There are few places in New York City–or the world, for that matter–that rival the West Village in charm. Its narrow and winding streets and its stately (though tasteful) townhouses has the ability to transport you to another, much older time. The neighborhood, just north of SIXTY SoHo, has long been favored by those who prefer a quaint extravagance. But you don’t need to live there to appreciate its quiet grandeur. In fact, wandering around this neighborhood with barely faint purpose can make for an entirely satisfying afternoon. To anchor your meanderings, however, we’ve pulled together a few notable establishments you should definitely check out.
The Ear Inn
In operation since 1817, the Ear Inn is reportedly New York City’s oldest bar. Inside the historic building, a throwback nautical theme hints to the bar’s bonafide ties to the Hudson River. In the mid-1800s, the proprietor sold beer and corn whiskey to sailors passing through. Today, the scene is decidedly less of the sea-bound sort. Expect a reliable mix of young professionals, hip kids, and the occasional tourist or two. In warmer months, the whole mix often spills out onto the sidewalk.
326 Spring St, New York, NY 10013
Want Les Essentiels
To dive into the countless shopping opportunities the West Village presents requires a post of its own. Just know that you’ll find all the usual designer suspects in this neighborhood. For today’s purpose, we’re turning our focus on a lesser known outfit: Want Les Essentiels. For their first flagship store, the Canadian leather goods brand carved out a light and airy space for itself on a quiet residential corner. The townhouse is filled with Want products for men and women. Beyond the brand’s own Scandinavian-inspired wares, they offer a curated selection of offerings from other like-minded designers.
301 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014
Independent bookstores are increasingly difficult to find, which means it’s increasingly important to support them. Idlewild Books is a vibrant local hub that offers not only its tomes, but also language classes. Given this affinity for language, it makes sense that travel books are really where this place shines. Come here for ideas for your next great adventure.
170 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
The Japanese are famous for improving upon the previously un-improvable. Such is the case at ROYCE’, a chocolatier that makes unforgettably creamy provisions. The brand, which launched in 1983 in Japan’s Hokkaido island, is most famous for its Nama chocolate, which is soft and wonderful and practically melts in your mouth. A Hershey’s bar this is not.
253 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
The Spotted Pig
The Spotted Pig is almost as famous for its food as it is its verdant entrance. Clusters of potted plants envelop the corner restaurant all year-round, and relevant flair is added as the seasons change. (This fall, you can anticipate plenty decorative gourds.) Inside, the atmosphere is one part cozy and two parts raucous. People pile in for hearty British and Italian fare cheffed by, until recently, April Bloomfield, who left this summer.
314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014
The Whitney Museum of American Art
Okay, so the Whitney is technically in the Meatpacking District, but we’re not splitting hairs. For the sake of this article, we’re saying it’s at the upper upper stretches of the West Village. In 2015, the Whitney relocated from its uptown home to a new Renzo Piano-designed space. The building–imposing and angular and flooded with light–is worth the trip alone. The art is equally remarkable. Their collection includes over 21,000 works made in America during the 20th and 21st centuries.
99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014