EAST VILLAGE — A four-story "house of cocktails" slated to open in two weeks will seek to transport patrons to the 1970s — complete with the wood paneling and disco balls.
The VNYL, officially launching Sept. 9 at 100 E. 13th St., invites diners to sip "reinvented" 70s-inspired cocktails on retro furniture throughout a series of rooms evoking the glitz and glamor of a Studio 54-era New York City — which the bar’s founder hopes will make visitors feel like rock royalty.
“The whole interior design approach is to create something which showcases the cocktail era of the 1970s — that Hollywood glam, elegant, chic, sophisticated design approach,” said James Morrissey, also the operator of The Late Late Bar on the Lower East Side. “But at the same time, it’s merged with that rock 'n' roll spirit.”
While many city establishments with a retro, rock 'n' roll edge tend towards the gritty dive bar aesthetic, Morrissey says he wanted to go the opposite direction — to create a “high end” and “luxurious” tribute to the decade of Thin Lizzy and feathered hair.
True to its name, visitors to The VNYL will enter through an all-vinyl record store adorned with a gold disco ball — featuring a mixture of new and old but abounding in classic rock — before coming to the main room, where drinkers can grab a barstool or lounge on a set of leather sofas.
The bar boasts a selection of cocktails on draft, which Morrissey says have been designed to expedite the art of mixology and deliver it to a larger audience. Selections include the gin-based Diddy Levine, mixed with Kummel Liqueur, Verve Rich, white cucumber puree, ghost citrus, and Mint Essence, and the Clontarf Ranger, with Irish Whiskey, Stout, Cassis, blackberry and vanilla preserve, cold brew reduction, and lemon.
The cocktails will be paired with a still-incomplete "California-esque" menu featuring lighter fare such as Candied Bacon Quinoa Sushi with avocado creme and a Salmon Poke Bowl with radish, tortilla strips, and avocado with cucumber seaweed salad.
Below, a basement level holds a “gentlemen’s lounge” with a generous whiskey selection, draft beers, and TVs for sports, while directly above, a mezzanine level holds sofas for parties ordering bottle service — each of which will be treated to a “table-side mixologist” to expertly craft the group’s cocktails.
The top tier features a “Black Rose Room” — named for the Thin Lizzy hit — meant to be reminiscent of a Studio 54-esque nightclub, connected to a cedar “Champagne Garden” entirely revolving around what Morrissey calls “the most celebratory consumable product in the world,” complete with a rope swing seat hanging from the rafters.
The objective, said Morrissey, is to create an authentic experience reminiscent of the decade, rather than a “themed” bar better suited for Times Square or Disneyland.
“It’s a fine line, because I designed this place to resemble a residence from the 1970s — I don’t have memorabilia on the walls telling people it’s 1974, I just want it to feel like the 70s,” he said. “We want to create an authentic atmosphere.”
The interior is still a work-in-progress — though renderings have been released — but Morrissey said all four floors will be up and running within the next two weeks, with an official grand opening slated for Sept. 9. Until then, diners and drinkers can look for updates on the lounge's social media, which is heavy on 70s nostalgia and photos of Kate Moss.