New York had its inaugural “holy shit, it’s humid” afternoon a few weeks ago, during which, at its peak, I found myself wandering around Soho in an attempt to finish up some errands. Keyword “attempt”—when the second hour came around, I became so dehydrated that I succumbed to my eventual destiny of paying $4 for some overpriced liquids at the ill-fated Dean and Deluca. (Maybe $3.50 if I was lucky.) Taking a walk of shame down Broadway, though, I had an epiphany. Doesn’t Everlane have those little boxes of water for free? Right at the front of the store? It was a true lightbulb moment. Days prior, I had been browsing the Everlane wrap dresses everyone won’t stop talking about—overrated, by the way—when I was pleasantly surprised to learn they gave free Boxed Water cartons to all their customers. I proceeded to buy zeros dresses, but took three of those cartons.
What I’m saying, in my convoluted way, is this: I turned my ass off Broadway to Prince, entered Everlane, “shopped” for no more than 25 seconds, and left with a water. And that clever workaround inspired me to pen such an unofficial, unauthorized, and by-all-means-not-exhaustive ranking of downtown Manhattan’s boutique beverage scene, in the event you’re plagued with a thirsty predicament in the future. My two criteria were simple, insofar as the boutique 1) Indeed offers complimentary beverages, and 2) Is casual enough so any parched shopper would feel comfortable walking in.
Now, rejoice and read ahead, as you’ll never have to pay for water again! (Not true.)
(28 Prince Street)
Despite being the jumping-off point for this very esoteric ranking, Everlane is a one-trick pony: It’s only Boxed Water, so you better like Boxed Water. (Don’t cry, bubble lovers.) Still, the cartons are perfectly sized and easily recyclable, which you’ll remind yourself when your mouth gets sliced by the cardboard crevices.
(16 Prince Street)
Boxed Water makes another cameo at Vince, and they also offer different sparkling waters on rotation. Another Boxed Water, another mouth cut. Mmmmm. Worth it.
(131 Mercer Street)
A.P.C. will happily give you flat water in a glass if you ask, which isn’t great if you want to pull a drink-and-dash. They also offer Perrier, which is always welcome.
7. Opening Ceremony
(35 Howard Street)
Opening Ceremony has seemingly managed to master the art of blending high- and low-brow beverage culture. (This is unsurprising, if you know the brand’s history.) On the flat side, Poland Spring and Acqua Panna are in the hydration arsenal. For sparkling lovers, Perrier is at your service.
6. Mansur Gavriel
(134 Wooster Street)
Some Langley-level shit is going on in Dante’s fifth level of pastel hell, a.k.a. bucket bag heaven, a.k.a. Mansur Gaviel. All I was told is a “third party” was hired to “curate” (ugh) the store’s drink offerings, which include flat water, sparkling water, and several tea mixes. There are also cookies! Bonus points for cookies, always.
5. Rag & Bone
(119 Mercer Street)
The incomparable Boxed Water makes its return at Rag & Bone, but if you’re ever in the mood for something stronger, Prosecco and Peroni beers are well-stocked in the fridge, too. Stay classy, Rag & Bone.
4. The Marc Jacobs
(59 Greene Street)
The patron saint of downtown cool isn’t half-assing his amenities. The brand spankin’ new store—branded as The Marc Jacobs—offers all the waters, sodas, coffees, and coconut waters you could possibly chug in a visit. We recommend diluting the coconut water with regular water outside, because you will spill. Not from experience or anything.
3. Alexander Wang
(103 Grand Street)
The other patron saint of downtown cool would like to have a word with you, because Alexander Wang is personifying the art of beverage seduction with Fiji water, seasonal champagne, and Nespresso coffee. We don’t recommend mixing them all together for a cocktail.
2. Acne Studios
(33 Greene Street)
Okay, so Acne might technically only offer one brand of water and Nespresso coffee, but we have to place it high for novelty factor alone: The store’s flat and sparkling water provider is Iskilde, a wildly fancy Danish brand that you can’t buy on the internet. We couldn’t even verify a price! We’re just going to assume a bottle is the cost of one of its snazzy denim jackets, so, uh, $500.
1. Isabel Marant
(469 Broome Street)
Please celebrate Isabel Marant’s crowning achievement of Interview’s Best Downtown Manhattan Boutique (Beverage) by walking in and enjoying the robust selection of Pellegrino, Poland Spring, Moët & Chandon, and Nespresso. Gratuit for any occasion!