Tribeca Film Festival 2019 is officially underway and SIXTY’s got food on the brain—well, food as it relates to cinema, to be more specific. New York City has long been favored by Hollywood dreamweavers as a striking backdrop and a character in its own right, integral to the story as anything else. Real-life establishments are often woven into the scripts, and can be visited by mere mortals once the lights come down and the crews roll out of town. Below, you’ll find a few of our favorite NYC bars and restaurants that have been written into history with their pop culture cameos.
Smith & Wollensky
You don’t come to Smith & Wollensky and not order hash browns. At least that’s the takeaway from Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. The novel would eventually be adapted to the silver screen and star Christian Bale as an unforgettable murderous finance bro—with great taste in steakhouses, apparently. The restaurant continues to draw diners, including billionaire Warren Buffett, whose order is reported to be a cherry coke and a medium-rare steak with—of course—hash browns on the side.
797 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022
The Russian Tea Room
Little has changed in the Russian Tea Room since it was featured in Tootsie, Sydney Pollack’s 1982 film starring Dustin Hoffman. Hot red banquets, gilded frames, white tablecloths: this place is kitsch to the glorious extreme. The menu features Russian classics like red borscht, côtelette à la Kiev, and a caviar tasting featuring three different varieties of roe. If you’re not in the mood for food, we suggest grabbing a drink at the bar here before heading off to a show at Carnegie Hall, which is right down the road.
150 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019
You’ve seen it. “That scene.” Director Rob Reiner, with an undoubtedly charming script by Nora Ephron, selected Katz’s Deli for an unforgettable meal in When Harry Met Sally. While your conversation might not take on the same, err, unbridled qualities of Meg Ryan’s character, you should follow her lead and order some food. The Jewish deli is a Lower East Side legend, and while flashy new condos rise up around it, they still serve up their old-school pastrami and famous corned beef. If you’re staying at SIXTY LES, make a stop here for lunch. It’s right around the corner.
205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
Cafe Lalo wears its cameo on its sleeve. On the wall, you’ll see a series of framed stills from You’ve Got Mail, another Nora Ephron-penned rom-com starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The Upper West Side cafe is a throwback to simpler, pre-Instagram times, when an establishment didn’t need to be photogenic to make it a good spot for a cake and some coffee. It’s unfussy in a way that’ll make you miss a lot of things about the ‘90s—expect, of course, dial-up internet.
201 W 83rd St, New York, NY 10024
A more recent addition to the list is Julius’ Bar, which featured prominently in 2018’s Can You Ever Forgive Me, featuring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant. The bar is one of the oldest in Manhattan, original opened in 1840 as a grocery store. It evolved into a bar around 1867 and, in the 1960s, following a “Sip-In” by society activists protesting homophonic raids, became a reliable West Village watering hole for the LGBT community.
159 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014
Tom’s Restaurant is perhaps one of the most immediately recognized exteriors in Manhattan. Catch just a glimpse of its blue and pink neon sign and you’ll likely hear the slap bass theme of Seinfeld play in your head. While the outside of this Upper West Side joint will feel immediately familiar, the inside certainly won’t. Tom’s Restaurant, which was known as Monk’s Cafe on the show, was used exclusively as an establishing exterior shot. The interior scenes were filmed on a lot in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, seeing this in person is a trip, and if you want to continue the ruse a bit longer, just grab a seat at one of their sidewalk tables outside.
2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
Photo courtesy of Taylor Davidson