“My God, I shouldn’t do this!” I remember saying as I was calculating the finances for my move. “I can barely afford this. Really, I should not be doing this,” I whispered to myself over and over. But it was settled: I was determined to live in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City. It had everything I wanted: big music scene, great bars, and some delicious restaurants. Even if I had to cut costs on everything else in my life, it was where I wanted to be. Now, 10 months into my lease, there’s no where else in New York City I’d rather live. As a result of random Tuesdays, Sundays, and Fridays exploring the area, I’ve created a definitive list of the lesser-known places to eat, relax, and party in the Lower East Side.
Ah, New York City. Your diversity is incredible, and you truly never sleep.
Without further ado, here’s the list of a few places I’ve loved during my time in the LES/EV thus far. These were found by exploring the area, asking people for recommendations, and going on random hunts for enjoyable spots!
Landmark Sunshine Cinema: The Village Voice newspaper declares it, “the hippest theatre in NYC…by a mile.” With a focus on pre-releases and indie films, this spot right on East Houston Street and Essex Street separates itself from all the AMC Loews in NYC. Waiting for ‘Superman’ before it was nationally released? Check. Classic scary movies during the Halloween season? Check. The Landmark Cinema shows the movies you’ve seen get insanely high scores on Rotten Tomatoes but don’t play in major theaters.
Professor Thoms: New England sports fan? Syracuse University college sports fan? Fan of the TV show “Lost”? I’m obsessed with all three of those things, so Professor Thoms is my ideal bar. Every Thursday they play Lost re-runs on their TVs, and their happy hour runs until 7 pm on every weekday. The bar has a nice layout, and doesn’t get overly crowded outside of big Boston sporting events.
The Local 269: One of the neatest parts about the Lower East Side is its music scene. Inhabitants from all over the city travel to Essex Street, Avenue B, and Rivington Street to see up-and-coming musical acts live. Jimmi Hendrix, The Who, Pink Floyd, The Beastie Boys, and Lady Gaga are some of the artists that regularly performed in the area. The Local 269 is home to a lot of smaller, indie bands (and has some great jazz during the weekends).
El Maguey y La Tuna Mexican Restaurant: Great Mexican food with a free (and extremely strong) frozen margarita or sangria. The food is simple and extremely inexpensive, but tasks great. Plus, the wait staff is always friendly and free chips and salsa is always a bonus.
Parkside Lounge: Right next door to El Maguey y La Tuna, Parkside Lounge is a great dive bar filled with games, a large bar area, and some great seating. The crowd is relaxed, the bartenders are friendly, and someone’s always willing to play a game of foosball.
The Bean: Located on E 3rd St. and 1st Ave., The Bean is a great coffee shop. Cheap prices, friendly staff, and outdoor seating make it a smaller, homelier version of Starbucks. During the day and early evening, you’ll see people inside typing away on their laptops while others sip their coffee on the outside. The shop is always crowded, but always enjoyable.
QoD: Where you live, what’s your favorite spot to hang out?