Must-See Lower East Side
by Chris Wallace, 02/13/2013
LES After Dark
When Richard Price gave the Lower East Side the James Joyce treatment in his novel Lush Life, he set the drama in a café that's basically a thinly veiled Schiller's Liquor Bar. For good reason. Restaurateur Keith McNally's subway-tiled bistro pub has for a decade been the Cheers of the neighborhood—a great bar with good nosh where everybody knows your name. But new arrival The Leadbelly has updated the concept, featuring a bluesy soundtrack, Airstream-inspired design and a menu piled high with oysters and comfort food.
Of course, the Lower East Side has always been the perfect destination for those who simply want a no-frills drink, and every nook and cranny of the neighborhood boasts its own local dive. Barramundi on Clinton is a charmingly eccentric mishmash of found decor. Be sure to order a drink with one of the bartender-created infused vodkas. When just one nightcap turns into several, Clandestino is lively late—or early—into the morning.