A Brooklyn Staycation: Revisiting the Trendsetting Wythe Hotel

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The view from The Ides – image by Rebecca McEvoy (on Instagram)

 

If you remember making the scene at Williamsburg’s Club Luxx (where Larry Tee birthed the electroclash movement) in the early years of the new Millennium, it is a bit startling how much Brookyn’s inaugural “hipster” hood has changed since that time.

One of the genuine turning points was when, in early 2012, the area got its first boutique sleep. Indeed, when the Wythe Hotel opened on a then fairly desolate stretch of its namesake avenue, there was really no turning back: tourists and business people would now be bedding down in WBurg. Yet while a few other hotels have opened in the area during the time since, the Wythe is surely the only one that truly seems like it actually represents the aesthetics and ideology of its locale; it “feels” very…Brooklyn.

 

Photo by Matthew Williams

 

Just walk into the lobby, and you get the vibe straight away: light wood flooring, exposed brick, dangling Edison bulbs, and floor-to-ceiling “factory” windows give it a homey, rustic-industrial feel. Pop up to your room, and you’ll find concrete floors, local illustrator Dan Funderburgh’s regal-chic wallpaper (we’re partial to the Francophilic Toile style), beamed ceilings and evidence on the walls of the Wythe’s mission – as Laura Itzkowitz stated it in Brooklyn Magazine – as an “incubator for artists.”

And though glancing from your window onto the Brooklyn street scene gives a real sense of local immersion, we still highly recommend a room with the awe-inspiring view across the East River to the epic Manhattan skyline. People often say it, but this will genuinely take your breath away.

With all the new neighborhood developments, we decided it was a good time to revisit the Wythe – so we checked in recently, and had an entertaining time traversing the street which it calls home. Here’s what we did.

 

Artists & Fleas

A weekend only activity, this is the NYC flea market for creative souls, offering up an artfully cultivated selection of vintage fashion, accessories, art and design, records, even herbal remedies. A particular highlight is an outpost of The Strand bookshop, which can occupy bibliophiles for an entire afternoon.

Kinfolk

Men’s streetwear brand takes the “lifestyle” concept and runs with it. Shop for of-the-moment tees, sneakers, accessories – Adidas Originals x C.P. Company is well-stocked. But it’s also an industrial style coffee bar by day, serving cocktails by night. A good place to start your evening, and maybe even pick up what you need to dress up for it.

 

 

North 3rd Street Market

The latest addition to the seemingly unstoppable food market trend, North 3rd sets itself apart by ditching the trendoid factor, in favor of more indelible New York vendors – albeit in a cooly stylish space. From Dana’s Bakery to Lobster Joint, Di Fara Pizza to Chuko’s delectable ramen, you could come here for three meals a day, and never get bored.

Reynard

The Wythe’s ground floor restaurant is actually sceney by day, with a busy breakfast and bodies filling seats for lunchtime even before noon. The vibe is antiquey, with vintage looking woods, pendant lamps, and smartly patterned flooring; it’s all matched by a hearty menu, eschewing twee dining trends for substantial roast pork sandwiches and grass-fed burgers. To catch it at maximum energy level, pop in for a weekend brunch of sourdough pancakes and herbed egg crepes. Great soundtrack, too.

 

Photo by Matthew Williams

Halcyon

You may feel a little out of place at first amongst the fervent danceheads packing the small space around the front desk, digging for obscure house and techno vinyl – perhaps records they’ve recently heard spun at the adjacent mega-club Output. But it’s an enlightening and actually friendly experience. There’s a small bar attached, and if you’re not exactly a late-night clubber, pop up early evening for the rooftop scene, forwarding the same technophilic musical ideals.

Rough Trade

Still a genuine phenomenon – the legendary Brit label/shop set up N. 9th Street in 2013 and has been crawling with cool kids ever since. Rare dancehall records? Limited edition Björk vinyl? Indie photo exhibits? This is the place. It’s also NYC’s bleeding-coolest music venue, carefully curating a zeigeisty lineup that has included the likes of The Horrors, SZA, Lydia Lunch and the occasional superstar like Green Day.

 

 

La Esquina

Once the molten core of cool in NoLIta, its journey across the river finds it a little less concerned with fashionista cred, but no less fun. Located in a classic repurposed diner building, the interior plays to the theme, but, of course, it’s tacos instead of tuna melts – our recommends being the pollo rostizado and the lamb barbacoa. Or just go for the killer margaritas at the bar. The crowd is decidedly still hip, but in a kind of more Brooklyny low-key way.

The Ides

The Wythe’s rooftop is easily the best in Brooklyn – especially for the insanely Instagrammable East River and Manhattan views. But it also doesn’t resign the imbibables to an afterthought, whipping up some serious cocktails to compliment those views. Interestingly, the best names are also some of the best drinks – and we highly recommend the Soul Vibrations (apple brandy, orange bitters, tonic), the Synthetic Substitution (bourbon, fino sherry, lemon), and the Dizzy World, a gin & tonic float with housemade sorbet. Heaven up here…

 

Photo by Matthew Williams