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.

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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!

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