Time Out readers have spoken, and below are the venues they named their absolute favorite in the East Village. So the next time you’re in the area and in need of food, drink or retail therapy, make a beeline for these places and you won’t go far wrong.
For more great things to do in the East Village check out our full East Village guide.
Pinoy pals Nicole Ponseca, Enzo Lim, Tomas Delos Reyes and Noel Cruz have been on a mission for a while to bring the Philippine cooking they knew as kids out of New York’s ethnic-food ghetto. With fresh-faced restaurants, they’ve been spreading the word to novice diners without watering anything down. Maharlika, their first venture together, combined traditional, sometimes challenging tastes with a cool downtown vibe. Jeepney, its honky-tonk sequel, offers a more immersive ethnographic journey, a roughing-it trip with rich rewards. The restaurant is named for a ramshackle form of public transport: surplus U.S. Army jeeps bedazzled with racing stripes, flashing lights and the occasional cheesecake photo hung like a centerfold in a truck driver’s cab. The back room of the spot pays tribute, with aluminum walls covered in glamour shots of Filipino babes. And the food and drink served inside are as much exaltations of lowbrow nostalgia—of the street eats and dive bars of urban life in the East Asian archipelago. Everything comes with a story behind it, which all of the owners—Lim works the bar; Ponseca, Delos Reyes and Cruz take turns in the dining room—are eager to share. They might regale you with memories of the Manila saloons that inspired the beer snacks, or pulutans, that go down so well here with a chilled San Miguel—the tender braised tripe served in golden strips like fried calamari, the chewy nuggets of sweet, sticky tocino (a meaty pork jerky soaked in 7UP). Some thin
The nattily attired bartenders are deadly serious about drinks at this Gothic saloon, a pioneer in the current mania for craft cocktails. Behind the imposing wooden door, black walls and cushy booths combine with chandeliers to set the luxuriously somber mood. The barkeeps here are consistently among the city's best, turning out inventive and classic drinks such as the Sweet Hereafter, a Latin American martini riff made with floral pisco, St.-Germain, Dolin Blanc vermouth and Cocchi Americano.
The folks at the bar won’t do your laundry while you sip your pint of Old Speckled Hen. The name refers to the storefront’s past life as a laundromat. Everything else is pure English pub, including the Tuck Shop meat pies, dark wood interior and earnest devotion to good beer (there are 19 varieties on tap). During happy hour, weekdays from 3 to 8pm and 1 to 8pm on weekends, all drinks are half off.
This is probably the best venue in the city for seeing indie bands, either those on their way up or the ones holding their own. Still, the Bowery also manages to bring in a diverse range of artists from home and abroad. Expect a clear view and bright sound from any spot. The spacious downstairs lounge is a great place to relax and socialize between (or during) sets.