Manhattan’s Hottest New ‘Hood Revealed!

If you've been reading R29 lately, you'll notice that half the new boutiques we cover just happen to be in the LES. It's hardly a secret that this neighborhood is as hot at the cool kids that inhabit it, with construction around every corner touting the fact that the gentrification ain't stopping anytime soon. But in our recent jaunts to the Hester Street Fair, we've noticed that a lot of the fresh action and old-school haunts seems to be below Broome Street. There's a mixture of grit and glam that's all but disappeared from areas closer to Houston, with chic shops sharing sidewalk space with no-name Chinese joints—In short, the hood is still an adventure. To give you the skinny on what-not-to-miss, we've put together a hit-list of our fave spots on the Lower-Lower East Side.

1. Casa Mezcal: This brand spankin' new restaurant and creative space could easily be a 19th century Governor's mansion in a far-flung outpost of the Spanish empire. There's three exotic bars, a movie screen and performance stage, plus crazy good food.

86 Orchard Street(at Broome Street); 212-777-2600

2. The Sweet Life: Everytime we step inside (and it's kinda become a Sunday ritual), it's like stepping into something out of a Roald Dahl novel. The sweet brown-and-white striped awning and picture windows wouldn't be out of place in the English countryside, while the inside is chock-a-block full with enough goodies to make even Willy Wonka happy. They've got their own chocolate machines, and a selection of hard-to-find candies that will satisfy your sweet-tooth.

63 Hester Street (at Ludlow Street); 212-598-0092

3. Miss Lonelyhearts: With designer Jenny Yuen cranking out must-have bags by the minute, it's no wonder this sweet lil' spot has become somewhat of a mecca for it-girls wanting something different. We also rec scooping up a handful of the super-soft t-shirts with some quirky, love-related messages.

250 Broome Street (between Orchard and Ludlow streets); 212-253-0560

4. One Essex: We're not sure what the actual name is of this crazy-fresh juice bar, but we do know the shop girls try to teach us Chinese on each visit! For $3, you can get huge-ass smoothies made from the fruit market next door. There's some exotic options (Taro), but they're all healthy thirst quenchers.

1 Essex Street (near Canal Street)

5. Canal Lounge: Again, we're a lil' hazy on the real name of this Chinese karaoke joint, but we're gonna go by the graffiti-ed title over the unmarked door. There's no set hours here—sometimes the party will rage until the sunrise, other times the door is securely locked—but try your luck on a Saturday night. It's equal parts Chinese and hipster, with free karaoke, cheap drinks, and a lax smoking policy.

59 Canal Street, 2nd Floor (between Orchard and Allen streets)

Score 20% off everything at one of our fave hot-shops, Miss Lonelyhearts, all weekend long. We've got you covered! Just mention R29 at checkout.
Edit: Due to a discrepancy of the description of one of the stores featured, we decided to remove it as well as the comments pertaining to the store. Anyone with questions or concerns, please email