KATHLEEN: This adventure was one of our hangouts from a few weeks back. Lindsey was running a meager HOUR late, so I was thrilled to find this coffee shop/wine & beer cafe open late on the lower east side. Seriously, it makes me so frustrated that all the coffee shops close early. Coffee is cheaper than alcohol and cafes are more my vibe, so, thank you Little Canal! That’s the name of the shop I found, on Canal street, obviously.
This place was a hipster’s dream. Late 60’s decor, Brazilian jazz playing on vinyl, and a small sampling of food that looked delicious. I saw the Nitro Breakfast Stout and the menu and I was done! If you like coffee and chocolate, you will like this beer. It is brewed with flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee.
I struck up a conversation with the owner who was behind the bar. I’m a big believer in starting conversations with strangers. In our careers, always travelling and working in new places, I have become extremely confident in dining alone and also befriending strangers. It’s actually not that hard! Unfortunately it’s just not practiced that much by a generation raised online. Alas, that’s how I found out about the owner’s love for Brazilian jazz and playing real vinyl at the cafe. Plus he told me about his favorite local bars and restaurants, score!
Finally, Lindsey arrived. She sipped a glass of Pinot Noir as I finished my beer and then we were off to the next location!
LINDSEY: To start the evening I had originally picked a quirky little dive bar called 169 Bar where you can order drinks from your table via text message. After enjoying a nice glass of wine at Little Canal, we walked across the street to check it out. However, texting orders from your table is where the appeal ends, as it seems to draw more of a “frat boy” crowd. After briefly observing the façade of this fine establishment, we decided to keep it classy and explore other options. In search of the next destination on our Friday night adventure, we wandered aimlessly around the shady, maze-like lower east side until we found something more to suitable to our tastes. We came upon a little diamond In the rough called Cafe Katja. It was quite cold that evening, so when we looked in the windows and saw smiling faces in the warm, cozy surroundings, we knew we had found the right spot!
When we walked in we were greeted by the happiest man in New York City. He put other hosts to shame with his jolliness and general joie de vivre! We couldn’t help but smile and laugh a little as he practically skipped to show us to our table.
It wasn’t until we sat down and looked at the menus that we realized we had stumbled into a restaurant specializing in German fare! Serendipity? I think so! Needless to say, we branched out from our usual burger entrées. Inspired by the German surroundings we talked of upcoming auditions and toasted to Germany plans. I enjoyed a classic Wienerschnitzel with herbed potatoes (when in Rome…) and Kathleen had the Austrian Meatballs. Both were delicious, as were the specialty cocktails. We sampled the Alpina and Sloeberry Gin & Tonic. We highly recommend Cafe Katja. It is classy, cozy, and delicious!
In the interest of keeping this blog honest, Cafe Katja is where we left classiness behind as we pursued the rest of our evening. In an effort to branch out (and since it was a Friday night) we decided to move on to a club called 230 Fifth. We took a cab there since we decided the lower east side (around Chinatown) is just plain difficult to navigate. Since we didn’t get desert at Katja we realized we were in desperate need of pastries before trying our hand at clubbing. We walked down the street from 230 Fifth to a 24 hour bodega. Kathleen had an underwhelming slice of chocolate cake and I had a stale glazed donut. Pastries were on par with their surroundings- but the coffee was impressively delicious!
The club scene. It was humid. It was loud. And to be quite honest… it smelled a little. But adventure is adventure and we seized the opportunity for some amazing people watching.
Being that we are both single, we scouted for potential prince charmings. I will tell you now…Prince Charming does NOT go to 230 Fifth. Trust me on this. Instead, we had fun fending off creepy, drunk guys and watching the alcohol induced dancing and flirtation. People watching was in high supply and we loved that. If you also live in NYC, you know this is the bar with the rooftop heated igloos and robes, so there is that! We made sure to hit the rooftop which is amazing and worth the visit… if you are brave!
No doubt this life experience will come in handy for acting in operatic bar scenes in the future! Peter Grimes… La fanciulla del West…Wozzeck? We got this.
Remember, every day is an adventure if you want it to be! We always want to hear about yours, so please share!
Liebe und Kusse!