Coziest restaurants and bars in NYC
Restaurants born of personal passions carry an exuberance that’s easy to spot. There’s no mistaking Zak Pelaccio’s love affair with Malaysia at his Fatty Crab outposts, or Andy Ricker’s fixation with Thailand at Pok Pok, or even Michael White’s devotion to the old country throughout his Italian food empire. Alex Raij, a Jewish-American with Argentine roots, has made a similarly impassioned career of her Iberian obsession. She started out serving excellent old-fashioned tapas at Tia Pol, before moving on to terrific Catalonian bar snacks at El Quinto Pino and impressive Basque pintxos across the street at Txikito.
Tucked inside the lobby of the Marlton Hotel, this tiny marble coffee counter is rigged like a mansion's study: ornate walnut moldings, oversize Oriental rugs and a working fireplace bookended by red-leather club chairs, an apt setting to crack open your latest read.
Situated just off the L train, the neighborhood haunt is a comfy pit stop for both pregaming and post-partying. The snug hole-in-the-wall bar accommodates low-key pre-party cocktails or sleepy nightcaps with lush leather seats and extremely friendly (and good-looking) barkeeps. Pro tip: Ask for a shot of the exclusive El Buho mescal.
Blame talented toque April Bloomfield for the inevitable wait at this still-hopping West Village gastropub—a pioneer in the kind of meaty go-big-or-go-home grub that’s proliferated since the spot’s 2004 opening. The Pig still serves one of New York City’s best burgers, a rare patty heaped with intense Roquefort cheese and served with a tower of rosemary- and garlic-kissed shoestring fries. Equally legendary is the crispy pig ear salad—among the city’s first cultish offal dishes—napped in a lemony caper dressing. Bookend this prodigal feast with pints of proprietary cask-drawn bitter ale and a spiced ginger cake with a dollop of whipped cream for dessert.
The name for this booze den is appropriate, as it looks equal parts a classic gentlemen’s club (think leather armchairs, stacked bookshelves, roaring fireplaces) and a neighborhood dive, complete with a bocce ball court and downstairs gig venue.