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NEW YORK CITY | The Travel Empire - Part 2


NYC Guide: Hotel Bars

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Looking for a luxurious backdrop for a special night out? How about a place guaranteed to impress? Check out the city’s best hotel bars, each offering their own version of the perfect atmosphere, the prettiest crowd, and the finest drinks. It’s all about the scene at these well known hotel bars.

Cabanas at The Maritime Hotel: Comprising the North and South sides of the nautical inspired hotel’s roof, Cabanas provides a luxury resort getaway year round. Open to the warm summer nights, the rooftop provides cushioned couches amid lush plant life. In the winter, the rooftop is covered and fully heated, offering the same comfortable lounging among lit fireplaces. Bars are located on both the North and South side. 363 West 16th Street at 9th Avenue

Hudson Bar at Hudson Hotel: Ascend up the escalator, backlit in a dim green neon light, to reach the entrance of the Philippe Starck designed hotel. The bar is dramatic and hip, with the floor lit from below and the ceiling hand painted by artist Francesco Clemente. The bar’s décor is as eclectic and modern as the crowd they attract. 356 West 58th Street

Underbar at The W Hotel Union Square: Hidden in the basement of the luxurious W Hotel at Union Square, Underbar offers a sleek, hip space for drinking and lounging. A large bar lines the back of the room, extra long couches, and cozy curtained alcoves create private nooks in the typically crowded bar. 201 Park Avenue South at 17th Street

Church Lounge at The Tribeca Grand: The freestanding clock in the brick lined triangular space marks the hotel’s entrance. Follow the descending walkway into the open atrium where you can choose a seat at the oval bar or at one of the low set coach and table areas in the lounge. The Pomegranate Martini and Seasonal Caipirinha come highly recommended. 2 6th Avenue at Walker Street

→Dress to Impress…avoid casual dress to increase your chances of getting into any hotel bar, especially on the weekend when the doors are more closely guarded. Avoid flip flops, shorts, and t-shirts in the summer months. Check the hotel’s website for their specific dress code.

NYC Guide: Strictly Beer Bars

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Tastings, flights, sommeliers, and meal pairings…all familiar terms to the wine connoisseur, but now the subject of admiration is beer. Artisan and local beers alike are gaining notoriety throughout the city for having the depth and nuances commonly associated with wine. Impressive and varied offerings paired with bar staff as knowledgeable as the Trappist monks, who turned beer into an art form, raise beer drinking into a true experience.

Burp Castle: Although some German and British beers can be found here, Belgian beer dominates. This small, unassuming bar is themed as an abbey, complete with wooden booths, Gregorian chants, signs prohibiting talk above a whisper, and the occasional bartender wearing a monk robe. Check it out on Sunday, Monday, or Wednesdays when complimentary Belgian fries from neighboring Pomme Frites are served from 6pm-8pm. 41 East 7th Street between 2nd Avenue and Cooper Square124 Old Rabbit Club: An unmarked black door leads you down a narrow set of stairs into this cellar bar. Not much larger than the size of a subway car, the overseers of the bar require you to buzz to gain entry so the size of the crowd stays under control. Aside from the knowledgeable staff, the Rabbit Style Guide will provide guidance for the extensive menu. 124 MacDougal Street at Minetta Street

The Brooklyn Brewery: Since opening its doors in 1987, the Brewery gives tours every Saturday between 1pm-4pm, no reservations required. Not interested in a tour? The Brewery is open to the public on Friday nights, where you can sample the entire range of the local brew at $4 each. 79 N.11th Street near Wythe Avenue in Brooklyn

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden:
The last original outdoor beer garden in New York City. Enclosed by an oversized wooden fence with large arched doors reminiscent of Bavarian castles, the outdoor space is lined with large picnic benches. The grill offers traditional picnic and beer hall fare ranging from burgers to schnitzel which perfectly compliment the large pitchers of beer that line the tables. Perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon with friends and family over conversation and a game of cards. Occasional live music.29-19 24th Avenue between 29th Street and 31 Street in Astoria, Queens

NYC Guide: Halloween

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Few cities in the world celebrate Halloween on the same scale as NYC. A number of annual Halloween events provide perfect entertainment during the spirited holiday. Even those who don’t participate in any organized revelry will nonetheless encounter thousands of costumed New Yorkers and tourists alike spilling over into the city streets.

Each year, following a screening of a classic horror film complete with a soundtrack courtesy of the church’s organ, St. John the Divine hosts the Procession of the Ghouls, a costumed parade through the massive Gothic revival cathedral.

The annual Village Halloween Parade welcomes all those in costume to join the marching route through the Village into Union Square, joining hundreds of puppets, numerous bands and floats, dancers, artists and thousands of other costumed New Yorkers.

Merchant’s House Museum, the 19th century house located in Greenwich Village, hosts a master storyteller to entertain guests with spine-tingling and true ghost stories told by candlelight.

Pop-up haunted houses will occupy otherwise empty retail and warehouse spaces around the city. The most popular, Nightmare, develops a walk-through haunted and horrifying experience based around a unique theme, developed yearly.

NYC Guide: Santacon

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The annual mass gathering of people dressed as Santa Claus and his cohorts that descends upon the outer boroughs before congregating as one large group within Manhattan. Although technically not a bar crawl, the Santacon gathers will make several bar stops along their route and in between reindeer games. To participate, simply stay in line with the rules:

  • Santa looks like Santa. HOLIDAY APPAREL IS MANDATORY. A Santa hat is not enough. Get a Santa suit. Buy a Santa suit. Make a Santa suit. Steal a Santa suit. Get creative: be a Secret Santa, a Santasaurus, Candy-cane, a Reindeer, a Chanukah Chicken, a goddamn latke, Stewardess Santa, Knight Rider Santa, Crusty Peace Punk Santa, the occasional Legless Reindeer, Chanukah Squirrel, Emo-Elf, or the Santichrist.
    Just don’t wear your jeans.
  • Santa acts like Santa. Be jolly. Belly-laugh. Let people sit on your lap. Give out gifts.
    Santa loves reindeer games, stripper poles and creatively concealed guzzle-ables.
  • Santa doesn’t seek media attention. “Ho-ho-ho” is good. “Publicity ho” is lame.
  • Santa doesn’t get arrested

NYC Guide: Food Trucks

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The city is known for its diverse range of culinary offerings across an array of cuisines and ranging from the corner street cart to world-renowned restaurants. The concept of food on the go is nothing new and the sidewalk street vendor has been a staple of the city’s landscape for years. However, the renaissance of the food truck is re-imagining the concept of street eats. Some of the most popular being…

The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck: Mixing classic soft-serve with unique toppings including wasabi pea dust, elderflower syrup, toasted curried coconut, pumpkin butter and many more in addition to seasonal and holiday creations. (www.biggayicecreamtruck.com)

Frites ‘n’ Meats: Affordably-priced, perfectly cooked burgers with the option to customize the core ingredients-the meat (DeBragga & Spitler), the bun (Balthazar Bakery) and cheese (Murray’s Cheese). Paired perfectly with handcut double fried Belgium frites.(www.fritesnmeats.com)

Van Leeuwen: Artisan ice cream produced under the mantra fresh. local. pure. simple., which results in a final product consisting of 18% butterfat with no stabilizers or preservatives. Their commitment to purity even extends to the cups the ice cream is served in, which are made from sugar cane husks. Flavors range from traditional vanilla to the more decadent giandujia. (www.vanleeuwenicecream.com)

Schnitzel & Things: Serving chicken, pork and cod schnitzel as a platter or sandwich with the option for traditional sides such as Austrian potato salad, yukon gold french fries or braised sauerkraut to name a few. (schnitzelandthings.com)

As the trucks are always on the move and their offerings tend to change as frequently as their locations, the easiest way to keep up is by checking their websites and twitter feeds.