West Village Classics | Grandlife
The Roxy Hotel New York

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600 https://www.roxyhotelnyc.com

West Village Classics

Back to List

From historic literary cafes to decades-old dive bars, these are the local classics still worth visiting in the West Village.

Known for its picturesque brownstones and leafy, cobblestone streets, the West Village has historically been home to many literary and artistic legends and the well-trodden haunts they frequented. Tiny and intimate West Village restaurants with jewel box-like details sit well alongside decades-old dive bars. Here, we roundup the tried-and-true local classics still worth visiting.

4 Charles Prime Rib

Supper club, speakeasy, steakhouse, Michelin-Guide approved restaurant—4 Charles Prime Rib is all these things and more. Tucked away underground on Charles Street in the West Village, this spot is small and perennially popular so reservations are highly recommended. Opened by the Chicago restaurateur behind Chicago’s most famous burger joint, Au Cheval, it makes sense that meat dominates the menu but you can also satiate your hunger with dishes that break from tradition like cacio e pepe carbonara twirled with pecorino, toasted black pepper, thick-cut bacon and bucatini. The ingredients are always fresh and seasonal—that goes for the cocktails too.

3004, 4 Charles Street

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Cafe Cluny (@cafecluny)

Cafe Cluny

Café Cluny has long been a staple for weekday lunches and weekend brunches for the sophisticated yet Sperry-wearing set. Partners of the Odeon and Café Luxembourg serve their French-American bistro flair in a quaint setting. The walls feature framed butterflies, stuffed birds and a border of portraits featuring various West Village neighbors who are friendly with the management—among them Diane von Furstenberg, Ian Schrager, restaurateur Keith McNally. The breakfast club sandwich and housemade granola are dayside winners. Come nightfall, among the low amber candlelight, ambient literary conversations between NYU professors and screenwriters are likely taking place around you. The steak frites are a solid choice, or draw inspiration from the daily special sheet. Profiteroles or a cheese selection are the most sensible for dessert, but the chocolate molten cake will change your life.

284 West 12th Street

Smalls Jazz Club 

Former Navy submariner, Mitchell Borden opened Smalls Jazz Club in 1994. A jazz violinist himself, Borden wanted to carve out a space in lower Manhattan where jazz music and jazz culture could blossom. On any given night, you can witness three bands, beginning around 7pm and ending around 3am. Smalls is, for lack of a better word, small, and it doesn’t take reservations. A cover charge gets you entry but be sure to check its website and arrive a half hour before the set to grab a decent seat.

183 West 10th Street

Minetta Tavern

The historic Minetta Tavern has had a host of identities over the years, from speakeasy in the 1920s to hangout for literary notables in the ’30s including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and E.E. Cummings. The relic was revamped by Keith McNally in 2009, with his signature European bistro atmosphere. The original interior has been preserved and given McNally’s brand of polish, with black-and-white tiled floors, glossy red banquettes, and murals and caricatures decorating the walls. The menu includes the much-talked-about Black Label burger, which features a blend of prime dry aged beef cuts, along with simple brasserie-style dishes and a full menu of beers, wines, and cocktails.

113 MacDougal Street

The Waverly Inn

Nightlife impresario and hotelier Sean MacPherson together with former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter opened this legendary New York nook in 1999. With handpainted murals of 43 Greenwich Village luminaries like Allen Ginsberg, E.E. Cummings, and Fran Leibowitz, you can expect to see the same literary types at the table next to you, or floating around in the ivy-filled latticed garden out back. Formerly unknown, now-famous chef John DeLucie catapulted himself to stardom in the kitchen here, with clever takes on classic dishes: the chicken pot pie is a calling card along with the grilled strip steak. If you happen to swing by Bank Street and Waverly Place on a weekend, the farmers omelet, Bloody Mary, orange and vanilla French toast and a copy of the New York Times is the perfect prelude to a lazy day of museum-going or antique hunting.

16 Bank Street

Three Lives & Company

One of the last bastions of old New York bookstores, Three Lives & Co. wear their mission statement proudly: “We exist for the reader, not the publisher, nor the marketer.” Take one step inside the diminutive store and you’ll find this to be immediately evident. The store has succeeded in surviving in a climate when competitors have dropped like flies, and that’s mostly because it hasn’t changed a lick since its doors opened in 1968. Inside Three Lives you won’t find big displays, overstocked bestsellers, or even discount stickers slapped carelessly on the covers of pulpy novellas, instead you’ll be greeted collection of books hand-curated by the staff, each arranged with its cover facing out, creating a mosaic tile wall of cover art that sucks the casual browser in. Pop in when you can, they are as knowledgeable as they are happy to see you.

238 West 10th Street

Employees Only

Disguised as a Psychic shop on Hudson Street in the West Village since 2004, Employees Only is a much-loved cocktail bar, open late. The vibe inside is always buzzing with the downtown crowd as bartenders in white jackets run the show. Each team member goes through several years of training before earning their white coat with Principal Bartender stitched across the front, upper left side. The pioneering bar program is accompanied by a refined menu serving up American fare with an Eastern European touch . Our favorites include the hand-cut steak tartare, bone marrow poppers, and skate paprikás—all served through ’til the late-night hours.

510 Hudson Street

You May Also Like

Girls Of Summer by Dustin Pittman

art
art & design
fashion
fashion
photography
stories
Selected works from the the legendary New York photographer's archives are on display at the Roxy Hotel.

Taste of Tribeca Returns

food & drink
stories
Attention, foodies: start working up an appetite as the outdoor food festival returns to Duane Street on May 18th.

New York Art Bars Old & New

art & design
bars & nightlife
stories
The legendary spots where famous artists drank and the bars drawing the new school of artists today.

Best New Cocktail Bars Downtown

bars & nightlife
stories
From a glitzy jazz bar to a Northern Mexican-inspired hotspot, these are the new kids on the block.

The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt

music
stories
On his NYC loves, hates and meeting John Lennon.

Latest & Greatest: Best New Openings

bars & nightlife
food & drink
stories
From a gluten-free Japanese bakery to two new wine bars that couldn’t be more different and that we love equally. 

New York's Best Pubs Below 14th Street

bars & nightlife
food & drink
stories
Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or just another pint-drinking night out on the town, these are the downtown pubs worth checking out. 

Ruby Fox is the Ultimate New York Sensation

entertainment
music
stories
The drag performer and DJ talks about their highly anticipated debut EP, why it's time to shake up New York's drag scene and more.
The Roxy Hotel New York

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600 https://www.roxyhotelnyc.com
Best Rate Promise