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78 Solid

As iconic Village space has been reinvented as an excellent negroni bar — and a so-so Italian restaurant.

79–81 Macdougal St., New York, NY, 10012



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The lowdown

The Caffe Dante space on MacDougal Street is one of the most storied storefronts in downtown Manhattan, first opened in the early part of the 20th century as a casual espresso bar and café. So it might be surprising to walk in only to find that it’s been reinvented by new owners and rechristened as merely “Dante.” The space has been refreshed and possibly never looked better (thanks, Instagram!), there’s a menu of trendy share plates, and most of the work being done happens at the bar, where the staff turns out all manner of Italian cocktails and aperitivi: draught negronis, a Campari-and-fresh-orange juice number called the Garibaldi, the underrated Prosecco creation known as the “negroni sbagliato,” and dozens more. Those drinks are indeed some of the most enjoyable in all of New York — especially on a warm afternoon, when you can do so at one of the small sidewalk tables — so the best bet is to treat Dante as bar, because while the drinks are eye-opening, the food is largely forgettable.

What you need to know

Insider Tips There’s live music on Friday afternoons, and a daily happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. when a wide selection of drinks can be had for $10 apiece.

Recommended DishesNegroni on tap; golden sbagliato; bianco flatbread.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelBring earplugs!