W2W2: What to Wear to Your Next Mojito Outing

When you go out as much as half the people I know in New York do, it’s natural for your style choices to suffer from a lack of inspiration. Whenever there’s dinner and drinks in the evening forecast, someone is always ringing me with the same inquiry: What should I wear? This time of year it’s natural to see PYTs sipping summer cocktails on patios, all wearing the same uniform lifted straight from the latest street-style website. Perhaps it’s time we put down the look-book blogs and turn to the city itself to inspire our nightlife ensembles. Beat the heat by taking a cue from your next Mojito outing at a fiery Cuban restaurant. Get your cocktail, the ambiance, and your outfit just right.

Inspiration: The Mojito. Traditionally made by combining white rum, sugar cane, lime, soda water, and mint, it’s believed to be the world’s first cocktail. Origins can be traced back to 16th century Cuba, where the locals were sipping a cocktail called El Draque, named after Sir Francis Drake, a prominent sailor who, among other things, defended England against the Spanish Armada in 1588—a rockstar of his time. The concoction is believed to have been a way to cover up the unsavory flavor of aguardiente, an early version of rum.

The Look: Tip a fedora to the glamor of Havana. Draw from the vibrant romance of the city that invented the Mojito with tropical shades and breezy summer staples that could be worn just as well on a walk to the green market as they could inside a colorful salsa bar. Add a little drama to a cotton dress with liquid liner and a bold lip. Accent your summer tan with tropical blue-greens, corals, and shimmering bronze nail polish and shadow. And bring along a bit of loose powder to stay fresh amid the searing heat.

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Where to Wear to: Calle Ocho (Upper West Side)— Bright, colorful Latino menu and décor syncs with high-energy scene. Havana Central (Union Square)— Latin music, chainified Cuban fare for the bridge and tunnel masses. NitaNita (Williamsburg)— Their Green Tea Mojito + tasty tapas + stiff drinks = good times. Yerba Buena (East Village)— Cuban sandwiches, Peruvian ceviches, Caribbean roast pork, plus Argentine yerba mate sprinkled in for medida buena. Cafe Habana (Nolita)—Scarfing roast pork is so much better when Mary-Kate is watching, longingly. Habana Outpost (Fort Greene)—Enviro chic spin-off of Soho/Smith Street café faves.

What to Wear to: Nordstrom Grosgrain Border Straw Fedora, $28 Kate Spade Wedge Heels M·A·C Pro Longwear Lip Color, $21 Sephora by O.P.I Havana Nights Nail Polish Set, $9 Temptu Retouch Powder To Go in Translucent, $18 Sephora Collection Doe Eyed Felt Eyeliner Black, $12 Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Misfit, $32

Where Celebs Go Out: Sarah Palin, Andy Samberg, Judd Apatow

Sarah Palin @ the Time100 gala: It would be Double Musky in Girdwood, Alaska! ● Andy Samberg: Momofuku. ● Harvey Weinstein: I like Nobu downtown. ● Suzy Orman: Carmine’s, either on 44th or on Broadway, uptown. My favorite dish is the chicken scarpariello, I love it! ● Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann: Katsuya!

David Chang: I just had amazing cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Per Se. So if you’re [at the Time Warner Center], there’s no reason to go anywhere else. ● Neil Patrick Harris: Oh,I’m a big Batali fan. His are some of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to, in my life. ● Jack Dorsey: I really like the the Boom Boom Room. Minetta Tavern is my favorite restaurant. It’s in my neighborhood. Everything on the menu is amazing. I love it. They change it so frequently. ● Jamie-Lynn Sigler at the opening party for Prime KO restaurant: I’m not much of a partier anymore. It’s more [about] a place where I can hear the people that I’m with. I live in L.A. I go to friends’ houses for game nights. Dan Tana’s is one of my favorite restaurants. Recommended: chicken parm. Izakaya restaurant–it’s Katsuya, but it’s more low key. My favorite dish there is baked crab hand roll. ● Dann Florek: Ouest–I’m a big fan of Tom Valenti’s. His signature dish is a braised short rib. You can’t have it too often. His salad is the best I’ve had on the Upper West Side. The dressing is the best–I think it’s a red wine parmesan vinaigrette. I also like Bar Bao and Calle Ocho. ● Jason Binn, founder of Niche Media Holdings: We’re a big fan of Joey Allaham. We had a staycation in Manhattan. We stayed at the St. Regis and went to the Oak Room.

New York: Top 10 Ways to Get Drunk on the Cheap

imageAre you tired of hokey recession specials that never end up scratching your gnawing, thirsty itch? We are rapidly becoming a city of broke drunks, thus it is vital we learn how to be the best broke drunks we can be. If you have no job, no prospects, and only a few bucks, but still maintain flawless taste, then check out the top ways to get your drink on without further damaging the already broken bank.

Calle Ocho (Upper West Side) – Go to this spacious, attractive UWS Nuevo Latino on Sundays and order an appetizer. The policy is you must eat some sort of food in order to partake in the monster “sangria station,” which is totally and completely F-R-E-E! That is correct, kiddies. A bevy of fruits, wines, rums, and all sorts of tasty drinkable treats line the dining room buffet-style, where you can ladle yourself to inebriation for hours. ● Welcome to the Johnsons (Lower East Side) – I like my bars how I like my men: grungy and cheap. This place is suitable for getting sloshed before going to the neighboring, pricier hotspots such as the Hotel on Rivington, 205, or Stanton Social.

Bar 13 (Greenwich Village) – If you don’t mind a little poetry slam, Monday features two-for-one cocktails. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration, grab the mic, and produce your very own poem for the crowd. Here is mine: There once lived a broke girl from New York. She could barely afford fried rice with pork. She spent her dollars on drinks. It is not foolish she thinks. For calories taste better via straw vs. fork. ● Village Pourhouse (Upper West Side) – The Columbia-area outpost has a deal so creative and alluring you will consider grabbing a cab to 108th Street from wherever you are right now (I know I am). If you take a taxi anytime and save your receipt, the bar will reimburse you in alcohol for whatever amount you spent to get there. Afterward, take the subway home, and you just had yourself an almost free night, other than tipping the bartender and one swipe of the MetroCard. ● Delancey (Lower East Side) – The roof is wonderfully enchanting for a spot on the less-attractive edge of the LES. If you are unemployed, they give you free shots of tequila on Tuesdays, which is magical in its own regard. Do not ask me how to prove you are jobless. Perhaps bring a record showing your pathetically low bank statement or letter of dismissal from your most recent employer? ● Antik (Greenwich Village) – This lounge on the Bowery employs bartenders that are fantastic about buybacks, and the occasional surprise open bar is a bonus too. Promoter Ruben Araneta told me the real secret: Go on a Monday, say his name at the door, then find him inside to cop a free vodka cran from his bottle — especially if you are female (duh!) and attractive (double duh!). ● The Orchard (Lower East Side) – BYOB Sundays. Go to the liquor store and buy a cheap bottle of wine (or stop by a bodega and grab some brew) which you can bring to this delightful restaurant. From there, order the cheapest dish on the menu and enjoy a night out while your money stays in — your wallet, that is. ● Hill Country (Chelsea) – Tuesday is the day to venture here and let your nostrils take in the BBQ aromatics while putting back two-for-one specialty drinks from open till close. They also have their usual 3-6pm Happy Hour all day on Tuesday, which includes two-for-one PBRs, $5 well drinks, $20 buckets of Lone Star, and $2 well shots. Spend $10 on five shots. Before you know it, you will have forgotten your money woes, mindlessly square dancing to the live country/rockabilly bands. ● Alligator Lounge (Williamsburg) – Because let’s face it: When one gets boozy, hunger is sure to follow. With the purchase of any alcoholic drink at this Willyburg dive, you receive a free personal pizza hot out of the wood-burning oven. The pies are surprisingly tasty for the fabulous cost of free, and they become even yummier after two beers. ● Rosa Mexicano (Union Square) – Warning! This place is not inherently cheap. But there is one drink that you will only need two of to do the trick. Avoid all expensive food and cocktails — except for the pomegranate margaritas. These lethal, frozen concoctions look harmless enough. They are pink after all. But the drink must be laced with sodium pentothal or something because they get you stripping-in-the-streets-singing-show-tunes-dialing-your-ex smashed. Do not consume more than three.

New York: Top 5 Spots for Latin Lovers

imageEver felt like leaving your inner gringo at home and cha-cha-ing through the night with the help of a little (or a lot of) tequila? Engaging in some libidinous reggae grinding, or chatting up a couple of sizzling golden mamis? You’re in luck, guero.

1. Baraza (East Village) – This warm and sexy enclave in Alphabet City hits you with the perfect combination of sweaty salsa-dancing babes, stiff caprihainas that carry you through the night, and an awesome string of beats including cambia, salsa, meringue, reggaeton, and samba. Cuba in the middle of Manhattan. 2. Café Noir (Soho) – A hip tapas bar with a titillating vibe. Chic Euro-South American crowd infiltrates the dimly lit, comfy interiors. Excellent Moroccan fusion tapas make this place a SoHo favorite. Regulars love the “not too sweet” sangria and strong mojitos.

3. Bembe (Williamsburg) – This is the place to be when you really want to jiggle your jelly while screaming “ay caramba” at the top of your lungs. It’s a loud, high-energy bar and lounge where you can get down and dirty to whatever the dreadlocked DJ is spinning that night — usually a mix of salsa, meringue, cumbia, and some reggaeton. 4. Talay (Harlem) – Get bottle service smack in the middle of Harlem at this upstairs lounge, where many Latina beauties are known to hang — much to the excitement of the regular stream of doctors who frequent the hotspot after long shifts at the nearby hospital. 5. Calle Ocho (Upper West Side) – The food is nothing to rave about, but the eight different types of mojitos make this place a given.

New York: Balloons & Bites at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

You’re a New Yorker. You like the hubbub around the Thanksgiving parade, the bright, big balloons and the cheery tourists gawking around the parade route, but you don’t actually want to get up at 6 a.m. to get a good (standing) spot on Broadway and shiver your way through the day. No. No you don’t. So like any good New Yorker, you’ll find another way. A way that will allow you to see the parade without the crowds and still sit around and eat turkey and watch football on the day of thanks. Here’s your other way. Starting around 3pm this Wednesday, stroll on over to 79th and Central Park West to watch the balloons getting blown up. Take photos. Feel superior to the crowds that will show up the next day. Then go grab a bite to eat at one of these fine neighborhood establishments. Enjoy not cooking.

1. ‘Cesca – Old school southern Italian. Order the entire antipasti menu … it’s that good. 2. Bello Sguardo – Tapas by candlelight will get you in the mood. 3. Calle Ocho – Eight kinds of Mojitos, bright colors on the walls, and you’ll be dancing on the ones before you know it.

4. Citrus – Sushi and margaritas — the perfect cultural fusion. 5. Dovetail – Proper, tasty Anglophile dishes. Bread puddings and lamb meatloaf done right. 6. Eighty One – Locally sourced, melt-in-your-mouth lamb. It’s good enough to order twice. 7. Haru – One of the only Japanese joints in the ‘hood. 8. Isabella’s – Polo shirts abound at this UWS standby; order the pear salad and talk about your swing, and you’ll fit right in. 9. Land – Thai food with a skirt steak and snapper twist. Usurp the long line — put your name in, and go grab a beer next door while you wait. 10. Nice Matin – A crowded Pastis clone, uptown. French menu makes for great desserts.