Why I Heart NYC: Holidays Are Officially Here

by Adrianne Benzion
11.30.2011


Now that we have gone through the annual American ritual of over-eating, over-drinking and watching football all day, we can officially start the holiday season. Downtown has been quiet for a few days, however, Christmas trees are being lined up along the streets. Even though the weather has been unpredictably warm, the shift in the season compels you to snuggle up in a cozy restaurant or bar with your friends.

This past week I warmed up in a few different downtown spots. Early in the week I started at a wine bar in the West Village - 8th Street Wine Cellar. From 4PM-7PM this little bar has $18 bottles of wine. The selection was pretty diverse. We chose to enjoy a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. After the vino my friend and I walked to Alta just around the corner. I had been hearing about the sangria at this place for months. I wasn’t there just to booze, of course, I wanted to eat! The list of small plates was fairly substantial. Thankfully, we had a very friendly server to guide us through her favorite eats. I recently took up pescetarianism and this menu provided options for my meat-loving friend and myself. We enjoyed Grilled Smoked Mozzarella Skewers, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, and Seared Sea Scallops. After the first course of tapas things started to get fuzzy. That sangria was strong! I can never forget a good dessert, so we ordered the chocolate soufflé filled with peanut butter and served aside a scoop of espresso ice cream. I always order any dessert that has chocolate and peanut butter.

After we finished our delicious meal at Alta we wanted to move somewhere else for a nightcap. We walked towards SoHo and to my favorite cocktail lounge, Pegu Club. Featuring phenomenal cocktails, another great characteristic of Pegu Club is their atmosphere. This hot spot is great for a good conversation and a quiet drink. Every time I visit I order the Old Cuban. It’s their classy take on a mojito and I feel like I’m transported back to my home in South Florida.

Wednesday night came along - also known as the best night of the year to go out. You have nothing to do the next day except eat and drink so why not go out? My roommates were all in town so we did a little pre-game session at our apartment before heading out. Then we walked over to The Back Room on Norfolk Street. Its name is such for a reason. The sidewalk leads you down a set of stairs and through an alley to yet another set of stairs that guide you inside.

The walls are covered with velvet and paintings of kings and queens, giving this locale a regal ambiance. When I’m feeling queenly, drinking my cocktail out of a highball glass just won’t do. The Back Room offers cocktails in teacups. They also serve beers in brown paper bags. I guess they don’t want to insult royalty by drinking beer out of bottles.

The night was getting late but we made a last stop at Hotel Chantelle to dance off the beer. The DJ downstairs was awesome. Then all of a sudden we smelled smoke. We weren’t far from the DJ booth when we noticed flames shooting upward from the speakers. It was like the record scratched. The music stopped and a man ran over with a fire extinguisher. That was our sign it was time to call it a night and get some rest before our big day of eating.

Sadly, the weatherman says this oddly warm weather will end with November. At least we know the city has some great restaurants, bars, and lounges where we can keep toasty. These places keep us from hibernating in our apartment all winter and that’s just one more reason why I love New York City.


For more Why I Heart NYC with Adrianne Benzion stay tuned to Clubplanet!


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