• Behind The Scenes: Downtown 81

    Everyone knows that the choices for going out are endless when it comes to NYC, which means keeping tabs on every amazing spot in the city can be a full-time job. Even talking to friends about which places are their faves can be hard to keep track of, because there's always an endless stream of new restaurants and shops popping up every day. After feeling worn down from all the choices, sometimes we just want to stick with what we know. That's why for our most recent lookbook, Downtown 81, we visited a few spots in the East Village that have been longstanding mainstays of the East Village, and absolute go-to spots of ours each time we hit the city. Read on to see why Yaffa Cafe, McSorley's Old Ale House and Rebel Rebel are must-visits on your next trip to NYC.

    Rebel Rebel

    Named after the Bowie song, Rebel Rebel is chock full of any record you could ever possibly want (and probably a million others that you've never even heard of). There are records everywhere at Rebel Rebel, which makes this record store one of our favorites to hit when we're looking to get lost in some dusty crates for hours on end. The store's been around for more than 25 years, so the owner and staff know a thing or two about vinyl. If you find yourself looking for a specific release, they're the people to ask. And while it may look like the shop has no rhyme or reason to it, there is some order to the chaos. Just ask the staff if you can't find what you're looking for - they're always happy to help out.

    Yaffa Cafe

    Yaffa Cafe has been around for over 30 years, which means they've obviously been doing something very right in order to keep their doors open for the past quarter century. First opened in 1983, Yaffa came at a time when the East Village was seriously lacking in any kind of "hip" eateries. Once Yaffa Cafe took off, the area around it also took off as well - now, it's still a big part of the bustling, trendy East Village that we know and love today. If you're looking to grab a leisurely bite with friends in an inviting atmosphere (the picture above is the inside of Yaffa cafe - how cool does that look?), then Yaffa is a spot you won't want to miss. For more pics of Yaffa's awesome decor, check out their gallery.

    McSorley's Old Ale House

    Last but not least, we have McSorley's Old Ale House, known around town simply as McSorley's. A mainstay of the East Village since 1854 (seriously!), McSorley's has a long, rich history and has seen a lot of change in New York City as the years have gone by. The bar itself is incredible to walk through, because not much has changed since 1854. The place is filled with memorabilia and weird little mementos of past patrons, like turkey bones that hang from the chandelier. McSorley's is great if you're looking for a little history and cheap drinks. They only serve two kinds of beer, so if you're into fancy cocktails, this isn't your spot. That said, this place is definitely worth a trip just to poke around, even if you're not a huge beer drinker.

    Downtown 81

    Photo of McSorley's Old Ale House released into public domain by author. Photo of Yaffa Cafe c/o Yaffa Cafe.