3. Caffe Dante (1915)
Caffe Dante opened in 1915 on MacDougal Street as an “unpretentious” spot to enjoy espresso in the mostly-Italian South Village of the early 20th century. The cafe was not only a favorite for the Village’s Italian-Americans, but also for the eccentric stars of the Beat Generation. Bob Dylan, Al Pacino, and Ernest Hemmingway were all regulars at Caffe Dante as well. Now, Caffe Dante is a registered New York City Landmark and the “#1 Bar in the World,” according to The World’s 50 Best Bars.
The records of the property’s early ownership changes were poorly preserved, but in 1971, Mario Flotta acquired the restaurant and sold it to Australian couple Natalie Hudson and Linden Pride in 2015. The Australian couple changed the cafe’s name to “Dante,” but the old “Caffe Dante” lettering remains on its windows. Greenery, flowers, and features of “elevated Italian cuisine,” adorn the new Dante. The essence of an older Dante is captured through its showcase glass and images paying homage to the celebrity faces that have passed through the cafe over the years.