Dante NYC is an Italian bar that opened over 100 years ago in 1915. Italian immigrants in the neighborhood began to frequent the bar.
In 2019, this same spot was voted the #1 bar in the world according to The World's 50 Best Bars organization. And it's a registered New York City landmark.
Following a month of travel in Italy and Spain, I departed Barcelona for New York City to visit family and friends and check out a few new bars.
Day one began at 11 a.m. in Greenwich Village when I showed up at the door of Dante.
Walking inside this popular local meeting place for New Yorkers in downtown Manhattan, I was immediately struck by the attractive white tile bar. The floor and white ceiling are from the original Caffe Dante.
The decor gave the space a light, airy feeling, making me less self-conscious about going for a drink before noon on a weekday.
Behind one counter were shelves of Italian liquors I've only recently begun to acquaint myself with, including Campari and Aperol.
Campari is a critical ingredient in the Negroni cocktail, and Dante NYC offers a special Negroni Sessions happy hour menu from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Pictures of the former owners, famous actors, singers, and writers who frequented the bar, including Ernest Hemingway, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, and Al Pacino, decorate the walls.
I sat at Dante's bar and immediately struck up a conversation with the affable bartender.
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He asked if I'd ever tried a Garibaldi ($13), which I hadn't. This simple, refreshing, and colorful cocktail contains just two ingredients: Campari and fresh orange juice.
A whole peeled orange is put through a Breville juicer, which spins at such a high speed to create "fluffy orange juice." Mistaking the resulting texture for egg whites would be easy.
I had tried both a Negroni and a Negroni Sbagliato in Italy and came away feeling as though Campari just wasn't for me. However, when paired with fresh orange juice, it makes for a delicious drink.
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I was enjoying myself so much that I stayed for a second drink.
Cocktail number two of the day was a Rosalio Spritz ($14), made with:
- Cabeza Tequila
- Vanilla Yogurt
Another winner! And as with the Garibaldi, it felt apropos for a morning cocktail.
The breakfast menu offers a nice variety of small plates, from museli and avocado toast to a spinach bowl and poached eggs with prosciutto. I chose the banana bread with ricotta and honey ($6).
Before I knew it, an hour had passed. I could easily have stayed for a lunch of handmade pasta and a cup of espresso, but I had many more bars to check out.
I highly recommend stopping into Dante to try their award-winning Garibaldi and other world-class cocktails, whether for breakfast, lunch, aperitivo hour, or dinner.
Visit Dante NYC
- Address: 79-81 Macdougal Street, New York City
- Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to late
- Dress: Casual
- To view current menus and make reservations, visit the website.