Ex-NYPD Officer Plans Police-Themed Bar With Its Own Jail Cell
HELL'S KITCHEN — This bar comes with its own drunk tank.
Retired police officer of 27 years Stephen Barounis missed his old job so much, he decided to open a police-themed bar in Midtown called The 46th Street Stationhouse — complete with a police car, a precinct desk, a jail cell and a commissioner’s room.
“I can bring you in in handcuffs and you’ll actually think you’re in a precinct,” said Barounis, who served on the NYPD's Bronx Task Force before he retired in 2011.
“I’m not going to lie, I really miss the job. I hope this theme works because I really loved what I did.”
After negotiations fell through for a bar he planned to open with the same concept in Midtown East, Barounis found a new space at 315 W. 46th St. and signed a lease in January. He expects to open it in April.
Upon walking into the two-story bar, which is currently under construction, guests will immediately notice a real police car in the middle of the room, Barounis said.
"It's been a challenge, but I'm still working on the police car," he said.
Barounis has already purchased a 1968 Plymouth Fury, which he is equipping with a siren and LED lights that will flash and whoop with a flip of a switch. Guests will be able to open the door and sit inside it as well, he said.
To get it into the bar, Barounis will have to cut the car in half, lengthwise, and carry it in through the bar’s window, Barounis said.
In addition to the car, which will be anchored in the front room, the first floor will also feature an L-shaped bar that was designed to look like a precinct desk. There will be a jail cell in the back, and then a separate, more formal commissioner’s room for dining, which includes a fireplace, he said.
A separate room will be dedicated to Hollywood icons, including TV detective Columbo, another will focus on real-life heroes such as Theodore Roosevelt and Eliot Ness, and the hall leading to the back rooms will be adorned with mug shots of celebrities including Frank Sinatra and Lindsay Lohan, Barounis said.
Finally, the second floor will function as a speakeasy lounge area with another bar, Victorian sofas, coffee tables and possibly some outdoor seating, Barounis said.
Although the bar’s menu is still in the works, it will include dinner options such as fish, chicken and beef dishes, along with more casual lunch fare like pizza, hamburgers and macaroni and cheese, Barounis said.
Barounis also hopes to offer family-friendly activities including fingerprinting for kids, and will distribute faux missing person packets as souvenirs.
"It's a safe haven," said Barounis. "We don't want people mistaking us for an actual precinct, but if anyone ever needs help — if they're being followed or something — they can come here, and we'll protect you."
Though Barounis comes from a family that owns multiple bars in the city including Back Room in the East Village and The Auction House on the Upper East Side, this is his first business venture on his own, he said.
He's already started building out the space, but Barounis still needs to get Community Board 4’s blessing for a liquor license on March 11 in order to move forward, he said.
"I want it to be like Disneyland," said Barounis. "I want people to walk out feeling like they had a really special day."