The Anglophile's guide to NYC
Have a cuppa, don your best mod gear and pretend you're a Brit for a day.
Wed Jul 18 2012
Photograph: Beth Levendis
The Black Horse Pub
Happy in the haze of a drunken hour
Park Slope's Anglo cred recently got another kick in the pants from the appearance of the Black Horse Pub (568 Fifth Ave at 16th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-788-1975, blackhorsebrooklyn.com), a spacious neighborhood watering hole decked out with pictures of English bands (Massive Attack, the Clash) and large canvas portraits of Del Boy and Rodney Trotter, characters from the beloved Peckham-based Britcom Only Fools and Horses. The rotating cast of English ales has included Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale (all pints are $5–$6), and a footy-loving crowd gets started early during weekend Premiership matches.
The magic of the pub notwithstanding, sometimes you just want to have a nice sit down in front of BBC America (or a favorite from the Hugh Grant rom-com oeuvre) and crack open a quality English ale. The Whole Foods Bowery Beer Room (95 E Houston St between Bowery and Chrystie St, 212-420-1320) and Bierkraft (191 Fifth Ave between Berkeley Pl and Union St, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-230-7600, bierkraft.com) both stock a solid selection, but the real mecca for British brew hounds is New Beer Distributors (167 Chrystie St between Delancey and Rivington Sts, 212-260-4360)—we counted almost 50 varieties on a recent visit, including classics like the biscuity Fuller's London Pride ($2.25–$12.50).
We don't turn our noses up at England's neighbors to the north, and nor should you. If you did, you'd miss out on the Eat Out Award–winning Highlands (150 W 10th St between Greenwich Ave and Waverly Pl; 212-229-2670, highlands-nyc.com), a Scottish pub on an increasingly British stretch of West 10th Street (guys can shop for mod, well-tailored garments a few doors down at the Grahame Fowler boutique). Chef Chris Rendell does a mean lamb sausage roll with harissa aioli ($11)—an ideal partner for a pint of Belhaven Scottish Ale ($9).
Drinkers who share the Queen Mum's love of gin should retire to the speakeasy-ish backroom bar, Madam Geneva (4 Bleecker St at Bowery, 212-254-0350), for a cocktail menu that highlights the juniper-berry–flavored spirit. Try the bar's signature jam-infused tipples (watch as a dollop of house-made preserves is added to your gin-and-lemon concoction...mmm, marmalade and booze).
Dedicated follower of fashion
Gale calls Myers of Keswick (634 Hudson St between Horatio and Jane St; 212-691-4194, myersofkeswick.com) an essential first-stop source for authentic British groceries. The shop, owned by the daughter, Jennifer, of Peter Meyers of Keswick (in the Lake District), has some distinct best-sellers—Heinz baked beans ($2.25) are number one, followed by Branston Pickles chutney ($5.50) and HP steak sauce ($4.50–7.50). Crammed to the gills with British goods, the shop also carries plenty of varieties of the classic, wildly popular McVitties chocolate biscuits ($5.75), which are practically required snacking; they're to tea as Oreos are to milk in the U.S. Plus, you can stock up on boxes of addictive, pyramid-shaped PG Tips tea ($5.50–$24.95)—some say it's superior to loose-leaf. Take thrice daily to help cure you of the disease of Americanness.
If it's good enough for Kate Moss, it's good enough for the populace: The Topshop in Oxford Circus, London, has long been the mecca for high-street British style for girls and guys. That flagship store across the pond is absolutely dangerous—it has an extensive candy counter, a DJ booth, personal shoppers for hip, young folk with pounds to burn and about 300 new styles added each week. The champion of English fast-fashion opened its first U.S. branch in Soho (Topshop, 478 Broadway between Broome and Grand Sts; 212-966-9555, topshop.com) in 2009, and while the store's selection can't hold a candle to that of its English counterpart, it still carries three floors worth of the same absurdly trendy, try-but-look-like-you-don't-have-to-try cache, via a mix of clothes, accessories, makeup and a special TopMan section for the lads.
If you want to turn your pad into a shrine to Britannia, look no further than whimsical Tribeca boutique Working Class (168 Duane St at Hudson St; 212-941-1199, workingclassinc.com). In addition to various incarnations of the famous KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON propaganda posters from WWII (get it on mugs, mouse pads and tees), the offbeat emporium carries all sorts of tongue-in-cheek housewares (bread bins, tea services) and knickknacks, plus ultra-English accessories like striped collegiate scarves ($75) and yellow macintosh jackets ($55–$125).
No one does headlines like the British media, which doles out biting witticisms and deliciously cringeworthy puns in equal measures (for example, The Sun went with STING'S MASSAGE IN A BROTHEL after the Police singer was snapped exiting a happy-ending parlor in Germany—pure class). Get your fix at Around the World (148 W 37th St between Broadway and Seventh Ave; 212-695-2531, aroundtheworldnyc.com), an international newsagent that stocks English magazines. Those who can't stand to read spellings like color or theater in print can also pick up U.K. editions of popular titles (Wired, Good Housekeeping), as well as British music mags (Q, NME) and gossip-filled glossies such as OK! and Hello! One simply can't rely on American media for the latest on Prince Harry's love life.
See our friends, see the sights, feel alright
Now that you're properly clothed and well-fed, you've likely shed a layer of learned colonialism and adopted a melancholic, sarcastic glow. Use this to your advantage as you lock eyes with a terribly attractive Englishman or Englishwoman (or, you know, an Anglophile with a decent fake accent when drunk) at Smiths Night (Sway Lounge, 305 Spring St at Greenwich St; 212-620-5220, swaylounge.com; Sun 10pm–4am; free). Here, the Moz-loving crowd is full of stylish, charismatic types who, with any luck, possess dual citizenship. (Please, please, please let us get what we want!)
The Frick Collection (1 E 70th St at Fifth Ave; 212-288-0700, frick.org) is extremely English: Mr. Henry Frick favored satirical painter William Hogarth and Flemish court painter Sir Anthony van Dyck, and the Dining Room is dominated by Suffolk-born Thomas Gainsborough's 18th-century portraits—there are more paintings by him in this room than in any New York City museum. (We love his oil of The Hon. Frances Duncombe, a serene and elegant lady whose husband was thrown into debtor's prison, despite her wealth.) Frick also cheekily hung portraits of frenemies Thomas Cromwell and Sir Thomas More on opposite ends of a fireplace, and there are decorative art objects and furniture from the London house of financier J.P. Morgan scattered about the residence. Each year from the time he turned 30, Frick traveled to the U.K., and he and his wife, Adelaide Childs Frick, even booked passage on the Titanic. They did reschedule, to their advantage, after Adelaide turned her ankle.
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