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Jack Antonoff
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Musician Jack Antonoff shares his top 5 NYC spots

Get to know fun. guitarist, Bleachers mastermind and proud-as-hell New Yorker Jack Antonoff

Written by
Matthew Love

“I’m very inspired by New York, but I’m inspired by New York as someone from New Jersey,” says Antonoff. “I don’t walk around New York thinking, This is me. I walk around thinking, Oh, fuck, I hope I’m good enough to be a part of this.” It’s the inner anxious underdog in 31-year-old Antonoff, the lead guitarist of NYC indie-pop success story fun., that spurred him to start his solo project, Bleachers, which debuted last year. As a frontman, Antonoff fuses his choruses with bright, unapologetic flashes of ’80s pop and his lyrics with a palpable sense of loss and depression. It’s a thrilling combo—Antonoff name-checks everyone from Robyn to the Mountain Goats as influences—that leads fans to cathartic ass shaking. “I’ve often thought that the perfect song is something you can dance to or cry to,” he says. Regardless of the success of his bands, his high-profile collaborations with the likes of Taylor Swift or his very famous roommate and girlfriend (Girls creator Lena Dunham), Antonoff looks forward to his gigs the same way his fans do: “I’m not there to get paid,” he says. “I’m there to feel like I’m not alone.” And any real New Yorker can relate to that.

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Jack's top 5 places in NYC

Johnny’s Bar
  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • West Village
  • price 1 of 4

I love this bar we always called just “bar,” because there’s no sign out in front of it. It’s a pretty cool spot that I think is called Johnny’s Bar. I used to live around there. When you leave—I think—St. Vincent’s Hospital, there’s this little sign that just says, “Bar.” A lot of the clientele are leaving someone in the hospital, so there’s a really intense vibe in there.

Clark’s Diner
Photograph: Grant Stucker

3. Clark’s Diner

Clark’s Diner in Brooklyn Heights is another special place that’s like a transplant from New Jersey. It’s a real diner that hasn’t corrupted the diner vibe in any way. At any time of day, you can get Thanksgiving dinner or a gyro.

Photograph: Grant Stucker

The Upper West Side
Photograph: Matty Baker

4. The Upper West Side

One thing I love about New York: You can walk anywhere at any time, besides that section of Murray Hill that gets weird for a minute. I really, really like walking around the Upper West Side: I don’t know why, it’s just exciting for me.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

I love Sardi’s with a burning, burning passion. It’s one of those places that was my definition of New York growing up, when I would go into the city on the biggest night of the year and our parents would take us there. To see the caricatures of theater actors all over the walls and Broadway performers that would get a discount and go on their lunch hour—it felt like a working class version of something really glamorous in the entertainment industry.

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