I grew in New York, so I might be biased, but I firmly believe there is no city like it in the world. With vibrant neighborhoods, unique culture, and constant movement, its a true melting pot. From Little Italy to Harlem, each neighborhood is rich with its own culture, history, and lifestyle. There is no shortage of things to do in the day or evening. You can live here your whole life and still not see and do it all. Anyone who resides here or visits knows going out in New York is very accessible. No matter where you stay, just walk a few blocks, and you will spot countless restaurants, dive bars, cocktail lounges, cafes, and clubs. With so many choices for nightlife, some times, it’s hard to decide.

When I come back to New York City, I mostly spend my time in Manhattan or Brooklyn. In the summer, I’m usually skateboarding to different neighborhoods for meetings or hanging out with friends. In the winter, taking the subway to get to where I need to go. No matter where I’m staying in the city, I try to always make it a priority to enjoy the nightlife in one of my favorite neighborhoods, Chinatown.

This small 200-yeard stretch is called Doyers Street. Bent at a 90-degree angle, it is was one of the deadliest streets in NYC. Nicknamed “Bloody Angle” due to the gang violence that occurred here in the 20s and 30s by the Tong Gangs. Doyers St is now a quiet and secluded alley, a fry cry from what it was a hundred years ago.

New York’s Chinatown is the second oldest Chinese ethnic community in America. Even though San Francisco’s’ is the first, Manhattan’s neighborhood is actually the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. The area has changed over the centuries. It might not be as authentic as it once was but its still a unique neighborhood with narrow, winding streets full of history.

Even if I’m short on time, I still venture out to this part of Lower Manhattan for some great food and one of my favorite cocktail bars in the city. I’d love to share my recommendations for a perfect night out in Chinatown (with minimum walking).

DINNER:

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown

Grabbing a bite to eat at NYC’s oldest dim sum parlor makes for a memorable experience. Nom Wah Tea Parlor originally opened in 1920. This throwback gem is located in the heart of Chinatown on a windy, colorful, and closed-off street. The restaurant can be found on Doyers St, nicknamed “Bloody Angle.” While it might not sound welcoming, the nickname comes from the street’s sharp corner and deadly gangs wars that occurred here in the 20s and 30s. Like most places in Chinatown, there is a backstory to every bite.

Where to Eat in Chinatown NYC

Even though this establishment started off as a tea salon and bakery, dim sum and mooncakes are what put this place on the map. I love this place for its tasty dumplings, great prices, and ancient charm. If you are lucky, you won’t have to wait long to be seated. When you walk in, you can’t dismiss the aroma of steamed and fried dumplings being served all around the restaurant. Regulars and first-timers mingle in the shared tables and counter. If the restaurant’s exterior didn’t give you an idea of the ambiance, the interior decor sure will. Nom Wah’s is furnished with red vinyl booths and art deco tables. The walls are painted in an old yellow color that goes perfect with the photos and vintage tiles.

Nom-Wah-Tea-Parlor-menu
best-dim-sum-chinatown

If you are a novice to traditional dim sum, don’t worry, the menu offers photos and explanations on everything they serve. Nom Wah’s is famous for its mooncakes that are made out of homemade lotus paste and red bean filling. There is a variety of steamed and fried dumplings options to choose from. Riceballs and the original ‘OG” egg roll are always a crowd favorite. They even offer gluten-free options, which is unheard of when eating this type of cuisine. To top it off enjoy desserts like almond cookies or savory buns that go exceptional with your tea.

Nom-Wah-Tea-Parlor-decor

BE AWARE: They only accept cash or American Express, so make sure you come prepared.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor / 13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013 / @nomwah

DRINKS:

APOTHEKE

Apotheke-chinatown-nyc

When you are filled up and ready for a drink, walk a couple steps to find the 200-year-old door that houses the absinthe den with the best cocktails in Chinatown. Apothéke was inspired by the early pharmacies in Europe and absinthe dens in the 19th century.

Apotheke Best Cocktails In Chinatown NYC

As you know, THE LORES admires the story behind everything. Apothéke actually opened inside a former opium den. Which is perfect for the entire experience of going to this hidden establishment. According to their story, “At Apothéke, the presentation of a cocktail is just as dramatic as the cocktail itself. The bar is no longer a bar. It’s a stage. A chemistry lab. A theatre. A unique-shaped Austrian crystal glass is carefully selected for each cocktail, and into it, is poured a beautiful, jewel-colored liquid. This is much more than a cocktail bar – this is a cocktail apothecary.”

apotheke-bar-for-cocktails

Being here many times, I concur entirely. Every drink I have ever ordered wowed me visually. The cocktails are housemade using only organic produce, herbs, and botanicals, which give their creations their incredible flavor. The menu, which they call Prescription List, are broke down in categories such as Health & Beauty, Pain Killers, Stimulants, Aphrodisiacs, Euphoric Enhancers, and Stress Reliever. Makes you feel better about drinking. The mixologist (pharmacist) dress in lab coats can recommend drinks or house-infused cocktail pitchers for big groups.

If you are looking for an interactive activity, inquire about The Apotheke Academy. They offer hands-on mixology and cocktail classes onsite. It’s a unique experience to learn about the art of crafting medicinal cocktails from their expert mixologist. They offer three different types of courses focusing on Market Fresh Mixology, Prohibition Era drinks, and the Spirit of Mexico, which you learn about Mezcal and Tequila.

Just like Nom Wah Tea Parlor, this place gets packed on the weekends so plan ahead. You don’t need reservations to get in, but if they are at capacity, you might have to wait long. But it is worth getting in and tasting their signature drinks and enjoying the burlesqe shows. My cocktail recommendations are the Dead Poet, Catcher in the Rye, and the House Absinthe, which is made using a secret 200-year-old recipe that involves fermented sugarcane juice.

Apothéke / 9 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013 / @apothekenyc

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