A Local's Guide to Lower Manhattan

As New York City bounces back, Downtown is on the upswing. Here's the latest.

A rooftop bar in downtown Manhattan, New York City
Jimmy, the rooftop pool bar at ModernHaus SoHo. Photo: Nikolas Koenig/Courtesy of ModernHaus SoHo

The blocks south of 14th Street may have felt unusually quiet of late, with fewer tourists and office-goers on the streets. But New York has faced crises before — and the city always endures. This time, Downtown is returning to life with new draws that speak to this spirit of resilience.

One of the most notable debuts is Great Jones Distilling Co., the first whiskey distillery in Manhattan since Prohibition. The expansive 28,000-square-foot facility debuted in NoHo in August and offers tastings, tours, and three separate dining venues. In the West Village, restaurateurs John McDonald (Lure Fishbar, Bowery Meat Company) and Serge Becker (La Esquina, Miss Lily's) joined forces this fall to create American bistro Hancock Street. Nearby is Saint Theo's, which serves up a grand tour of Italy — and has quickly become a hotspot for the style set.

A dish at One White Street restaurant in New York's Tribeca neighborhood
Foie gras with walnut and plum at One White Street, in Tribeca. Gary He/Courtesy of One White Street

Tribeca has a new culinary destination in One White Street, a townhouse transformed into a three-story restaurant and wine bar; chef Austin Johnson, formerly of the Michelin-starred Frenchie, in Paris, uses produce sourced from the restaurant's dedicated farm in upstate New York. On the other side of the island is Andrew Carmellini's highly-anticipated Italian chophouse Carne Mare, in the Seaport, serving up top-tier cuts grilled to perfection.

Sixty Three Clinton, on the Lower East Side, is a tasting-menu spot from a pair of longtime friends — chef Samuel Clonts and beverage director Raymond Trinh — who previously worked together at the three-Michelin-starred Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare. Acclaimed Tokyo yakitori restaurant Torien has set up shop in Nolita, where chef Yoshiteru Ikegawa skewers and masterfully cooks every part of the chicken, from thigh to cartilage, over charcoal. The Nines, just opened above its sister spot Acme in NoHo, converges timeless elegance with contemporary touches in a 70-seat space designed for imbibing, dining, and jiving to live piano. And buzzy KYU just opened — showcasing a mouth-watering array of Japanese-inspired barbecue grilling, like smoked wagyu beef brisket, whole-roasted cauliflower with goat cheese and shishito herb vinaigrette, and a multi-layered coconut cake. End a night out at Overstory, a rooftop lounge from the team behind hit FiDi restaurant Crown Shy, for inventive cocktails and killer views.

Carne Mare Interior
Courtesy of Carne Mare
Exterior of Versace store in New York
Versace's new Greene Street boutique, in SoHo. Courtesy of Versace

SoHo has long been a premier shopping hub of the world — and it's truer now than ever. A new boutique from Versace, which opened in July, adds the label's signature glitz to the cobblestones of Greene Street. Tennis outfitter Wilson will soon open a permanent location on Broadway after hosting a pop-up for the U.S. Open. New York staple Tory Burch opened shop on Mercer Street this fall, and next door, a new location of Mallorca-based brand Meermin offers sustainably made hand-welted shoes at an affordable price point. For more footwear, Rothy's added a second NYC storefront in nearby NoHo this month. The sustainable retailer makes knit shoes, bags, and accessories from recycled water bottles with almost zero waste.

The iconic Pearl River Mart, considered the world's first Chinese American department store, has just reopened in SoHo after being priced out of its previous location on the edge of Tribeca and Chinatown — leading many to fear it as closed for good. It's now celebrating 50 years as a favorite destination for homewares, decor, and foods from across Asia.

Take a break from shopping, and NYC's busy streets, at Aire Ancient Baths on Franklin Street. The expansive spa built in an 1883 textile factory is one of the best escapes in Manhattan. The candle-lit room with soaring ceilings has five different bath options, a steam room, and massage rooms meant to revitalize and rejuvenate.

The art-filled lobby at the ModernHaus Soho
Pieces by Harland Miller hanging in the lobby of the ModernHaus SoHo. NIKOLAS KOENIG/COURTESY OF MODERNHAUS SOHO

Downtown visitors will find a stylish new stay in ModernHaus Soho, the first hotel project from real estate developer Thor Equities Group. The property, which opened in May, is filled with Bauhaus-inspired furniture and an impressive contemporary art collection — including the likes of Jean Dubuffet, Nicolas Party, and Kaws — spread among 114 rooms and suites. On the ground floor, chef George Mendes (of the Michelin-starred Portuguese spot Aldea) serves a globally inspired menu at Veranda. On the rooftop, the redesigned Jimmy remains a fixture of Lower Manhattan nightlife after more than a decade. Grab a Sazerac tonic for a nightcap and raise a glass to the Big Apple.

A version of this story first appeared in the December 2021/January 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline Downtown on the Upswing.

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