Los Locals: Recommendations From NY-Based Designer Leonardo Ilianov

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In this column, we talk to culture makers and shakers around the country – people doing cool things in nightlife, photography, fashion, music, booking, etc. – about their opinions on the best local bands, venues, parties, and….. hangover food, because obviously. Today we caught up with Leonardo Ilianov, the NY via DR designer of new line LéONE New York.

Originally from D.R., graphic artist Leo Ilianov is Creative Director of Advertising and Branding Agency Caixa-NY, and recently launched his own streetwear line LéONE New York, which draws inspiration from the art, street fashion, and urban culture of New York City. With its uptown meets downtown sensibility, LéONE is in dialogue with a larger community of creators that live in upper Manhattan and are striving to connect the arts & culture there with what is happening downtown. LéONE recently launched its inaugural S/S 14 capsule collection, which you can cop here. When he’s not working on his projects, you can catch Leo on his skateboard.

31/M/New York City

What do you do in NYC?

I’m a designer with a background in graphic design, and fine arts. New York City is my playground, and I try to get my hands on all the projects that I can. Whether it is working on my t-shirt line LéOne to finishing graphic design projects with the team of Caixa-ny, I enjoy the city while staying busy.

Describe the ideal night out.

The best nights are definitely week nights. I’ll start by checking out some openings in Chelsea, then hitting the Lower East Side for a drink or two, and for the most part hitting a club in the Meatpacking to catch the best club DJs keeping everyone on the dance floor. So ideally you’ll see art, drink, dance your butt off, cab home, sleep and be at work the next day at 9:30 am.

What local bands/DJs do you love right now?

I’m a big music fan, when I find a band I like I become their number one fan. For some time now I have been loving Maluca Mala and her edged out of this earth sound, she’s the perfect example of uptown meets downtown blend.

DJ Mel Debarge is one of the most savvy DJs out there, he has spun some of the best parties I ever been.

DJ Kalkutta is another local DJ I love to hear spin, she’s been coming up in the club scene for a couple of years now, awesome scratching skills by the way.

What are the best venues for live music?

I like Music Hall of Williamsburg.

What are your favorite bars?

Barcade in Williamsburg, cheap drinks and classic arcade.

Speakeasy in Alphabet City. Great Latin dive bar. [editor’s note: Speakeasy recently closed, after over 20 years in the neighborhood. It was a big loss].

Coffee Shop in Union Square is the place with the best mojitos in NYC.

The Back Room is another favorite. I love the clandestine feel of the back entrance, and they serve the drinks in tea cups just like during prohibition days.

Best hangover brunch?

Los Tacos No. 1 in the Chelsea Market is the place to go after a memorable night. They’ve got authentic Tijuana style tacos, the pineapple pork taco is next level.

Go-To restaurant?

The Smoke Joint in Fort Greene, so far the best BBQ ribs I’ve had in NYC, the mac n cheese is something to remember.

Best place to dance?

The Sullivan Room is the place to go for some good house music, great crowd, and cool DJs, Now if you are looking for a more Latin sound you have to take the party to Bembe in Williamsburg, it has a great space to dance and the music is a good mix of salsa, merengue, dembow, and Latin pop.

Hidden Gem?

My hidden gem is Artichoke on 14th st. It’s the perfect summer spot to get a slice of pizza and beer to go, (yes to go)! They serve it in big foam cups with a lid on so you can take it on the road.