Best Things to See, Eat, and Do in the East Village

December 18, 2018 0 0

The East Village is a long-standing cultural hub within Manhattan, and it’s for a good reason, too. It’s the neighborhood where you’ll find a broad range of eclectic activities all in the same place — from museums and film archives like Anthology Film to happy hour oysters and beer at Upstate to Russian and Turkish baths to punk rock tiki bars and more. It’d be silly to try to squeeze everything into an hour or two, so why not make a day of it? With this list you’ll discover all the best things to do, see, and eat in the East Village in minutes so that you can make the most of your urban adventures.

Name Location Description
Anthology Film Archive 32 2nd Ave Anthology Film was opened in 1970 as a place of study focused on preserving and screening indie and avant-garde films. Today, it still serves a similar purpose by studying, collecting, and exhibiting a variety of movies for the public to view. Screenings include pictures like Forty Guns, Hellfire, and Arizona, among other 16mm or digital video options. There’s also a gallery and museum on the history of film located inside, and the venue is likely to keep film-buffs entertained for hours on end.
Mother of Pearl 95 Avenue A Pretend you’re lounging at the beach when you grab drinks at this Polynesian-inspired Tiki bar. The decor manages to remain upscale without crossing over into kitschy and it’s known for its specialty cocktails that are ready-made to post on social media, like the Shark Eye, featuring passionfruit, lemon, curacao, bourbon, rye, and tiki bitters served in a shark glass drenched in blood. The food menu is also full of vegan fare like a Mushroom Tiki Burger or a Tofu Pad Thai. Even if you don’t plan on eating here, it’s a great place to meet for happy hour drinks before continuing on with your night.
UCB East 153 E 3rd St The East Village location of UCB delivers the same type of affordable and innovative comedy to be found at the West side branch. On Sunday nights you’ll find the famed B.Y.O.T. free improv show that lets audience members actually perform on stage. There are also other weekly regulars like the “Fresh Out of N.Y” comedy special with guests like Zach Galifianakis and Jim Gaffigan, or the “Gentrify” weekly variety show that focuses on sketches. An even bigger draw aside from just a good old laugh is also the fact that this place doesn’t have a drink minimum.
Mast Books 72 Avenue A Avid readers will find it extremely easy to nestle into this neighborhood institution’s collection of cultural theory, graphic design, poetry, and small-press publishing options. This shop may not be a huge or commercial bookstore, but it is one of your best bets if you’re looking for unique or rare books that are difficult to find elsewhere. And, if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, there’s a very knowledgeable staff on stand-by that’s ready and waiting to help you with recommendations.
Turntable Lab 84 E 10th St Vinyl veterans and newbies alike will feel comfortable perusing in the non-judgmental environment at Turntable Lab. If you’re willing to put aside a good chunk of time to go crate-digging, you’ll be rewarded with rare finds or bargain steals on genres like 80s hits, hip-hop, jazz, and drum and bass. Past finds have included artists like Caribou, Oddisee, and William Onyeabor. For those in the music business or trying to be, there’s also a collection of DJ equipment, microphones, and speakers to be browsed through here.
The Pyramid Club 101 Avenue A #1 The Pyramid Club is an iconic nightclub that paved the way for the flourishing of drag and LGBT culture in the East Village. Despite its legendary status, it still remains a super casual “come as you are” spot where you can have fun and dance to live bands or DJ sets. Frequent events include an ‘80s Dance Party with drink specials like $3 drafts and $5 vodka well drinks and the Defcon Industrial party, which showcases inventive synth, electro, and new beat music. Don’t forget to bring cash for the $8 cover charge, though.
Huertas 107 1st Avenue Huertas is the ideal happy-hour spot to fill up on some decadent tapas. The ambiance is bright and airy, right down to the wood-clad bar, and from 5:30PM to 7PM you’ll find $5 Spanish wines like Tempranillo or Verdejo and $4 drafts of Prima Pils IPA or Paramount pale ale on offer. The menu serves up Basque small bites like croquettes pintxo and bigger plates like boquerones or caballa. If you’re with a group and want to share, try the patatas bravas or the huevos rotos. There’s also a family-style taste-testing meal that comes in at $48 per person on Sundays and Mondays and $60 every other day.
Upstate 95 1st Avenue The best time to visit Upstate is between 5PM and 7PM, where you can get six oysters and a craft beer for just $12. It’s one of the best spots for seafood in the village, so the menu also has dishes like mahi-mahi, fettuccine with clams, and seared scallops. The beer selection, on the other hand, is rotating and features selections like the Darbee Irresistible Pale Ale or a Kelso Pilsner. There’s limited seating here though, so if it’s a weekend you may want to arrive before it opens at 5PM if you want a guaranteed spot.
Veselka 144 2nd Ave Veselka is open 24/7, so it’ll be there waiting for you once you’re done bar hopping around the village. It’ll also have all the Ukrainian comfort food you need – like bigos, beef stroganoff, and veal goulash. The potato pancakes are also likely to sop up some alcohol and save future you from a hangover, which is a win-win in our book. If you save room for dessert, you need to try the Kutya, which is a traditional pudding made with wheat berries, raisins, walnuts, poppy seeds, and honey.
Death & Company 433 E 6th St Don’t let the wait stop you from visiting Death & Co – it’s one of the most popular bars in the village, but the cocktails are well worth the time it’ll take you to get inside. The vibe resembles that of a speakeasy, so you won’t catch any bartender serving you drinks without a bow tie and suspenders on, but you will probably need some candlelight to help you read the menu. If you want something shaken, try the Paradise Lost with Rhum JM Blanc or the Hummingbird with Dorothy Parker Gin for stirred. There’s also a good selection of beers on drafts and wine to be found here here, but the craft cocktails are definitely the stars of the show, though they’ll run you over $20 apiece.



For more on the best things to do, see, and eat in the East Village, be sure to read:


Tags: Culture, Top 10 Guides, Travel Categories: Culture, Top 10 Guides, Travel
Christina Elia

Assistant editor Christina Elia is currently pursuing her BA in Art History Communications at Fordham University, and writes about various topics ranging from arts and culture to practical tips and how-to advice. She has been published on online platforms such as The Odyssey. You can follow her on Twitter via @stinaelia

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