NYC 1- Start Spreadin’ the News…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you, well, don’t read my blog (OH DO, IT MAKES MY DAY WHEN YOU DO!) you’ll know that recently I hopped on a plane and jetted off for my first ever trip to The Big Apple! Firstly, IT WAS AMAZING! We had an INCREDIBLE time. Secondly, we really did jam-pack our time there full to the brim of stuff so I will attempt to give you a WHISTLE STOP tour of all we got up to, keeping the chat light and the pictures A PLENTY.

After landing, tediously making our way through security (anyone else think it’s kind of funny how the first thing they ask you when you get to America is when you’re leaving?! HI AMERICA NICE TO SEE YOU TOO HUN), into a taxi to central Manhattan (omfg JFK is farrrrrrrrrrrrrrr away son), checking into our Midtown hotel and quickly freshening up we stumbled out into Times Square a bit blurry and bewildered, blinking at all the colours of the ciddy, before diving into a little Irish dive bar to refresh ourselves with a couple of needed GINS. Like, for a total newcomer, Times Square at rush hour is a bit OVERWHELMING. I was like, walking over the road slamming yellow cab bonnets saying EYYYY AHM WAHKIN HERE. (I wasn’t really but I so wanted to.)

times square times square sunshine 2times square sunshine 4

Brennan Men

Brennan Men

Brennan Women

Brennan Women

We took a quick cab ride over to the Meatpacking District to settle into The Rusty Knot, a lovely little vintagey-nautical themed bar right on the waterfront for a slurps of craft beer before dinner. NYC is massively into the Craft Beer scene, just like London, but be warned ale-lovers- the Yanks don’t brew halfheartedly. We struggled to find beers that were under 6%; IT’S ALL DELICIOUS but oh so very strong! The concept of a ‘session ale’ clearly hasn’t hit the East Coast yet. Mainly because I guess the Brits love to drink like we don’t want to LIVE anymore. We lurrrveee us a sesh.

The Rusty Knot NYC Be Nice to your Bartender

Rusty knot Jukebox

Pretty much decided that a Jukebox is a vital household item.

Queen Elizabeth Mask

…with a picture of Her Maj on it of course

Warthog bust

Warthog hun

Rusty Knot Bar NYC

chalk text

chalked up in the loo (p.s New Yorkers think the word Loo is so lol)

Chalk text


After quenching our thirst, we managed to get a table at The Spotted Pig for dinner. This no-reservation, Michelin starred gastropub is awesome, all caverny and candlelit, serving a mixture of European/Italian food and we ordered up heaving plates of steaks, sea bass and burgers with the most amazing shoestring fries I’ve ever seen- they looked like huge spiderwebs made of carbs. YUM. Well recommended, but be prepared to wait for a table (but if you do, The Rusty Knot is a mere hop, skip and a jump away!)

The Spotted Pig

The Spotted Pig- I got drunk after this picture and forgot to take anymore.

As the sun rose on the next day, we shook off our slightly sore heads and made our way over to the Rockefeller Center to go take in the views of the city from the top. The PERFECT hangover cure in the blazing sunshine and whipping winds that were the order of the day. I MEAN WHAT A SKY!

rockefeller centre sign

Top of the Rock View


Top of the Rock View ali and mark top of the rock katie ali top of the rck Top of the Rock View


It was SO BRIGHT and SO WINDY, hence the squinting and interesting hairstyle from me

top of the rock view 2

Compass Mosaic

These compass mosaics scatter the floor at the Observation Deck

A quick pit-stop in the gift shop (I’m a sucker for a postcard and a pencil) and we had a hasty gaze at the statues and bits of artwork that are littered around the Rockefeller Centre before heading off to lunch!

Top of the Rock souvenirs



A mural created from big shards of Swarovski crystals

A mural created from big shards of Swarovski crystals



rockefeller centre

Enjoying the delicious sunshine, we strolled through Theatreland and Midtown working up a hearty appetite.

Kinky Boots

Possibly the greatest photo of my Father taken of all time

42nd St

Come and meeeeeeet those dancing feeeeeeeeeeet

Parking Sign NYC


Jewellery Exchange

8th Avenue

8th Avenue

Stomachs more than rumbling, we settled in at 5 Napkin Burger for an All-American Burger-Based FEAST. Banging burgers, right in the middle of Midtown. SPLENDID. I may or may not have had a medicinal Bloody Mary. Or two.

5 Napkin Burger 5 Napkin Burger Lightbulbs at 5 Napkin Burger Glass Bottles at 5 napkin burger
Appetites SATED and the Bloody Mary Spice still burning in my throat, we took our first venture onto the subway (omg you guys, I know we whinge all the time but TFL and the tube are soooooooooooooooooooo much better and nicer) and stepped out at the East Village for a wander round St Mark’s Place.

How bloody stylish is my Mum? FOR REALS THO

How bloody stylish is my Mum? FOR REALS THO

korrila NYC

My Dad is called Mark. Look how please with himself he is at the name of this joint.

My Dad is called Mark. Look how please with himself he is at the name of this joint.

I desperately wanted a scoop of something called 'Salty Pimp' from here.

I desperately wanted a scoop of something called ‘Salty Pimp’ from here.

music note graffiti alphabet lounge eat me sign red truck NYC

Cos when I'm drinking cappuccino I always think, "If only I could get a tattoo at the same time."

Cos when I’m drinking cappuccino I always think, “If only I could get a tattoo at the same time.”

pink converse chuck taylor all star mural converse mural



jules live jazz

Still thrilled at seeing the name 'Mark' everywhere. On St Mark's Place. Sure.

Still thrilled at seeing the name ‘Mark’ everywhere. On St Mark’s Place. Sure.

sleep lack of caffeine

All that wandering made us very thirsty (naturally) so we stopped into a couple of beer joints along the way. First up was McSorley’s Ale House, an NYC institution that first started serving in 1854 and hasn’t stopped since. Sawdust covers the floor and memorabilia from the bar’s past lines the walls. Upon grabbing a seat, the waiter merely asks, “Light or Dark?” and  then slaps down two glasses for every one ordered of whichever colour of beer you’d prefer. Literally that’s all they serve. Oh, and coke, if you’re a loser. It’s FUCKING GREAT.

McSorleys NYC McSorley's Bar NYC

The original ice machine still sits behind the bar

The original ice machine still sits behind the bar

Line 'em up good Sir

Line ’em up good Sir

McSorley's Ale House McSorley's Ale House

We also checked out the ABC Beer Company in Alphabet City, which has fridges teeming with take-out beers and at least 12 different beers on tap at any one time. Squashy leather sofas and a huge wooden table make this a perfect place to sample a few different brews.

ABC Beer Blackboard ABC Beer Co Procrastinate Now Sign

ABC loo Sign

This loo sign made me chuckle

Dan Kelly's Cider

I met Dan Kelly who brews this Cider in the store and JOLLY IRISH AND NICE HE WAS TOO.

Then it was ONWARD INTO THE EVENING! Not that I’m stagey (shudder) or anything but I was quivering with anticip………………ation to see my first Broadway show, Cabaret at the legendary Studio 54, mainly because I’m a huge Alan Cumming fan and he’s currently playing the Emcee.

Cabaret Studio 54 Cabaret quotation Studio 54 Chandeliers Studio 54 cabaret tickets cabaret studio 54
And OH it was so special! He was absolutely incredible in the role, it was like he was put on the earth to play it. Creepy, charming, sympathetic and weirdly sexy, he strutted about the stage engaging with both performers and audience like it was as easy as breathing. I wish I could say something similarly good about Sienna Miller as Sally Bowles but sadly, despite throwing herself at the part, she looks woefully out of place next to such an exceptional cast of actor-musos and strong dancers. The setting, all cabaret tables and long benches lit by little red lamps were just perfect, so much detail had gone into making you feel like you really were visiting the Kit Kat Club. A total winner of a way to round off our first full day in NYC.

And we definitely stole the reusable Cabaret plastic tumblers that our wine came in. GUILTY!

cabaret cups




  1. Katy

    March 24, 2015 at 5:49 pm


    I could quite happily fly there for less than 24h just to see that show then fly back again. FOR REALS

    1. bloodyhellbrennan

      March 24, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      I would approve of this plan whole heartedly. Failing that, I think the televised recording from the Donmar Warehouse version of this production with Alan Cumming is on YouTube….I’m such a geek that I know that.

  2. Frankie The Mayfairy

    March 24, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Who pees with chalk?! I mean, peeing with a pen is one thing, but taking CHALK in just to write something is true dedication to graffiti. Also, I have a Mark too, and they bloody can’t get enough of seeing their on things. It’s their defining characteristic.

    1. bloodyhellbrennan

      March 25, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Hipsters. Hipsters pee with chalk. Clearly. HOORAY FOR MARKS EVERYWHERE!

  3. David Hibbs

    March 28, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Hi Katie,

    I very much enjoyed reading your blog and your visit to NYC sounds great fun. Just the right balance of cultural pursuits and boozing (some might say excessive on the latter!)

    Much love,

    Uncle Dave x

  4. Sophie Cliff

    April 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Two of my fave things ever in one post – Spotted Pig shoestring fries and Top of the Rock!!! Those fries are so deliciously more-ish and crack like….

    1. bloodyhellbrennan

      April 8, 2015 at 9:32 am


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