On the Town
Shopping & Nightlife
Shop: John Varvatos
122 Spring St., 212-965-0700, SoHo, Manhattan
John Varvatos recently did some spring cleaning, redesigning his SoHo boutique and adding a few lighter, personal touches to the 5,000-square-foot space. New walnut floors, freshly painted white brick walls and antique furniture handpicked by the designer himself all reinforce the brand's masculine cool. A dramatic lighting fixture with more than 1,200 dangling vintage bulbs was installed above the stairwell, leading to a revamped downstairs area now dedicated to the label's tailored menswear.
Antique rolling racks and a gorgeous wet bar from a flea market in Paris are two of the newer display pieces, though the store's extraordinary collection of exclusive rock photography prints is still going strong. If you can peel your eyes from the mesmerizing shots (Peter Frampton, The Stones, Janis Joplin, Blondie, Iggy Pop, et al.), do scope the brand's new watches—a limited edition collection of ChronoScope timepieces made in collaboration with Swiss masters Ernst Benz. Give the latest John Varvatos fragrance (called Artisan) a whirl, too. Drawn toward the look of a hand-woven flask, we were pleased to find more than a pretty prop and a sexy rugged scent inside.
The enhanced store design and dozens of rocker cuties milling about make the John Varvatos Spring Street boutique a required downtown visit. What can we say? In the words of Z.Z. Top, "...every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man."
By Rebecca Prusinowski, Paper magazine contributor
Bar: Veloce Club
17 Cleveland Pl., 212-966-7334, SoHo, Manhattan
Veloce Club is a new, tonier addition to the Manhtattan wine bar chain Bar Veloce, and the latest tenant of 17 Cleveland Place, which has also been home to Bar Tonno and Room4Dessert. Here, the modern accents favored by its siblings are replaced with a parlor-chic club look and a classic cocktail list. And although a theme we're all, by now, quite familiar with, it occasionally works for Veloce Club: black, U-shaped leather booths lining the front of the narrow room are cozy but not cramped. The cocktails incorporate Italian classics like Negronis ($10) and an Aperol Spritz (orange flavored Italian liqueur with a dash of prosecco) that was light and slightly sweet. The bartender slipped into an ad hoc kitchen area to make the drinks, which was likely unavoidable due to limited space behind the skinny bar, but you want to see a bartender make your drink. The lamps lining the bar were a nice touch, but their fussy beaded shades were more evocative of the T.J. Maxx housewares department, than the oak-paneled gentleman's club they were likely aiming for. A '60s print wallpaper along the wall doesn’t quite fit, and the stuffed deer head affixed to it suggests that the owners took every popular décor trend in the city and squashed it into the space. But Bar Veloce are panini and Italian wine bars first and foremost, and despite this revamping, those fundamentals are still preserved (including, thankfully, the warm nutella Panini served with vanilla gelato). With some aesthetic fine tuning and the removal of superfluous taxidermy, Veloce Club might last longer than its Cleveland Place predecessors.
By Elizabeth Thompson, Paper magazine contributor
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