CHELSEA — A new Chelsea sex shop wants to be more than just a place to pick up thongs and flavored body paint — it wants to become a hub for the community.
Billing itself on a huge sign as "A Place Like No Other," Splash Sexy Boutique — a combination bar, lounge, cafe and sex store that opened this week — will offer customers coffee, beer, wine and a place to hang out while shopping for unmentionables.
Stroll into the shop at 155 Eighth Ave., between 15th and 16th streets, and you're greeted with cool white seats and a sexy Christmas display. Past the cafe — which was empty on Wednesday afternoon and has not yet finalized its menu — is a blue-lit area selling lingerie and bedroom toys.
Upstairs is a bar and lounge, which will begin serving alcohol soon, an employee said. Splash Sexy Boutique has not yet received a liquor license, according to community board and State Liquor Authority records.
"With a sign like that, I had to come in," said Patrick, who ventured into the shop on Wednesday and declined to give his last name. "I can't believe a place like this could even afford to open."
The location was the former home of Pearl, a nightclub, and Amin, an Indian restaurant.
Splash Sexy Boutique's stretch of Eighth Avenue is home to a handful of other porn shops, including Rainbow Station and the Blue Store. The closing of several area staples, include gay bars Rawhide and Splash Nightclub, had some worrying nothing could exist on the avenue but chain stores and high-end yogurt spots.
The owner of Splash was not immediately available for comment.