Mamaroneck native Lauren D’Alesandro is a 35-year-old kindergarten teacher in Westchester. When she’s not teaching children their ABCs, she heads out for dancing and dining in the county. “I’m definitely a natural night owl; it’s in my DNA!” she says. “I believe that morning people will always be morning people and night owls will always be night owls, no matter how hard we try to change ourselves!” Though nightlife never gets in the way of her profession, D’Alesandro does need a night off at least once a week. “I do not know what it is about Friday nights, but I think my body is saying, ‘Rest up. Rejuvenate!’ However, Monday through Thursday and Saturdays, I am certainly a night owl.” Below, D’Alesandro offers her favorite places to dance, relax and meet up with friends.
What are some of your favorite spots?
They vary depending upon a few factors. If it is a nice summer evening, I enjoy a night out at the Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar on the Rye pier. It is a great spot for dinner and drinks and overlooks Long Island Sound. I feel like I’m in South Florida when I’m there.
What is the most important factor in deciding where to go at night?
The entertainment! I absolutely love to dance. And sometimes, all you need is good guacamole and good friends — for which bartaco in Port Chester is great year-round.
What’s it like teaching kindergarten by day and heading out into the county at night?
No matter the season, teachers enjoy Happy Hours and weekend-nights out. Generally, we end up at the restaurants and bars of White Plains — plenty of options in a relatively condensed area. It’s nice to either dress up or dress down and meet up outside the classroom.
Our group of teachers usually starts the evening with dinner. After, we go to a bar for drinks and then enjoy music and dancing after the DJ arrives. Our regular places include the Hudson Grille and the Brazen Fox, both in White Plains.
Empire City Casino has a little bit of everything. Eat, drink, mix a frozen-yogurt sundae, dance, play casino games, sing karaoke, watch a comedy show, go bowling or see a live band, and it’s open until 6 a.m.
What’s your favorite late-night food?
I love good Italian food. Modern Restaurant in New Rochelle has a city vibe, with a lounge-type atmosphere. I especially love their salads, soups, pastas, and vegetables. I can spend hours there, catching up with friends.
What’s a new hotspot you’re excited about?
Sedona Taphouse in Mamaroneck is new and offers specials for teachers on Thursday nights. [Free flatbread to teachers, plus $5 drafts and wines by the glass.] I think Sedona has the best sangria, and the menu has a surprising number of vegetarian items, as well, like their squash couscous and a delicious flatbread pizza. A bonus is their outside patio, complete with heaters and a firepit.
What do you think is missing from Westchester nightlife?
I would like to see more rooftop bars and larger venues that have multiple-level dance floors, like bars and clubs in Manhattan. The dance scene is lacking compared to the city, where a club may have multiple levels with different types of dance music, all in one place.
What are your secrets for staying awake during a night out?
A good protein bar, a Starbucks latte, or a Dunkin’ Dark Roast coffee with a turbo shot of espresso — but dancing is the best way for me to stay awake. If I am dancing, I could last for hours. If I sit too long, the yawning begins!
Do you have any insider tips for people interested in enjoying Westchester nightlife but don’t know where to start?
When parking at the White Plains bars, try to get a metered spot on the street, because you usually do not have to pay after 9 p.m! Enjoy good company; meet new friends; and dance the night away. After all, you don’t have to travel far to get home!