This New Restaurant in NYC’s East Village Befits the Neighborhood’s Eccentric Vibe

With a slew of buzzy restaurants and bars lining the streets of Saint Marks Place, Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood knows a thing or two about dining establishments that serve both high-quality cuisine and unmatched happy hour vibes that roll well into the evening. New to the block is Bar Lula: a stylishly casual spot where Mexican-inspired cuisine is topped with French flair.

Walking past the entrance door, guests come to face with a stage curtain, which unveils Bar Lula’s alluring atmosphere. The restaurant’s moody ambiance is instantly recognizable: dim lighting and a vibey house music playlist set a swanky tone. A slew of framed illustrations adorn walls, adding a maximalist touch to the interiors. Guests can sit at three spots: the candle-lit bar front, the cozy bar stool corner, or the close-knit petite dining tables — each one equipped for conversations.

When it comes to the food, guests can expect a unique fusion of French and Mexican cuisines. Sharing a medley of dishes is the way to order meals here. Consider starting with these two appetizers: Potato Croquettes — bite-size fried potatoes with peppadew, set lightly on top of a savory aioli — and Daily Crudo — catch-of-the-day raw fish or seafood (in our case, we sampled fresh salmon) mixed with sea lettuce and garnished with scoops of avocado as well as watermelon radish. Next, we recommend ordering the Mushroom Masa Crêpe, made with maitake, manchego, and Oaxaca cheese. You’ll also love the Charred Head-On Prawns, served with delicious poblano aioli, and the Hominy Risotto, which contains crab, carrot, cotija cheese, pepitas, and crispy shallots. 

Sweet-toothed diners should indulge in the restaurant’s to-die-for dessert, Skillet Cake: a moist, golden-brown cake accompanied by a delicate Nixita liquor cream and hints of citrus flavoring.

Complementing the Mexican influence, Mexico City native, cocktail connoisseur, and co-founder Julio Xoxocotla curated an ambitious agave-forward drink menu, giving Bar Lula one of the best mezcal collections in all of New York City. Sitting at the top of the cocktail menu is the Honey Trap which comprises Blanco tequila, lemon, ginger, smoked honey, and bee pollen salt; it’s truly the perfect combination of smoky mezcal flavors and sweet honey.

Whether it’s a special occasion or simply just another night out in New York City, Bar Lula is bound to be a good start or end point for a night in NYC.

Top Takeaways

Location: East Village, New York City

Cuisine: French-infused Mexican cuisine

Price Point: $

Takes Reservations: Yes

The vibe: A moody restaurant and cocktail bar serving unique twists of French and Mexican-inspired cuisine.

Our favorite thing on the menu: The Potato Croquettes are the perfect shareable appetizer accompanied by a savory aioli dipping sauce and a delicious golden crust. 

The attire based on the vibe: Smart casual

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner? Brunch – Saturdays & Sundays from 11 am – 3 pm; Dinner – Tuesday through Sunday starting at 5 pm; Cocktail Bar – Opened Tuesdays & Wednesdays until 1 am and Thursdays through Saturdays until 2 am. 

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