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The Mercer Hotel

Like an in-the-know friend, a hotel concierge clues guests in to neighborhood hotspots, coveted dinner reservations, and local cultural tips. Here, Charlotte Steinway catches up with Angie DeAngelis, the Front Desk Supervisor at the Mercer Hotel in SoHo, to pick her brain on the South of Houston scene

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It’s 8 p.m. on a Thursday and you don’t have dinner reservations. Where should you head for a bite to eat?
If you like sushi, one of the most popular places in the neighborhood is BLUE RIBBON SUSHI — it’s just a few blocks away from the hotel, with great food and a fun, downtown vibe. For something a little more casual, one of my favorite places is PARM. Owned by the same people as cult faves Carbone and Torrisi, Parm has an old fashioned vibe and the feel of a great local spot. I always get the eggplant parmesan on a roll and the fried calamari, which in my opinion is the best in all of New York. No, seriously, you need to go try it as soon as you finish reading this article.

Where should you head for see-and-be-seen drinks?
Definitely the bar downstairs at ACME. There’s a restaurant on the main level, but the downstairs has sort of a loungey scene to it: it’s always really busy on the weekends. And then there’s LA ESQUINA, which also operates as a restaurant and a bar — it’s great for people watching and you might spot a celebrity or two.

How about a fun brunch spot, with a hearty side of mimosas?
I always suggest that guests go to the Meatpacking District for that: Places like BAGATELLE or BEAUMARCHAIS do brunch on a completely different level. There’s bottle service, loud music and dancing on tables; if you don’t look outside, you could completely forget it’s daytime.

If you’re looking for a dose of culture, what’s within walking distance?
I’d recommend the NEW MUSEUM on the Bowery, which is known for their rotating contemporary art exhibits. The pieces are pretty unusual and visits are always fun because the museum elicits strong opinions from people. My favorite show there was Carsten Höller’s, which featured a merry-go-round, slide and sensory deprivation tank — the kinds of things you wouldn’t otherwise find at the Met or the MoMa. If a guest is looking for something more historic, I’ll send them to the TENEMENT MUSEUM on Delancey. They do a great little tour of the old tenement-style apartments where you can compare New York of 100 years ago to what it is today.{"type": "right-quote", "text": "Bagatelle and Beaumarchais brunch on a completely different level. There’s bottle service, loud music and dancing on tables"}

Where would you go for a one-of-a-kind gift?
One of my favorites is the MOMA GIFT SHOP. People always forget there’s a downtown location, but it’s a great place to pick up unique jewelry, accessories or design-oriented gifts. I also recently discovered a store called MIN, an apothecary for rare perfume. They ask you all of these questions when you get in — things that aren’t even necessarily related to scent — like, “what’s one of your favorite childhood memories” or “what’s your favorite cocktail?” Based on how you answer, they’ll be able to tailor a perfume to you.

Say you’re jetlagged and up super early: What’s a great coffee shop in the ‘hood that’s guaranteed to be open?
I really like LA COLOMBE on Lafayette. They open really early and it’s nothing like a standard Starbucks: It has that homey, Brooklyn-esque vibe about it, and they make a mean macchiato.

Best oysters in the city?
I’m always a huge fan of JOHN DORY OYSTER BAR at the Ace Hotel. They have a great selection of oysters but also a ton of other quality seafood options. It’s a good place to grab cocktails, do some people watching, and just hang out. Sometimes seafood restaurants can feel a little stiff and formal, but this is the perfect, relaxed spot if you’re looking for the seafood without that setting.

The Mercer is right near Little Italy — where do you think the best slice of pizza is?
We love to send people to LOMBARDI’S. It’s up for debate, but they say they’re the first pizzamakers in New York, so guests always feel like they’re crossing it off their New York bucket list when they go. We at the hotel always order from there, too: 10 margherita and 10 pepperoni pies.

What is your favorite bookstore for chic coffee table books?
I’m a huge book nerd, so I always love MCNALLY JACKSON, an independently run bookstore with a ton of travel books, niche novels, and a huge magazine section. Whenever I need to kill time I go in there — and always end up killing too much time.

What if it’s your last day in New York and your plans fell through. What would you recommend to do with a full free day in the city?
If people haven’t already been, I always recommend walking the HIGH LINE. I’ve never seen anything like it in any other city: You get all these great views of the Hudson, the Meatpacking District, and you’re at the heart of the Chelsea art scene. When it’s time for a break, the High Line also crosses over CHELSEA MARKET — I love grabbing a hot chocolate from JACQUES TORRES inside and bringing it back up with me.

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