The Weekend Shortlist Jan 18 to 20
Friday Jan. 18
Prepare to dance as Brooklyn’s favorite Afrobeat ensemble, Antibalas, stop at Southpaw to bring you a rumpshaking good time. Come early to catch the offbeat antics of Vic Thrill. While Mexican restaurants may be everywhere, not all are created equal. One that stands out, in that hood, is Los Pollitos II. Having gone several times, what makes me come back for more are the Chilaquiles for brunch and the gorditas for dinner. The guacamole is damn good too. Did you say you like beer? I like beer! Hooray for puppies! At Pacific Standard, the front bar has 16 beers on tap and the back room looks like a high school library. I think this is my new favorite bar. Don’t forget to ask about the frequent drinker card program! I’m totally serious. If you like your coffee black, Gorilla Coffee specializes in deep roasted flavors and provides it through fair-trade.
For fans of the Mooney Suzuki and the MTV show Made, this is a match made in heaven. Stop by to see the band perform and the show film live. The Ettes, Silver Rockets, and Nouvellas also perform. For dinner, The Lodge, with décor reminiscent of a log cabin and a menu coming from the same forest, serves comfort food in a warm and inviting setting. For drinks, Hope Lounge is a great stop. Exposed brick and earth tones mingle and the outdoor patio is big. The drink list is deep with beers from all over the world and tonight, expect a DJ to spin classic party jams. You may or may not have noticed The City Reliquary, a small storefront museum that shows artifacts of NYC, including a flashlight collection, but this place is definitely interesting to check out.
Saturday Jan. 19
On the heels of their newest album 23, Blonde Redhead stops by Terminal 5 with The Raveonettes and School of Seven Bells (feat. Ben Curtis of Secret Machines). Arguably one of the top bread makers on the east coast, and good to get gourmet pizza’s and sandwiches, Sullivan Street Bakery makes exquisite food using ingredients you’d see on the Food Network! More bar than grill, Rudy’s is like going back to college, minus the books. The beer is cheap and by “grill,” they mean free popcorn and hot dogs. If you have trouble finding the bar, just look for the 6 foot tall fiberglass pig standing outside! To get out of the cold and see what an upper-class mall is like, stop by The Shops at Columbus Circle. Expensive restaurants like MASA and shops like Williams Sonoma are fun to browse through to see how the other half lives.
Still one of the kings of soul and funk, along with being the former voice of “Chef” from South Park, Isaac Hayes is still the epitome of cool and his voice still turns women into hot buttered soul. What goes best with soul music? Soul food! While the original Junior’s in Brooklyn is best, this midtown location offers a nearly identical menu of deli sandwiches, diner entrees, and of course soul food fixin’s, on top of some of the best cheesecake in NYC, which is saying a lot! For drinks check out The View. Not the TV show, but the bar high atop the Marriot Marquis. Plus it revolves. If you’re looking for something to do, go to Madame Tussauds wax museum. Yes, it’s a cheesy tourist attraction, but where else are you going to get a picture with Nicholas Cage or Samuel L. Jackson?
Sunday Jan. 20
Come celebrate the man who not only preached for freedom and equality, but marched and died for it with Gil Scott Heron. This radical black singer and poet from the 60s is one of the few people worthy of spending this holiday with. For an eclectic menu that mixes upscale and down-home food, this Blue Ribbon location, a wine bar and restaurant, offers lighter fare including foie gras, cheese plates, caviar, and steak tartare. The Village Tavern is a really comfortable neighborhood bar that’s great for catching sports games or just chilling for a drink, which is what I prefer to do when I’m in the vicinity. Also in the area is Bleeker Bob’s. It’s one of the oldest independent record stores in NYC and the selection is deep. The place looks a mess, but the staff is surprisingly friendly and extremely knowledgeable about what they have.