Get Your Tiki on at Mother of Pearl, Alphabet City’s Newest Cocktail Bar

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Photo: French Connection (Grape, lime, luxardo bitter, blanc vermouth, rum) 

Whoever said Alphabet City was grimy is due for a visit to Avenue A this week. East Village nightlife impresario Ravi DeRossi (of Death & Co., Mayahuel, Amor y Amargo) unveils Mother of Pearl, a new cocktail bar and restaurant on the corner of Avenue A and East 6th Street today. The East Side’s answer to the tropical trend of late (the West Village has The Happiest Hour), Mother of Pearl will serve tiki-inspired cocktails and post-modern Polynesian small plates. It’s taking over DeRossi’s Gin Palace, which closed down a few months ago after the building was found to be sinking into the ground — in true East Village architectural style.

The regutted and revamped space resembles a beach cabana with a mid-century tropicana vibe. Airy floor-to-ceiling windows with white, linen curtains open onto the street, and totem pole bar stools, turquoise hues, and leafy wallpaper (plus overhead mother of pearl lights) make the spot a vintage-themed cocktail retreat just in time for the summer.

DeRossi paired up with longtime colleagues Jane Danger (Death & Co., The NoMad Bar, PDT) to curate the beverage program and chef Andrew D’Ambrosi (Bergen Hill and Cienfuegos) to create the menu. Cocktails range from strictly tiki, rum-based tropical drinks to vodka-based concoctions, like the Black Dragon (vodka, oolong tea, peach, lemon, and berenjager). The food menu is small plates focused, and includes sushi from the raw bar, a reinvention of the Polynesian classic poke, and hot dishes like Kahlua pork belly with ginger glaze, pineapple kimchee, smoked cashews, and coconut rice.

Mother of Pearl, 95 Avenue A, New York, NY, 10009

Find out more restaurants to eat at right now in our East Village city guide.

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French Connection (Grape, lime, luxardo bitter, blanc vermouth, rum)

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Spam and eggs

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Scallop Makai

Surf’s Up! Where You Need to Be Eating in Rockaway Beach Right Now

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Photo: Caracas Arepa Bar

With the Fourth of July behind us and summer in full swing, anyone who’s lived through many a New York summer will tell you there’s nothing quite as demoralizing as the grid of Manhattan in 90 degree heat. On those days when the concrete jungle is too muggy and the nearest rooftop won’t suffice, you need a quick getaway. Enter Rockaway Beach, the best seaside spot accessible via the A train. It’s less New York’s best kept secret and more New York’s most popular summer day trip destination. Whether you hit the Rockaways once a week or once a summer, you need a go-to list of places to eat and drink before, during, and after a day on the sand. So from restaurants to boardwalk concessions and old standbys to buzzy new spots, here’s where to eat in Rockaway Beach.

Tacoway Beach

When Rockaway Taco, debatably Rockaway’s most popular seasonal eatery, closed for good in October 2014, taco fiends heaved a collective sigh. Where would they get their beloved beer-battered tacos? Luckily, co-owner Andrew Field opened an offshoot of the original taco shack at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club to much fanfare in May. You’ll find all the same hits plus sides like creamy guacamole, bowls of cotija-topped corn, and fresh juice. The scene brings together the best of Rockaway: surfers, hipsters, and everyone in between. (302 Beach 87th St.)

What to getFish tacos, plantains and guacamole, fresh-squeezed watermelon juice.

Closest subway stopBeach 90th St.

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Photo: Rockaway Beach Surf Club (credit: Beth Perkins)

Whit’s End

The best pizza in Rockaway, and a contender for the best in New York, is made by Whitney Aycock, the profanity-shouting, culinary school-trained owner of Whit’s End. He imports his ingredients from Italy and makes pizza by the 11-inch pie (don’t try to ask for a slice, he will yell at you). Head over after a day at the beach, place your order at the counter, then try to find an open stool or couch while you wait. The simple, surf-shack space is attached to The Playland Motel and is open year-round. (97-14 Rockaway Beach Blvd.)

What to getAny pizza on the menu, especially margherita or with mushrooms and truffle oil.

Closest subway stopBeach 98th St.

The Summer Shift

Setting up shop in the old Rockaway Taco shack is this concept restaurant from design and branding studio MP Shift and Rockaway Summer. The seasonal pop-up hosts a rotating roster of New York chefs, all who specialize in Latin American food. Every couple of weeks until Labor Day, a new chef with Latin American roots will take the helm and showcase recipes from his heritage. (95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd.)

What to getFernando Aciar of O Café/feelfood will be dishing up brunch-like fare like acai smoothie bowls and milanesa sandwiches until July 14, when he hands the reins over to Camille Becerra of Navy (see the full chef line-up here).

Closest subway stopBeach 98th St.

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Photo: The Summer Shift

Anna Bow

New to the Rockaway Beach restaurant line-up this summer is Anna Bow, a white-washed coffee shop and Mexi-cafe adjacent to The Summer Shift. Ideal for a breakfast burrito, smashed chickpea sandwich, or mid-afternoon smoothie break. (95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd.)

What to getThe breakfast combo: a breakfast burrito with hot or iced coffee.

Closest subway stopBeach 98th St.

Caracas Arepa Bar

If you don’t want to venture too far from the sand, stop at the boardwalk outpost of this Venezuelan corncake specialist. The beachfront stand serves the same family recipes that draw the crowds to its East Village and Williamsburg locations, plus frozen drinks suited for the surf. (1o6-01 Shore Front Parkway)

What to getLa del Gato or De Pabellon arepas, side of fried sweet plantains.

Closest subway stopBeach 106th St.

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Photo: Caracas Arepa Bar

Rockaway Bagels

Every neighborhood in New York needs its signature n0-frills bagel place, and Rockaway Bagels is exactly that. Get to Rockaway bright and early, grab a bagel to go, and spend the morning in the waves before planning your stomach’s next move.

What to getA bacon, egg and cheese.

Closest subway stopBeach 116th St.

Playland Motel

The restaurant at the Playland Motel is no longer the scenester party haven of yesteryear. Dan Cipriani, owner of the Lodge in Williamsburg, reopened the restaurant in May with a “family-friendly” vision. Don’t worry, he didn’t replace bar stools with high-chairs, but he did reconfigure the restaurant as a concept space, with plans for art openings, open mic nights, and collaborations with surf and skate companies. The beachy food and drink menu make it an ideal stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner –  think breakfast burritos, fresh fish, and plenty of margs.

What to getNew England clam chowder, Baja fish tacos, and a guava margarita.

Closest subway stop: Beach 98th St.

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Photo: Playland Motel (credit: Michael Rudin)

SALT

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Come as you are restaurant focusing on fresh summer flavors and friendly service, this waterfront restaurant uses the natural resources of the area in unexpected ways exemplified by their preparation of littleneck clams which features chorizo, apples and cilantro.

Harlow East

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The coveted Marina location in Sag Harbor town has finally been filled by a worthy establishment. Harlow is both bar and restaurant with late night dancing and ample outdoor seating overlooking the bay and the harbor. With seafood and burgers to die for, those lucky enough to travel to the Hampton’s by boat will certainly know about this spot.

Back Page

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Page restaurant on Main Street in Sag Harbor has opened a porch space complete with bar and appetizers where people collect after-hours for sangria. The small lounge space is incredibly comfortable and makes it easy to meet people.

Murf’s

Murf's Tavern
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The dive to top all dives, Murf’s is a salty taste of old Sag Harbor sailor culture that we are lucky to have. A juke box, dart board, and casino games are just a few of the down and dirty activities offered by the small and musty spot. Unique and beloved, it has an unequivocally old school vibe embraced by locals and visitors alike.

Tutto il Giorno

Tutto il Giorno
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Standout rustic Italian fare at this intimate Sag Harbor restaurant incorporates simple pasta dishes, incredible sauces, and a variety of local seafood plates into a perfect country style menu. Lunch and dinner served daily, no reservations, but enjoy bay views as you wait for a table.