A COUPLE HIDDEN GEMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
- •Gypsy Jazz at Barbès - BrooklynBarbès is a damp little bar located at the corner of 6th ave and 9th street in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It smells like an indoor pool, that’s how you know you’re in the right place. On Sunday nights, every Sunday night, walk through the bar to a small room in the back where you’ll find guitarist Stephane Wrembel. He’s best known for his song Bistro Fada which was written for Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The show is free and terrific and you get used to the pool smell.
- •Hostel Brickette - Positano, ItalyA complete stranger at a Naples hostel gave me an address and insisted I take a bus North along the Amalfi Coast. I exited the bus at not the warehouse where I thought I was to be disemboweled, but rather, the cheapest and most beautiful hostel on Earth. Positano itself, however, is the real star. Steinbeck visited Positano many times and wrote, "“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone”. Must go back.
- •Le Parker Meridien Burger Joint - ManhattanThrough the lavish lobby to the right of the main counter you’ll a see a drawn curtain. Push it aside to reveal a corridor at the end of which you’ll see a neon sign of a hamburger. A neon arrow points the rest of the way. The Burger Joint's walls are covered in 90s movie posters, knife carvings, and sharpie drivel. You can only order a cheeseburger, fries, beer or soda. It’s a great first date spot. Plunk down for a burger and beer and then grab a classier cocktail out at the hotel bar.
- •College Hotel - AmsterdamThe College Hotel might seem a little far from the usual line up of places to stay that surround Amsterdam-Centrum, but if you’ve ever wanted to crash at Hogwarts or Tim Burton’s house this is the spot. If you can find the hotel on the app HotelTonight, it’s a particularly cheap stay.
- •Prescription Cocktail Lounge - Paris@JGDillard and I hit a lot of Paris bars, but frequented this one for a few reasons. One being that we met an actress with fairytale red curls, freckles for a face, and gem stones for eyes and I was desperate to see her again. Another reason, the bartenders. Parisians aren’t typically the most welcoming of folks, but these bartenders were all kinds of great. They graciously let me stay well past close to hear and share stories and try experimental cocktails. Here’s a photo I took one hazy night.
- •Sanibel Island, FloridaThe entire island. The whole place. All 12 miles. It’s a barrier island off the West Coast of Florida. There’s one way on and off via a causeway and it’s home to just roughly 6,500 people. Restrictions prohibit structures taller than three stories and no chain stores or restaurants are allowed. Nearly half the island is a wildlife refuge and its beaches are covered in sea shells. Though my trips to the island come only every handful of years now, it still offers me the greatest peace of mind.