A printing district for more than a century, this hot micro-neighborhood was considered the last undeveloped piece of Manhattan until a 2013 change in zoning laws paved the way for more residential and retail development. Bounded by West Houston Street to the north, Canal Street to the south, the Hudson River to the west, and 6th Avenue to the east, it sits right up against many other famous parts of town, and thus has also been called West SoHo, South Village and even North Tribeca.
Almost all of Hudson Square’s gorgeous 20th century art deco architecture has been converted to modern offices now housing media, advertising and design firms like Saatchi & Saatchi, Viacom, The Weinstein Co., Penguin, CBS Radio, Mic, Edelman PR, TED conferences, the Guggenheim Foundation and even long-way-from-Detroit Cadillac. When Conde Nast, Time Inc. and other media empires moved downtown last year, they set off a chain reaction of restaurant and store construction. Now the dust is settling, editors are exploring, and Hudson Square is beginning to attract the kinds of people that once flocked to Soho before it became a tourist circus.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
326 Spring St.
You never know who you’ll sit next to — actor, writer, cop — at this city landmark, one of the oldest bars in Manhattan. Originally located just feet from the Hudson River (landfill was added later), the circa-1817 building continues to lure fans like Paul Giamatti and Kirsten Dunst as much for its pub fare (burgers, steamed mussels) as for its booze and live music every Sunday at 8 p.m. (house band: The Ear Regulars). “I feel so lucky to be around the corner from them. Every restaurant wants a great bar to have guests go to before or after,” says Houseman owner Ned Baldwin.
508 Greenwich St.
The hit of the hood: Owner Ned Baldwin, previously chef-de-cuisine at cult-favorite Prune, lures locals to his bistro with an emphasis on seasonal, small plates and a lunch menu from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. “I’m a big fan of Houseman, especially at lunch, both for its short but smartly chosen wine list and for its absurdly good burger — though the crispy pollack sandwich comes in a close second,” says Ray Isle, executive wine editor of Time Inc.’s Food & Wine. The place has become a veritable canteen for two industries: publishing and architecture. Notable guests include Malcolm Gladwell, Amy Astley (editor of Teen Vogue), Eve MacSweeney (features director at Vogue), Madeline McIntosh (president of Penguin), Richard Gluckman (who designed the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea among other buildings) and Gregg Pasquarelli and Kimberly Holden (who helped design the Barclay Center).
525 Greenwich St.
Last June, Hotel Hugo unveiled its newest addition: Bar Azul, an al fresco, Cuban-themed watering hole located just above the existing Bar Hugo. The decor is colorful — red and blue chairs, a green backlit bar, tall grasses — but it’s the 360-degree view of downtown Manhattan (and the Hudson River) that draws sighs. While snacks like tacos and chips are on the menu, more serious dining is available downstairs at Il Principe restaurant — where Gigi Hadid and Cody Simpson were spotted snuggling and where Don Cheadle has been seen having breakfast. Tommy Hilfiger and Hilary Duff are also fans of the hotel.
350 Hudson St.
Before you even enter this cafe, the logo — a sharp men’s hairdo and fancy glasses — tells you someone cares about style and design. Indeed, owner Gregory Zamfotis, who’s been profiled by GQ, offers a slick, if healthy, alternative to the usual coffee chains in Manhattan. And his insistence on using single-origin coffee, brewed to order in an AeroPress, has paid off: Actors and executives from nearby MTV and Comedy Central pop in all the time. Louis C.K., Stephen Baldwin and Jason Schwartzman all have fueled up here. Frequent visitors, members of their loyalty program, are called “gregulars.”
287 Hudson St.
The menu at this upscale pizza party of a restaurant, which opened in early 2015, skews healthy and luxe: sous-vide beets, two types of kale salads, a full raw bar and imported soppressata instead of pepperoni. Chef Mario Gentile honed his chops at Michelin-starred La Terrazza in Rome, and the cocktails were crafted by Elayne Duff (of Bravo’s Bar Rescue) — who previously worked for both Le Bernardin and Sean “Diddy” Combs. Musicians, like Maxwell, Rick Ross and Jon Batiste, are common; Adam Sandler has also stopped in to enjoy the wood-fired pies.
155 Varick St.
After creating one of the city’s most influential music venues in the 1980s — the Knitting Factory — Michael Dorf moved on and launched this winery-nightclub-restaurant. In addition to concert dining, there’s a 40-seat “Barrel Room” serving Mediterranean-inspired, quasi-healthy comfort food (quinoa salad, falafel wrap with cabbage slaw) for lunch and dinner — plus 11 wines to try on tap. This kind of menu has created demand for more private events and morning meetings inside the venue from local businesses. A spinoff wine garden and eatery is slated to open on Pier 26 in Tribeca on June 1.
307 Spring St.
Where do celebrity chefs eat when they’re not working? Thomas Keller places this Italian comfort-food joint high on his shortlist. Founded by Giorgio Deluca (yes, one-half of the famed Dean & Deluca market), this L-shaped interior — serving pizza, pasta and Prosciutto di Parma, among other dishes — long has been a magnet for stars seeking a low-key evening. Fans include Mad Men’s John Slattery and Susan Sarandon.
246 Spring St.
Vintage covers of Playboy and Life magazine line a wall at this 1960s-themed space, located on the lobby level of the 46-story Trump Soho Hotel. Cocktail mavens Tim Cooper (Sweetwater Social, GoldBar) and Benjamin Wood (Distilled) collaborated on the drinks list for the opening — in September 2015 — and include exotic spins on the classics (like a Tom Kha Gimlet with Kalani coconut liqueur) as well as a dozen sparkling wines. Katie Holmes, Jamie Foxx and Jessica Alba all have stopped by. A house band plays three times a week.
Cafe Altro Paradiso
234 Spring St.
After wowing New Yorkers with the Mediterranean-themed Estela in 2013 — it was nominated for a James Beard Best New Restaurant Award — chef Ignacio Mattos (Isa, Il Buco) and sommelier Thomas Carter (Blue Hill at Stone Barns) recently unveiled their second act, a neuvo-but-nonfussy Italian eatery. Set in a corner spot, the space has high ceilings, huge windows and marvelous yellow light fixtures inspired by a post office in Palermo, Sicily.
WHERE TO SHOP
494 Greenwich St.
Boris Bidjan Saberi, a fashion designer with a predilection for avant-garde streetwear and confrontational advertising (let’s just say he likes the middle finger), is opening a brand-new shop, speakeasy-style, in the cellar level of his existing store on Greenwich Street in April. Guests will have to ask to see the space and then will be led downstairs into a 2,000-square-foot room showcasing less expensive clothes for an even younger generation of men and women. Think: rainproof jackets and pegged pants. Kanye West comes in from time to time. Brad Pitt and Jared Leto took it to the next level and work directly with the designer on custom threads.
225 Hudson St.
Overlooking the Holland Tunnel, this Cambridge, Mass., import — which opened at the very end of 2015 — sells limited-edition high-end streetwear. In addition to its Nike and New Balance collaborations, it offers cult-favorite Japanese labels like A Bathing Ape and its own line of shirts and caps. Clive Owen liked what he saw so much on one shopping trip, he came back the following day to buy more stuff. By mid-April, when the weather is warm, the store should be unveiling its new garden where guests can sip coffee and take in the local flora.
Smallbone by Devizes
330 Hudson St.
The luxury British furniture company is building a huge new showroom showcasing its handmade cabinetry and interior designs. Clients include Alessi, the London School of Architecture, Nigel Coates and Christopher Guy. The space is slated to open in the first half of 2017.
510 Greenwich St.
Bolts of fabric, a vintage sewing machine and hardwood floors give this shop an Old World vibe. Colorful men’s suits line the walls. And now this 6-year-old custom tailor shop, which added a ready-to-wear collection in 2014, finds itself selling sport coats, overcoats and shirt dresses to more women than ever before. Kirk Miller previously worked at Paul Stuart and Thom Browne. Fans include Paris Review editor Lorin Stein and photographer-blogger-fashionisto Todd Selby.
350 Hudson St.
One of the first clothing stores to open in the neighborhood back in 2009, Rick Owens sells high-end jackets, dresses, skirts, tops and sneakers — for men and women — in a high-ceilinged space that feels more like an art gallery than a store. “I love [his] clothing and shoes and sneakers,” says restaurateur David Rabin, who owns two buzzy eateries on the periphery of Hudson Square (Cafe Clover and Jimmy at the James Hotel). Maria Sharpova is another Owens devotee.
A version of this story first appeared in the April 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.