When it comes to cutting-edge design, there’s no place like New York City. Good design permeates virtually every restaurant, shop, and dive. To see what newly-opened NYC spots are worth dipping into for a little design ogling, we asked DECASO trade director (and resident New Yorker), Marisa Marcantonio to give us the insider scoop. Whether you’re looking for an IRL inspiration session, or you’re just looking for a lively escape from the winter doldrums, these design-centric locales will have you completely transfixed.
Bluebird London NYC
If you’re craving London vibes but not the accompanying 6+ hour flight, Bluebird London NYC has solved the conundrum. A London institution brought stateside by prominent British restaurant group D&D, Bluebird London has long served as a buzzy, all-day hangout for chic Londoners looking to chase caffeine highs straight into happy hour. Like its sister restaurant, the New York outpost of Bluebird focuses on pub classics like fish and chips and beef Wellington. Taking its style cue from a Beatles-era lounge, circular green booths anchor the space, while low-hanging globe pedants complete the all-consuming ambiance.
How does one update the classic French brasserie? Frenchette answered that question when it opened in Tribeca this past April. With a swoon-worthy interior designed by The Springs Collective in Brooklyn, Frenchette features an autumn-tanned palette, brass-clad columns, and a zinc-topped bar marvelous enough to double for Grand Central Station. Add that to the luxuriously deep, leather-decked horseshoe booths, and you’ll never want to leave. The menu itself has an old school knife and fork sensibility, with rich, butter-bathed classics like rotisserie lobster and duck and frites.
The Evelyn Hotel, in which chef Jonathan Benno’s latest venture Benno is located, is hailed for blending Gatsby’s New York with a millennial aesthetic. Given the setting, it’s no surprise that Benno does much the same. Since its opening this past fall, Benno has made a name for itself dishing up steakhouse-caliber dishes with a Northern Italian and South of France twist. The interiors designed by Parts & Labor Design adhere to a jewel tone palette of violets and fuchsias which underscore the architectural grandness of the space. If the space has you looking for a reason to linger, don’t hesitate to order an extra cocktail. Deco-era classics like the Aviation and Martinez have been ingeniously doctored with modern twists.
When Manhatta opened last year, much was made of its sixtieth-floor FiDi location. After all, top floor restaurants have a reputation for shtick. (Think: revolving floors). Half a year in; however, it seems fair to say the sweeping vistas are just part of the equation at Manhatta. From the views to the food to the interiors, Manhatta is run with an eye towards synchronization. In order to ensure the sweeping views don’t get lost in the rush, Manhatta’s decor is modest without sacrificing glamour. Dark wood cabinetry and navy blue banquets anchor the space, setting the stage for an evening that’s based in hospitality rather than drama.
Spotlight on: Pizza
Despite our best intentions to shed those post-holiday pounds, winter temps are made for New York’s finest indulgence: pizza. The past year New York saw a pizza Renaissance, with new joints opening and old favorites garnering second glances. Here are two that made headlines for good dough and eyeful interiors in 2018.
Una Pizza Napoleontana
After relocating from the East Village to San Francisco for eight years, Una Pizza Napoleontana has returned to the Lower East Side. If you’re expecting the same Napoleontana you knew back when, be prepared for a new iteration that pairs its pies with tapas-style small plates and Internet-breaking desserts (i.e. the rum and Cynar-soaked tiramisu served up in a coupe).The design-forward interiors (designed by Jordana Maisie, an up and comer who cut her teeth at Diller Scofidio + Renfro), also highlight a new chapter for Una Pizza Napoleontana. Unchanged? The crunchy, air bubbly pizza that made you pine for Una Pizza Napoleontana during its West Coast sabbatical.
Another recent addition to the pizza scene is Mama’s TOO! Since its opening last December, Mama’s TOO! has ironed out some kinks (they no longer serve pastas) to establish itself as one of the leading pizza spots in the city. A stool-perching atmosphere doesn’t detract from Mama’s TOO!’s pies, either, which marry a knife and fork culinary experience with an after-Midnight, post-bar pizza appeal. Design-wise, the Mama’s team opted for a casually elevated space. Casual brick walls make for an unassuming (yet well-paired) partner to a stunning hammered copper ceiling.
Felix Roasting Company
Ever ponder what it would look like if designer Ken Fulk halted production on his zany and impossibly chic West Coast empire to took a well-deserved coffee break in NYC? The answer it turns out is the Felix Roasting Company. The new-wave coffee house, which offers both standard morning fare and a lineup of coffee-based cocktails, aims to change the way you do coffee. Fulk and his team pulled out all the stops for Felix’s design. Paneled and lacquered walls, terrazo tile floors, and a grand circular center counter make the shop Pinterest gold. If you’re a design lover, go for the interiors, and the sugar packets—ever the perfectionist, Fulk’s team designed those too—and stay for the Hickory-Smoked S’mores Latte. Baristas “torch” it to order and present it underneath a smoke-clouded bell jar.
Whether you worship Glossier’s Boy Brow, or have only passing knowledge of the cosmetics brand that has raised $86 million in funding since its 2014 founding, it’s fair to say Glossier thought of you when designing its NYC Flagship. At 3,000 square feet, enthusiasts can swatch and patch test to their heart’s content, while those who are merely curious can take residence on a custom serpentine banquet. Designed by Gachot Studios, Glossier’s flagship is part factory, part swanky lounge. Among its many nods to the factory are the life-size Boy Brow sculpture and the conveyer belt that pumps out shoppers’ purchases moments after they make them. There’s also dozens of pink jumpsuit-ed brand ambassadors standing at the ready, eager to offer color matching advice or punch in your order via an iPad.
“Urban Jungle” may be the best way to describe the newest outpost of The Sill, the Upper West Side’s newly-sowed plant shop. Inside, you’ll find Maiden Hair Ferns creeping along counters, Fiddle Leaf Figs spiraling up the walls, and spire-like Snake Plants lapping at your ankles. With a narrow canal footprint, the owners behind The Sill had to get crafty to pack in the plants. Minimalist white shelving maximizes display space, while simultaneously allowing the plants to take center stage. Those new to the world of plants shouldn’t fret, either. The Sill is among the most friendly places to purchase plants in the City. Your biggest issue here? Getting a Lyft big enough to schlep all your beautiful new botanics home.
Health & Wellness
Completing the wellness circle that Soulcycle, Sweetgreens, and Chillhouse started is Wthn. Dedicated to making acupuncture accessible to the masses —you book through an app—Wthn opened this past November. Whtn specializes in three area: prevention, healing, and complexion. LED light therapy and cupping are also available add-ons for any treatment. The 2,200-square-foot space white-blanketed spaces was designed by Hyphen & Co. Designer Shelly Lynch Sparks also designed another popular meditation studio MNDFL, as well as Rent the Runway.
Not exactly a newbie, but worth a mention given your New Year’s health resolution to bump up your self-care routine is Inscape. Reset with a meditation class held inside Inscape’s color-bathed dome room. On your visit, instructors will lead you through a recorded audio journey full of soothing vocals and sound waves. Gently pulsing color helps to up the immersion factor. If you’re going, be sure to book a class in “The Dome,” as there’s also a smaller room known as “The Alcove.” Can’t make it to the studio? Inscape offers an app to assist you with your mental detox at home.
Lead photo by Alex Staniloff / Design by Parts & Labor Design. Photo courtesy of Benno.