Jake Mueser Takes the Village
New York’s in-demand suit tailor shows us around his favorite neighborhood in the city, the charming West Village.
From his jewel box of an atelier on Christopher Street, tailor Jake Mueser creates suits and jackets for downtown dandies and celebrities like Aziz Ansari, Jason Bateman and Olivia Wilde. It’s a big league clientele for the unassuming storefront on Christopher Street, with its modest sign and clothing displayed without fuss from wooden shelves.
Its quiet style fits right into this understated corner of Lower Manhattan, where brownstones replace high-rises, and narrow, angled streets eschew the city’s grid. Mueser points out the unusual corner where West 4th and West 11th streets intersect. “There’s always a unique moment of ‘Where am I?’,” he says. “Everything you thought you knew about New York goes out the window. It’s distinctly West Village.” The neighborhood’s eccentricity has roots in its historic association with the counterculture. “It’s been home to so many great authors and musicians,” says Mueser, referencing a long heritage of bohemian residents, including Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Joni Mitchell and Pete Seeger. And while the neighborhood’s rising affluence has displaced the starving artists, “you still have an enormous amount of independent little shops.”
Here, Mueser shares his top picks for what makes the West Village his favorite neighborhood in New York.
Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee
For his morning pick-me-up, Mueser heads to the petite W. 10th Street café Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee, a West Village fixture since 2003. Jack’s has spread to other locations, including the Hamptons, but there’s nothing fancy it, according to Mueser. “They’re defined by good coffee, but it’s not real hard-core coffee culture.” Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee: 138 W. 10th St.; 212-929-0821
“Café Cluny is my staple,” says Mueser of the bistro, whose name and meticulous interiors are inspired by a French monastery in the Loire Valley. Expect traditional brasserie options: steak frites, mussels, frisée salad. For Mueser, the tuna burger, served with wasabi aioli, is “the classic meal. It’s perfect.” Café Cluny: 284 W. 12th St.; 212-255-6900
“If you want the perfectly quaint picture,” says Mueser, “walking down Barrow Street shows off that quintessential West Village look.” The tree-lined, one-way street is almost entirely residential, spanning eight blocks and ending at the Hudson. “It’s at its prettiest when it bends and turns where Commerce Street comes in,” according to Mueser.
Aedes de Venustas
Crimson-papered walls, gilded mirrors and an oversized chandelier give candle and fragrance shop Aedes Perfumery a decidedly grandiose feel. The boutique excels at curating its collection of nearly 80 brands, including its own label, Mueser’s favorite. “It’s masculine, kind of spicy,” he says. “I don’t usually wear fragrances, so I buy the candle.” Aedes Perfumery: 7 Greenwich Ave.; 212-206-8674
One block from Mueser’s atelier, Grahame Fowler sells British-made shoes and American-made men’s clothing. “It has a distinctly English flair,” says Mueser, “with a perfect mix of Anglo-Waspy preppy, with denim and weekend shirts.” He also likes browsing the store’s collection of vintage watches, including Rolexes and Omegas dating to the ’70s. Grahame Fowler: 138 W. 10th St.; 917-388-2444
On Grove Street, Mueser recommends Via Carota, a rustic gastroteca from chefs Jody Williams and Rita Sodi. The wood floors come from an old gym and the vintage chairs are English, but the design resembles a 17th-century Tuscan villa. “The menu changes regularly, but it’s always great,” says Mueser, who enjoys the restaurant’s freshly made pasta. Via Carota: 51 Grove St.; 212-255-1962
“Orient Express is an intimate, wood-paneled bar that’s not too crowded,” says Mueser. With décor inspired by the legendary train between London and Istanbul, it’s an “easy place to drink and hang out. There’s a lot of attention to details in the cocktails, but not so much that it feels too precious to drink.” Mueser orders the Gold Rush, a smooth blend of bourbon and lemon juice. Orient Express: 325 W. 11th St.; 212-691-8845
Hudson River Park
For running and biking, Mueser heads to the waterfront Hudson River Park. The Christopher Street Pier extends 850 feet into the river. “You can just lay out and have a picnic or play chess,” says Mueser. Bring your camera—the view looking downtown towards the Financial District is one of the most iconic in the city. Hudson River Park: Enter at the intersection of West St. and Christopher St.; 212-627-2020