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In New York City, the drinks flow for afternoon brunchers, late-night revelers, and everyone in between. For design lovers looking to absorb, we’ve picked a list of the best 10 beautiful bar design ideas that are sure to satisfy your thirst for a gorgeous decor bar home decor. Spread a little bit all over NYC, and watch what on this list stands out for bar stool furniture ideas, lighting fixtures, or just overall bar decor atmosphere. From mid-century inspired bar designs, to more industrial or just absolutely over the top designs, you will find it all. Get inspired!
Beauty & Essex
To access this ‘secret’ bar design, guests must enter a pawnshop, replete with a saxophone, boom box, quirky artefacts, vintage treasures and an eclectic array of ‘one-off’ pieces of jewelry, including a ‘returned’ engagement ring. Once inside, you’re spoiled for choice, with four dining rooms (one private), two bars and a lounge.
It’s worth a lookup, too: a 20ft oval skylight crowns the main dining room, while the lounge (pictured) features a striking pearl chandelier that reaches from wall to wall. Another room is covered with 1,000 carve wood panels inspired by a vintage jewelry box design. The women’s restroom boasts an artfully decorated salon complete with French sofas, antique perfume bottles and a private bartender pouring complimentary bubbly.
Formerly known as the Campbell Apartment, this legendary Jazz Age institution tucked away in the southwest corner of Grand Central Terminal has found a new lease of life. Ingrao Inc and the Gerber Group pay homage to the venue’s past life as the private office and reception hall of financier John William Campbell, retaining several of the 13th-century Florentine-inspired design details, such as the soaring, hand-painted ceilings, a grand stone fireplace, a century-old leaded glass window, original millwork and Campbell’s personal steel safe.
Karasu, meaning ‘little crow’, is a Japanese restaurant and cocktail bar from Danny Minch and Dylan Dodd, the co-owners of Walter Foods and Walter’s. Formerly a doctor’s office, Karasu’s unmarked restaurant design area – accessible through Walter’s – recalls Japanese hotel bars, but with a Brooklyn twist. Kevin Greenberg of Space Exploration Design brings an art deco sensibility to the izakaya, as well as vintage glassware and vinyl records.
Spread over four floors – each with a distinctly different design – The VNYL (short for ‘Vintage New York Lifestyle’) is a groovy, 1970s-themed venue that opened last year. The gargantuan 8,000 sq ft establishment in the East Village is fronted by a vintage record store and coffee. Inside, owner and Irishman James Morrisey has teamed up with designer Sarah Abdullah on the plush interiors. A polished concrete entrance gives way walnut-clad walls, David Hicks wallpaper, tiger leather, cedar paneling, vintage sconces, Flos pendants by Michael Anastassiades, and the obligatory cluster of disco balls, of course.
This underground bar has enviable pedigree even by this city’s standards, having been established in 2014 by Little Branch and PDT alumni, and boasting ship-shape interiors conceived by Studio Robert Jamieson. A dynamic lighting installation made from inverted antique ship ventilation shafts leads visitor down thick timber steps into space. The décor is a distinctly maritime affair: the bar is clad in patterned concrete tiles, with an aged copper top and walnut bar rail, while other design details include vintage industrial flights, booths featuring patchworks of reclaimed sailcloth, cedar cladding (reclaimed from old water tanks that adorn many New York City building rooftops), and aged zinc wall panels. The vintage Knoll armchairs have been upholstered in salvaged US Navy blankets.
Manhattan Cricket Club
Hidden in plain sight behind above Upper West Side restaurant Burke & Wills is the Manhattan Cricket Club. A nod to Australia’s favorite sport, it’s a private members’ club with a twist: it’s open to the public, though membership does have its perks, including priority seating, tasting events, and private liquor lockers.
Behind a tufted green leather door, the apartment-style haven has all the comforts of a UWS home, complete with a wood-paneled living room and library (with real books), oriental rugs, cricket memorabilia, gold brocade wallpaper, and leather sofas. The marble bar is well stocked, with handcrafted tinctures, syrups and bitters, garnishes, imported teas and, most importantly, the proper style of ice for each drink.
A popular fixture on Chinatown’s drinking scene since 2008, Apotheke is just what the doctor ordered. Owner and designer Christopher Tierney envisioned an opulent antique interior that calls to mind European apothecaries and 19th-century Parisian absinthe dens. A 35ft Carrara marble bar sets the scene for mixologists (so-called ‘apothekers’) in pharmacist-style apparel to dole out spirit-lifting cocktails – the ‘prescription list’ ranges from aphrodisiacs to euphoric enhancers and more.
The New York design clique’s answer to Milan institution Bar Basso, this Prohibition-style watering hole is fronted by a fortune-teller’s lair (just look out for a red neon psychic sign). Established in 2004 by five industry friends and since expanded to other global locations including Miami and Singapore, the perpetually packed West Village haunt has stood the test of time, thanks in part to its worldly art deco interiors, conceived by Alex Locadia, and world-class cocktails, including EO’s famed riff on a Manhattan.
The adjoining restaurant offers a New American menu with an Eastern European twist, a nod to executive chef Julia Jaksic’s Croatian heritage. The kitchen is open until late – we recommend the bone marrow poppers with bordelaise – but stay long enough and the bar serves up a gratis nightcap of homemade chicken soup that will see you through the early hours of the morning.
Raines Law Room
This hallowed haunt is named after an 1896 law that sought to curb liquor consumption – and inadvertently led to the rise of prostitution. Still, the shenanigans these days in Raines Law Room aren’t quite as salacious, though Meaghan Dorman’s luscious libations will certainly loosen you up. Ringing a discreet doorbell grants access to the venue, where a host will lead you into the sophisticated Delphine Mauroit-designed den, a convincingly authentic throwback to the 1920s with Chesterfield sofas, brocade wallpaper, tin ceilings and modern furnishings.
Launched in 2014 by the same team behind Raines Law Room, this cocktail parlour is inspired by Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris. To wit, Belgian interior designer Delphine Mauroit has conjured a fantastical trip through time across four themed rooms: take the JFK room, with its 1960s Mad Men-style leather seats and brass fixtures; or the Abraham Lincoln room, a throwback an entire century further to 1860. The F Scott Fitzgerald room is a Great Gatsby-era homage with glittering crystal drapes and art deco motifs, while the Marie Antoinette room exudes French aristocracy with ornate paintings, chandeliers, and sofas.
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