Nostalgia reigns supreme when one steps inside the newly re-opened Pastis. When you enter the space, you’re immediately brought back to the first incarnation of the revered restaurant that was initially down the street. The vintage fixtures, the lighting, the feeling like you could be transported to a bustling corner brasserie in Paris with its effortlessly chic clientele. Keith McNally, the original visionary is back, this time with Stephen Starr as a partner, bringing his vast expertise to the table. It was always an iconic spot but less of a scene than its meatpacking neighbors. Now the waits for tables are long, but the atmosphere is just as lively and the menu includes all the classics with some new welcome additions. So, get yourself a table (if you can), order up a Croque Madame with a side of escargots and slyly people watch as you listen to: Cymande’s “Brothers on the Slide,” Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins’ “I Want To Be Happy,” Talking Heads’ “Big Country,” The Mar-Keys’ “Cleo’s Back,” and Francoise Hardy’s “Fleur de Lune.


Goop Lab

Imagine you’re looking to fulfill a variety of needs you may not have realized you needed fulfilling. This is Goop’s specialty and they have rewritten the rules of a lifestyle brand with an emphasis on wellness and effortless yet chic style. Say you need a new luxurious cashmere sweater, the latest in cutting-edge and age-defying skincare from Goop’s own brand, a new cookbook from “Night + Market,” or a suitable stylish underwater camera for your next trip. It’s aspirational to be sure, but Gwyneth Paltrow has created a powerhouse of a lifestyle brand that had previously only been online and now has a physical footprint with stores in NYC and LA and other locations popping up around the country and in London. The NYC Goop Lab feels like an intimate and cool parlor/dressing room with a hint of art deco meets 1970s glamour. The eclecticism of goods available belies a certain taste level and the mix of music like Sunflower Bean’s “Crisis Fest,” Santigold’s “Crashing Your Party,” SHAED’s “Silver Knife,” Future Generations’ “All The Same,” and Honne’s “I Got You” makes browsing a breeze.



Danny Meyers, Union Square Hospitality Group, and the Manhattan skyline outdo themselves here with the opening of restaurant Manhatta. Between the three-course French pre-fixe menu with highlights such as the lobster quenelle, duck garnished with prunes and braised endives, and an absurdly good vanilla soufflé, it’s hard to go wrong. The views are breathtaking with glorious art deco spires coming into view as you dine on the 60th floor of The Liberty building in the financial district of NYC. Adding to the ambiance is the genre-and-decade-spanning playlist where you’ll hear the likes of Bishop Nehru’s “Up, Up, & Away,” SPINN’s “She Takes Her Time,” Marlena Shaw’s “California Soul,” Gang of Four’s “Is It Love,” and Digable Planets’ “Where I’m From.”


The Grill & The Pool

The Grill & The Pool, seemingly nondescript spaces from their names, belie a storied history and a great reinvention. Housed in NYC’s famed (and shuttered) Four Seasons restaurant with its landmarked interior status, the Major Food Group, run by chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone and their partner, Jeff Zalaznick, have taken the NY culinary scene by storm in the last eight years with a whole host of restaurants from Carbone to Parm to Santina to Sadelle’s. Now they’ve turned their attention to taking over the historic space and creating two distinct restaurants: The Grill, which was hailed with a rave three star review from the NY Times for its impeccably executed Continental menu and throwback service; and The Pool, which will focus on seafood in the room that fittingly has the marble pool as its centerpiece. The whole experience evokes another era and the music just as the décor should help transport its guests to a time when martinis were regularly sipped at noon and sumptuous and elegant dining was in vogue. So, dig into that succulent guinea hen with black truffles while you listen to the strains of the following: Nina Simone’s “Work Song,” Mel Tormé’s “Comin’ Home Baby,” Irma Thomas’ “Ruler of My Heart,” Pauline Croze’s “Samba Saravah,” and Stan Getz’s “So Danco Samba.”


The Surf Lodge

The Surf Lodge was originally built in 1967 in Montauk, the farthest point of Long Island, NY.  Montauk has always had a more bohemian, fisherman’s vibe than its Hampton cousins and The Surf Lodge definitely projects that sensibility. The rooms have been modernized and have a suitable beachy feel with whitewashed walls, hammocks, bleached floors and private sundecks and water views.  They put on a free weekly concert series in the summer season on the deck with DJs and artists coming through like St. Lucia, The Lemon Twigs, and Bob Moses.  With music a main part of The Surf Lodge’s DNA, getting the right mix going was key.  You can find the likes of The Drums’ “Heart Basel,” Dan Auerbach’s “Shine On Me,” Parcels’ “Overnight,” Twinsmith’s “Boji,” and Lion Babe’s “Hit The Ceiling” playing as you take in the views.


The brainchild of Nordic culinary entrepreneurs, Claus Meyer and Frederik Berselius, and helmed by Chef Andrew Whitcomb, Norman is an all-day café, bar, and bakery that offers creative and healthy dishes with a Scandinavian twist.  Located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in the midst of the warehouse design store/exhibition space, A/D/O, it’s all open plan with communal tables and an earthy yet modern feel.  So, whether you’re stopping by to sip coffee or have a meal or drink at any time of day, you’re likely to catch the following tracks playing overhead: Alma “Chasing Highs,” Blond Ambition “Stupid Boy-Girl,” Blasko “Another Love,” Joe Goddard “Music Is the Answer,” and Kwaye “Cool Kids.”

Freehand – Los Angeles

With hotel properties popping up around the country, Freehand made its LA debut this summer.  Located Downtown in the former Commercial Exchange building, the lobby is striking in its newly revamped take on art deco with a touch of the American Southwest thrown in. The LA location builds upon the hostel-style hotel in Miami with a slew of shared rooms that are well appointed and reasonably priced along with private suites and rooms all decked out with textiles and art by local artists.  If you grab drink at the rooftop bar or hang out in the lobby you’ll be greeted by the following sampling of music: Nick Waterhouse “High Tiding,” Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators “Bad Viberations,” Shintaro Sakamoto “Let’s Dance Raw,” Grace Jones “Feel Up,” and Mark Ronson “Heavy and Rolling.”

Felix Trattoria

A new Italian restaurant in Los Angeles in the midst of Venice’s main hub – Abbot Kinney –offers up ingredients that are farm fresh with a regional and seasonal Italian focus.  This is the brainchild of Janet Zuccarini, the owner of inventive restaurant group, Gusto 54, and chef Evan Funke who studied under the tutelage of Alessandra Spinsi in Bologna, Italy.  Pastas are handmade and labored over lovingly and the hospitality is all warmth at this spot.  You’ll hear a mix of hip hop, R&B, soul and classic rock as you make your way through your meal with the following artists playing: Anderson .Paak “Come Down,” Kingswood “Golden,” “Minke “Gold Angel,” Lady Wray “Smiling,” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up.”