NYC’s best underground haunts

0017
Have your pizza and eat it too.
Credit: Sotto 13

Think the best places New York has to offer are up top? Think again — many city restaurants are transforming underground, shadowy locations in basement- or lower-level floors into cozy, intimate atmospheres. Instead of walking downstairs into a building’s underbelly, these spots offer an underground sense of a hidden secret. And winter is the best time to visit: When icy winds are howling, step down into these warm, cozy spots.

Cherry
355 W. 16th St., 212-929-5800
A red door opens to a long set of stairs that leads you to this sprawing lair. The wine-colored, velvet-clad space screams romance, with a theme of getting low — tables and chairs are closer to the floor than normal, creating intimacy. Jonathan Moor introduced this spot in January, and some of his BONDST staples are on the Japanese and French fusion menu, like the tuna tart. Other items to order? The lobster tacos are the perfect mix of light crunch and succulent seafood, and the seabass has a sweet, crunchy miso glaze.

Irving Farm
71 Irving Pl., 212-995-5252
Walking down the few steps into this popular, garden-level Gramercy haunt, cross your fingers that you’ll get a spot by a window, where you can peek outside as you enjoy a chai latte and green-tea cookie. The coffee shop, whose beans are sold around the city in other cafes, is a favorite for neighborhood locals, as well as celebrities like Rufus Wainwright. The lighting is dark, but the eavesdropping is worth it — artsy types seem to use it as a brainstorming hub.

The Place
310 W. Fourth St., 212-924-2711
At The Place, tucked between trees along a West Village street, the tops of the chairs are level with the sidewalk, giving you a sense that you are peeking upwards for your people-watching. The date-night restaurant has candlelit stone walls and a roaring fireplace. It makes use of its underground rooms, built more than a century ago, by decorating window-like cutouts in the wall and adding warm candelabra lighting. Entrees to savor by the fire include hangar steak, pappardelle duck pasta and winter squash chowder.

Comedy Cellar
117 MacDougal St., 212-254-3480
For underground jokes and drinks, stop in at the Comedy Cellar, which regularly hosts bold-face names. The West Village spot has shows every night of the week. And if the nooks (or the jokes) get too dark, visit the Olive Tree Cafe on the street level, above, for a quick bite or cappuccino.

Sotto 13
140 W. 13th St., 212-647-1001
Sotto 13 mixes a low-ceilinged bar with a back room that opens up into a surprisingly airy dining space. The basement-level Chelsea eatery greets customers with a low-lit bar and cocktail tables, but walk past the kitchen and the space’s high ceilings feature a funky chandelier and plant-adorned skylight. The Italian tapas-style spot boasts crispy wood-fired pizza and flavorful, Italian-style tapas and pastas. Signature cocktails include a refreshing, citrusy mango margarita.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…