Get Inspired: A Hipster Guide to NYC

Just like madness, depression or alcoholism – the first stage is admitting that you have a problem. Say it with me now.

“My name is (blank) and I am a HIPSTER. “

Now that that’s out of the way, we’ve created a survival guide to the world’s hippest destination: NYC, a.k.a the hipster holy grail.

The New York hipster should only frequent establishments that cater to their ‘coolness’. However, as these hipster-only joints tend to have a strict dress code; in order to be allowed entry, you must first pass the visual test. Women should head to Buffalo Exchange in Williamsburg, where they can pick up vintage or designer clothing from different eras (which should then be draped on every part of your body with no great regard for aesthetic cohesion).

Read more: the best vintage shops in New York here

Men should check out the Housing Works Thrift Shops that are scattered throughout the city or vintage shops such as Cheap Jack’s on Fifth Avenue. In regards to what you should buy: anything that would look good on a farmer, pirate, hobo, Elvis Costello or golf caddy would work/anything that can be worn and explained with irony. To both genders – be sure to pick up a pair of thick black glasses, even if you have perfect vision.

To complete your image, you need to have the right hair. Men, head to F.S.C. Barber on Horatio Street in the West Village. Like your overall image, this place looks old, but it isn’t. It opened in 2008. Make sure you get them to trim your fashion ‘tash while you’re having them shave in your undercut. Girls , probably just leave your hair the way it looked when you woke up this morning.  You guys are so post-modern.

In order to complete your Orwellian, tortured artist type image, your tastes must include a range of hipster fare. Take a trip to the Strand to pick up the necessary copies of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast Of Champions or J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye, before lazily meandering  around the clearance books stalls on  the sidewalk to really get the “Yes I read” message across. Guys – this is a great place to pick up hipster chicks and Chloe Sevigny types.

Next, stop by Bleecker Street Records or Other Music to pick up a few Black Lips LPs and maybe a Best Coast album or two. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BUY A CD. If you want to improve your hipsters credentials, you must only buy vinyl, at least one of those records must be by a band that no one has ever heard of. Assure yourself of this by taking the record to the counter and asking,”Have you ever heard of this?” When the reply is no – hey presto, you’ve got your new favourite band.

Later on you can go and hang out at Union Square with the rest of the rat pack. Do not fret if you don’t have a skateboard, just take out your copy of Bukowski’s Post Office and before burying our head within its pretentious pages, shrug to the guy next to you a simple, ‘”got it at the Strand.”


The best way to explore New York is by bicycle. No hipster worth his salt should be seen hopping onto the subway or bus, or worse… into a taxi. Bikes are the only way to travel, and a little fixed gear number should be your new best friend. A fixie is a slang term for bicycles that have drivetrains with one gear that’s fixed to the rear wheel so that you cannot coast and must continue pedalling whenever the bike’s moving. Fixies are among the most simple of bicycles because they don’t require derailleurs, shifters, double- or triple-chainring cranksets, or, in some circumstances, even brakes. Pick up your own at Bicycle Habitat in Soho and then spend the night standing outside bars (but never actually going into them), casually leaning up against your fixie with a bottle of Newkie Brown in your hipster hand. Oh how they will look on in admiration.

Speaking of bars, as the hipster truly comes alive at night, the area known as the BELT (or “below the L train,” which slices through hipster-infested Williamsburg) is where most of New York’s best hipster bars are located. As a general rule, any bar described as Kafka-esque (which means dark and seductive; add that phrase to your hipster glossary), will most likely possess atmosphere and location somewhat irresistible to the urban hipster. Here’s our top five hipster bars in New York:

Bar Reis
375 Fifth Ave., nr 6th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn
With a garden area, basement lounge, and loft-like stage for live acts, former wine bar, Bar Reis, has all the components of an awesome hipster hangout bar.

Cake Shop
152 Ludlow St., nr. Stanton St.
Upstairs are cupcakes and vinyl records (see above for what to purchase there), while  downstairs are live bands, adding to cool credentials.

Happy Ending
302 Broome St., nr. Forsythe St.; 212-334-9676.
This bar was once the place where city dwellers would go to get an erotic massage, but now  its status as the Lower East Side’s most enduring dance dive means New York’s hippest have made it their second home.

Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 N. 6th St., nr. Wythe Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 212-260-4700.
Northsix may have had a face-lift and name change in 2007, but its constant flow of top-notch indie acts and flowing crowds of hipsters has continued unabated.

Royal Oak
594 Union Ave., at Richardson St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn;
Williamsburg partiers pile into the Royal Oak’s cosy booths, schmoozing about Hemingway and the latest post-modern electro-new wave trance acts they just bought on vinyl.

Enjoyed our hipster guide to NYC? Be sure to check out our Goth’s Guide to Gothenburg.

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Petros

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