Neighborhood Tour

Our Favorite Spots in Downtown Manhattan

by Pavia Rosati
Fearless "Fearless Girl," in her original Downtown NYC location (outside Fathom's office). Photo by Robert Bye / Unsplash.

Here at Fathom, we love to hit the road, but we have a soft spot for our backyard: Lower Manhattan, our home base for so many years. This is where New York City was born — and where it's building its future. In no special order, these are our favorite old and new spots. For safety reasons, not everything is open, but this is the list to save for the future.

EAT + DRINK

The Dead Rabbit
Our speakeasy-style local keeps winning World's Best Bar awards — for so many reasons, from the sawdust on the floor to the don't-even-try-to-steal-them menu books.

Pisillo Italian Panini
The only thing better than their Napoli sandwich (prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula) is their Genova (tuna, artichokes, arugula, olive paste). Get one for lunch, and you can finish the other half for dinner. (Midtown bonus: They have a second location in Chelsea.)

The Odeon
For more than 35 years, the ultimate, absolute coolest bistro in Manhattan. Trends come and go, but Odeon is forever. If you're from out of town, this is the first place we take you.

The Fulton
Jean-Georges Vongerichten's beautiful seafood restaurant with killer views of the Brooklyn Bridge anchors the new Pier 17 at South Street Seaport, which includes other eateries and event venues.

Dinner with a view at Manhatta. Photo by Francesco Sapienza / courtesy of Manhatta.

Manhatta
What can we say? We like to eat well. And the 60th-floor views at Danny Meyer's supremely handsome restaurant only add to the dining experience.

Fraunces Tavern
One of the oldest restaurants in NYC opened in 1762 as The Queen's Head and was a secret meeting spot for revolutionaries. Today, we like to reserve the private table in the snug.

Crown Shy
The terrific and stunning neighborhood newcomer helmed by chef James Kent and restaurateur Jeff Katz is located in 70 Pine, the Art Deco jewel that was twice the tallest skyscraper in Manhattan. When they open their boutique restaurant and bar in the spire, it will be the best view in town.

Sophie's Cuban
Hearty and delicious, with low prices and high quality. We been known to invent a black bean craving to come here.

Shorty's
They may be famous for their Philly-style cheesecakes, but we're partial to the Roast Pork Special, with pork loin, broccoli rabe, provolone, and garlic jus. (They have outposts in Flatiron and Hell's Kitchen.)

The Oyster House at Pier A
It's not the best food. It's not the most inspiring wine list. But the Statue of Liberty and NY Harbor views are unbeatable, and it's a great place to come with a gang.

Smith & Mills
The itsy-bitsy bar packs a big punch in its cocktails, sophisticated bar snacks, and intimate setting.

Tiny's & The Bar Upstairs
Opened by three siblings (who also own Smith & Mills), the restaurant and bar have a neighborhood charm rooted in stylish elements from the past.

Photo courtesy of Aire Ancient Baths.

DO + SEE + SHOP

Aire Ancient Baths
A total oasis — a spa specializing in ancient Roman, Greek, and Ottoman bath rituals.

Bowne & Co. Stationers
Guilty as charged: We're suckers for a real, working 19th-century letterpress.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage
Temporary and permanent exhibitions and special events bear witness to the Holocaust.

Elevated Acre 
A wide stairway and escalators at 55 Water Street leads to a hidden park located above a parking garage. Totally unexpected. Totally quiet. Totally amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Harbor. (No website, of course.)

South Street Seaport Museum
The renovated museum complex includes historic ships, some 28,000 works of art and artifacts and 55,000 historic records documenting the history of New York City's harbor and port, and rotating exhibitions. 

Pioneer and Lettie G. Howard Under the Brooklyn Bridge, from the permanent collection at South Street Seaport Museum. Image courtesy of South Street Seaport Museum.

9/11 Memorial
No matter how many times we're here, we can't walk through without getting choked up.

10 Corso Como
When the groundbreaking Milan concept boutique and gallery finally landed in NYC, they established their roots Downtown.

Seaglass Carousel at the Battery Conservancy
Yes, it's for kids. But we won't let that stop us from taking a spin on the aquatic merry-go-round.

Balloon Saloon
Speaking of childhood pleasures, a balloon store? In New York City? Yes, whether you have a last-minute birthday need or are in the market for an anytime pick-me-up.

Photo courtesy of The Beekman Hotel.

STAY

The Beekman
The relative newcomer is absolute stunner, rich in historic details (the fa├žade is a New York City Landmark, and the turrets are two penthouse suites) and modern touches (Martin Brudnizki's design, Tom Colicchio's Temple Court restaurant, Keith McNally's Augustine brasserie).

The Greenwich Hotel
Discreet and cool, with guest-only boudoir-style living rooms, a Tuscan-esque outdoor courtyard, and an unexpected (and striking) basement swimming pool. Come here when you want to feel like a movie star hiding out from the rest of the world. (Read more about it on Fathom.)

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown
The handsome choice for those with taste, cash, and creative leanings. Notable for its elegant Yabu-Pushelberg interiors in a Robert Stern-designed skyscraper, a terrific spa with an indoor pool overlooking the surrounding skyscrapers, a seriously equipped gym with views of the Calatrava-designed Oculus (the area's most interesting new landmark), and NYC's first outpost of Wolfgang Puck's steak-tastic CUT restaurant.

Gild Hall, A Thompson
A surprisingly hip little hotel that manages to feel like a local find. Come for the cozy digs with great design, the affordable price point (especially on weekends), and the convenient access to office buildings. (Read more about it on Fathom.)

The Wagner at the Battery
If you're here for business of the suit-and-tie variety, this is the five-star where you'll want to stay. Make time for pleasure, and request a room overlooking New York Harbor for the million-dollar Statue of Liberty views. (Read more about it on Fathom.)

Mr. C Seaport
The boutique hotel from the Cipriani restaurateurs located steps from the river in the heart of the revitalized Seaport District mixes Euro cool with chic nautical elements and offers thoughtful LIttle C children's amenities. Bellini restaurant feels like legitimately Italian-Italian (as opposed to Italian-American).

FOR MORE INFO

Listed above are the reliables and the standbys. Just as noteworthy are the seasonal events — games, installations, temporary projects — that make the neigh borhood come alive. We rely on Downtown Alliance and Seaport District to keep us abreast of the new, cool, and unmissable.