We’ve been trolling Chinatown for ages, waiting for new signs of nightlife in the last unchartered territory of Manhattan.
Then it happens: Bacaro, a dreamy Venetian gathering spot for eating, drinking, and romantic merrymaking.
Division Street’s quiet, gently winding countenance welcomes the rustic, homey osteria, sister to Nolita’s Peasant restaurant and our favorite cellar bar.
A clear glass chandelier sheds light on rough-hewn stone, unearthed brick, and wooden rafters. Cicchetti, the Venetian equivalent of tapas, are bar snacks: crostini (toasts), sarde (sardines), carciofi (artichokes), and polpette (fried meatballs). Clinking glasses of Soave and Valpolicella, small tables linger over bowls of spaghetti or brown butter gnocchi.
Two staircases (one from the inside, one from the street) lead to underground nooks, crannies, and alleyways reminiscent of the streets of Venice. Long wooden tables, benches, and archways filled with wine bottles are exposed by candlelight, where only murmurs will be heard between sips of amarone.
This is Venice raised up, and we’ll certainly be there.
Come hell or high water.
Bacaro, 136 Division Street, between Orchard and Ludlow Streets (212-941-5060).