In the 1960s and ’70s, artists colonized the former industrial wasteland known as Tribeca, New York—or the triangle below Canal Street. These days, Tribeca’s more affordable apartments have been replaced by six-figure lofts, occupied by the rich and famous like film star Robert De Niro, a founder of the Tribeca Film Center as well as the legendary Tribeca Film Festival. De Niro is the celebrity most closely associated with the neighborhood, but the area has much more to offer including some of the city’s best restaurants, cute first-date spots, bars and stores.
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Three things to do in Tribeca, New York today
Japan gave us sushi, but the country also created green-tea desserts—and for that, we are forever grateful (and our pants are slightly tighter). Matcha-flavored sweets are just a few of the many sugary offerings at this café. You’ll drool over the matcha-and–red-bean swiss roll or the matcha crêpe. Éclairs, mousse and other French-style desserts are also up for grabs.
Tiny’s and The Bar Upstairs
This 1810 bi-level townhouse is home to one of the most romantic dinner spots in the city. Reserve a table on the first floor, near the crackling fireplace, for you and bae before fighting over who gets to order the pumpkin risotto. Or share the dish with a side of brussels sprouts fried with Granny Smith apples and sherry-vin–candied pecans, then treat yourselves to the warm, drunken doughnut holes drizzled with whiskey caramel and brown sugar.
The walls of this dimly lit bar-and-lounge are lined with bookshelves that contain bottles of brown spirits, not paperbacks. But the menu itself is a thick-bound anthology filled with more than 1,500 whiskey and cocktail varieties listed. Have a Don Draper night and order a flight, then purchase a stogie to enjoy on the back porch.
Best restaurants in Tribeca, New York
Drew Nieporent is back—well, sort of. It’s not like the revered restaurateur ever really left, operating celebrated spots like Nobu and Tribeca Grill since the ‘90s. But this latest venture returns to the hallowed halls of his restaurant past, the space that held his formative debut, Montrachet, until 2006, and most recently was home to his French fine-dining stunner, Corton, famously helmed by punctilious, Michelin-starred chef Paul Liebrandt. Following Liebrandt's abrupt departure from Corton for the Elm in August 2013, Drew Nieporent has changed gears, enlisting chef Markus Glocker (Gordon Ramsay at the London) to infuse a multicourse European tasting menu with touches of his native Austria: roasted beets "Linzer" with caramelized hazelnuts and red currants; baked turbot with egg yolk and salted pumpkinseeds; and a rabbit "flavors of bouillabaisse" with saffron ravioli and sauce rouille. France dominates the wine list, with a solid lineup of white varietals from the restaurant's namesake, Bâtard-Montrachet.
Best bars in Tribeca, New York
This populist wine bar, with locations in the East Village and Murray Hill features a winning mix of wines on tap, rock & roll on the speakers and a hyperactive beverage list peppered with entertaining asides. Young, energetic staffers are keen to introduce drinkers to lesser-known wine-producing regions like the Canary Islands, where volcanic soil lends a smoky minerality to the 2009 Frontn de Oro ($13 per glass). You'll find most patrons nibbling on something while they drink, and you should follow suit—try veal-and-ricotta meatballs ($17) or sage-wrapped lamb sausages ($8) from chef Marco Canora.
There’s a certain ilk of New York bars that, at first glance, are decidedly ordinary—they offer nothing special in terms of drinks, decor or anything else. Somehow, though, these unassuming, often rundown spots transcend any one of a number of stereotypes and provide pub crawlers with a terrific bar experience. No place fits the bill better than TriBeCa Tavern. While the decor borders on decrepit (TriBeCa Tavern may be a contender for Manhattan’s Worst Restroom), it’s actually quite homey: Ample tables provide plenty of seating space, but the real prize is up front, where a cozy enclave provides patrons with a view of bustling West Broadway. The friendly bartenders are more than happy to whip up whatever drink you desire, though the reasonably priced draft beer, served by the pitcher, is really the way to go. The standard digital jukebox and surprisingly good sound system, like most things at this great little bar, sound better than you would’ve thought.
There’s much more to running a drinks destination than a great cocktail. Which explains why this austere bar nails all of its drinks but flubs so much else. The drinks list features some inspired creations, like the Singer, combining muddled raspberries and rye, and the Sweeter Heater—a tequila cocktail with white pepper, basil and hot sauce. But only the basic bar snacks—dates wrapped in bacon, flaky spinach-cheese phyllo pockets—are solid food options. It’s just as well that the rest of the grub is so hit-or-miss: The generic setting doesn’t invite settling in, anyway.
Best hotels in Tribeca, New York
Despite the name, you won’t find the pink cocktail at this well-maintained hotel in two adjacent 1850s buildings, let alone a bar in which to drink it (though there is a café). Another handy facility is a business center with two Macs that guests can use free of charge. Open continuously since the mid 19th century, the Cosmopolitan remains a tourist favorite for its address, clean rooms and reasonable rates. A wide range of configurations is available, including a suite with two queen beds and a sofa bed, ideal for families. Rooms: 126.
Best shops in Tribeca, New York
Best Made Co.
After hosting a series of local holiday pop-ups, designer and founder Peter Buchanan-Smith opens his first permanent store, hawking outdoorsy goods for the nature-starved urbanite. Rugged wooden crates display colorful bags ($78–$398), while built-in racks are hung with house-brand men’s wax-coated jackets ($348–$590). A peg board shows off all the gear and tools you’ll need for outdoor survival, including handsome axes ($135–$350) that are heated and shaped by four-generation axe makers in Maine, then painted and finished locally in the NYC studio. Stock up on everyday essentials, such as wool throws ($196), Randolph Engineering aviators ($229), nature-centric how-to books ($6–$375) and solid-color cotton tees ($38). Check back often, as one new item is added weekly. You can also attend weekend workshops ($45) on field medicine or ax restoration