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Model Party (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)

Meet the Models: 11 NYC Restaurants and Bars that Attract the City’s Most Beautiful People

If you want to hang with the runway set, we've got the rundown of where to go, from an old-school model hangout run by a former cover girl herself to new-school locales where anything goes

There’s plenty to impress the eye in New York City — towering skyscrapers, endless art exhibitions, quaint, tree-lined blocks. But from Sept. 5 through 12, when Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week gets underway, the people-watching quotient shoots through the roof, and not just under the tents at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. The streets of Manhattan turn into one giant runway, which means New York City’s hottest restaurants, bars and clubs have an even higher concentration of beautiful people than usual. If you want a glimpse, you should know that there are certain spots around town that are particularly known as model magnets. Here’s our guide to where to catch a glimpse of the runway set, from the veteran supermodels to the young up-and-comers.

 

Mr Chow

Mr. Chow (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for TFF)

Old-School Model Hangouts

Mr. Chow
Models are like family at these two branches of the upscale Chinese restaurant. Proprietor Michael Chow has been married to two models (Grace Coddington, now Vogue‘s creative director; and 80s icon Tina Chow), and his daughter China was the famous face of Shiseido. The East Midtown original, opened in 1978, is where fashionistas might rub elbows with Chow’s current wife, designer Eva Chun and pals like Iman (with hubby David Bowie in tow), while the Tribeca branch tends to attract the ingénues. 324 E 57th St., 212-751-9030; 121 Hudson St., 212-965-9500, mrchow.com

B. Smith’s
Savvy models who want to learn a thing or two about building a brand come here to soak in some of Barbara (B.) Smith’s marketing prowess. Not only was groundbreaking Smith the first African-American model to grace the cover of Mademoiselle in 1976, the “transcultural lifestyle pioneer” has since spun her image into an empire of media, home items, food products and dining destinations. Though the Southern-American menu at this 27-year-old Restaurant Row fixture leans a little heavier than traditional model fare, with signatures such as fried mac n’ cheese, there are plenty of salads for those who have a fitting. Don’t be surprised if you spot Smith disciples such as Tyra Banks in the house. 320 W. 46th St., 212-315-1100, bsmith.com

 

Da Silvano

Da Silvano (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

Bar Pitti/Da Silvano
During Fashion Week, paparazzi camp out in front of these neighboring Italian restaurants, craning their heads from side to side to keep up with the continuous volley of fabulous clientele lingering at the sidewalk tables. Equally fascinating is the long-standing feud the two West Village restaurants share, stemming from accusations of customer-poaching. Heidi Klum and Lauren Hutton prefer the more casual Bar Pitti, while more upscale Da Silvano is a favorite of Gisele Bundchen and Bar Refaeli. Note to those who aspire to be in Vogue: Anna Wintour is loyal to Silvano. Bar Pitti, 268 Sixth Ave., 212-982-3300; Da Silvano, 260 Sixth Ave., 212-982-2343, dasilvano.com

Upstairs at Cipriani Downtown
This see-and-be-seen SoHo Italian draws models with a Euro profile, especially for the famous Sunday night karaoke party. While the door upstairs is open only for members of the restaurant’s private club, diners can reserve at the restaurant downstairs to catch a glimpse of the likes of Petra Nemcova enjoying a light meal before belting out a few tunes. 376 W. Broadway, 212-343-0999, cipriani.com

 

Beatrice Inn

Beatrice Inn (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

New-School Model Hangouts

Beatrice Inn
Vanity Fair magazine honcho Graydon Carter recently converted this one-time West Village nightspot into a clubby “chophouse.” Though it seems like an indelicate style of restaurant for models to frequent, international stunners like Irina Shayk have been spotted in house (although it’s likely that boyfriend Cristiano Ronaldo is really the one who digs the steaks). But who are we kidding? It’s not about the food at all, as New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells famously pointed out during his zero-star review, which in turn made getting a reservation much easier, despite the lack of phone, and email-only (or Opentable.com) reservation policy. 285 W 12th St., no phone, thebeatriceinn.com

Harlow
Partner Richie Notar, who got his start at Studio 54 and was a managing partner at Nobu, knows a thing or two about drawing an attractive crowd — pals such as Naomi Campbell turned out for the opening preview party in February. Nightly, as the lights go down, the music gets louder, and the crowd gets prettier and prettier. Reservations at the Midtown newcomer are refreshingly easy to score, and the menu higher-aiming than most model meccas. 111 E 56th St., 212-935-6600, harlownyc.com

LaVo
This Tao sibling is where the swimsuit set come to show some skin during the Saturday brunch-and-bottle-service “Bikini Party.” Starting from 2pm, the Midtowner celebrates St. Tropez-style, with all of the Champagne-spraying and table-dancing one can take in an afternoon. Lemon ricotta waffles and pizza help take the edge off day-drinking. 39 E 58th St., 212-750-5588, lavony.com

 

Le Bain

Le Bain (Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images)

Le Bain
Downtown’s wet-and-wild party palace, known for its waterbeds, hot tub hijinks, and sprawling river views, heats up on Tuesday nights during nightlife legend Susanne Bartsch’s “On Top” parties up on the 18th floor of the Standard Hotel. One of the more gay-friendly venues, this is where to find male models like R.J. King or to scout glamourpuss candidates for RuPaul’s Drag Race848 Washington St., 18th floor, 212-645-4646, standardhotels.com

Provocateur
Within the model-centric Meatpacking District, a reservation for this nightclub/cafe is required. Although the door is tough, getting in is not impossible if you promise to generously spring for bottle service. Part European dollhouse, part Garden of Eden, this is the hot spot for the young guard, such as Sports Illustrated covergirl Anne V and Aussie Cheyenne Tozzi (known as the next Elle Macpherson). 18 Ninth Ave., 212-929-9036, provocateurny.com

The Smile
As popular modeling agency One Management is right around the corner, this cafe is a low-profile hang for clients, which include Paz de la Huerta, Iman and Sean Avery. Set down a flight of stairs in a 1830s townhouse, the candlelight, wood tables and cozy vibe set the scene for an unpretentious retreat between shoots. The light menu skews Mediterranean, which surely helps its popularity among the photogenic. 26 Bond St., 646-329-5836, thesmilenyc.com

The Spot
This snug space within Trump Soho Hotel doesn’t hold much more than a few banquettes and a DJ booth, so it’s more fit for a listening party than all-out dance fest. As one recent incident proved, there’s certainly not enough elbow room when a brawl breaks out. A few weeks ago, 21-year-old model Sarah Bledsoe was injured when nearby patrons broke into a fight. Don’t expect an encore, however, as the nightspot has more of a reputation for being low-key than high-drama. 246 Spring St., 212-842-5500, trumphotelcollection.com/soho

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