September 9 kicks off New York Fashion Week and the following fashion month shows held in London, Milan, and Paris. With the first week’s arrival comes a transformed city that’s punctuated by pockets of street style photographers (and well-dressed subjects), shopping popups, runway shows, store events, and special dinners hosted all through the city. In other words, it’s a very chic time to be in town if you enjoy a festive occasion.
If you’ll be here for NYFW and need a few recs for where to eat, sleep, sip, or something in that vein, it’s a good idea to bookmark (and reserve) a few spots ahead of time. To help you prepare, TZR compiled a travel guide to the city, with input from attendees who have memorized all of the best spots to hit in between shows and meetings.
And if you’re here only to learn about the newest, flashiest openings in the city — that’s not what this is. Instead, enjoy the insider’s take on locales both new and tried-and-true. From steak au poivre at an iconic 50-year-old joint in Soho to a brand new natural wine bar in the village, there’s a little something for everyone. Let fashion month commence.
Where To Stay
Out-of-towners coming from overseas or cities such as Los Angeles need a pillow to rest their head on each night — don’t worry, NYC has plenty of options for you. The Bowery Hotel is a no-brainer place to start (it’s also fashion insider Jenny Walton’s pick for accommodations in the city). It’s at the East Village intersection of Bowery and 3rd Street and is best described as quintessential New York. You can also book a room at The Ludlow, a New York Fashion Week go-to for Net-a-Porter Market Director Libby Jane Page (think: upscale boutique hotel in Manhattan’s trendy Lower East Side). If you’re setting your sights further uptown, NoMad has two new notable openings — The Ned NoMad and The Ritz-Carlton New York NoMad. Or, if you’re on the hunt for something affordable but equally as stylish as the aforementioned, The Marlton in Greenwich Village is a best-kept secret. Beyond that, you can’t go wrong with staples like The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel in lower Manhattan, The Mark in the Upper East Side, PUBLIC Hotel in the Lower East Side, or The High Line Hotel in Chelsea.
Where To Have Dinner
Fashion week is essentially jolting from one runway venue to the next, praying you’ll make it before the lights dim. By the end of the day, the idea of a big dinner sounds downright heavenly. “After a long day of shows, there’s nothing like cozying up in a booth and ordering a martini and steak au poivre at Raoul’s,” Who What Wear Senior Market Editor Nicole Akhtarzad Eshaghpour says. For those attendees who RSVP’ed yes to a runway show in the P.M. hours, there’s still a solution that doesn’t involve a Kind bar. “Dinner during NYFW usually has to be quick in order to get to the evening show — luckily, Serafina just opened an express location on 8th Street and 6th Avenue and you can find me there,” fashion editor, stylist ,and NYU Adjunct Professor Jessica Minkoff shares.
If you’re heading to Brooklyn, Walton suggests Rule of Thirds in Greenpoint. “I recently went there and it was great. A nice bar, too, that you don’t need a reservation for.” In Nolita, freelance fashion writer Aemilia Madden points to Thai Diner as the spot. “No matter where I’m trying to grab a bite during fashion week, I’ve learned to expect a wait,” she says. “Thai Diner is one of my favorite dinner spots; I usually throw my name down and grab a drink nearby while I wait.” Other spots that should be on your radar: Sant Ambroeus in SoHo (another favorite of Page’s), Minetta Tavern in Greenwich Village, Grand Central Oyster Bar and 53 in Midtown, Scarpetta in NoMad, l’abeille in Tribeca, and Estela in downtown (plus a thousand other spots, because New York City is the dining destination and you’re always spoilt for choice).
Where To Eat Lunch
If you can manage to carve out a quick slice of time to have lunch during fashion week, there are a few spots to keep in mind (otherwise, pack those protein-heavy snacks!). “It’s hard to find a big chunk of time for a sit-down lunch on a busy show day, so I love to grab an açaí bowl from Playa Bowls on Macdougal Street and eat it while responding to emails and keeping up with social media,” Minkoff shares. For Walton, La Mercerie is always the go-to. “They have a great salad and a great vegetarian quiche,” she notes. If you’re craving something creative and healthy, Madden points to Dimes. “It’s been my go-to lunch spot since it first opened in 2013. The quirky, healthy-ish meals like the big salad, açaí bowl, and pozole all leave me feeling energized.” In the realm of amazing salads, head for American Bar in the West Village (Page is a fan of the chopped salad).
Where To Have A Drink
If you find yourself grabbing a drink with friends (or yourself, really) at the end of a long day of shows, you’ll need a few locales bookmarked. Eshaghpour suggests taking in the views (“and Mr C cocktails”) at Casa Cipriani in downtown. For those who end their day uptown, Madden recommends Lodi. “If I end up near Rockefeller Center for a show, I love Lodi for a mezcal negroni or glass of wine,” she says. Newly-opened Le Dive — a Parisian Tabac-inspired natural wine bar in LES — is where Page will be heading (“or Corner Bar at Nine Orchard Hotel”).
As for Walton, she’s keeping her cards close to her chest. “My number one rule for a great bar is that it should be empty (I like to drink in peace) so I could never answer this question truthfully,” she laughs. “But since it’s already packed anyway, a bit random but Gelso & Grand right smack in the center of Little Italy makes a mean Campari spritz and a fantastic spicy kale caesar salad.” A few other TZR-approved spots to keep in mind: Hotel Chelsea’s recently opened Lobby Bar, Deux Chats in Williamsburg, Chapel Bar in Flatiron (if you can get an invitation, it’s a members-only lounge inside a 19th-century chapel), The Nines piano bar in downtown, Moonflower in the West Village for a glass of natural wine, Pebble Bar in Midtown, Gem Wine in the Lower East Side, Katana Kitten in the West Village for a highball, and if you find yourself in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens, there’s no better place for a craft cocktail than Clover Club.
Where To Get A Quick Mani
While a hearty meal ranks higher on the list of NYFW priorities than a manicure, that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy consideration. If you forgot to get one pre-travel (or simply need a quick self care situation), there are a few addresses to have on your radar. “I’m a forever fan of Chillhouse, which started out as a small spot on the LES but now has its flagship in SoHo,” Madden says. For Page, Glosslab’s many locations make it an easy one to pop into anytime. Jinsoon Tribeca for Walton, and Paintbox for Eshaghpour (“it’s a mani that will last you the full duration of NYFW and beyond”). As for Minkoff, her staple spot for a fast manicure is TenOverTen on Houston Street (“though anyone who has seen my nails knows that it’s impossible for me to get a quick mani — graphic nail art on powder acrylics!”).
Where To Grab Coffee In Between Shows
Ah yes, coffee. The lifeline of NYFW. “There is a coffee shop on almost every block in New York so this shouldn’t be a problem and it’s hard to go too wrong (anywhere but Starbucks should suffice because c’mon, you’re in NYC — support somewhere local),” Walton says. “If in Tribeca, Interlude is great and in the West Village Bar Pisellino is very sweet (especially if you’re like me and in a constant state of missing Italy).” If you’re near Union Square, Minkoff points to the matcha and to-go cold cups at Blue Bottle on University Place. If you’re in LES, Madden’s former stomping grounds, she recommends Ludlow Coffee Supply. “It’s casual and has outdoor seating, which is especially nice in summer. I’m generally a cold brew person year round, but when I’m feeling particularly decadent I spring for a cappuccino, which is always perfectly rich and foamy here.” La Cabra in the East Village and The Elk in the West Village are both picks for Jane, and Eshaghpour’s favorite has locations throughout the city. “Whether your show schedule takes you uptown, downtown, or — most likely — all over town, you can never go wrong indulging in a quick coffee and, perhaps, slice of Princess Cake from Sant Ambroeus.”
Where To Find A Moment of Zen
To the outside observer, the idea of ‘finding zen’ during something as seemingly glamorous as New York Fashion Week might illicit an eye-roll — but don’t be fooled, these attendees are working hard and definitely working overtime. Plus, everyone deserves zen, especially during such a frenetic, demanding time. “Urban Asanas is the best-kept secret in New York City for acupuncture, infrared sauna, and yoga,” stylist Rachael Wang shares. “Try an Unwind class with Jyll, the owner.”
For Minkoff, physical movement is the best medicine. “During NYFW in September, I take any opportunity to walk between shows that I can. Walking, rather than getting in a cab or an Uber, allows me to reflect on the trends and collections I have seen that day and make little mental notes about standout pieces and designers for the season to come.” Walton also finds calm during the show commute. “I find a lot of zen riding the subway and listening to music (although I’m sure most people wouldn’t think of the subway as a zen experience),” she says. “I also get a Citibike and just cycle everywhere — it’s the best way to see the city.” On top of that, she suggests a quick museum visit in between shows. “I would go to the MoMA and enjoy the Matisse exhibit, grab a sandwich at Pret, sit in Central Park with a little picnic, and then wander over the The Met after. I did this a few months ago and it was a lovely, peaceful day.” And for the literary-inclined, Madden says McNally Jackson book store is a must. “The smell of new books instantly makes me relaxed.”