This ain’t your bubbe’s Lower East Side
Beauty & Essex: the old & the new
As designers, we couldn ’ thyroxine serve but wonder : what would happen if designers actually owned the places they created ? In search of an answer, we paid a visit to Beauty & Essex, a hot restaurant created by AvroKO. This New York-based firm not only designed but besides owns and operates restaurants that include Public, Saxon + Parole, Genuine Roadside, and The Daily .
Nestled between the rabble storefronts of NYC ’ s Lower East Side, Beauty & Essex simultaneously references a bygone earned run average and embodies the neighborhood ’ s ongoing gentrification. Located in the former Katz ’ randomness furniture store on Essex Street and marked with a fabulous ex post facto augury, its intrigue outside decidedly gets your care .
The memorable have begins by entering a second-hand workshop with no obvious indication that a restaurant is located here. That ’ second right, the front of the location is a retail space stocked with vintage collectibles such as cameras, Barbies, magazines, guitars, and jewelry. The cashier asks if she can help us and we reply that we have a reservation. She then directs us to an unmarked door that transports us to the world that lies beyond .
The storefront “pawn shop” harkens back to the old neighborhood.
The cashier assures us that all items are for sale, while a dapper doorman foreshadows the illustrious nightlife to come.
Something akin to magic happens when good taste, creativity, and a healthy design budget collide. Inspired by a “ fashion doyenne ’ south 1930 ’ s department store fantasy, ” Beauty & Essex is a two-story spectacle. The lower horizontal surface contains a high furnished lounge/bar area and a classy dining space. Upstairs, the atmosphere is more slack but still compulsively decorated, without an inch of dominate quad. And let ’ s not forget the stairway connecting the two levels, which is an experience in and of itself. Fur-lined walls and a cascade chandelier transform the wind hike upstairs into a glamorous ascent worthy of Jean Harlow.
This dramatic, beaded chandelier makes you want to take the stairs. Note that no animals were harmed in the making of this wall.
The downstairs lounge is richly furnished with wood and leather.
The first level dining room is formal but not stuffy with a plant-filled skylight.
Behold the power of a considered ceiling and good lighting in the upstairs bar.
Framed lockets make for an simple and elegant wall treatment, referencing the pawn shop entrance.
Though we could go on about the inside design, we must mention excess touches that contribute to the success of the Beauty & Essex feel. For starters, a DJ sets the note for the night with crowd-pleasing custom mixes, which progressed from ambient backdrop music to dance club beats as the night went on. Inspired by the snip code suggested on the web site, the guests donned cocktail attire allow to the space. tied the ladies board was intentionally gay with a ( free ! ) champagne bar—a decadent gesture that seemed to say, “ relax and observe. ”
“Hey Mr. DJ, put a record on” in the DJ booth that overlooks the upstairs lounge .
Why not celebrate a trip to the ladies room with a glass of champagne?
While not the primary focus at Beauty & Essex, the food is well-executed and tasty. The menu has a little something for everyone and a wide-ranging focus—i.e. kale salad, Brussels sprouts, baby back rib, tagliatelle, seared tuna, steaks, burgers, ceviche, etc., etc. The menu is more trendy than chef-driven.
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An eclectic menu of shareable small plates lets atmosphere take center stage.
Tomato tartare is a standout. This cookie spoon was a nice finishing touch on a thoughtfully presented and tasty meal.
Though it hardly seems to affect the restaurant ’ sulfur popularity, we must admit that their web site, beautyandessex.com, is neither a “ smasher ” nor is it successful in conveying the have. More photos of the space ( ones that include people ) could be added along with brief, descriptive copy to better capture the vibration. For as thought through and “ branded up ” as every touchpoint in the restaurant is, it ’ s surprising that the AvroKO team has neglected the on-line presence .
The graphic branding is pervasive and well-executed, with the glaring exception of the website which seems totally disconnected from the restaurant and what it delivers to guests. What happened there?
Beauty & Essex is a big, bold concept, beautifully executed. AvroKO ’ s careful attention to detail and willingness to push an idea past the ordinary leave in an immersive, theatrical experience worth having .
so for a great model of restaurant design taking center phase, check out Beauty & Essex. We ’ rhenium certain you ( and even your bubbe ) will applaud its operation .