Ara is located in the Meatpacking District neighborhood of Manhattan.
The Meatpacking District owes its name to the meat distribution companies that once dominated the area. While some meatpacking houses still exist, nowadays you are more likely to find meat of the celebrity variety, twirling around the Bermuda Triangle of SoHo House, Spice Market, and the uber-swanky Hotel Gansevoort. The signature feature of this luxurious hotel is its rooftop, featuring a richly landscaped roof garden and an expansive loft with soaring 20-foot ceilings that offers breathtaking city views in three directions. A 45-foot outdoor heated pool with underwater music anchors the roof's other side; it is unique in New York and reflects the ultra-trendiness that the district prides itself on.
If it's Asian cuisine you’re craving you’ll definitely want to dine at Spice Market. The interior of the restaurant is as exotic as the cuisine: with a collection of artifacts imported from Rajastan, South India, Burma and Malaysia creating an interior of Eastern exotica including antique wall carvings, screens and pagodas. Spice Market provides a feast for all sense.
Some art galleries have opened here, but the area is dominated by late-night establishments, high-end furniture stores, and fabulously expensive hairdressers. If you seek thrilling nightlife and pulsating action on the streets with traffic jams over century-old cobblestone streets, head here Cielo is one of hottest nightclubs. Its intimate size, impressive sound and sunken dance-floor make it perfect for catching a set by the latest hipster DJ. But given its notorious reputation as one of New York's toughest club to enter, good luck getting by the door. Speaking of tough doors, you might miss APT's door entirely, as the swanky lounge resides in a nondescript building that could easily be mistaken for a butcher shop. For more nightlife action, try the glittery, subterranean club that is 675 Bar. If you're looking for a quieter, more low-key way to spend time in the district, keep in mind that one of the most pleasant times of day to visit this neighborhood is between 10 and 11 in the morning.
As you wander around the district, do head down Gansevoort Street to get a feel for how this neighborhood evolved. The now-defunct Florent restaurant was the first trendy place to open, and as you pass its old location on Gansevoort Street, you'll see the remnants of the old dilapidated elevated railway, which has been turned into America's first overhead park, called the High Line. West 14th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues should not be missed, replete with stylish boutiques such as Jeffrey, a few bakeries, and an enormous Bodum store as well. And then there's the legendary Old Homestead Steakhouse directly across from the new Apple Store on Ninth Avenue at West 14th Street. If you're curious about the intriguing new architecture and glass houses juxtaposed with meatpacking houses, you'll definitely want to follow this section of our new architecture of Manhattan walking tour.