich Village

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The pre-war luxury experience is not just for New Yorkers to enjoy; and at the family-owned Walker Hotel in the heart of the village, guests are transported to a vibrant romantic time reminiscent of the early 1920’s. The Walker Hotel Greenwich Village and its 113 rooms are bursting with an eclectic spirit and vision of what New York really is. Rooms are outfitted with art deco furnishings and NY influences like the black and white subway tiles in the room, products from C.O. Bigelow, NY’s oldest apothecary are examples of the attention to detail to make travelers feel right at home. There’s also modernized features like Tivoli radios with bluetooth capability, Wi-Fi, and Frette linen sheets. The hotel is also home to Society Cafe, a seasonally-driven restaurant and bar, which also aims to give locals and guests a true New York culinary experience. Charm and elegance (without the stuffiness) are at the forefront at The Walker Hotel; and the next time you visit, you won’t want to leave. 52 W. 13th St., 212-375-1300

The Marlton

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The Marlton has a literary history just as rich as it’s European architecture and interior decor. Artists, writers, and poets like Jack Kerouac, John Barrymore, even Julie Andrews, once stayed at this famed hotel that came to be in the early 1900’s. Now, thanks to the innovative mind of hotelier/restaurateur Sean MacPherson (The Maritime Hotel, The Bowery Hotel), The Marlton continues to be a creative staple in the cultural hub that is Greenwich Village. Though rooms can feel a bit small, the bohemian decor gives it a fresh and inviting spin that sets it apart from other traditional hotels. Once you’re done exploring the neighborhood, head on back to the hotel for Old World cocktails at the Marlton Cocktail Bar, which resembles that of a Prohibition speakeasy, then grab dinner at Margaux, the bistro-like cafe on site that serves up eastern Mediterranean fare that has become a neighborhood favorite amongst foodies. 5 W. 8th St., 212-321-0100

The Jane

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One of it’s best features besides the quirky vintage decor (think mismatched furniture, mounted stuffed animal heads, and staff in vintage bellhop uniforms) and its social standing as one of the hippest spots in the city, is the The Jane Hotel’s proximity to happening neighborhoods like the Meatpacking District and must-visit sights like the Highline and the new Whitney Museum a few blocks away. The Jane isn’t lacking in colorful history or character- the hotel once housed sailors and survivors of the Titanic and the guest rooms, or cabins, as they’re called, offer either single-person options or bunk beds if you don’t mind shacking up vertically. There are higher end rooms called the Captain’s Cabins, which have queen or king size beds, master bathrooms, and river views. The Jane, situated in a landmark building on a West Village cobblestone street, is the perfect hotel if you’re looking for a trendy yet affordable hotel in one of the most coveted neighborhoods in Manhattan. Rub shoulders with the fashionable set when you pop into Old Rose, the hotel’s sceney Italian restaurant that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or opt for a cocktail like the White Star (Vodka, Prosecco, St. Germain, and lavender) at the hotel’s cocktail bar. 113 Jane St., 212-924-6700

Where to Eat:

Blenheim

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Taking it’s ‘farm to table’ philosophy to heart, Michelin-rated Blenheim restaurant in the West Village is a true testament to quality and refined dining. Walk inside the modern rustic space (all furniture is handcrafted and most of the decor was customized and created by owners, Morten Sohlberg and Min Ye) with it’s wooden floors and cozy yet minimalist banquettes, and you can feel the soul and warm energy felt in the restaurant. Named after their farm of the same name, all ingredients used for the dishes come directly from their Blenheim Hill Farm in the Catskills. The poached farm egg with spaghetti squash, bacon lardons, and nasturtium, is a fresh favorite that comes from the free-range chickens raised on the farm. The Heritage Pork with creamed spinach, chestnuts, and parsley pistou, is a juicy combination of robust and comfort flavors (Sohlberg and Mi also raise three different breeds of heritage pigs on the farm). Blenheim also offers al fresco dining, perfect for a spring or summer day of people watching in the Village. Also using the freshest ingredients, Blenheim boasts an impressive cocktail selection like the Summer Storm- made with sambuca, rum, pineapple and orange. Next time you’re in the Village and looking for a casual yet five-star dining experience, check out farmhouse-chic Blenheim; just make sure to leave any pretentiousness at the barn door. 283 W. 12th St., 212-243-7073

La Contenta Oeste

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If you’re craving traditional Mexican cuisine with a hint of French flair, you’re in luck. Chef Luis Arce Mota is bringing his popular Lower East Side joint to the West Village and it’s worth a trip. Travel through the exotic culinary terrain of Chef Mota’s Mexico, and sample starters like the Tostada de Cangrejo Salpicon (fresh crab meat, nopales, onion, and oregano) or the classic Tacos de Carne Asada (grilled hanger steak, guacamole, and pico de gallo). For heartier dishes or Platos Fuertes, the Pollo en Mole Poblano (braised chicken breast, mole sauce, wild rice chicken risotto, and sweet plantains) is a rich delight that can’t be missed. The French-inspired Scallops a la Plancha with a buttery morita-beurre blanc sauce is an alternative option that’s lighter, but not devoid of textured flavor. Speciality cocktails such as the potent and sweet Inferno (milagro tequila, homemade ginger beer, lime juice, mint, bitters, and crème de cassis), taste just as delicious as they look on Instagram. 78 W. 11th St., 212-533-2233

Boucherie

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This open-air French brasserie along bustling 7th Avenue South, is giving its patrons a chance to feel and eat like a true Parisian in NYC. The lively bistro, brimming with the clatter of plates, and the shuffling of servers bringing out orders of coq de vins and steak frites, is serving up classic French fare daily for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Start off your meal with an order of their delectable Escargots de Bourgogne with simple yet flavorful seasonings of garlic, butter, shallots, parsley, and lemon. Make sure to pair it with a glass of Kir Royale for the ultimate French experience. Boucherie, which is French for ‘craft of the butcher,’ offers a varied selection of quality meats with signature dishes like the tasty Boucherie Burger (dry-aged Pat LaFrieda blend, aged gruyere, caramelized onions and fries), or the $155 40-oz tomahawk rib-eye with roasted bone marrow and bordelaise. Not to be missed, classic desserts including the smooth creme brûlée and crepe suzette are c’est magnifique. Whether you grab a seat at the wooden bar or a bistro table in the main dining room, don’t miss an opportunity to get a free French lesson from the bartender or a friendly server. 99 7th Ave. S., 212-837-1616

Where to Drink:

Little Branch

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This underground speakeasy from the mind of Sasha Petraske, is one of the Village’s best kept secret (or maybe not anymore). If you can spot the discreet entrance sign on the door, then you’ve come to the right place. Head down to the basement and you are greeted by the sounds of jazz and some of the best cocktails, thanks to the award-winning mixologists that can whip up any libation within seconds and take their art oh so seriously. Space is tight so you may want to come with a date or a couple of friends. Find a spot at the bar and order an Old Fashioned or a Dark and Stormy, but, if you’re feeling adventurous, leave it to the mixologist to create something one of a kind. Leave the credit cards at home. This is a cash-only establishment. 22 7th Ave. S., 212-929-4360

The Happiest Hour/Slowly Shirley

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With a plethora of bars and in-the-know hangouts, there's no wonder the Village’s nightlife traffic is never-ending. So when you come across a superb drinking den that houses not one, but two hot spots, you’ve hit the jackpot. At The Happiest Hour, which resembles a laid-back retro Floridian or Californian resort complete with tiki cocktails, the mood is casual and fun, adding a distinct coolness to the Village bar scene. Signature and classic cocktails such as the Lucy and Rickey (calamansi, passionfruit, guava and soda and your choice gin, tequila, or bourbon), set the vibe for a no-nonsense good time that makes you feel you’re on a vacation retreat. What brings the locals and true carnivore connoisseurs to this joint is the Happiest Burger, #12 of massive goodness, that pairs perfectly with any shaken or stirred cocktail. Let the night take you just a few steps down to the art deco-inspired sub-level, and experience the old school glamour that is Slowly Shirley. Feast on bites including the mac n’ cheese bites or the shrimp tacos, or you can also order from the Happiest Hour menu. Stuck on all the cocktail choices? Try the Typical Banana Ambiance made with curry-infused Clement Barrel select rum, overproof cognac, banana liqueur, Underberg, ginger, lime, lime cordial, and egg white. You’ll go bananas. 121 W. 10th St., 212-243-2827

The Garret

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There’s something ultimately chic and quintessential New York, about a hidden speakeasy-type locale, especially if it means a hidden staircase entrance inside a Five Guys Burger. That’s where you’ll find The Garret. A no-frills cocktail bar where the focus is on the drinks and the company. The cocktail list is micro-sized with 12 cocktails on the list, but doesn’t mean it’s lacking in originality or flavor, but leave it to your bartender to conjure your very own custom-made creation. As for cocktail selections, try the Hey Girl, made with mezcal, fraise de bois, elderflower and prosecco- the perfect combination of smokey and sweet. Even the classic cocktails pack a punch, try the Between The Sheets, made with brandy, white rum, lemon, and cointreau. Beer and wine are also served. The eclectic vibe makes this haunt a neighborhood favorite of both hip scenesters and the average joe. 296 Bleeker St., 212-675-6157

What to Do:

Village Vanguard

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Art and music are an intricate element of the fabric of the West Village culture scene, and none is more prominent than the Village Vanguard, showcasing the greatest jazz talents and sounds since it’s opening in 1935. Such legends like Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Anita O’Day are just some of the top-bill performers to once grace the stage at this nostalgic club. Present day, still run by Lorraine Gordon, widow of proprietor Max Gordon, the Village Vanguard is the spot to catch live jazz performances of all kind, with artists performing six times a week. On Monday nights, come get a taste of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and get lost in a sea of trumpets and horns, while kicking back with a dirty martini in hand. 178 7th Ave. S., 212-255-4037

Whitney Museum of American Art

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With a brand spankin' new location on the border of the West Village (between the Highline and Hudson River), the Whitney is worth a day trip for art aficionados. Holding the largest collection of 20th century contemporary American artwork, the museum also aims to showcase work from living artists of the 21st century. Don't miss artists such as Man Ray, Van Gogh, and Richard Avedon, and catch special exhibitions that rotate periodically. Make it a day affair and grab brunch, lunch or dinner at Danny Meyer’s restaurant, Untitled, serving seasonal American cuisine. Not to be missed? The museums unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s definitely Instagram-worthy. 99 Gansevoort St., 212-570-3600

Washington Square Park

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One of the most picturesque parks in Manhattan is right in the epicenter of the Village and has become a landmark and cultural hub of the neighborhood. Locals and tourists alike pack the park daily to take advantage of the different pathways, gardens, playgrounds, dog parks, picnic areas, and chess tables (remember Searching for Bobby Fischer?), located all around the grounds. Just steps away from New York University, you’ll often find impromptu performances, entertainers, and vendors who bring a colorful flavor to the downtown scene. The most notable feature that makes this park so prominent? The Washington Square Arch that was erected in 1889 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s Inauguration as president.



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