Irving Place may just be my favorite street in Manhattan. At least at the moment it is. I love how quiet it is. The neighborhood-y feel. The crowd (well, the seven people you may run into) is generally young and not too hip. And there are many, many good places to visit and eat or drink at. But not too many that the sidewalks are crammed.
I did look at an apartment on this street. It was very cute, with built in shelving and unique moldings. There was an old iron rod window that swung open to look out over this pleasant street. There were two closets. And a new bathroom. It had no oven. I was heartbroken.
I do live close enough to this street to spend a fair amount of time there now, even though I don't live directly on it. Wright and I have begun to gravitate towards it every weekend, and I've loved exploring all that it has to offer. And now, for your perusing pleasure: A Guide to Irving Place.
71 Irving 71 Irving Place, between 18th and 19th
All of my iced coffee issues were solved when I found 71 Irving (or Irving Farm Coffeehouse). The coffee, produced on Irving Farm in the Hudson Valley, is absolutely delicious and not completely overpriced. The atmosphere is casual and quaint, with various baked goods and some delicious lunch items like chicken salad and grilled paninis. High recommendation for a casual coffee stop or easy lunch on their outdoor patio.
Friend of a Farmer 77 Irving Place, between 18th and 19th
Famous for its delicious brunch (and extremely long lines - go before 11am), Friend of a Farmer is an absolute joy of a restaurant. The opposite of trendy, it is cozy, rustic and farmhouse-like. They recently put in a bar, and Wright and I have discovered the pleasure of having a cold craft beer while sitting outside in the afternoon. Unlike many brunch places, Friend of a Farmer is actually open for breakfast, so if you're an early riser like myself, you can pop in at 8am on weekdays or 9am on weekends to enjoy their coveted cast iron skillet omelettes and French pressed coffee.
Pure Food and Wine 54 Irving Place, between 17th and 18th
I can't tell you I've eaten here, but this raw vegan restaurant is extremely intriguing and has garnered a lot of press and recognition. The cocktail list is fantastic - especially if you like sake, like I do - with lots of fresh fruit and interesting flavor combinations. They also have a back garden and a cozy front patio.
Casa Mono/Bar Jamon 52 Irving Place at 17th/125 E. 17th at Irving Place
Casa Mono is a Spanish restaurant owned by Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich. Again, I can't say I've been here, but with open windows lining the street and after seeing Spain: On the Road Again, I'm certainly trying to get there! Where I have been, though, is their wine and meat bar around the corner - Bar Jamon, which is fantastic. They have a number of bottled wines from Spain as well as an extensive array of meats and cheeses. It is very small, with just three long, high tables with stools, but the atmosphere is friendly and comfortable. A wonderful late night stop!
The House 121 E. 17th street at Irving Place
This is a gorgeous restaurant and wine bar with high quality food, drinks, and service. It's one of those places that serves little "quartinos" of wine instead of by the glass, which is always a plus in my book. They have three tables outside, one of which you would have found Wright and I enjoying a drink at on Sunday. In the main level bar area, they've got a small menu and a few tables, and then there is a beautiful dining room upstairs. Yes, it is in a house.
Pete's Tavern 129 E. 18th street at Irving Place
O. Henry used to write here, and my parents used to come here when they were living in the neighborhood. It's sort of what you think it would be - burgers, beers, red checked tablecloths and the like.
Gramercy Park Irving Place and 20th street