The NYC Hot Spots to See and Be Seen In
The places that matter, according to the city's coolest locals.
New York City basically has it all. There’s an energy in the city that just feels like things are always happening. It’s no secret that New York is known for its amazing nightlife, restaurants, bars, and museums. You could live in New York for years and not even come close to checking off every place you want to hit on your list. The key is knowing where to go that’s actually worth it. With the plethora of TikTokers rating and reviewing every single bar or restaurant that was once a little spot you only knew about through word of mouth, it’s becoming harder and harder to be in the know when it comes to great spots in the city.
I enlisted the help of some very fashionable and cool New Yorkers to let me know which spots are their go-tos. Publicist and co-founder of The Black in Fashion Council Sandrine Charles, creative consultant and stylist Brie Welch, founder of marketing agency Haus Agency and clothing brand Haus Label Karina Trofimova, and senior writer at Vogue Elise Taylor shared where to go in the city.
Keep scrolling to check out the places that matter in NYC, and get inspiration on what to wear to each spot.
This Brooklyn spot is known for its organic wine and tasty French food. It’s frequented by cool local Brooklynites like Sandrine Charles. “Being that I am in Brooklyn, I tend to stay local on the weekends, so I would suggest Aunts et Uncles (my friend’s own—it’s vegan and amazing!) or, if local, Café Paulette. It’s one of my favorites,” said Charles.The interior is cozy and charming—the perfect place for a weekday dinner with friends. Every cool Brooklynite has stopped by for a glass of wine and the great atmosphere.
The Nines has definitely been deemed one of the chicest spots for drinks or a late dinner. “If I’m in the city, The Nines or Maison Close, which is where we hosted our Black in Fashion Council dinner,” said Charles. It has a speakeasy, piano-bar vibe with live music and lots of red velvet. Try to book a reservation if you can. It’s a hot spot for cool New Yorkers, and you usually need to have a reservation to be seated. However, if you pop by on a weekday, you might be lucky enough to snag a walk-in table.
If you want to go somewhere that really captures the style and energy of downtown, Le Dive is the place. “My go-to spots for downtown are Le Dive, The Mercer, and Ludlow House. For uptown, Fumo Harlem, [and] Upper West Side, The Chicken Inn or Lido,” Charles mentioned. This natural-wine bar located on Canal Street has quickly become the place to be. “The creativity and people watching in LES are always inspiring, and it feels like home, so dinner at Bongos, wine at Le Dive, cocktails at Nine Orchard, and a slice at Scarr's Pizza,” said Karina Trofimova.Brie Welch also chimed in. “I’m really loving Le Dive and Nine Orchard right now. Le Dive is definitely the sceniest of scenes at the moment. Good for fries, wine, and people watching,” she said.
This French restaurant has the ultimate downtown vibe. It’s dimly lit with a spiral staircase that takes you to the second floor. It’s a quintessential SoHo go-to, and the food is delicious. “Fanelli’s or Raoul’s are fun for a classic SoHo spot, and I never say no to Cafe Select,” saidTrofimova. The atmosphere in this restaurant feels so Parisian and cool—a great place for a weekend dinner with friends.
Nine Orchard has quickly become a frequent favorite of New York fashion people. This chic hotel has beautiful architecture and interior design, so when you’re there, you just feel luxurious and posh. “The lobby lounge at Nine Orchard is uptown but downtown. Opulent yet homey, great for a cocktail, if you can,” said Welch. This hotel has impeccable design and breathtaking views of the city. It’s perfect for when you want to feel a little fancy. Trofimova echoed that. “I might be biased because my studio is on Orchard and Grand, but, really, Orchard Street is filled with new and iconic places alike,” she said.
Bemelmans Bar is the definition of Uptown New York chic. This sophisticated piano bar is located inside of The Carlyle hotel, so you already know you are in for an opulent vibe with great cocktails and stellar interior design. “For something classic, MoMA followed by a walk through Central Park and a drink while listening to the piano player at the Bemelmans Bar,” said Trofimova.
The Polo Bar is dripping in Uptown New York City vibes. Not only does this restaurant embody that classic, rustic, all-American Ralph Lauren aesthetic that we love, but it also serves classic cocktails, light bites, and a full dinner menu. “I have two dream itineraries. One: dinner at Indochine followed by dancing at Jean’s Lafayette. Two: burgers at The Polo Bar followed by drinks—and a show—at the Aman Jazz Club. Both nights fulfill exactly my favorite interests: fun outfits, delicious food, an energetic atmosphere, and fantastic people watching,” said Elise Taylor.
Another classic uptown spot is located at The Carlyle hotel. Its executive chef, Sylvain Delpique, has created a menu with classic New York City in mind, and the atmosphere of the restaurant reflects that. “If I had a visitor coming to New York, I would take them to Dowling’s at The Carlyle—where we’d order Steak Diane flambéed by the best waiter in New York, Charles—followed by a round of Don’t Tell Tommys at Bemelmans Bar,” said Taylor.