Dante, a 104-year-old bar and restaurant in New York City, is on fire.
The original Caffe Dante opened in Greenwich Village in 1915, an establishment frequented by the Italian immigrants who populated the neighborhood. The historic café was reopened in 2015 by its current owners, Australians Linden Pride and Natalie Hudson. Only a few years after its rebirth, Dante is receiving accolades for excellence on a global scale.
Last fall, Dante was named #9 on the prestigious 50 World’s Best Bars list, and last weekend, the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation named Dante World’s Best Bar and Best American Restaurant Bar at the 2019 Spirited Awards, held annually in New Orleans.
Dante is open all day and late into the night, and there’s almost always a crowd. Some afternoons, when you manage to sneak off on a warm day, you think you’ll be sly enough to grab one of their sidewalk tables, only to arrive to discover the place is already packed. Standing room only. At 3:46 p.m. On a Tuesday.
So, what makes Dante so special?
The convivial atmosphere, the subway tiles and the very cool, but not-too-cool bartenders, who seem genuinely happy to welcome you (unlike many establishments with a similar reputation and vibe).
What’s on offer? Negroni on tap, several other Campari-based cocktails, a non-alcoholic Negroni, all manner of spritzes (including a Spritz popsicle), a medley of martinis and more.
Not to be outdone by its extensive menu of spirits and wine, the food menu at Dante also offers the kind of Italian specialties we’ve come to expect – burrata, ricotta, focaccia, salumi, lasagna, meatballs – all with a contemporary presentation and feel. This is not your Nonna’s Sunday sauce spot, as evidenced by the breakfast and brunch offerings (avocado toast, granola).
The space itself is light and bright: subway tiles, walls of windows, the aforementioned sidewalk, a lovely bar with backless barstools, and for those eating a meal, a smattering of indoor tables.
Dante takes dining reservations, by phone and on Resy, so you needn’t stand around praying for a seat to open up. That is, unless, you just want a drink, in which case you can try a random Tuesday at 3:46 p.m.
You might get lucky and score a seat.
Dante, 79-81 Macdougal Street, New York City 10012; +212 982 5275