dell_anima-small6811. Best Speakeasy: La Esquina
Use the takeout window if you can’t get in, but seriously, get it. Slipping past the doorman, through the hot, busy kitchen, and into the glory of this underground Mexican speakeasy is annoying to say the least…BUT delicious at best.

Location: 106 Kenmare St. at Lafayette St. and Cleveland Pl. (NoHo)
Kitchen open until: 5am, 7 days a week
Standard Order: Tacos ($3 each), Tortas (~$8 each),
Tequila (straight!)

12. Best Debauchery: The Box
If you can get in (past the notoriously tough doormen), you should get down on some indulgent eats at this celebrated cabaret. New York’s most exclusive dinner theatre puts Moulin Rouge to shame! Sip your cocktails under the half-naked performer trapezing high over the bar.

Location: 189 Chrystie St. btw. Stanton and Rivington St. (LES)
Kitchen open until: 4am, sporadic nights
Standard Order: Rueben Sandwiches & Champagne

13. Best Dive(ish): The Rusty Knot
It feels like a winter lodge lost somewhere upstate, but boasts year-round beach drinks served in faux coconuts. With a pool table and boxed wine to boot, it’s wonderfully surprising just how much this place doesn’t suck!

Location: 425 West St. at 11th St. (West Village)
Kitchen open until: 2am, 7 days a week
Standard Order: Pickles ($ 2), Pretzel Dog ($4), Pulled Pork Sandwich ($11)

14. Best Bathroom: Schiller’s
The sexy communal bathroom where I shared a kiss with the hot, tattooed bartender on my 25th birthday isn’t the only draw to this LES cornerstone. The spunkiest of the Keith McNally group, Schiller’s is old school cool in the hottest hood downtown.

Location: 131 Rivington St. (LES)
Kitchen open until: Sun-Wed 1am, Thu 2am, Fri-Sat 3am
Standard Order: Nachos ($8), Fish & Chips ($17), Sticky Toffee Cake ($2.75)

15. Best Cheese: Casellula
Cheese Please! This is my go-to spot for post Broadway theatre noshing. With a wide selection of chesses of every variety and a full menu of cheese-centric cooked dishes, this place cannot escape a cheese head’s heart. But don’t miss the ice box chocolate cake that sits in a pool of fresh heavy cream!

Location: 401 W. 52nd St. (Midtown)
Kitchen open until: 2am, 7 days a week
Standard Order: Cheese Flight (varies), Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($10), Chocolate Cake ($7)

16. Best Celebrated Chef: Momofuku Ssam Bar
The hours have changed, the menu has changed, but David Chang is still behind every incredible bite of burrito fusion at this Asian favorite. Go late with a group of friends but be sure to pre-order a large format meal for the occasion. P.S. Bo Ssäm is the best!

Location: 207 2nd Ave at 13th St. (East Village)
Kitchen open until: 2am, 7 days a week
Standard Order: Bread & Butter ($8), Bo Ssäm ($200), Honeycrisp Apple Kimchi

17. Best in Show: Macao Trading Co.
The new Employees Only outpost may be the showiest card in their deck. With its bohemian circus theme and secret basement lounge, the stage is set for late night monkey business. Let’s just hope the cocktails live up to their legacy.

Location: 311 Church St. (Tribeca)
Kitchen open until: 4am, 7 days a week
Standard Order: Manila Clams ($9), Meatballs ($8), Yellow Fever ($14)

18. Best Gay Scene: Cafeteria
The thumping house beats are just part of the “charm” at this Chelsea comfort food haunt that stays busier than the bathroom at a gay bar on any given Thursday night. Plus it’s 24/7 every day of the week with a private lounge downstairs for late nighters who want to get their “club” on.

Location: 119 7th Ave (Chelsea)
Kitchen open until: 24 hr. a day, 7 days a week
Standard Order: Mac Attack ($13), Spinach & Artichoke Dip ($10),
Fried Green Tomatoes ($5)

19. Best Neighborhood: Korea Town
Don’t ask me why, just ask where you can get a solid block of restaurants dedicated to serving round the clock
fare 24/7…Little Korea. Every single spot on the street stays open every single day of the year, offering my absolute favorite of all Asian cuisines on do-it-yourself grills to BBQ or steam fresh meats, seafood, and vegetables.

Location: Approx. 32nd St., btw 5th Ave. and Broadway (Midtown)
Kitchen open until: most are open 24 hr. a day, 7 days a week
Standard Order: Kimchee, Beef Short Rib Shabu Tatsu, Soju

20. Best Café: Café Orlin
There’s something about this East Village perennial that keeps me coming back (despite their penchant for burning burgers and 86ing goat cheese just when that’s what I’ve decided to order) and it’s not just the proximity to Celest.

Location: 41 St. Mark’s Place at 1st Ave. (East Village)
Kitchen open until: 24 hours Fri-Sun, 2am Mon-Thu
Standard Order: Turkey Burger ($9.75), Millet Pancakes ($6.25),
Fried Goat Cheese Salad ($10.50)

To be continued…

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