The Other 9-To-5: Vashtie's Ultimate Late-Night LES Hot Spots

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If you need to know where to go once the sun sets, just ask the beautiful girl with the shining curls and constant smile you see at every essential NYC event. Vashtie Kola — a DJ, creative brand consultant, video director, and "downtown's sweetheart" — lives for the night, spending her evenings hopping from highbrow gallery opening to sweaty basement dance party and making friends all along the way. Despite the fact that she almost exclusively works and plays in the dark, Vashtie (or Va$htie if you prefer) is one of the brightest rays of sunshine on the shadowy streets of the Lower East Side. An expert on everything worth doing between East Houston and Canal, Vashtie took some time out of her busy day night to tour us around her favorite local spots and show how she lives, eats, drinks, and dances between the hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
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Click on for a night on the town and some late-evening lessons courtesy of Vashtie!
Photographed by Michael Flores
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9 p.m., Dinner at Schiller's:
"This is my absolute favorite place to eat at with friends. It's chic (without trying hard), the crowd is loud and fun, the employees friendly, and the drinks delicious. They even have a frozen margarita machine! It also inspires me because it's always consistent and that's important, whether you're managing a restaurant or a brand."
Mood Music:
"My mood here is social and sassy, my style is feminine and fashionable, so for Schiller's I'd spin Hall & Oates' 'I Can't Go For That.'"
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Late-Night Lesson #1:
"Never be caught navigating the streets with a map and walk quickly or kindly get out of the way."
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"I love the LES because, despite the gentrification, the businesses and venues are mostly independently owned. That spirit is so New York to me."
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11 p.m., Drinks at Home Sweet Home:
"This is a great, no-frills type of bar where you can just let loose. I've had some of my most memorable nights in this grungy basement spot. The people are always laid-back, and the music is always something you can dance to. This place reminds me that you don't need to be perfect to be good."
Mood Music:
"At Home Sweet Home, I always have a fun, flirty time and dress sleek and comfortably. Naturally, I'd want to dance to something like Blur's 'Girls & Boys.'"
Late-Night Lesson #2:
"Make sure your outfit is suitable and comfortable for your entire day or night. In NYC, you never know what comes next, so pack some flats."
A Night Owl's Life:
"I remember at age 9, my mom busting in at 2 a.m. to find me re-arranging my room. I've just always been a night owl for some reason. I do my best work then. Luckily, New York never sleeps, so there are many ways to make a living from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m."
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2 a.m., Dancing at Tammany Hall:
"I love this place for live shows or a party. It has three floors, and on any given night, each one has a different vibe. The crowd is always eclectic. I love parties where there isn't just one kind of person. Mixed crowds always make for a better time and keep me aware that there are always a million different ways to approach anything."
Mood Music:
"Here I'm casual, relaxed, and sporting a laid-back style — the perfect time for 'Mercy' by Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, and Two Chainz!"
Late-Night Lesson #3:
"Don't wait in lines! Just approach the door confidently, as if you belong inside, and you're in."
Absolute, Drop-Dead, Favorite Track Right Now:
"Azealia Banks' 'Van Vogue' because Azealia is the truth, and the song reminds me of going to Vogue Balls — love 'em! I put that song on at the gym and go hard.
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