Each year the local publications in New York print their "Where To" eat and drink lists for the greenest celebration in the world, the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade. As a native New Yorker (and Irish-American), I tend to scoff at these lists and articles because they mostly cover the usual suspect pubs that serve watered down green beer and offer little authenticity. While reading one of these articles this year, I thought it would be informative to compile my own list of "true green" restaurants and bars in NYC to coincide with Earth Week.
So I spent the past month researching and visiting venues that embrace sustainability as a core value of their business. I thought that this could not only benefit attendees coming into town for the Sustainable Operations Summit, but for any environmentally conscious travelers visiting our great city. So a few thousands calories later (and one small hangover) I am happy to share my findings with you.
(Please note that is not a definitive list. I welcome any suggestions in the comments section as I plan on updating this periodically)
The Top Ten Green Destinations to Dine & Drink in NYC:
One of New York City's most celebrated restaurants is also one of its greenest. On paper it almost reads like a sketch from Portlandia; waiters wear biodegradable sneakers, utensils are made out of potatoes and the bar is mounted on a rescued altar from a Mexican Church. But ABC Kitchen is the real deal, serving some of the best meals and cocktails with the environment at the forefront of everything from the menu, to the decor and the operations.
35 East 18th Street New York, NY 10003
Bell Book and Candle
This quaint restaurant in the basement of a townhouse in the West Village is the country's first "Rooftop-to-Table" dining establishment. Using a state-of-the-art hydroponic system, Chef John Mooney grows numerous greens and vegetables six stories above his restaurant and uses an old school pulley system to deliver his crops to the kitchen. When BBC needs to source outside their rooftop farm they always procure local and organic.
141 West 10th Street, New York, NY 10014
Green building is no longer a fringe movement when bowling alleys start getting LEED certified. The brainchild of former Wetlands Preserve owners Peter Shapiro and Charley Ryan, Brooklyn Bowl is more than just a neighborhood bowling center. BK Bowl is also a premier dining destination and entertainment venue, having featured concerts by Kanye West to fundraising events for President Clinton. The Bowl (as locals call it), has a long list of green credentials. A few notable efforts are being 100% powered by wind and not serving any bottles or cans as all of their beverages come from taps.
61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Crave Fish Bar
The owners of extremely popular, but short lived, Crave Ceviche are soon to reopen as Crave Fish Bar. Four years after being forced to close when a construction crane collapsed on their building, leaving seven people dead, the restaurant is being reborn with the environment as a first priority. I got a sneak peek of the interior, carefully designed using all reclaimed and energy efficient materials along with a sampling of the sustainable seafood menu designed by noted chef Todd Mitgang. When reopened, Crave will be a model for sustainability in the Midtown East community it serves. By summer they will also have installed a hydroponic green roof.
945 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Dekalb Market opened in 2011 and is the brainchild of culture mavens Jennifer Lyon and Joann Kim-Nunez. An empty lot in Downtown Brooklyn transformed into a shopping, drinking and eating destination utilizing carefully stacked salvaged shipping containers. Coming this May is a permanent beer and wine garden and a Bike-In movie series. The market also includes an "incubator farm" run by local farmers that serves as an educational resource for the community.
138 Willoughby Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Want to pump fists with the cast of Jersey Shore under a pulsing array of 2,500 energy efficient LED lights? Well than Greenhouse NYC is the place for you. This LEED certified nightclub was built with recycled and eco-friendly materials and delivers a high-tech yet inspired natural environment. For green minded party people this is the place to party at while in New York.
150 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013
Mix mojitos, solar panels, tacos, bike powered blenders and the greenest toilet in America and you get Habana Outpost. Often referred to as the greenest bar in the nation, Habana Outpost has become an institution in the Fort Greene neighborhood it calls home. Owner Sean Meenan drives a Cadillac powered by cooking oil from his restaurants and frequently uses the Outpost to host functions that educate the public about sustainability.
757 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
The High Line
Yes, I know it's not a bar or restaurant but who needs a bar when you can pick up a beer from a local (locavore) bodega and brown bag it while strolling through New York's "Park in the Sky." I kid ... that's very illegal in our city so don't even try it! But do take a walk along the High Line and drop into several of the bars and restaurants that have been carefully built "into" the park such as the Porch and the Biergarten at the Standard.
The High Line runs from Gansevoort St to West 34th St. between 10th & 11th Avenues. www.thehighline.org
The Hornblower Hybrid
The Hornblower Hybrid is a ship that runs on renewable power generated by hydrogen fuel cells, solar panels and wind turbines and is constructed out of recycled materials. This ship, the greenest in the nation, is now docked at Pier 40 at Houston and West Street and is available for dinner cruises along New York Harbor as well as private events (Attendees at the 2012 Sustainable Operations Summit will get to party aboard the Hornblower!).
New Leaf Restaurant & Bar
Housed in a restored cobblestone building in Fort Tryon Park, the New Leaf Restaurant & Bar is one of Manhattan's most eco-friendly restaurants because all net proceeds support Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project (NYRP). NYRP is a non-profit organization dedicated to reclaiming and restoring New York City's parks and runs the MillionTreesNYC program with the NYC Parks Department. MillionTreesNYC is a public-private initiative with a goal to plant and care for one million new trees across the city's five boroughs by 2017.
1 Margaret Corbin Drive, New York, NY 10040
As devoted environmentalists, Smörgås Chef owners Morten Sohlberg and Min Ye, have been working for years to ensure that the food served in their three Scandinavian restaurants is sourced locally and ethically. So it came as no surprise to hear that after close to a decade in business they decided to buy a 150 acre farm, Blenheim Farm, in the Catskill Mountains. Located 150 miles outside the city, the husband and wife team are raising their own sheep and even growing lingonberries. The decision to buy the farm has allowed the owners to ensure that all of their produce and meats is truly sustainable.
Three locations including: Wall Street, West Village and Midtown