A spread of dishes on a white clothed table in the large dining room at Jean's.

The NYC Winter 25

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The NYC Winter 25

Everything is charming in December. Even tourists and 30-degree days. But when old, decaying Christmas trees start piling up on sidewalks, you know things are about to get dark. This year, don’t let the party end. Eat fondue, do a bar crawl, get soup that pairs well with Dayquil, and hit a good spa.

Everything is charming in December. Even tourists and 30-degree days. But when old, decaying Christmas trees start piling up on sidewalks, you know things are about to get dark. This year, don’t let the party end. Eat fondue, do a bar crawl, get soup that pairs well with Dayquil, and hit a good spa.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff


Banish your winter sniffles with Hug Esan’s larb pedd. Order the duck salad “Thai spicy” at this snug Elmhurst restaurant, and you’ll stop sounding like an irritable eight-year-old in no time. Just take tissues.

Larb Pedd dish on a wood table

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photo credit: Sonal Shah


Bulging out of its ramekin like the world’s most sophisticated muffin top, Minetta Tavern’s Grand Marnier Soufflé is served on a doily, strewn with citrus segments, topped with a flurry of powdered sugar, and drizzled with booze. Spoon it up in a room full of chatter that feels like being cocooned in a warm, red shawl.


The Cold Weather Bar Crawl


When soup bar minestrone isn’t cutting it, the fiery tripe and intestine soup at this KBBQ spot will warm you from head to toe. Specializing in beef entrails, Koreatown’s Gopchang Story is perched on a second floor on 5th Ave. Get a window seat and watch the throngs of shoppers as you line your stomach.

A bowl of the tripe and intestine soup from Gopchang Story
The grey brick interior of Gopchang Story with people sitting at wooden tables and servers taking orders.


New York City in the winter is frigid and unforgiving, but you’ll never feel cold at Motel No Tell. In part, that’s because of the heating, but the decor that looks like it was salvaged from a ’60s pool party helps as well. Drink a piña colada at this spacious East Village bar, then dance beneath the light of two disco balls.


The fireplace is always on at this cozy wine bar, but they only serve fondue on Tuesday nights, when Gowanus dwellers emerge from their one-bedrooms in pursuit of red wine and hot cheese. Stay up late, even though it’s Tuesday. Order another bottle because it’s $32. It’s like being in a chalet in the Swiss Alps after a long day of skiing. Or so we imagine.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff


The holidays are over, and cuffing season has nothing to do with what you saw in those Christmas rom-coms. Winter is all about you and your very special relationship with your preferred gaming console. But when you need to interact with someone outside your headset, head to Wonderville to drink a Street Fighter-themed cocktail and play indie arcade games with your friends.

The vintage arcade game lined interior of Wonderville.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff


In a basement in Hell’s Kitchen with bright yellow walls and a total of three tables, you can get some first-rate aromatherapy in the form of a steaming pile of biryani. There are over 15 kinds to choose from at Hyderabadi Zaiqa, but start with the goat dum biryani, which comes with fluffy rice and perfectly tender pieces of bone-in meat.


At Jean’s in Noho, you can eat a mini lobster roll and take a shot of lobster bisque in a palatial dining room before losing your dignity downstairs in the cocktail lounge, which is "open occasionally" (usually weekends). After three chili oil-spiked martinis, it’ll be clear: drinking less gin and developing a skincare routine can wait for 2025.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff


Let's say you have family in town and they simply must live out their Hallmark/Liz Lemon dreams and go for a skate at Rockefeller Center. When you’re holiday-cheered out and need to warm up, Daisy’s Dream in Urban Hawker serves a standout laksa. It’s funky, coconutty, and most importantly, away from the hullabaloo.


After a long day of saunas, pools, and getting your skin scrubbed down to your skeleton, you’ll need to recharge from recharging. The food hall at this Korean spa in Edgewater has salads and juice, but we prefer the beef bulgogi and a side of fried veggie dumplings. Then, head up to the heated outdoor Infinity Lounge for hot cocoa and a magical view of Manhattan.


The 24-Hour Staycation

photo credit: Eric Laignel


You were supposed to visit your in-laws who recently moved to Charleston because the terrain is good for pickleball, but now there’s ice on the tarmac at JFK, and your flight is delayed indefinitely. Reroute yourself to the TWA Hotel near Terminal 5, where you can hang in a retrofuturistic lounge and drink in a plane that was converted to a bar.

The converted retro airplane interior of Connie bar. The floor is covered in red carpet and there are long red booths, with small white tables and accompanying small stools. There are also airplane seats in the back. There is a white drink cart in the foreground.


Hopefully, you’re not living in the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: that sh*t is bleak. But if you do find yourself by the ocean in winter to meet your true love, or maybe for a polar plunge, the lagman, kebabs, and other Uyghur specialties at Kashkar Cafe in Brighton Beach have the power to revive your failed relationship—or your frozen body.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff


Sometimes, you just want to stay on your couch and punch in an ice cream delivery order from the corner bodega. Instead of settling for a freezer-burned pint with a punny name, go pick one up from Bad Habit in the East Village—their densely creamy burnt cheesecake flavor goes perfect with a rom-com. While you’re there, get a hot chocolate affogato.

Person holding a spoonful of burnt cheesecake ice cream from a black pint with white lettering, on a black countertop.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff


Nowon is 315 feet away from the Jefferson L stop. That’s less than half a block’s trek through the Bushwick tundra before you’re enveloped in neon red light, eating chopped cheese rice cakes and Nowon's Legendary Cheeseburger and kimchi special sauce as the sweet lullaby of early-aughts Ludacris surrounds you.


If yet another winter has gone by with no tropical vacation in sight, head to Ensenada, the raw fish capital of Williamsburg. Order every aguachile (and a ceviche for good measure) at this low-key mariscos spot, and follow with whole fish al pastor. Keep the mezcal margaritas coming as you forget, briefly, what season it is, and where you are.


Once that direct deposit hits and you feel like the President—or Elvis, or Jackie O., or Marilyn Monroe—keep in mind they all ate at this historic FiDi institution, and now you can too. Some things have changed since it reopened, but they still have their signature ribeye, lobster Newburg, and baked alaska, plus plenty of special-occasion energy.

photo credit: Dan Ahn


As it crackles on the grill and achieves a buttery, caramelized flavor, the dry-aged pork jowl at Don Don glistens in the light, just like your forehead after you shove a few chunks in your mouth. If you work near Bryant Park, eat some KBBQ here once a month, and always order the noodle soup topped with velvety pork belly.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff


Yes, the wind feels like Scarlett O’Hara slapped you across the face, but if you spend one more moment alone in your apartment, you’re going to start talking to the TV. Get a change of scenery without sacrificing coziness at Swoony’s in Carroll Gardens, in a disco-fueled dining room that looks like a fancy townhouse.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff


The Dao Kou chicken at this tiny Chinese spot in Greenwich Village simmers in a hot broth bath for several hours before you get to it. Ditch your mittens, put on the plastic gloves they provide, and eat it with your hands. The bird is so tender, you can give your tray a shake and the meat will fall right off. Get the $30 whole bird combo for two.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff


Live jazz, Afro-Latin, and world music until midnight, DJs even later, and bartenders with heavy pours—the downstairs coat check is just the cherry on top at this Harlem spot. You can have a conversation in a corner, but you’ll end up on the dance floor soon enough. They make their rum cocktails that strong for a reason.

The stage and seating area at Shrine. The stage has a tapestry on the back wall, and sound equipment. The walls and ceiling are covered in vinyl records, African masks, instruments and photos.


Like every other, the 2024 vintage of Dayquil has notes of red no. 40 and power steering fluid. To pair with such a robust beverage, you need a hearty meal, so head to Phayul in Jackson Heights for some creamy Tibetan blood sausage, beef soup with mountain herbs, and a plate of juicy momos.

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In Astoria’s Little Egypt, Mombar is a magpie’s nest of a restaurant where the couscous comes shaped like a pyramid, the tagine is gently spiced, and the surfaces are covered with mosaics and memorabilia. Bring a bottle of wine for dinner, and one for while you wait. Curl up in a draped, makeshift booth and consider staying there until spring.


Unless you’re one of City Island’s 4,417 residents, getting here is a journey. But the $25 AYCE Sunday Supper is a feast that’s worth the trip, with garlic bread, iceberg salad, and bucatini with red sauce, sausage, and meatballs. Although you’re just on an island in the Bronx, by your second glass of chianti, you’ll feel much, much further away.

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