Manhattan’s Hottest New Neighborhood

Can it live up to the hype?
Nineorchard May2022 Stephen Kent Johnson 08

The swellegant bar in Nine Orchard’s Swan Room. Photograph by Stephen Kent Johnson

Once upon a time, there were three Dimes: a restaurant, a café, and a grocery store, all occupying an obscure swath of the Lower East Side and Chinatown’s nether regions. Enter more pioneering restaurants, a passel of hipsters, and lots of media attention, and suddenly there was Dimes Square, the newly coined umbrella term for Manhattan’s micro-neighborhood du jour. If you haven’t figured out how to get there yet, then you likely don’t belong there in the first place.

Clandestino (35 Canal St.), the low-ceilinged dive bar in the vein of the old literary hangout Lion’s Head Tavern, put down roots early, in the mid-aughts, followed later by the popular Iberian peninsula–inspired Cervo’s (43 Canal St.) and the Basque temple Ernesto’s (259 E. Bway.). Now a new crop of strivers is aiming to keep the party going, anchored by Nine Orchard hotel, which occupies the glitteringly restored 1912 Jarmulowsky Bank building.

Inside its clubby Swan Room, stylish patrons literally swan about, quaffing custom martinis and slurping pricey oysters mignonette. Coming soon to the property is Ignacio Mattos’s Amado Grill, likely just as hard a reservation to snag as his bustling Corner Bar a block away (60 Canal St.).

Le Dive Credit Teddy Wolff

Bistro tables at Le Dive. Photograph by Teddy Wolff

Other comers include Casino (171 E. Bway.), replete with plush red banquettes, a coastal Italian menu featuring clams Casino (duh) and a lobster-laden seafood stew, and a wine list peppered with Sicilian grapes, like the cult biodynamic Nero d’Avola from Arianna Occhipinti and a Mount Etna sparkling Nerello Mascalese. A French tabac vibe prevails at Le Dive (37 Canal St.), where only tobacco-stained walls seem to be missing from the carefully mapped out aesthetics. Hearty plates meant for sharing (charcuterie, brandade de morue, mussels in beurre blanc) are bolstered by a strong wine list heavy on orange wines, pét-nats, and “G” grapes: Grüner Veltliner, Grenache, and Gamay.

Meanwhile, the list at nearby Parcelle (135 Division St.) is downright astonishing—500 bottles, many of them served by the glass. Wine geeks and sommeliers citywide congregate in the cavelike environs to sip Burgundy under the tutelage of Grant Reynolds, co-founder of the online wine retailer of the same name. E-commerce might rule the world, but it could be argued that nothing beats the experience of sipping a great vintage in a dark little corner on the edge of town. If only you can find it.

The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Turning on a Dime.