On the Town
Shopping and Nightlife
Shop: The Dossier Shop
244 DeKalb Ave., 718-783-0783, Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Dossier, the enchanting arts and fashion journal, has opened a store in their Brooklyn brownstone headquarters. Designed as an extension of their bi-annual mag, the shop evinces the intelligent style and creative energy that Dossier has become known for since launching last year.
The diminutive space packs an impressive melange of fashion, design, art and literature for sale, with prices ranging from $25 to $1,000 for cuffs by jeweler Pamela Love (way less than they run at Bergdorf Goodman, by the way). The curated wear for women and men runs along one side of the store. There you'll find modern and vintage pieces from high-end labels, including Cardigan summer knits, sexy rompers by Samantha Pleet, simple Dunderdon separates, silk dresses by Frank Tell, hand-dyed scarves from Sunshine & Shadow and a few smokin' Christian Dior bathing suits from the 1980s. In addition to the impressive racks, Dossier has a wonderful selection of art books, literary journals and poetry chapbooks to satisfy the curious minds, as well as limited edition prints and novelty goods—super cool items if it's home decór you're after.
The Dossier Shop offers a free canvas tote with each purchase, or you can buy the one Zac Posen made for the magazine's collaborative series: an albino crocodile skin bag with calfskin lining and chain handles. (When Dossier sent him canvas to design, this is what he came back with! Only Zac...) It's just an example of the unique finds and creative spirit that make this boutique one of the more charming stops in our "Shop of the Week" travels.
Shop: Solange Azagury-Partridge
809 Madison Ave., 212-879-9100, Upper East Side, Manhattan
British jewelry designer Solange Azagury-Partridge has opened her second worldwide location with a lush boutique on the Upper East Side. Since starting her biz in the early '90s, Azagury-Partridge has become known for her bold, fanciful approach to precious baubles. Fringed collections, diamond cuffs in geometric patterns, eye-popping enamel rings shaped like Hotlips—these are not your typical gemstone settings. Nor is Solange Azagury-Partridge your run-of-the-mill jewelry shop. Like Alice in Wonderland, I peered through the peephole of the heavy door and discovered a galaxy of dark and mysterious beauty. Designed entirely by Azagury-Partridge herself, the store has ruby red velvet walls twinkling with over 630,000 hand-set Swarovski crystals. It also features a ceiling encrusted with zodiac constellations and the designer’s own limited-edition home furnishings (including the Rainbow Parquet Rug and Fringe lighting fixture). The jewelry itself is set inside the walls, enclosed by antique gilded frames and backlit like a glamorous gallery exhibition. Just as the company pioneered new expression for precious jewels, the Solange Azagury-Partridge store has claimed its stake on Madison Avenue with a look that's totally original.
Shops by Rebecca Prusinowski, Paper magazine contributor
13 E. 17th St., 212-337-1970, Union Square, Manhattan
Sorry, Red Hook barflys, the newly opened Lillie's near Union Square isn't the resurrection of your beloved haunt. Instead, it celebrates the infamous charms of one Lillie Langtry: 19th-Century Irish actress, muse, and all-around A-lister, who could count the Prince of Wales as a conquest and Oscar Wilde as a friend. (Think Marilyn with a dash of Diddy, and you wouldn't be far off). It simply wouldn't do for her namesake to be any old thing, so the proprietors took an Irish pub and got it all gussied up in its Victorian-era finest to pay proper respect. Unlike most of the flavor-of-the-month tributes to yesteryear, however, Lillie's comes with built-in authenticity courtesy of a castle in Belfast where many of the fixtures and furnishings (a collection of candelabras, portraits of petticoated ladies, the ornately-carved, antique bar) were sourced. It wouldn't take much to imagine Lillie herself perched on a plush velvet banquette taking in the marble columns, back-lit stained glass, and gilded everything, with a glass of her very own Langtry Estate wine in hand ($7–$9) and a dapper, mustached gentleman at her side. So keep true to her roots by tipping back a pint of Smithwick's ($6) or Magner's ($6), and partaking in some hearty fare like the full Irish breakfast ($10) with eggs, black and white pudding (think pork, not dessert), fried tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, sausage and toast. Considering the opulent surroundings and faced with the extensive whiskey list (over 40 Irish whiskeys and single malt Scotches), you may even find yourself springing for a pour of the Glenmorangie aged 21 years ($123) and living like Lillie's bestie Wilde—"resist[ing] everything, except temptation."
Bar: Pony Bar
637 Tenth Ave., 212-586-2707, Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan
Pony Bar, a new Hell's Kitchen drinkery from the owners of nearby Lansdowne Road, is not exactly the place to impress a first date. But when it's a bromantic night out you're after, this American craft beer haven—the stars and stripes hang prominently lest you forget it—is sure to get you in the mood. The 20 constantly rotating beers on tap and two cask selections spotlight both obscure and well-known breweries from coast to coast, and will set you back only $5. Most brews are served in pint glasses, but a handful come in the bar's namesake pony glasses (8 oz.) from the olden days of horse racing when time between races was limited and beers were sized accordingly. If ever last call comes too soon, you can even take it to go in a 64 oz. growler ($3 + $16 or $19 for the beer) snug in its own koozie ($0!). Bud and Bud Lite bottles ($5) are available for the unforgivably clueless, along with a full liquor shelf—but stick with a brewsky if you want to avoid one of those classic-rock-screeching-to-a-halt-as-everyone-turns-to-stare moments. You may begin to think you've had a few too many when the minutes fail to tick by, the wall clock's actually always and forever stuck at 4:20. So when it's actually time for the dollar-off happy hour—yes, at 4:20—one of the ever helpful bartenders will strike a bell to induce the appropriate Pavlovian response. Those who spent their college years face down in a field rather than running it will finally have the opportunity to go all-American (Pony all-American, that is), and win a T-shirt and bragging rights, after signing up for a card and rating 100 different beers (and they do change that quickly). All this beer-geekery takes place in a space inspired by a photo of Neil Young, which translates to a canoe, beer barrel tables, and plenty of wood, but it'll take many a beer-soaked night before Pony Bar gets that well-worn, world-weary feeling just right.
Bar: Sweet Revenge
348 Franklin Ave., 718-398-2472, Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Sweet Revenge, a slick, retro-inspired neighborhood bar, sits just beyond Clinton Hill proper in Bed-Stuy, playing realtor's friend while being low key enough not to scream gentrifier from the surrounding bodega rooftops. The '60s-era, kitschy decor centers around an eye-catching liquor shelf with its retro-futuristic, aerodynamic curves done up in wood, and a concrete bartop that segues into a cozy nook of a booth. Lending a bit of a Jetsons/Flintstones vibe, these features are careful to add more class than cartoon. Faux-wood-patterned wallpaper, spacey silver light fixtures and ceiling fans, and tiki accents complete the look. Cocktail offerings are modest: the Soft Opening ($6), a mix of citrus vodka and pink lemonade, is a benignly sweet concoction that's been around since it all began, and the Wild Wood ($6), with spiced rum and orange soda, is probably favored by Pratt students who aren't old enough to know any better. The lengthy happy hour means you can throw back $4 well drinks and a $7 combo of Powers Irish whiskey and a Bud bottle chaser until 9 p.m., even on weekends. Tap beers include summery selections such as Victory HopDevil Ale ($5) and Hoegaarden ($5), best enjoyed on the roomy, Christmas-light strung patio. Since beer munchies could strike after a few too many $3 cans of Yuengling Black & Tan, Hot Pockets (3 cheese, BBQ Chicken; $3) are available and served still in the crisping sleeve, so you know they're the real microwaved deal. On nights when the DJ booth's occupied, the music runs the gamut from country to soul to punk and keeps those tailfeathers shaking. With past events like an all-ladies arm wrestling competition (with a professional table and championship belt, no less), if this is what vengeance feels like, we'll take some more.
Bar: Dutch Kills
27-24 Jackson Ave., 718-383-2724 , Long Island City, Queens
After unequivocal success with his other mixologizing ventures, Sasha Petraske, New York's cocktail godfather, has probably figured out by now that if he builds it, they will come. "They," when it comes to his and Richard Boccato's latest project, Dutch Kills, are those outer borough-phobic Manhattanites who still plague our fair city. But if the website (directions much?) and online media frenzy are any indication, come they will to sample more of what Petraske does best: cocktails of the classic variety, this time in a moodily lit, dark-wood-lined cocoon of a bar in Long Island City. Visible from the street only as a white neon "BAR" sign and a mysterious glow of light through an invitingly open door, Dutch Kills shares a squat brick building with an engineering services company on an avenue with multiple overpasses and a concrete median. The bleakness of the surroundings adds to the feeling you've been transported to another time and place, namely the 1890s when saloons were the order of the day—although this one comes with that pronounced new bar smell in addition to the sawdust, brass rails, and sconces. The suspendered, bow-tied, and wingtipped waitstaff ever so politely serves the carefully thought out and meticulously crafted drinks that are Petraske's signature. All of the concoctions celebrate the oft-overlooked borough of Queens with names like Steinway Punch ($9) and Astoria Cocktail ($9), some of which are so storied as to come with a year of origin on the sepia-toned, wood and rawhide-bound menus. As expected, hand-carved ice in these bartenders' hands becomes something of a garnish, a large chunk here, crushed there. The rotating cocktail list is rounded out by a small selection of beer (Palm, Franziskaner; $7), wine (1 red, 1 white; $8), and a glass of bubbly ($11). However, when you're tapping your foot to the live jazz and ragtime in back, give the bartenders a relished break from the standards and try a bartender's choice ($9) with your suggestion of spirit, liqueur, or fruit, to test their supposedly encyclopedic knowledge of the craft; more often than not, they'll kill it.
Bars by Donhae Koo, Paper magazine contributor
For more shopping and nightlife coverage, visit Papermag.com.