mixing it up on the lower east side

It’s always good to have different types of friends, but things get complicated when one tries to combine all of their worlds into one night. Where to go and what to do to please everyone including a more high maintenance friend, a homosexual friend and an African American friend?  Although far, far away, the answer has to be the Lower East Side.

Although I virtually had to steal a cab from someone uptown to get all the way downtown on this particular blistery Saturday evening, it was worth the schlep. I was pleasantly surprised to not only find an incredible dinner venue but also to see how my friends from different walks of life all really enjoyed meeting each other and had a lot more in common than I ever thought.

I met my eclectic group of friends on the corner of Clinton and Rivington under an awning resembling any local storefront on the Lower East Side.  Inside, the aroma of classic home cooked, American food lingers in the air and a friendly staff member is waiting to seat you. Alias isn’t a new restaurant, but it’s a top notch homey venue that is better than Schiller’s, less expensive than Orchard and not quite as tumultuous as Allen and Delancy. 

The crowd is a mixed breed of trendy hipsters, Lower East Side bohemians and everything that falls smack in the middle. We couldn’t have fit in better!  Alias serves the classics such as Upstate Chicken, roasted Hanger Steak and handmade pasta which “Mama” couldn’t do better herself.  We were in no rush to leave the warm environment, especially when they serve Il Laboratorio ice cream sandwiches and apple pie a la mode.

So where to next with such a diverse cast of characters?  We would have to opt for THOR or The Hotel on Rivington where the crowd is usually a unique combination of “Euro trash,” swanky scenesters and Bridge and Tunnel. We started out at a really nice private party on the second floor where we had a friend’s holiday party, but ultimately made our way downstairs to where the real crazy scene was.

Eighties music blasts in the downstairs bar where the somewhat tacky crowd embraces their inner cheese, but it’s amazing to see how no matter what color, religion, race, sexuality or nationality someone is, everyone loves to sing and dance to Madonna’s “Holiday” and Toto’s “Africa!”


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