Blogger Dan de Lara (a/k/a Asian Dan) Professes His Love for Battles, Irving Plaza, and A-Trak


We recently published the Voice‘s Best of NYC issue, our annual opportunity to bestow arbitrary awards like Best Rapper Twitter Feed and Best Radio DJ. In turn, we asked a few of our favorite New Yorkers to name their favorite local things.

Dan de Lara may hail from the forgotten borough, but the music blogger and DJ knows at least one semi-secret Manhattan bar. His favorite venue, music critic, and DJ are far more well-known, but one thing he shares that’s not: an actual reason to go Staten Island.

Most underappreciated thing about Staten Island?

Brother’s Pizza. Most amazing grandma slice and chicken roll. It is all about their marinara sauce. I can drink it alone.

Best reason to leave Staten Island?

Just ride the Staten Island Ferry on a Friday night and you will see. So many br0s and orange-tanned girls.

Best New York DJ?

Not a born-and-bred NYC DJ, but a recent transplant, Montreal’s A-Trak.

Best bar?

Little Branch in the West Village. There’s no sign. Exclusive but not pretentious, classic speakeasy vibe. The bartenders are your “spirits shaman”–all you have to tell them is your liquor of choice and you are all set. Any of their whiskey/bourbon-based drinks are amazing.

Best music venue?

Irving Plaza. [It’s] intimate and [has] a good soundsystem. Plus, I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers there back in 2006. Insane.

Best local music critic?

Sasha Frere-Jones.

Best New York band?

Battles. Perfect blend of musicianship and technical proficiency. The modern vision of futurist music–man and machine working as one!