NYC Try Outs: Kristina Marino’s Downtown Diaries

Steve Lewis has it right: these are the good ol’ days. They’re good because there’s something for everyone, and you can change your something on any given night. Take Kristina Marino. Her blog, The Downtown Diaries, chronicles all things nocturnal in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn—her own weekly imbiberies are chameleon-like, but they’re also true to herself. She likes a nice local bar where everyone knows her name, she takes chances with new parties, and she doesn’t judge a restaurant by its dress code. Here, her weekly spots to be scene and be sceney.

Name: Kristina Marino Professional Resume: I’m a jack of all trades but am best known for my blog, The Downtown Diaries, and the parties I throw. In my spare time, I’m the Digital Engagement Manager at Mirrorball, aka I get paid to Facebook, Twitter, and blog, all day, every day—be jealous. One Word to Describe Nightlife in New York City: Sceney


City Loves:Favorite lunch spot: Westville, Schillers, Miss Favela (Williamsburg). • Favorite dinner spot: Rye (Williamsburg), Fette Sau (Williamsburg), Gemma. • Favorite nightlife trend: Wearing whatever the F you want. • Drink of choice: Dark and Stormy’s. • Meal of choice: Any kind of seafood. I love the linguine and clams from Fiore—it’s cheap and delicious but more of a guilty pleasure. • Favorite group of people to bump into: Nicole Wasilewicz (Free Williamsburg), Katherine Kelly, Melissa Widhson, Caitlin Monahan (Darling Cait), Tommy Eichmann (Alexa Ray Joel), Mike Del Rio, Brittany Mendenhall (ChiChi212), Antwan Duncan (I Think You’re Swell), Victor Castro (Wet Paint Photography), Hannah Rad (Sheena Beaston, East Village Radio), the Finger on the Pulse twins, DJ MSB, and a bunch of people no one reading this has ever heard of.

City Gripes:Nightlife trend you loathe: Fake glasses, models, celebrity/socialite DJs, and Aalex Julian. Oh and ladies, if you are not wearing tights in the middle of winter, you need to get your act together. • Drink: Vodka Cranberry • Meal: Street Meat. Food Chains. Dos Caminos. Group of people to bump into: About 50% of the people I see out on a daily basis…New York City is one big incestuous small world.

Her Hotspots:  Honestly, as a blogger, it’s hard to have a hotspot—I am running around the city attending different events, shows, etc. The best part about living in NYC is the variety—it’s all about having options. Here are some basics. Monday: Jane Hotel Tuesday: Le Souk Harem is giving a solid effort. The Bowery, Avenue, Lit, Gallery Bar…I guess. Wednesday: FOTP BBQ Blowout at Good Co, RDV. Thursday: Il Bagatto, Goldbar. Friday: Above Allen, Dram. Saturday: Day & Night, Le Bain. Sunday: Thompson LES pool party, Jelly Pool Parties/ All Saints Pub, Goldbar.


Every night: Le Bain, Kenmare, Godlbar, or anywhere local—I usually hang at The Commodore, Maracuja, or Spuyten Duyvil. Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Greenhouse, Marquee, SL, Kiss & Fly, Tenjune, Veranda, Above 14th St.

For special occasions: MILK Studios is a great event space.


Brunch is usually: To eat, I like to stay local. There’s nothing better than brunch in Brooklyn. My friends and I wind up at Lodge more often than not. If I am going to “brunch” to dance on tables and get wasted, then Day & Night it is. 

Nightlife Try Outs: 5 Posh Bars To Visit When You’re a Party of One

New York might be the city that never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean your posse is always awake and ready for adventure. Don’t let other people’s home-bound plans keep you from treating yourself to a night on the town. Sometimes people scoff when they hear about my inclination for going it alone, but getting over your fear of facing social situations solo opens up an entirely new side of the city. You don’t have to stress out about making plans, you needn’t worry about other people’s loves/hates/dietary restrictions, and doing things off the cuff can lead to so many other surprising adventures. Plus, you can treat yourself to really lavish experiences without worrying about splitting up the tab—deliciously empowering. Whether you are a single girl in need of a dose of romance, a New York newbie looking to make friends, or a culture-addict searching for a unique experience, these posh bars are some of my favorite treats for when I’m flying solo.

1. Brandy Library It’s 7pm on a Friday evening and the library has a gathering of friendly, smartly-dressed folks. The sophisticated ambiance is slightly intimidating at first blush, but once you settle beneath the flattering lighting and sidle up to the mahogany bar in all of its snazzy glory, you’ll immediately feel at ease. Ask the knowledgeable barkeep a ton of questions about the menu—your solo session can double as a free liquor class. Perk: The bar is usually filled with singles that appreciate a well-made cocktail. Best For: Single girls who aren’t afraid to share a Brandy tasting with a stranger. Tip: The record will skip if you order a cliché whiskey and cola. Ask for a recommendation if you need help.

2. Bowery Poetry Club What? Not exactly glamorous, you say? Try telling that to the man reciting E.E. Cummings and drinking cognac. A night of poetry readings might not spell “Night on the Town” for everyone, but if you’ve got a hankering to expand your circle, meet new people, and take advantage of one of New York’s great cultural experiences, BPC is a great place to discover the luxury boho scene on your own. Sure, you’ll bump into a prose-snob or two, but you can always use the live performances and the full bar as an excuse to get away. The crowd is constantly in mingle-gear, and you’ll end up meeting an amazing cast of characters. Perk: The bar is a WiFi café from 12-noon to 6pm. Best For: Those in need of culture shock. Tip: Stop in on Mondays and treat yourself to a night of bingo!

3. Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel Rose Bar runs a tight ship in the small hours of the evening, but early on, the large, lavish spot is filled with interesting locals and outgoing foreigners celebrating in the city. Park yourself at the front bar around 6pm and watch as a slow trickle of hotel guests begin their night. The clientele is high-end, savvy, and inclined to learn more about their surroundings—in this case, you. Gramercy locals still cite it as the best way to start or end their night, and the sensual, tranquil space is a great venue for interesting conversation—even if it’s only with one of the attractive bartenders. Perk: The pool table near the front is a great way to get the night started, and can distract you in case you’re not feeling chatty right off the bat. Best For: Solo girls who want a scene. Tip: Use the art pieces as a sneaky icebreaker—Julian Schnabel designed the furniture, original pieces from Warhol and Keith Haring hang inside.

4. Per Se So, Prince Charming has yet to take you to the (so-called) best restaurant in America? Why not take yourself? This first-class restaurant, full of pomp and circumstance, will certainly put a dent in your pocketbook if you ever decide to overdo a date night, but sit stag at the bar and get sucked into your own little world of complete culinary euphoria. The Salon menu offers lavish dinner and dessert dishes in the front lounge area, priced between $24 and $46. Treat yourself to Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster or go easy with “The Cheese Course, ” and a glass of wine. The serene bar area is full of single parties. Perk: Every staff member is incredibly attentive, making for a surprisingly unstuffy atmosphere. Best For: A date with yourself. Tip: Indulge in the “Brownie And Malted Milk,” a $14 dessert luxury—double chocolate brownie with chocolate “marquise,” caramel ice cream and malt mousse.

5. City Winery Breathe a sigh of relief: this is not a house of hard-core winos. Instead, it’s a venue that pairs a jovial atmosphere with fine wine and music. If you feel like truly being by yourself, you’ll find that the space is cavernous enough for you to melt into the atmosphere. But if you’re feeling chatty, the bar offers a great view of the stage, and friendly patrons often take up casual conversations between sets. Perk: The venue schedules classes like wine pairings and tastings, perfect for a solo act. Best For: Live shows when you’re solo. Tip: Skip City Winery for stag nights when they aren’t hosting a class, or live performance. The giant space can be awkward without their presence.

More Tips For Going Stag in NYC

-Research Your Bars: Even the most out-going girls might feel awkward after popping into a sceney bar or a romantic couples lair. On my first night in the city, I made the mistake of heading to Marquee alone on a Tuesday night after I overheard some girls raving about it. I actually ended up having a great time, and I met a ton of people, but clubbing alone is just a tad unnerving. -Take on a Traveler’s Mentality: Hit up hotel bars, where the ambiance is usually forgiving and people are dying for conversation. Aim to learn about other people. -Give Yourself a Good Reason: Live bands, distracting performances, a great love for foodie fare or mixology—all sneaky props to take the focus off of your party of one. -Draw Attention to Your Confidence: You’re out alone! You’re an independent girl who loves the city and can enjoy it on her own. Celebrate that and strangers will, too.

Nightlife Try Outs: Intern Alice’s Wide Eyed NYC Itinerary

Name: Alice Urmey Professional Resume: BlackBook intern and NYC newbie.
 One Word to Describe Nightlife in New York City: Fascinating.

City Loves: 
 • Favorite lunch spot: Hampton Chutney Co. in Soho. Cheap, delicious, and a nice alternative to Whole Foods. 
• Favorite dinner spot: DBGB. Fight for a table up front and enjoy upscale burgers and beer with the crowd.

• Favorite nightlife trend: Bars becoming more than just places to drink: Union Hall, Culturefix, Pimps and Pinups, The Blind Barber. • Drink of choice: Sangria is always a summer favorite. And a Belve and Soda. • Meal of choice: John’s of Bleeker: classic New York pizza. 
• Favorite group of people to bump into: Anyone I haven’t seen in a long time and keep forgetting to call.

image Union Hall, Culturefix, Pimps and Pinups, The Blind Barber

City Gripes: 
 • Nightlife trend you loathe: When a good trend goes out of style too quickly. 
 • Drink: Martini, who knew it was just a fancy name for gin?
 • Meal: Raw oysters. Briny and slippery goop. • Group of people to bump into: Crowds on The High Line, tourists in Soho.

image Alice, Left

Her Hotspots: Monday: Fresh pasta at Scarpetta, Little Branch. Tuesday: B.E.S., Avenue. Beautiful art and beautiful people in Chelsea. Wednesday: Bar Pitti, Wilfie & Nell. A low key night with close friends. 
 Thursday: Schiller’s Liquor Bar, free entrance to New Museum after 7pm–great incentive to get my boyfriend to a museum. 
 Friday: Start with a bite in Brooklyn at The Vanderbilt. Hit the East Village for Death & Co. and Mayahuel, where tequila is not only the drink of choice, it’s the only drink. 
 Saturday: Union Square Greenmarket for a loaf of bread and Long Island wine. Light dinner at The Standard Grill, followed by a night of rooftop bars. Sunday: Aroma Espresso Bar, Balthazar. Recover from the weekend with strong coffee and steak frites.

image Smith & Mills

Every night: Smith & Mills. Perfect place to end any night. 
 Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Fratty bars like Wicked Willy’s. If I wanted to play beer pong, I would’ve stayed in the suburbs. 
For special occasions: Celebrate with drinks at The Modern while munching on truffle popcorn. 
Brunch is usually: Pastis. Or Bubby’s if I didn’t eat there in the early hours of the night before.

Nightlife Try Outs: Amanda Leigh Dunn’s Week of Parties

It’s 10:30 on a Wednesday night and I’m in gym clothes crossing Union Square wondering if I’ve anything good left on TiVo when I first hear them. “Let’s just get drinks here,” a California blond squeals to her fellow interns, a group of smiley, freshly implanted college girls. “This part of the city is amazing—there are so many places to go!” Suddenly I feel refreshed, the soggy, angry heat evaporating around me. I immediately recall those same, remarkable feelings of excitement when I was new to this city: every step was one outside my comfort zone, and the possibilities were endless—the night was a mystery. Now, since I’ve settled into the groove of actually living in this city, the knee-jerk reaction toward their enthusiasm is a swift eye-roll at their naïveté and a silent recitation of the latest snarky blog post about this exact area going to hell in TGI Friday’s hand basket. These days, the trend is to speak about nightlife as you were attending its funeral. I’ve grown bored with the idea that there’s nothing new or provocative happening in this metropolis. Nightlife isn’t dead, it’s just different, and it’s different for everyone. It’s been a while since I first started covering nightlife as “Holly GoNightly,” but my interest is once again piqued to seek out new ways to look at New York after dark. While some longingly wish for their days at Studio 54, Tunnel, or the Beatrice Inn, there are many more seeking out the new. The internet has given everyone a certain kind of access, diversifying trends and experiences. There’s something for everyone, and the only way to find out what works is to step out and try it on for size.

So this is what I’m hoping to do: like those transplanted interns weighing their options with gimlet eyes, I’m going to set my sights on stepping out of my own comfort zone, on noticing, trying, and doing more, on venturing out to see nightlife through other people’s eyes. To start, I’ve asked Amanda Leigh Dunn, a quintessential ‘Girl About Town’ who’s always at the “It” place with a band of cooler-than-cool kids, to fill me in on her own little black book of go-tos. Her’s is an agenda not for the faint of heart—a week of non-stop partying with an array of eclectic and truly hip characters.

image Amanda Dunn

Professional Resume: I own a company called Cross Street Productions Inc, a Manhattan based firm specializing in brand integrated events, artist management as well as fashion, beauty, and lifestyle public relations. I also run an event space on Greene Street. One Word to Describe Nightlife in New York City: Endless.

City Loves:Favorite lunch spot: Cipriani Downtown, I pretty much live there. • Favorite dinner spot: Fig and Olive, Ilili, Hotel GriffouFavorite nightlife trend: Le Bain, the new spot at the top of the standard. Naked girls, water beds, and the best view of the city—what more could you want? • Drink of choice: I’m mostly a champagne kinda girl. • Meal of choice: Tuna Tar Tar • Favorite group of people to bump into: My night kiddies: Becka Diamond, Stef Skinner, Carol Han, Sami Swetra, Paul Johnson Calderon, Timo Weiland, Jane Bang, Matt Kays. You know, the cool kids.

image Le Bain

City Gripes:Nightlife trend you loathe: I hate Juliet Supper Club, the Empire Hotel roof is a clusterfuck of ugly people. I hate places that anyone and their mother gets let into • Drink: Cafe Patron, sick. • Meal: fried food, ick. • Group of people to bump into: Hipsters, teens, and coke fiends—and the usual uninvited crowd, you know who you are.

Her Hotspots: Monday: Dinner with my closest, plotting the week. Tuesday: Lit Lounge Wednesday: Soho Yard, the “Everything’s Ridiculous” party with Spencer Product and Becka Diamond. Thursday: Avenue, BEast for Main Man Thursdays, Norwood with Timo & Alan. Friday: Le Bain, Tribeca Grand Salon with Matt&Maia and Andrew Saturday: Pianos for the Mile High party with Jane Bang, Easthampton Boathouse, hosted by the Eldridge Sunday: Sway, Goldbar

image Kenmare

Every night: Kenmare, we call it Kenitis, or La Bain. Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Greenhouse, Tenjune. For special occasions: Depending on the season, every drink occasion with my closests is a special occasion. But if I had to say, it would prob be the Plaza Hotel (the have the best bloodies in NY). Brunch is usually: Cafe Cluny, Schiller’s, Serafina, Soho House (Essex House is the Greenhouse of brunch).