The Big Apple 🍎.. with 18 hours to kill in New York on my last business trip, it was non-stop for me in what I call a 'Mad' world of a city.
Mind you, in my opinion 18 hours in New York is A LOT! I arrived at LaGuardia Airport just about 11am on a Tuesday morning (Yes, Tuesday is no excuse not to have fun in NYC) - and immediately started to play catch up to reach Manhattan, as my work event had already kicked off at 9am.
12:49pm - Arrived to Premiere Vision NYC
5:00pm - Official work ended
5pm - 6:30pm - Uber ride to hotel, shower, change of clothes
6:45pm - The Night officially kicked off!
My nights in New York (always) start out the same way, since 2011 at least - My NYC ritual is dinner and drink(s)🍸 at '21' Club. Thereafter, I explore! (based on recommendations from (Bartenders/servers only). Unless in the occasional instance from an acquaintance who grew up or lived in that city ~ In this case, June (actual person) recommended my 2nd stop to me!
I believe the true beauty of exploring a city, for the 1st time or on your 11th visit, is digging into the inner-culture and hangouts of the locals. No tourist stuff!
DINNER ~ '21 Club'
This is the only place I (must) visit on any given trip to New York city.
Having said that, what's not to love about this place? with 3 sections, you can tailor your needs accordingly. 'Upstairs', were I celebrated my 23rd birthday, is for more formal dining. The Bar 'at 21' on the main level is always set for excellent cocktails, small bites, and a relaxing vibe.
Also, on the main level is the 'Dining' room. Not as formal as 'Upstairs', but a jacket is still required for all males in order to enter/dine in this section.
Personally, I find it heart-warming to find establishments that actually insist on all things proper.
As of my last visit, I wasn't yet Vegan 🌱 and this was my first time back here since making the change in my diet. Of course, I wondered if I was going to experience the same pleasures of excellent dining at the restaurant.
BTW, I dined downstairs as I was a single guest. Except for special occasions, I'd recommend dining downstairs - or else you'll be the only one probably not celebrating a birthday 🎁, wedding anniversary, or proposing - amongst other type occasions upstairs.
As I noted my waiter of my new eating habits - he popped to the back to check with the chef and quickly returned to offer me options. My goodness - till date, it has since been my most pleasurable vegan meal (Mattie's in Austin is #2).
Call me weird, but I tend to enjoy dinning alone ~ though you can't beat enjoying a meal with great company. Agreed.
For some reason, my Old-Fashioned was improperly made; but tasted good. So at least it worked. Normally, I'd always go for neat Scotches here. However, I've been on an 'Old-Fashioned' craze of late, testing all establishments I visit to at least 1 drink for rating purposes.
Overall, great dinner, a few good drinks, and off I was to Lower Manhattan to kick off the night.
Post Dinner ~
Whisky + Cigars
Even as an avid Scotch lover and collector over the last 3 years, I was for the first time close to being overwhelmed by the offerings at any establishment. Hence the name "Brandy Library", I suppose!
For a beginner, you'll certainly find your self lost in the menu immediately upon open. However, I find the best way to approach such matters is by picking a specific angle to tackle; by country or specific region. Thereafter, you can certainly dig deeper.
The menu is well laid out, which is great, and the staff very knowledgeable of the subject matter.
My strategy this time, as I was also in a drinking mood, was to go for one of the flight offerings, selecting a batch that mainly consisted of Cognac's.
Cigars were also available and so I went for a 'Rocky Patel' limited edition. Good patio seating and people watching with a cigar in hand and 6 glass flight of Cognac was enough to get me to 1am there.
Where to next, I asked myself? I find the best nights start out buttoned up, but the later you stay, the better it gets with less buttons done. A quick recommendation from the attendant lead me a couple blocks away to a not-so-glamorous, but cool watering hole for some live music, carefree atmosphere, and volume-bartending drinks. The jacket came loose at this point of course!
After Hours ~
A quick walk from Brandy Library brought me to this neighborhood bar in Tribeca. The carefree atmosphere and live band was great for a Tuesday night-out with a few more hours to kill before my flight back to Austin.
Nothing extremely special, but it was a good time to ease off the night and chill.
My recommendation - Always try to find a non-glitzy place to end your long nights out in new cities.
Not to say you should find a sketchy area hoping for stories - most times, the actual events that lead to such 'stories' would rather not be experienced at all. On the flip side, I think it helps you appreciate the finer things a bit more. My personal takeaway is -
a peek outside the box is fine. Do you really need a whole step?
Just about 3am I figured I'd begin plotting my way back to Austin starting with an Uber ride back to the hotel. A quick 30 minute rest, shower, and change of clothes was it.
Sleep 😴, you ask? No, that can be done on the flight back of course! I find it best to completely exhaust myself before a flight and yarn my way through airport security. I got my beauty rest throughout the entire flight (including a stop in Houston to pickup additional passengers) and arrived Austin ready to hit the ground running.
We landed just about 11am and I headed straight to work, at League of Rebels flagship downtown. Goal achieved.