5 Carmine Street, West Village
With Grom Gelato down the street and Cones Ice Cream Artisans around the corner, some might argue that the last thing this sliver of the West Village needs is another frozen treat shop. But PopBar, the new kid on the block, has its own gimmick. Here, the Italian-made gelato, sorbetto, and yogurt are dressed up in hard chocolate shells and presented on popsicle sticks.
PopBar's small, clean and bright storefront doesn't have any seating, so you'll often see customers snacking on the sidewalk late into the night—this dessert spot stays open until 1am on Friday and Saturday nights and until 11pm the rest of the week. Gourmet pops are poised in frozen glass cases, and many are pre-dipped to showcase some of the best flavor combinations. A dark chocolate shell dresses up the sweet strawberry sorbetto pop, while the pale green pistachio gelato is dipped in both chocolate and crushed pistachio nuts. Impossibly creamy and deeply flavorful banana gelato finds a perfect pairing with its crisp dark chocolate shell, and the blood orange sorbetto pop is totally tasty on its own—like an extra-fresh tub of citrusy Ciao Bella.
But the real joy here is customizing plain pops. Take a richly flavored almond gelato pop, for instance, and ask to have it swirled in a little vat of milk chocolate and rolled in crunchy chopped almond. PopBar has the technology to insta-freeze the chocolate shell, and—voila!—it's like the most delicious Klondike bar you've ever tasted, freezer-burn free, slim, and served daintily on a stick. The pops are frozen to hold their shape, so they're firmer than a bowl of gelato but much softer and easier to consume than your average rock-hard ice pop.
So what's the catch here? PopBar ain't cheap! Plain pops range from $3.75 to $4.50 and toppings cost extra. I dropped $24 on 5 pops, which is pretty extreme if you consider that you could purchase a whole box of Popsicles for a mere four bucks. Still, treating your pals to customized ice pops is cheaper and sweeter than buying a round of drinks.