Behind the scenes shot from Past Lives at the Brooklyn Bridge
(L-R) Greta Lee, Teo Yoo Credit: Jon Pack

In Past Lives, writer and first-time director Celine Song rejects all romantic movie norms and creates a powerfully moving film that has earned a nomination for Best Picture at the 2024 Academy Awards. Prepare to have some tissues at your side before you sit and watch. Greta Lee stars as Nora Young, a South Korean woman who emigrates from her home country as a young girl and is ripped apart from her childhood sweetheart Hae Sung, played by Teo Yoo. The film follows the pair as their paths diverge and reconnect at various stages throughout their lives. Song told Vanity Fair that the premise of the film is loosely based on her own life and that the idea came to her when she was in the company of her husband and a childhood friend.

Stil from Past lives in Seoul
(L-R) Seung Min Yim, Seung Ah Moon Credit: Jin Young Kim, On location in Seoul, South Korea

Filmed in South Korea, Canada, and New York City, Past Lives captures many memorable locations on screen. From the East Village to Lady Liberty, you might recognize some of the iconic settings. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the New York City locations where the story unfolds. Look out for spoilers ahead!

1. The Holiday Cocktail Lounge

Teo Yoo, Greta Lee, John Magaro at Holiday Cocktail Lounge
(L-R) Teo Yoo, Greta Lee, John Magaro. Credit: Courtesy of A24

The first scene we see in the film is set at Holiday Cocktail Lounge and is based on a memory from Song herself. Nora (Greta Lee) sits between her childhood sweetheart Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) and her husband Arthur (John Magaro), exchanging somber glances between them. The trio’s conversation is inaudible as the camera zooms in and we hear characters off-screen nosily speculating on the relationship between the three people we see. In a fourth-wall break, Nora looks at us with a knowing smile. The scene teases us with some foreshadowing before taking us back to this moment later on in the film.

Situated at 75 Saint Mark’s Place, Holiday Cocktail Lounge is one of the oldest speakeasy bars in the East Village. Holiday was a go-to bar for rockstars and artists in the ‘80s and ‘90s like The Ramones, Madonna, Iggy Pop, Keith Richards, and even Frank Sinatra back in the 60s. The place has been a neighborhood staple, buzzing with music and grit throughout the years, dating back to 1835 when it was built. It was the city’s 50th licensed bar when Prohibition ended in 1933. Though the place has been revamped, its grungy interior and classic mahogany horseshoe bar– where our three main characters sit in the film– remain the same.