If you’re in NYC when the mercury plummets, seek a cup of Winter Wonderland Rooibos in Lady Mendl’s, which is huddled inside a brownstone just north of the hubbub of Manhattan’s Union Square. This particular tea blends green rooibos, cacao, and cinnamon. Lady Mendl’s is inside The Inn at Irving Place, and the vibe is less staid Victorian and more Alice in Wonderland. The teacups are fine china, ranging from Tiffany’s to hand-culled vintage Wedgwood. The tablecloths are an unexpected black.
First of all, let's take a moment to appreciate Raines Law Room's name, which references an 1896 law aimed at curbing NY liquor consumption. The place furthers the speakeasy vibes with its dim lighting, serious cocktails, and, of course, its unmarked entrance. (It's in a basement to boot!) The staff only allows a few people in at a time and you can only make reservations on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, so be prepared to wait nearby. They'll text you when a spot opens up.
Sant Ambroeus Madison Ave: There's no shortage of seriously great coffee in New York, but Simmons is loyal to Sant Ambroeus. The Milanese restaurant has five locations in New York, but Simmons always seeks out one in particular. "For the best coffee, I love the one uptown," she says. Also great for a fast, easy, casual dinner.
The vibe at this wood-paneled roadhouse on a bluff above Cayuga Lake is more professors' den than freshman dorm—at least on weeknights when families drop by for burgers slathered with Thousand Island dressing—it remains a quintessential beer-and-ball joint for all comers. Order another Genesee, rack up another game of skeeball, and you’ll soon be nodding along with all those vintage bobbleheads behind the bar.
Every element of Long Island Bar, from the vintage neon sign outside to the cocktail menu to the classic rock playing on the stereo, is a throwback in the best possible way. Serves some of the best cocktails I've ever had (the Long Island Gimlet, which gets a hit of spice from a ginger-lime cordial, is irresistible). There's also an excellent food menu; it doesn't get much better than sitting at the bar and chasing the superlative burger with a few of those gimlets.
Located in the northern end of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, this hand-painted gem of bakery is run by owner Nina Brondmo who originally hails from Norway. Bakeri has somewhat of a cult following for its sweet treats, sandwiches, and old-world charm.