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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Thanks to the spontaneous but confusing betch known as Global Warming, the weather in NYC hasn’t totally switched over to fall yet, and our fave leather jackets are still patiently waiting in the closet. Most days, the weather is still in the 70s, and that constitutes outdoor seating weather in our book. I mean, if we can’t use the Bryant Park skating rink as a profile pic backdrop yet, we might as well make the most of this weird, barely-sweater-weather time of the year. If you’re looking to get your last dose of outdoor dining and bomb Instagram lighting, here are the trendiest places to eat outdoors in New York right now:
It takes a lot for us to make the trek to Brooklyn these days, but if you’re sick of your regular Manhattan spots, Aurora is worth the trip. It’s in Williamsburg, so you can expect to see a ton of man buns and recyclable totes, but don’t let that distract you from the restaurant’s amazing food and chill vibe. The outdoor patio is filled with walls of green ivy, and the food itself is almost too pretty to eat. The menu is basically filled with trendy Italian food, so don’t expect avocado toast. Bring friends and share the pasta. Nothing like complex carbs and a good backdrop.
Narcissa is one of those places that is perfect for people with a real appetite, or for models that just need a side of Brussels sprouts post-show. And we’re not just saying that because Karlie Kloss has been spotted here multiple times. Narcissa is trendy and delish, but make sure you sit outside, because the seating is half the experience. People complain that you’re “paying for the atmosphere,” but IDK when that became such a bad thing. The restaurant is kinda hidden inside The Standard East Village, but once you find it, make a reservation and sit outside.
We usually don’t venture to 10th avenue unless it’s 2am and we have a table at Marquee, but Cookshop is one of the better restaurants in Chelsea right now, and the outdoor seating area is everything. Cookshop is perfect for big groups and boozy brunch, so you can enjoy your fourth Bloody Mary while sitting under the restaurant’s photogenic green awnings. They also offer specialty baked goods everyday, so you’ll basically HAVE to order the croissant of the day, or you’re majorly missing out. That would just be a shame.
4. The Pavilion
The Pavilion is one of those restaurants that makes you briefly forget how tragic Union Square really is. It’s set in the middle of the park, and it’s only open in the summer months, so now is basically the last time to get a reservation until next May. The Pavilion’s orange table umbrellas are hard to miss, so if you want to sit outside in Union Square, this is the place to do it. The ambiance is super cute, and it’ll make you disregard the fact that people are doing outdoor public Zumba like, 10 feet away.
5. Untitled at The Whitney
Whether you’re actually down for modern art or just want the trendy geotag of Untitled, you’ve gotta sit outdoors at The Whitney at some point in your brunch career. The restaurant itself is amazing, and it’s basically the go-to outdoor seating in the Meatpacking District if you want to avoid the basic bitches at Catch on a Sunday. Plus, your Instagram of that Milk & Cookies dessert is literally the artsiest thing in the museum to date. You’re so cultured.
Santina is one of those places where you literally forget you’re in NYC, because it’s so damn pretty. First of all, it’s owned by the same team as Carbone, so the food is OBV amazing, and the actual restaurant is this chic, glassed-in space right under the High Line. Plus, they have outdoor seating with pretty lights and umbrellas that are more colorful than your entire wardrobe. Go before it’s too cold to appreciate it.