This season's move of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents from Bryant Park uptown to Lincoln Center is as good a reason as any to reinvestigate the neighborhood near the venerable cultural institution—whether you're in town to attend the runways or just curious to see if you can catch a glimpse of one of the industry's players. The area around Lincoln Center is full of great places to kick back and relax between shows, including several very cool bars and a few fashion-friendly stops where you can pick up a baked treat, grab a new lipstick or settle in for a pre-party blowout. Here's your cheat sheet.
Grab a Snack
1900 Broadway, 212-595-0303
Another outpost of superchef Daniel Boulud's Manhattan mini-empire, Bar Boulud is all about charcuterie. Well, not all about, but alongside the menu's bistro faves, like steak frites and poulet rôti, there's a wide selection of mind-bending terrines and pâtés made by Sylvain Gasdon, who learned from Paris' charcuterie master, Gilles Verot. (And the wine's no joke here, either.)
200 Columbus Ave., 212-724-8101
Ever since Sex and the City made Magnolia Bakery famous, the lines at the original Bleecker Street outpost have been intimidatingly long. But if those queues seem a little shorter lately, that might be because a few sister sweetshops have opened up around town. One of these is conveniently located a short hop from the Lincoln Center tents—perfect for a pre-show sugar rush.
72 W. 69th St., 212-580-4300
Like many chefs these days, Bill Telepan preaches the gospel of "local" and "seasonal." He does many of his locavore peers one better, however, by putting greenmarket ingredients to use in dishes with gourmet flair. The result? Earthy, Italian-influenced haute cuisine, best experienced by digging into the restaurant's four- or five-course tasting menus.
Meet for Drinks
The Empire Hotel
44 W. 63rd St., 212-265-7400
Famous as "the Chuck Bass hotel" thanks to its starring role on Gossip Girl, the Empire brings a little downtown panache to the Lincoln Center area. Visit the sleek lobby bar for specialty cocktails—many of them inspired by the hit teen soap—or head up to the rooftop for a more intimate tête-à-tête.
Hudson New York
356 W. 58th St., 212-554-6000
Part of the exclusive Morgans Hotel Group chain, which also includes Miami's Delano and London's Sanderson, the Hudson offers drinking options for any mood. Feeling mellow? Settle into an armchair and enjoy the books 'n' billiards atmosphere of the hotel's Library Bar. Livelier folk can check out the Hudson Bar and admire its glowing glass floor and Francesco Clemente ceiling mural. And if you just can't sleep, head downstairs to Good Units, which has become one of the fashion scene's go-to party spots since it opened last year. (Call ahead to see if events at Good Units are open to the public.)
MObar at Mandarin Oriental
Time Warner Center, 80 Columbus Circle, 212-805-8876
MObar, the lounge at über-luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental, is a speakeasy for the jet set. Located on the hotel's 35th floor, MObar feels secret, and the bar's nooks and crannies make it the ideal spot for hush-hush one-on-ones.
Celina Skin and Nail Care Salon
156 W. 72nd St., 212-595-4100
Celina offers a host of services that will put the final polish on a Fashion Week look. In addition to long-lasting mani-pedis, the spa offers tweezing and waxing, eyelash extensions and a variety of facials.
Paul Labrecque West
160 Columbus Ave., 212-988-7816
The west-side outpost of the high-end salon offers top-of-the-line blowouts, cuts and colors, plus premium spa packages and access to the Reebok Sports Club/NY.
217 Columbus Ave., 212-362-2840
Forgot your makeup bag? Located on Lincoln Square's "beauty row" (where you'll also find Lancôme and Kiehl's shops), Space.NK is an English-export beauty bazaar where you can track down hard-to-find brands such as Elemental Herbology, Eve Lom, Oribe and Jemma Kidd, as well as David Kirsch's 5-Day Detox kit. (That last one is a necessity after Fashion Week!)
224 Columbus Ave., 212-769-1489
If you're a member of the cult of Emile Lafaurie, the French menswear designer who turns out perfectly finished accessories and apparel with a certain J.Crew-on-the-Seine je ne sais quoi, then you have to shop at Sean. The boutique has two locations, one in SoHo and one within high-heeled walking distance of the spring 2011 shows.
Take a Break
Columbus Ave. bet. W. 76th and W. 77th Sts.), 212-239-3025
On Sundays, the 25-year-old Upper West Side GreenFlea market presents a great way to kill a few hours in the Lincoln Center vicinity. Shop for vintage clothing and housewares; snack on fresh, local fruit from the farmstands (their booths are just across Columbus Avenue, between West 77th and West 80th Streets); and pick up prepared foodstuffs for later.
Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle, 212-299-7777
If you're starved for style inspiration, swing by the revamped Museum of Arts and Design for some new—or old—ideas. Current exhibition Portable Treasuries: Silver Jewelry From the Nadler Collection features more than 150 pieces of antique bling from North Africa, India, China and elsewhere. Much of the collection looks runway-ready, like Moroccan spiked bracelets dating from the late 19th century.
315 W. 57th St., 212-245-8235
YeloSpa may be the ultimate Fashion Week hotspot. Here, you can slip out of your stilettos and take a power nap, anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes long, in one of YeloSpa's specially designed napping chambers. Even the city that never sleeps needs a little downtime every now and then.