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Welcome to Drunk Shopping, our feature celebrating the time-honored tradition of getting totally wasted while the sun's still shining before buying a bunch of debatably useful stuff that the sober you would be too timid or too restrained to take home. Each Friday we'll cobble together a new itinerary starting you off with a boozy Saturday or Sunday brunch before meandering through a few neighboring retailers and happy hours notable for seasonal specials, limited time availability, fantastic deals, recent openings, or new shipments.
Listen, the Barneys Warehouse Sale happens but twice a year. We know a lot of you love to hate; but it's epic, the deals start out passable and end up incredible, and—seriously—it's absolutely better than Woodbury Commons. Because, and if for no other reason, you can walk there and you don't need to devote an entire day to it. Plus, the Barneys at Woodbury is almost always no more or no less than meh. Anyway, yeah: Drunk Shopping, Chelsea, Barneys.
Did you notice that right outside the exit of the sale on 18th Street is a Westville? How do you like that! It's newish, and the menu is the same as it as at their other two locations. Read: Seasonal, fresh, healthy—or, well, not unhealthy enough to not call it healthy—plus the price is right. Their burgers are famous, their sides are wonderful, it's vegetarian-friendly, and the most wines are about $25 a bottle. Take advantage of those prices! You want your judgment slightly impaired but your stamina intact.
Get in there—enter on 17th—and check that bag. Keep your hands free and your eyes peeled. Wear appropriate undergarments. Socks are helpful. Slip-on shoes are a plus. Hats are a nuisance. Avoid layers.
Womenswear is on the ground floor, menswear is down below (along with small sections devoted to clothing and gifts for children and home goods). Choose a home-base meeting place before you all split up. Give yourself a time limit, or at least check in—you can seriously get lost in one rack of ties for 45 minutes.
Keep your nose to the grindstone. Use a fine-toothed comb. You never know when or where you might find some Lanvin or McQueen or Marc collection squirreled away amongst ten thousand no-name knits by some California brand no-one gives two craps about. Likewise in shoes: For every ten private label pairs that you'd probably happily wear but just don't want to spend money on, there is at least one gleaming, perfect, wonderful thing you didn't even know you wanted. And the label might say Balenciaga.
It's the thrill of the hunt, people. It's sport. It's animal. And, you know, it gets a little exhausting. When we're world-weary we tend to seek out a cool, dry, dark little place—like Hemingway! well, sort of—to unwind and to center ourselves (and drink).
Enter Flight 151, our go-to Chelsea dive, which happens to be right across Eighth Avenue. It's where (hopefully) no one knows your name, where stiff pours start at $5 and, if and when you need it, there are nachos to be had. Just because you're shopping bag is full of Prada and your lunch was all organic doesn't mean you're above a damn nacho.
Enjoy! And please do share your Drunk Shopping tips, tales, and war stories in the comments!