Labor Day has passed, but summer is still here until September 22, whether you like it or not. TBH, I’m pretty over the heat, but for those of you who would like to take advantage of the final days of summer, here are some Brunch Boys approved spots to add to your end of summer bucket list. I’ll just be here with my AC in my face until it’s officially fall.
City Vineyard is a restaurant and wine bar located at pier 26 on the Hudson River with three different bars and two levels of fun. The ground floor is more of a traditional table service restaurant area, while the upstairs deck is more suitable for snacking. It’s perfect for a nice meal out or just for having casual drinks. I’d recommend trying some of their house wines—it is a wine bar after all, and they have a few options on tap. The wines pair nicely with a charcuterie board or an oyster platter. In addition to having good food and drinks, City Vineyard has an awesome atmosphere. Look right, you’ll see the Freedom Tower; look left, you’ll see the most gorgeous sunset (if you go on a Monday, you can enjoy a free sunset movie screening). Since Bryant Park’s films are finished for the season, City Vineyard is a nice spot to relocate.
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North River Lobster Company
If you’re looking for another activity to do on the pier, check out North River Lobster Company on pier 81. It’s a three-story boat that actually leaves the dock every 45 minutes for a joyride up and down the Hudson. It costs 10 dollars to board the boat, but you can stay on as long as you want aka unlimited river rides. Although there are definitely options to sit inside, you are essentially on the water, away from the shade any skyscrapers or trees would normally provide, making this the ultimate spot to optimize your tan and vitamin D intake (always wear SPF, duh). The boat has plenty of picnic tables and benches where you and your friends can order food while sunbathing, snacking on lobster rolls and
chugging drinking whatever your heart desires. They also have deep fried mac and cheese lobster cubes…need I say more?
Smokey, saucy, savory and satisfying. There’s never a bad time for a BBQ, but summertime especially makes me crave burgers and beer. Pig Beach is a huge outdoor BBQ pit on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. This spot has tons of options from both the smoker and the grill. They’ve got ribs, brisket, pork shoulder, hotdogs, burgers, I could go on and on. Definitely order a side or two to cool off your mouth from the spice: housemade pickles are always a good option. They also have a special mac and cheese with—get this—toasted goldfish crackers *drool*. Aside from having bomb BBQ, Pig Beach has fun outdoor games that give it a chill, tailgate-y vibe. The best part, though? It’s dog-friendly. Bring your pup to the picnic. Insider tip: If you’re craving Pig Beach during the colder times of the year, check out the pop-up location in the Village. You won’t get the full outdoor experience, but your tummy will thank you.
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Tacocina @ Domino Park
If you haven’t been to Domino Park in Williamsburg yet, you should definitely take a stroll. Domino Park opened this past June just north of the Williamsburg Bridge, right on the East River. Like Pig Beach, Domino Park is dog-friendly and even has its very own dog park. My favorite part, of course, is Tacocina. Danny Meyer, one of the prolific restaurateurs of Union Square Hospitality Group, also famous for starting Shake Shack, opened Tacocina. What Shake Shack is to Madison Square Park, Tacocina is to Domino Park. There’s first come, first serve outdoor seating available in the designated area of the park. They have a daily happy hour from 4-6 on the weekdays and are open from 11am-10pm (11pm Friday and Saturday). It’s the ideal waterfront snacking spot to get your chip and guac on. My top three drinks to order are the Michelada, which for those of you who don’t know, is sort of a bloody Mary made with beer; the Paloma; and the Mezcal Negroni. While Tacocina is open year round, now is the time to go in order to enjoy longer, sunnier, days.
Although we are in the middle of the concrete jungle, there are tons of places where you can cool off, poolside. Some pool passes can be a little pricey, but for a whole days’ entertainment, it’s worth it. I suggest befriending a SOHO House Member to score an invite to the newest location in DUMBO. DUMBO House opened its doors (but more importantly, its rooftop) earlier this year. This chic club is members only, so you’ll need the hookup. Once you’ve made it onto the list and are finally poolside, you will find, hands down, the most spectacular view of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. My favorite drink is their house tequila special: picante de la casa. As for food, they have plenty to pick from, including small snacks and larger entrees. They also have quite the selection of vegan options, since it’s in Brooklyn and it’s 2018. Although you may have seen this rooftop pool all over Instagram, taking photos is highly discouraged, so be discreet if you wanna tweet.
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There’s something about lunchtime in New York City that’s just so tough. I mean, the line at every salad bar within a 20-block radius is more painful than starving till dinner, and as much as we love our Sweetgreen, sometimes we just need a break from salad. Like, if Chrissy Teigen can eat fried cheese for lunch, we can have our raw kale hiatus. In the meantime, it can be tricky to find good lunch spots that are healthy and affordable, so we tried like, every restaurant in the city and found the best ones around. If you’re looking for a healthy lunch that won’t make you hate yourself, try out these spots:
Westville isn’t new or particularly trendy, but the menu is amazing and the ingredients are healthy, so we’re down to keep going back. However, they don’t take reservations, so you should probably go during an off hour to avoid waiting in line with a bunch of bloggers debating between the dijon brussels sprouts or the Asian bok choy. Either way, Westville has a ton of options for anyone, whether you’re hardcore dieting or literally just want a burger and fries. If you’re trying to be healthy but don’t want a salad, get their grilled chicken, salmon, or veggie burger, and their list of vegetable sides is longer than Caitlyn Jenner’s memoir. You won’t leave hungry.
Usually when someone suggests getting a poke bowl for lunch, it’s a hard no. I mean, I’d rather die than eat raw salmon out of a tin that looks like the clearance bin at Sephora. Luckily, we’ve found a gem that actually makes poke bowls classy, and that gem is Chikarashi. Unlike most poke places in the city, Chikarashi isn’t buffet style or gross, so you just order something off the menu and don’t have to waste your time choosing ingredients to go in your bowl. The genius behind this place is the former executive chef of Neta, Michael Jonh Lim, and there’s a reason for the long lunch line. Chikarashi even offers seared toro, which you won’t find at any other poke spot. Right now they’re only on Canal street, but apparently there’s a NoMad location on the way, and we’re pumped about it.
If you love the taste of curry but won’t admit it because Indian food is unhealthy AF, meet your new Indian bff, Inday. Inday is build-your-own bowl style, and all of their food is antibiotic-free, local, and organic. Their slogan is “Good Karma Served Daily,” and we’re totally on board. Inday is all about healthy food with good vibes. Their traditional Indian flavors will destroy the bland salad you’ve been eating everyday, and the food is legit healthy. Think cauliflower rice, coconut tahini, golden curry chicken, and herb quinoa. For dessert, get their dairy-free dark chocolate avocado cocoa bowl. Sounds funky, but don’t knock it till you try it.
4. Mulberry & Vine
Mulberry & Vine is one of those places that are perfect if you’re out to lunch with the healthiest friend you have, or the friend who would rather die than eat a salad. You basically make a plate or a bowl, and you can pick a protein and sides. They let you sample anything before you get it, which is a huge plus since we tend to have commitment issues. In terms of ordering, people love the chicken and salmon, but the tofu is also amazing if you’re vegetarian. Plus, the roasted sweet potatoes with coconut oil are low key crack. Like, better than sweet potato fries.
5. Beyond Sushi
If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just need a break from your regular salmon avocado roll, Beyond Sushi offers amazing plant-based sushi rolls that are super healthy, obviously. First of all, they use black rice and six-grain rice instead of regular sushi rice, and their rolls are filled with roasted veggies, tofu, and really interesting combos. I mean, your lunch will literally look like a rainbow-colored sushi platter, so it may seem slightly extra, but the food is actually really good. They have a few locations in Union Square, Chelsea Market, Midtown West, and Herald Square, so there’s definitely one close to you.
6. Bluestone Lane Cafe
Bluestone Lane is one of those West Village Instagrammable spots with Free People models and Australian food bloggers, but don’t let the crowd deter you. I mean, at least it’s not tourists, or even worse, families with small kids. We love Bluestone because the dishes are super simple and not boring at all. Like, I think they have a salad on the menu, but people only order that to add some color to their Instagram. The avocado smash is obviously a go-to, but if you’re feeling adventurous, go for the portobello mushroom toast with pesto or the Balthazar toast with ricotta and berry jam. You could also just order everything and convince your friends to split it with you.
7. The Hall at Union Fare
When Union Fare first opened, everyone thought all they served was a croissant that looked like the result of a one night stand between the gay pride parade and a Funfetti cake. But after everyone finally got over the photogenic 5000-cal baked goods, people started realizing The Hall at Union Fare is actually pretty healthy without making you feel like you’re eating a bowl of rabbit food. If you’re into cute toasts, the avocado smash and banana berry toasts are really good, and if you want seafood, we recommend the tuna tataki or salmon skewers. The brussels sprout flatbread is amazing if you want to split with friends and pretend you didn’t realize it came with bacon on top.
READ: The Perfect Summer Bucket List For Getting Lit In NYC
There’s only one place you can go to cleanse your sins on a Sunday morning in NYC, and that is boozy brunch. Bottomless drinks aren’t just an institution in this city, they’re literally the only thing we’ll wake up for after accidentally staying out until 5 AM, otherwise known here as relaxing after a long work week. Like everything in NYC, there are tons of options to choose from, which means we had to thoroughly investigate all the best places to bitch about being rent-poor while chugging champagne. Here are our ten favorite boozy brunch spots in Manhattan, because there’s no fucking way we’re getting on the L train that early:
1. Calle Ocho
Apologies in advance for using this word, but Calle Ocho is fucking lit. If you’re looking for an amazing Mexican brunch for under $30, look no further. Come hungry, because you’ll gorge yourself on the bread basket they dole out before the entree comes. And that $30 price tag I quoted? It includes the drinks. YEP. I’m talking multiple brunch sangrias in various flavors such as tropical, fresas (that’s strawberry for those of you who failed Spanish), and something called Havana Banana—and it’s all included in the price of your meal. Can’t decide between a white, red, or rosé? Try them all (and then die—the dranks are strong af). It’s worth the trek to the Upper West side, just trust me. (From $20)
This spot in the West Village is a failsafe option for when you want something slightly more bougie that involves a lot of guac. This is a two-hour BB that gets you any entree plus unlimited mimosas, wine or frozen margaritas, and you should really get at least one frozen marg because they’re fire. Their Mexican food is also amazing, so you don’t even need to be wasted to enjoy it. Factor in the chill decor, good service quick refills, and prime location for post-brunch drinking, and this spot is a 10/10. Just remember to book in advance. ($33)
If you feel like going back to the LES where you were blacked out a few hours ago, head on down to Essex for a fun brunch scene with loud music that’s good for bigger groups. You’ll get unlimited Bloody’s, screwdrivers and mimosas here and they go heavy on the alcohol which is a huge bonus because fuck work tomorrow. It’s also a loft-style restaurant with lots of natural lighting for your Instagram which is very important for obvious reasons. ($32)
4. Crooked Knife
This place gets our glowing stamp of approval as another very solid brunch option in the West Village. The menu has entire sections dedicated to omelettes and eggs bennies, and also things like fried mac n’ cheese and creme brulee french toast if you really feel like falling off the wagon due to the Sunday scaries. If you come when the weather’s nice, there’s a cute outdoor patio which is pretty small, but also hello, you’re in New York. ($39)
5. Dos Caminos
There are five Dos Caminos locations in NYC, which means no matter where you live, you aren’t far from delicious Mexican food and margs around brunch time. You’ve likely already been here for birthday dinners or drinks since this chain is somewhat of a staple, but why not try it out earlier when you can get the same cocktails for less? When it comes to hungover brunch we’re really not trying to reinvent the wheel here. ($18 + entree)
6. Il Bastardo
If you’re trying to keep the party going then we’d recommend Il Bastardo in Chelsea, which is always packed and rowdy enough to make you forget that other people are getting their shit together at this hour. Each person gets their own bottle of champagne or rosé, or a full pitcher of mimosa. There are also shot girls walking around, and if all that won’t get you buzzed then we can’t help you. The music is loud and there’s a strict dress code, so it’s not casual by any means, but then again none of the best boozy brunches are. ($65)
By now you’ve probably gotten copped onto the fact that Mexican is the main cuisine for the best boozy brunches, and Maya is yet another example in the UES. The kicker here is that you get unlimited drinks and food for two hours, which is enough to fuck up your diet in a major yet justifiable way. They’ve got a bumping hip-hop playlist going so order one of everything and go to town (it’s not like you’re going anywhere after…you’re in the UES). ($45)
8. Cafe Cortadito
You don’t come to Cafe Cortadito for the food, you come to get wasted with a bunch of friends at noon in the East Village and not get judged for it. The venue is small and always packed but on the plus side they’ve got outdoor seating for when it’s nice out. They serve Cuban dishes here, and with any entree you get unlimited mimosas and sangria. They have also have a champagne mojito which you should definitely get like, at least five of. ($23)
Poco is another fun spot in the East Village with great decor and even better vibes for day drinking on FRIDAY (if you’re taking a “sick day” from work), Saturday or Sunday. This place gets booked up fast so you’ll need to make a reservation in advance and it’s cash only *eye roll*. Other than that it’s a solid spot to drink all the Bloody’s, mimosas and sangria that your heart desires and your liver can handle. ($32)
10. Yerba Buena
This place has two locations, one in the East Village and one in the West, and both are highly recommended for a reliable drunching experience with food that’s actually really good (we’d even recommend this place sober, if that was a thing we ever did). Their bottomless deal only lasts for one hour, so you’ve got to be efficient to get through their long list of great cocktails, but we’ve got faith you can take full advantage. ($17 + entree)