As we mentioned in our previous Thompson Street Block Party, though New York City’s options runneth over–sending you uptown, downtown, and every street in between–sometimes it’s nice to keep things close to home, especially during the colder months. Thompson Street, home of SIXTY SoHo, has so many options we had to split it into two separate guides, with Houston creating an equal divide between the two. Here, we explore Thompson Streets northernmost options, in food, drink, and play.
ZZ Clam Bar
Two little zigzags of blue neon and a well-dressed doorman announce the entrance of ZZ Clam Bar, a reservations-only raw bar opened by restaurateurs-of-the-moment Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone. Sporting just 12 seats, ZZ serves up artfully prepared carpaccios, crudos, ceviches, and tartars, offered with an array of clever, simply named cocktails.
169 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012
For a less expensive shot at sushi-grade fish, head over to Tomoe, a fuss-and-frill-free sushi spot that has long called Thompson Street home. Cooked dishes take a backseat to the fresh and affordable raw stuff served up from the sushi bar, especially the slabs of sashimi, more generously sized than they should be, but we’re not complaining.
172 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012
Opened back in the ‘80s by a textile designer, Stella Dallas has been a downtown purveyor of vintage apparel with a sweet ‘40s and ‘50s touch for over three decades. Girlish and prim, the offerings here are decidedly feminine. Think feathered hats and bits of fur.
218 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012
Walk through Washington Square in the summer and you will catch dozens of men hunched over the park’s built-in chessboards. The game has long been a Greenwich Village staple, as have the chess stores that line Thompson Street. While some have shuttered their doors (Chess Shop, with its battered tables and mismatched chairs, sadly closed in 2012), Chess Forum remains, and is filled with all your chess playing needs, including a place to practice by the hour in back, which, let’s be honest, is something we all good probably benefit from.
219 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012
In keeping with the area’s gaming heritage, the Uncommons opened in 2013, much to the delight of the inner geek in all of us. With nearly 500 games lining their walls, it’s a place where you can grab a coffee, sit down, and indulge in every game you haven’t had the opportunity to play in the last twenty years, all for just $5. Grab a muffin from the counter while you take your first victory lap.
230 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012
Yet another excellent restaurant brought to you by Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick, who are apparently trying to compete with NYU for Greenwich Village real estate. Carbone opened in March of 2014, taking over Rocco’s, a neighborhood Italian restaurant that held court in that space for nearly a century. The evidence of that changing of the guard lives on in the marquee, “Carbone” blazing in neon over the paint-peeled signage of its predecessor. Big and saucy, Carbone excels in taking simple, classic, hearty Italian dishes–nothing more, nothing less–and putting them on a pedestal.
181 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012
Illustration by Max Wittert.