I was in the grips of a full-on Sunday hangover, on a caffeine-addled regret-stroll through East Williamsburg, when I locked eyes with a bar I’d never seen before, The Topaz. I wondered if the name, bestowed on this cocktail and small plates establishment, might be a play on “tapas.” Perhaps. But it also betrays the spirit of the place: a glimmering but none-too-fancy oasis in an otherwise spartan stretch of the neighborhood.
With the launch of Good Night Sonny, Robert Ceraso and Jason Mendenhall, the chef/bartender team behind Alphabet City’s cocktail bar/live music venue The Wayland, are finally realizing their dream of opening a classic New York City tavern in the heart of the East Village. After a gut renovation of the former Simone martini bar location on First Avenue and Saint Marks, they’re having a soft opening this week with drinks and some food; they’ll be officially open for business daily from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. starting this Monday.
A new branch of 2nd Time Around will open at 55 East Houston Street at the end of this month, making it that much easier to play out your own version of Sex and the City.
Turntable, a second-floor Koreatown hideaway specializing in retro vinyl and Korean fried chicken, has opened a second location (its first at street level) in Alphabet City. Chef Lee Jun told us that the restaurant will be closed tonight while they put some final tweaks on the slightly steampunk decor, but starting Tuesday night they’ll be back in business, serving their signature wings while a DJ spins from the owner’s substantial collection of vinyl from the ’50s on up. (Last time we went to the K-town location, we heard a lot of Joy Division, Smiths, Cure, and New Order.)
Are wine stores getting away with “highway robbery?” Gary Landsman, owner of Taste Wine Company, thinks so. To put an end to this crime, he opened his East Village wine store earlier this month with the guiding principle of “taste before you buy.” Our first thought upon seeing the store’s cutting-edge tasting machines? It’s about time.
Talk about buzzy openings. The Lucky Bee, a Southeast Asian “electric tropical paradise,” is slated to bring its spicy, sustainable street food to 252 Broome Street, and owners Rupert Noffs and Matty Bennett love honey so much they’re bringing their own bees.
On the heels of Marcha Cocina’s opening, the East Village just got another chic Latin fusion spot. Visitors to Secara can expect “wholesome homestyle meals, prepared traditionally and presented in a contemporary way,” according to general manager Alberto Spadnuda.
After months of renovation, the East Village’s first kava bar is officially open and offering its kava teas, cold brew coffee and other novel drinks you may have never encountered before like Relaxinol, a liquid relaxation aid containing melatonin and other sleep supplements, which is for sale by the can.
If you’re among those who feel like the East Village is looking more and more like Murray Hill, you’ll get a kick out of this one. Blockheads, the Cal-Mex chain that launched on Third Avenue and 34th Street back in 1992, is opening its East Village location in a couple of weeks.
If you missed the boat on Amy Poehler’s sold-out rooftop film festival at the McKittrick Hotel, buck up: we just got word that Greta Gerwig is bringing outdoor movies to Rockaway. The folks behind The Palms tell us that the mumblecore muse is curating films for the palm-tree-dotted sandbox they plan to open in the next couple of weeks.
Walking into a skate shop for the first time can be intimidating. Habitat pro Al Davis once likened the experience to walking into a neighborhood barbershop, where there are just as many people hanging out as actually getting lined up. Like record stores, these shops are more than just places to buy things — they’re enclaves for a community. Brooklyn’s newest skate shop is keeping that vibe alive, while offering new and vintage items cheaper than most websites.