The junior banker’s guide to affordable food and drink on Wall Street
Interning on Wall Street typically means three things: long work days, minimal sleep and rather mediocre dining.
As a resident of New York City’s financial district, I can confirm that the Wall Street area isn’t the Mecca of fine eating in Manhattan. Most places emphasize speed over quality, and it shows. Moreover, you absolutely can’t judge a book by its cover. Many food trucks offer better eating than a handful of the Italian restaurants in and around Wall Street.
“Tell your readers they should have gotten a job at Citi or Credit Suisse if they cared about being in a decent location for eating and drinking,” said one veteran Wall Streeter.
Still, there are a few moderately-priced gems in the area that won’t have you yearning to transfer to Citi solely for the chance to eat in Tribeca. Below are a few favorite restaurants and bars of current bankers who work downtown.
Perhaps the best place to get a pie in the area, Adrienne’s Pizza Bar is excellent all around. The pizza is a little on the pricey side ($20 for a large cheese), but the quality more than makes up for the extra few bucks you’ll spend. Adrienne’s also makes great salads and decent Italian entrees.
Perhaps the best part of Adrienne’s is the area, particularly in the summer. Stone Street is converted to an outdoor pavilion of picnic tables during the warmer months, which nicely offsets that otherwise cramped feeling of downtown. Neighboring Ulysses is also another popular spot on Stone Street with outdoor seating, though it’s often packed in the summer. Good raw bar, better drinks.
Right nearby all the Stone Street eateries is Zigolinis, which makes great sandwiches and is a good place for lunch. Adrienne’s and Ulysses may be better suited for after work. Zigolinis also has outdoor seating (that’s a little less crazy than Stone Street) and sister Mexican restaurant called Guacstar makes a decent burrito. The Ahi Tuna Club is a fan favorite. Zigolinis is better for sit-down or takeout than delivery.
South Street Seaport Restaurants
On the outer edge of the Financial District is the South Street Seaport, which was desolated by Hurricane Sandy and is only now getting back on its feet. No longer quite the tourist trap that it once was, the Seaport sports three small cobblestone blocks that are a nice departure from the high rises in FiDi. Il Brigante is probably the best pure restaurant in the area, with great pizza and affordable Italian. Suteshi, the local sushi place, has one of the highest Zagat ratings in the area (and they deliver).
New Zealand eatery Nelson Blue is a popular Wall Street hangout. Jeremy’s Ale House is a great dive bar (they serve beer in Styrofoam cups), though you may want to ditch the suit before entering. Don't mind the bras that are randomly stapled to the ceiling.
This is one of those “don’t judge a book cover” restaurants. Located on less-than-flattering Fulton St., Bennie’s is actually below ground, sandwiched between a nail salon and a couple barber shops. But the Thai food is excellent, especially compared to some similar restaurants in the area. It’s better suited for takeout and delivery than for sitting down.
Interesting side note: the only credit card Bennie’s takes is American Express – a rather baffling policy. Plan accordingly.
A casual place that won’t cost a week’s rent, Harry’s makes great pizza and solid Italian dishes. It’s fun, historic and has character.
As mentioned above, the food trucks in the area are actually very good. There’s one on Water St. that makes great Mexican food as well as several others in the area. You can track every food truck in the area using Roaming Hunger.
When it comes to after-work drinks, you’ve got more options. The Dead Rabbit on Water St. may make the best drinks in the area and is a popular banker hangout. Kilarney Rose is a bit of a dive bar that’s great for happy hour. It too is a popular place for Wall Streeters. The movie Boiler Room was shot there, so get your cliched jokes ready.
“If you like a nice bridge and tunnel scene with gelled hair and john hardy tees, Beekman Beer Garden should hit the spot,” said one local banker. The view of the East River may be better than the actual drinks. Bar Seven Five at the Andaz Hotel on Wall Street is also popular.
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