- New York
- Austin Seidel
The Lower East Side (or LES) is a haven for New York City‘s night owls. Its streets buzz until late on the weekends – and many spots are open into the night during the week. With numerous bars and restaurants, there’s something to cure anyone’s midnight munchies – from grilled cheese to ice cream sandwiches. Check out our top picks.
Stanton Street Pizza
Stanton Street Pizza might look like a hole-in-the-wall to the passerby, but don’t let this small pizza shop’s exterior fool you. Stanton Street’s pizza is full of classic New York-Italian flavor—and is open until 10 pm every night. You can order pizza by the slice—or you can order a full pie. If you’re ever craving a pizza later in the day, Stanton Street is your pie shop.
As its name suggests, Cheese Grille is a restaurant entirely dedicated to grilled cheese. Try the Three Cheese Cheddar or the Banana Mascarpone, one of the Grille’s sweet sandwiches—all available until midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday and 3am on Friday and Saturday. Cheese Grille also sports a laid back bar feel, making it perfect for low key summer nights.
This ice cream sandwich shop is strictly grab-and-go (no tables to be found inside)—but despite Melt Bakery’s size, their sandwiches are perfect for keeping cool and walking around LES’s cool and relaxed streets at night. Be sure to try their Cinnamax sandwhich: cinnamon ice cream stuck between two Snickerdoodle cookies.
LES Enfants de Bohème
This French bistro isn’t your ordinary corner bistro. It’s open late—late, as in, until at least 2am daily. LES Enfants de Bohème utilizes a simple, cozy interior of wood and white walls with French cooking done right: duck confit just to name one of their delicious dishes. LES Enfants de Bohème also changes their menu depending on the market, which means only the freshest ingredients reach your plate. You have to stop by this charming bistro when you’re have a case of the late night munchies.
Lined with brick walls, Café Katja has an old-world European feel and serves up goulash, schnitzel, and other Austrian eats until midnight. With wooden tables and black metal seats, this restaurant is a beloved pick for locals in the LES. Another reason to love Katja: this café also carries a wide selection of beers, making it a late night must.
Wafels & Dinges
‘All the world is a wafel and all of us are merely dinges’ is the quote that greets visitors on the Wafel & Dinges website. This neon-yellow and brown restaurant serves up savory and sweet Belgian waffles—all fluffy, fresh, and fast. If you aren’t around the LES, you can catch the Wafels & Dinges food truck, which changes location daily.
Cocoa Bar doubles as a chocoholic’s dessert stop and a bar for after work drinks. With chocolate-infused coffee and tea, along with hot chocolate and a happy hour that lasts until 8pm, there’s something for everyone’s taste buds. Cocoa Bar also has free Wi-Fi and small bites (try their crepes), making it the perfect place to spend a summer night.
The Fat Radish
The Fat Radish is an airy, rustic space situated on Orchard Street—and its menu is filled with dishes featuring fresh and yummy veggies. With a bar space in the front and a sky-lighted dining area in the back, The Fat Radish thrusts its visitors into a country-like garden amidst the contemporary galleries of the LES. Stop by this trendy secret garden-restaurant anytime before midnight (except 10 pm on Sundays).
Although famous for its brunch, Essex also offers a $1 oysters plus happy hour with half-priced drinks. Located in a warehouse-like space, Essex is a cool, airy space to unwind after work—all the way until midnight on weekdays and around 4am on Saturdays. Be sure to try their potato pancakes— especially the one with melted goat cheese and arugula.
Nuyorican Poets Café
Hungry for some spoken word or live music late into the night? Nuyorican Poets Café is your stop, complete with weekly poetry readings in their cozy, literary, and brick-walled space. Hang out here until midnight on most days—2 am on Fridays and Saturdays—and sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and just listen to some really good poetry.