Alphabet City's Best Bets

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Alphabet City's Best Bets

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There’s no place like Alphabet City, the ever-electric, obscenely charismatic part of Manhattan’s East Village. Home to a sea of raucous late-night spots, eccentric boutiques, and no-frills cafes, this stylishly scruffy enclave is still going strong as a magnet for creatives and has managed to hold fast to its bohemian spirit. Looking to dine on authentic Northern Italian dishes away from Deuxmoi merch-clad influencers? Want a wild night out at a crazy, sexy, cool cabaret bar? Or perhaps you’re in need of some spellcasting supplies? You’ll find everything you’re looking for in Alphabet City, from A to Z.

 

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Supper 

If you’re craving an unfussy and excellent bowl of pasta served in a relaxed atmosphere, Supper (est. 2002) is the place to go. If it’s your first time visiting this cozy, cash-only osteria, you must order the Spaghetti al Limone followed by a perfectly pillowy tiramisu, although all of the Northern Italian dishes—and the extensive wine list—are well worth exploring. A favorite among locals, expect a bit of a wait on weekends. You can always try your luck getting a table at owner Frank Prisinzano’s other popular Italian East Village restaurants, Frank and Lil’ Frankie’s. Prego! 

156 East 2nd St, New York, NY 10009; T: (212) 477-7600

 

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Club Cumming 

Expect the unexpected at this queer downtown haunt, where, according to co-owner Alan Cumming, Adele and Jennifer Lawrence once had a wild night involving a drag queen doing Lawrence’s makeup as a tipsy Adele shouted, “She’s the fucking face of Dior!” It’s safe to say that you’ll always be entertained at this decadently debaucherous boîte—mainly when a rotating cast of talents takes the small, red neon-lit stage on any given night. Expect everything from burlesque shows to comedy sets to Broadway performers belting their faces off at open mics. But don’t worry if live entertainment isn’t your thing. Just show up after midnight, when vodka sodas and go-go dancers are aplenty and DJs keep the dance floor packed.

505 East 6th St, New York, NY 10009; T: (917) 265-8006

 

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Enchantments 

If The Craft is your all-time favorite movie or you’re an experienced practitioner of white magic, then you’re likely familiar with New York City’s oldest occult store, Enchantments, which opened its doors in 1982 and recently relocated to Avenue B. Comb the wildly engaging shelves for books on witchcraft and astrology as well as tarot cards, incense, candles, talismans, bath salts, essential oils, herbs, resins, and the enchanting etcetera. If you’re a novice in the spell-casting department, the helpful staff can start you off with a custom pillar candle. It’s carved with your name, astrological sign, and “magical symbols” and used “as a tool to help manifest your intention.” Fear not! The “harm none” principle is followed here, and black magic is not endorsed.

165 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009; T: (212) 228-4394

 

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Joyface

Where have all the cool kids gone? They haven’t left Joyface since it opened in 2018. Entering this hip hideaway feels as if you’ve been transported to a shagadelic 1970s house party. The perpetually buzzy cocktail lounge is outfitted with wood paneling, paintings of toothy wild cats, a fireplace, and lots of retro lounge-worthy furniture, including a much-Instagrammed waterbed. Grab a seat at the bar under the glittering disco ball, order a martini or three, and have the grooviest of nights on Avenue C. 

104 Loisaida Ave, New York, NY 10009; T: (917) 261-2166

 

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Sake Bar Satsko 

Situated a stone’s throw from Tompkins Square Park, this tiny watering hole’s sake selection is enormous. Opened by Satsko Watanabe in 2004, sake enthusiasts continue to swarm this laidback and lovable joint, where walls are plastered with Polaroid photos of happy customers. But there’s no need to exclusively guzzle down sake bombs at the red-lit bar to call yourself a regular. You can also order izakaya-style small plates like karaage (Japanese fried chicken), squid jerky, and a variety of onigiri, and wash everything down with wine or beer. Tip during warmer months: grab a cold pitcher of Sapporo Draft Beer and head to the outdoor seating area for a perfect night out in Alphabet City. 

202 East 7th St, New York, NY 10009; T: (212) 614-0933

 

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Book Club 

What’s more perfect than curling up with a book? If your answer is curling up with a book and a coffee and/or a glass of wine, then get yourself to this homey independent bookstore. Nestled on East Third Street between Avenue A and Avenue B, Book Club, which opened in 2019, moonlights as a sun-drenched cafe-slash-co-working space by day and a moodily lit wine and beer bar by night. Be sure to check out the events calendar—this new-ish kid on the block hosts nights of live acoustic music, literary trivia games, poetry readings, and more. 

197 East 3rd St, New York, NY 10009; T: (646) 678-4160

WORDS Alex Catarinella

FEATURED IMAGERY clubcummingnyc.com

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