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Don’t know a lager from an IPA? A trip to City Swiggers beer shop and tasting room is your chance to become a true beer connoisseur.
With 14 beers on tap and 400 types of beer on sale – as well as a knowledgeable staff – City Swiggers appeals to both beer snobs and those just beginning to branch out from Bud Light.
Patrons can mix and match bottles purchased in six-packs or single bottles off the shelf or from the cooler, or fill up a growler jug with one of the brews on tap. You can even show off your beer knowledge or pick up a few pointers over a cold one in the store.
With recognition from the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, City Swiggers has fast become a new local favorite in a neighborhood better known for wine bars. www.cityswiggers.com
For general trip-planning information, see our New York City Travel Guide.
For more than 700 years, Christmas markets have been an annual event in German city squares. The tradition started with 15th-century farmers selling goods in the weeks leading up to December 25. More vendors joined as the markets gained popularity, and now a typical German Christmas market also includes booths selling traditional European food and drink and a variety of ornaments, crafts, and toys. Markets have become an annual event in German cities both big and small, and larger cities like Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne even have several markets each. Christkindlemarkets across Germany welcome millions of visitors each year, and many of those visitors come from neighboring areas and countries. For example, only about 50 percent of the visitors to the Munich Christkindlemarket actually live in Munich.
The popularity of these markets has expanded to other countries. Several British cities host German markets, and there are even markets in Osaka and Sapporo, Japan. The markets in North America offer different varieties of traditional European food and gifts. But no matter what market you visit, expect to see plenty of steaming mugs of glühwein (mulled spiced wine).
Once a gritty district populated with brothels, the “Triangle of Ballesta” (aka triBall) – so named for the shape that the streets of Gran Vía, Corredera Baja de San Pablo, and Fuencarral form around the main Calle Ballesta – has become the Spanish capital’s latest avant-garde epicenter. Shop-owners like Beatriz Tabara, who opened a clothing boutique-combo-café last fall called Scarly, epitomize the hood’s enterprising vibe. “Everyone has their own story,” says Tabara of triBall’s business owners. “But many of them are professionals who took the leap to make their hobbies a way of life.” Tabara, also a full-time attorney, reveals some favorite spots in the emerging barrio.
Great vacation memories spring from many sources: Photographs tell the literal side of the story, but those one-of-a-kind acquisitions – an intricate Colombian rug, an antique Mexican doorknob, a one-off dress by an Israeli designer – continue to live with us, transmitting their provenance through time. Since shopping districts the world over are becoming increasingly interchangeable with big-box stores, we sought out urban neighborhoods, some emerging and others longer established, where you can still find homegrown items that impart a true sense of place. Read on for our top 10 picks.
It wasn’t quite that dramatic, but Tokyo didn’t disappoint. Sake is everywhere. But as an American who doesn’t speak Japanese, sampling the drink took some work – not that I mind a little effort, considering that my métier sometimes involves sipping (and making sense of) 50 pinot noirs in a sitting.
Having a few destinations in mind is key to making the most of a sake safari in Japan’s capital. I wanted to cover the bases and visit a hotel, a department store food hall, a sake bar, and a restaurant. After asking everyone from U.S. importers to Japanese sommeliers for ideas, I set off on my quest.
Except for truly spectacular pictures (and I don’t take many of those), I rarely print my vacation photos. I’m generally content to post my images online, share them with friends, and relive the trip virtually – all without harming a single tree or spending too much cash.
Even so, there’s something romantic about seeing a printed, physical portrait of the places I’ve visited, which is why I love Photos to Art (www.photostoart.com), an offshoot of online home décor store Art.com that converts digital images into wall-worthy prints, canvases, and other framed pieces of art.
I tested the service earlier this month, and it’s pretty straightforward: Upload your best photos (I opted for a candid scene of a bookseller setting up shop on a Madrid side street), select the size you’d like (you can print high-resolution photos as large as 42” x 64”), and choose a frame. I went for the wood-mounted version, but canvas prints, acrylic-mounted photos, classic frames, and plain prints are also available.
When the Fifth Avenue department stores describe their annual holiday window displays as their “gift to the city,” a timeless gift-giving question comes to mind: What do you get the city that has everything? The major department stores have each developed signature please-all solutions over the course of this holiday tradition, which dates back to the 1920s. Macy’s and Lord and Taylor typically gear their windows toward the kids, featuring moving trains, mechanical dummies, and classic holiday narratives. On the high-end side, Barney’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman take no-holds-barred approaches, competing with each other to wow pedestrian audiences and creating windows like mini-galleries that blur the line between commercial and high art.
Bergdorf Goodman on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue typically holds down the most impressive display in terms of sheer opulence. Designed by creative director, David Hoey, this year’s windows show scenes of fantastical travel rendered in a steam-punk style. A rider in Alexander McQueen is mounted on a winged horse; Aexplorers board a balloon-drawn carriage manned by wooden monkeys; a mannequin peers over antique maps at emerald turtles and diamond beetles.
Dolls This pint-size boutique features a carefully edited collection of muted basics and stylish footwear by rising Scandinavian designers as well as Irish ones like Lucy Downes, known for knit dresses and cardigans. Other standouts include owner Petria Lenehan’s cashmere sweaters and ’40s-style silk dresses; high-waisted trousers by Fabiana Filippi of Umbria, Italy; menswear by Peter Jensen; and velvet sandals by The Jackson Twins. A second outpost of Dolls recently opened on Emorville Avenue in the Portobello neighborhood. 32B Clarendon St.; 011-353-1-672-9004
Cow’s Lane Designer Studio This 2-year-old designer co-op offers shelf space to a dozen Irish creative types, with an emerging jewelry designer occupying one corner and a second-generation millinery occupying another. (The latter once supplied hats to Aer Lingus flight attendants.) Among the locally made wares at Designer Studio are goat’s milk–and-almond soaps from the Curlew Mountains, sterling silver and stone baubles, and grosgrain ribbon-adorned straw or felt hats by Shevlin. West Essex Street; 011-353-1-874-0447; cowslanedesignerstudio.ie
As part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Johannesburg hosted the opening ceremony and will be the site of several key matches. The energetic city is also home to a burgeoning art scene that’s evolved leaps and bounds since the end of apartheid. At its axis is David Krut (pictured), founder of David Krut Publishing and Arts Resource, which essentially acts as a circuit board connecting the country’s artists, both emerging and established. For those traveling to Joburg this summer, Krut, who also owns a South Africa-centric gallery in New York City, shared a few of his favorite spots in and around the leafy Parkwood arts district where he’s based.
Quaint Chestnut Hill feels like a little town that wandered into a big city and never left, all friendly faces and cobblestone streets. In fact, it’s one of Philadelphia’s oldest neighborhoods: Some of its row houses date from the 18th century. Nothing changes too quickly here—many of the shops have been around for decades and there is hardly a chain store in sight.
Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop This nearly 45-year-old shop stocks scores of imported and domestic cheeses, from French Etorki to rich, nutty Swiss Hoch Ybrig, and the blithe employees are generous with the samples. The shop also sells assorted gourmet food items including hot sauces and delectable Belgian chocolate chips by the pound. 8509 Germantown Ave.; 215/242-2211, chcheeseshop.com
Hideaway Music Brian Reisman’s independent music store is small but offers a rich collection of new and used CDs, rare vinyl, and vintage concert posters from the likes of Santana and Pink Floyd. Unlike at some stores of its ilk, Hideway’s staff answers questions minus any attitude. 8612 Germantown Ave.; 215/248-4434
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