Photography by Trevor Smith

David Thielebeule

Style Director, WSJ Magazine

| Williamsburg

When it comes to New Yorkers, most of us are flanked by two personalities: there’s the city-dweller side of us, the one that lives to play and bask in the city air (it smells fresh enough to us), and then there’s the other side, the “what would happen if I gave it all up and fled to a cabin in the woods?” one. Rarely do any of us trade in one for the other and we wouldn’t want to. Enter David Thielebeule. As Style Director of The Wall Street Journal Magazine, he walks to the beat of an enviable drum— in fact, his good ol’ 9-to-5 includes hanging on set with fellow CITIPHILE Cass Bird, jetting to Paris to catch the latest Chanel show, and dining on caviar-topped brioche at a Louis Vuitton dinner party. That isn’t to say Thielebeule didn’t earn his stripes— err, perks? Before WSJ Mag’s Editor-in-Chief Kristina O’Neill cherry-picked him to help with the pub’s revamp, he had high-profile stints at both Harper’s Bazaar and Allure under his deftly fastened belt. But, scroll between his Insta snaps of couture plumage and Lady Gaga sightings and you’ll see campfires, hiking and Thielebeules’s other side: the one who grew up traveling to a woodsy retreat upstate and whose mother makes ceramics that are, hands-down, better than anything you’ll find in the chicest of stores. What we’re trying to say is that Thielebeule hasn’t just found a slice of the American dream; he’s living the New York one. Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Colette (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has been my neighborhood standby for years— simple menu, great cocktails. It’s occasion-agnostic: a first date, dinner with friends, visiting parents, even just me and a book at the bar works. When it warms up, the garden is particularly cozy. 

COFFEE OR TEA: Iced tea all the way— Starbucks venti, black, unsweetened iced tea with no water. That last part is key. The batches are brewed to be watered-down when served so you have to order correctly if you want the hard stuff.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Tough call, but I’ll say Indochine (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). The dish? Sticky rice and a lychee saketini.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: I’ll order a margarita on the rocks with salt, year-round. In Williamsburg, Cerveceria Havemeyer (MAP IT, x) does it best. They also have a steak salad that’s good enough to mention in an answer to a question about cocktails.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: Julius in the West Village (MAP IT, x). It’s one of the oldest gay bars in the city. Some places have managed to stick around for good reason.

POWER MEAL: For a working meal, I prefer breakfast at Sant Ambroeus (MAP IT, BOOK ITx) or Balthazar in SoHo (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). But, if it’s lunch, I’d probably pick The NoMad (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). Chances are I’m lunching with someone lucky enough to work downtown and it’s a decent midway point from my office in midtown. 

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: Boom Boom Room (MAP IT, x) at sunset. The space is fab of course, but it’s the view that wins it. In fact, some friends recently got engaged there while the sun slipped behind New Jersey. It was a pretty swoon-worthy moment for all of us.   

MUSIC PICK: If I’m looking for a good time, Wrecked (x), The Carry Nation (x) or Occupy the Disco (x).

BEST BRUNCH: For weekend brunch, Glasserie in Greenpoint (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). It’s tucked away in a converted glass factory and a bit off the beaten path. Get the mezze— they fill the table with hummus, labneh, pickles, tahini, olives and grilled bread. Your glossy-eyed, hungover pals will thank you.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: I’m astonished by how good-looking everyone is at the new Williamsburg Equinox (MAP IT, x). It’s pretty decent motivation to keep working out.

HEALTHY STAPLE: If I’m at the office, I will take a walk to Juice Press on 55th Street (MAP IT, x) for a salad and an “Ommm” juice (green apple, celery, arugula, fennel, lime, ginger and proviotic) or I’ll order delivery from Fuel (MAP IT, x). Near my house, it’s Sweetgreen (MAP IT, x).

GUILTY PLEASURE: Chinese food is my treat. I order from Red Bowl on Bedford Ave (MAP IT, ORDER IT, x).

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The private room downstairs at The Smile (MAP IT, BOOK ITx)— not much of a secret really, but it is one of the most charming places in NYC for a special night with friends.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: Most importantly, my friends. But, the first thing I do when I get back from a trip is head to Móle on Kent (MAP IT, x) for Mexican food (unless the trip was to Mexico).

REGULAR AT: I get facials at Mario Badescu (MAP IT, x) about once a month. Irina is top-notch.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: For a first date, I like Hotel Delmano (MAP IT, x) for cocktails. The third or fourth date might be a movie at Nighthawk Cinema (MAP IT, x); they do drinks and snacks that are inspired by the film you’re watching.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Red Bowl. It’s on the top of my Seamless list.

TO RELAX AND UNWIND: Shibui Spa at The Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca (MAP IT, x). The indoor pool is a very calming little oasis and the shiatsu massage is next level.

GO-TO GETAWAY: In the summer, I head out to The Pines on Fire Island (x) almost every weekend. I grew up on the beach and a long walk by the water is still my favorite way to chill out. Thinking about a glass of rosé by the pool gets me through NYC’s dark winters.

CLOSET CHECK: My style is rather simple and clean: skinny black jeans from Acne (MAP IT, x), boots from Saint Laurent (MAP IT, x) and a sweater in the winter or a tee shirt in the summer. If I invest in something, it’s typically outerwear—my coat collection is, well, vast…

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I have painted my last three apartments the same color: Dragon’s Breath 1547 from Benjamin Moore. It is a dark and moody grey with a touch of green; it’s become kind of a signature. My mother is a ceramicist so I have a lot of her work in my apartment. Her pieces have a cult following amongst my friends. They beg for her to bring more each time she visits.

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: Kevin Baker (x) at Sposito Barber in Greenpoint (MAP IT, x) has cut my hair for years.

FIT PICK: The Equinox in Williamsburg is right outside my door. I’m there almost every morning. I’ll also toss in a class at SoulCycle (MAP IT, BOOK ITx) or Barry’s Bootcamp (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). Barry’s needs a Williamsburg location ASAP.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: I’m hoping my ultimate NY moment is still to come! CP

David’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Inside Café Colette; Salad from Sweetgreen; Bites at Glasserie; Saint Laurent SoHo. Second Row: A cocktail at Hotel Delmano; Products at Shibui Spa; Greenpoint, Brooklyn; Coffee from The NoMad.


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