Alfresco Dining Sidewalk seating outdoor dining new york open street program dimes ten bells dudleys kikis greek the odeon dante gilligans little ways via carota buvette bar pisellino carbone roxy hotel

Grandlife guide

Weekend Block Party: Alfresco Dining, Live Jazz & More

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There is music in the streets of New York City. The swell of outdoor activity has culminated in a kind of collective soundtrack curated by restaurants, patrons, local residents, and musicians. With some 47 open streets dedicated to outdoor dining, the city has sprung into gear with the soundtrack to match. Here, we round up a few particularly lively downtown streets and share tips on when to go (happy hour, anyone?), what to expect, and more.

Orchard & Canal Streets, Lower East Side  

Running perpendicular to each other, Orchard and Canal Streets are a bountiful source of delicious food, organic wine, and palpable energy. 

Dimes

We recommend kick-starting your weekend with a late lunch/brunch at this Lower East Side eatery, which has had wild success since opening its original 18-seat outpost. The menu is reflective of the young and creative people who frequent this health-minded diner. We love the power bowl, a plant-focused ensemble of black beans, black rice, kale, avocado, pumpkin seeds, alfalfa, and spicy salsa verde, but really you can’t go wrong with any of the menu items. We also love the wheatgrass margarita. 

Ten Bells

Head over to Ten Bells for happy hour (arguably the best in town) for $1 oysters and $18 carafes of wine from 3pm to 7pm. Ten Bells has gained a reputation among lovers of great wine for its lengthy selection of organic wine.This cozy spot also dishes up small Euro-centric plates for sharing including burrata with piquillo peppers and basil in olive oil, boquerones (white anchovies in vinegar and olive oil), pulled pork sandwiches, cheese and charcuterie, and more. 

Dudleys

Drop by Dudleys, the Aussie-American cafe on Orchard and Broome, for small bites—olives and haloumi; burrata; salt and pepper calamari—a cocktail—we like the Legends Tale, a mezcal and jalapeno tequila-based drink—and some colorful people-watching.

Kiki’s

Next stop, Kiki’s, a tried-and-tested local favorite serving tasty Greek cuisine in a buzzy atmosphere at a price that is more than fair. Located at the juncture of Division and Orchard Streets, Kiki’s is the perfect vantage point for even more people-watching. The menu is extensive and perhaps a little overwhelming, but this is your chance to order up large and share in the flavors with your dining partner. Try the smoky eggplant dip, grilled octopus, and the whole fish catch of the day.

 

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West Broadway, SoHo & Tribeca 

This long stretch of road forms the backbone of Tribeca and SoHo. Slicing across Canal Street, on either side you have your pick of some of the city’s most iconic venues, many of which are welcoming customers for alfresco dining. 

The Odeon

Streetside dining has long been a major draw of this Tribeca institution, which has reopened for alfresco dining from 10am to 9pm on weekends. Here, the three-martini lunch stays alive and well. As for the food,  we’re particularly fond of the croque monsieur, and the tuna burger. 

Roxy Plaza 

Take a slight detour to Sixth Avenue for brunch classics and live music outside the Roxy Hotel from 11am to 3pm. Come back in the early evening for a sunset drink, with more live music courtesy of piano man Michael Garin. 

Gilligan’s 

Stop by this spacious outdoor bar-restaurant for a taste of the tropics. Lush palms and nautical touches complement décor with a distinct island vibe and the food and drink to match. We recommend the seafood dishes, sourced from the best farms and fishermen on Long Island; the signature pizzas served straight from the kitchen’s stone oven are also a must; and, of course, the famed frozen watermelon margarita.

Little Ways 

Wander up the street to Little Ways, a ’70s-style bistro from the Flower Shop team, now open for alfresco dining. We recently caught up with co-founders Ronnie Flynn and Dylan Hales to get their suggestions for what to eat—the chef’s selection of meats and cheeses; grains and greens bowl—and drink—espresso martini and a glass of wine from their natural and biodynamic selection.  

 

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Grove Street, West Village

A taste of Europe in the West Village, Grove Street has you covered for everything from breakfast to a late-night snack, thanks to superstar chefs Rita Sodi and Jody Williams, who collectively own and run the three spots on our must-visit Grove Street hit-list.

Buvette

Buvette, roughly translating to ‘small bar’ in French, combines the elegance of an old-world café with the casual nature of a neighborhood eatery. The outdoor dining setup will have you feeling like you’ve been transplanted to Aix-en-Provence. If you’re yet to get your brunch fix, we recommend Buvette’s famed waffle egg sandwich. 

Bar Pisellino 

Bar Pisellino is the spot for a post-brunch digestif. Dedicated to the art of drinking, this all-day Italian bar and eatery is also a must for pre-dinner arancini and spritz enjoyed on the sidewalk. 

Via Carota 

Stroll over to Via Carota and be prepared for an hour-long wait (minimum). In the meantime, let your appetite build because once it’s go time, you won’t be able to hold back. We recommend absolutely everything, but in particular, the zucchini fritti, burrata di puglia, cacio Pepe.

 

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MacDougal & Thompson Streets, Greenwich Village

Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, MacDougal Street is home to some of the world’s most notable comedy and jazz venues. It is also home to some pretty fantastic bars and restaurants offering outdoor dining. 

Dante 

Time for a negroni at Dante! There are few New York institutions with a legacy as rich as this landmark spot, and the accolades don’t hurt either especially the team’s most recent, “world’s best bar” award. Dante also cooks up tasty Italian fare.  

JG Melon 

This old-school burger joint has long been a Greenwich Village go-to for a casual dinner. It’s all about burgers here but the martinis aren’t bad either.

Carbone 

Head around the corner to Carbone on Thompson Street. This fancy red-sauce joint is perpetually packed, so best to book in advance. We recommend going straight for the crowd favorites, the world-famous Spicy Rigatoni Vodka, and a slice of carrot cake. 

 

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