The ephemeral culinary pop-up continues to thrill customers. For instance, the team at top restaurant Noma is heading to Japan for a sold-out residency at the Ace Hotel Kyoto from March 15th to May 20th, 2023 (despite news that its physical Copenhagen location will shutter next year). But some lifestyle destinations are choosing to stand out with more permanent F&B offerings.
From the outside, the Snarkitecture-designed Manifest in Washington, DC may seem like a sleek barbershop, but K.J. Hughes and partners Brian Merritt and Susan Morgan buoyed it with a daytime coffee bar and boutique, and on the second floor, the exclusive speakeasy Out of Office, which is accessed through a hidden door and boasts a blue-tiled bar and curved walls. “We wanted a place of community—a place where everyone felt safe and deserving of this kind of experience regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or [gender],” says Hughes. “We wanted to make sure we presented this in a way that made you aspire.” In New York, meanwhile, the intimate RH Guesthouse reinforces a tone of luxury with its Champagne & Caviar Bar, adorned with lacquered walls, handblown chandeliers, and mohair velvet seating.
To keep customers intrigued, some restaurants are planning niche concepts tucked within venues from the outset. Even before the arrival of the AvroKO-designed Oiji Mi in New York, chef Brian Kim has been plotting a forthcoming omakase on the premises, which will be concealed behind stained glassed windows at the back of the restaurant. At the Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, EDG Design is tackling Sendero from chef Kevin Luzande, comprising two restaurants, a fine dining chef’s counter, and the tequila- and mezcal-filled Agave Library.
Boston restaurateur Babak Bina also invigorated his duo of restaurants, jm Curley and the speakeasy steakhouse Bogie’s Place, with the Wig Shop in 2022. Beyond the window display of mannequin heads, a nod to its past as Wig World, is the retro-style cocktail lounge that Bina designed (local practice Studio FKIA handled the backbar) with plush sofas and diaphanous curtains. It connects to both restaurants, adding another swank layer to Bina’s enterprises.
Inside EN Japanese Brasserie, a fixture of New York’s West Village dining scene since 2004, guests can make their way over to the recently opened Music Bar. Outfitted with vintage turntables and a stash of vinyl that owner Reika Alexander has collected from around the world over the years, the casual lair is an ode to Alexander’s grandfather, who ran a similar establishment in Tokyo prior to the advent of radio and TV. This late-night addition to EN, what Alexander, describes as “an analog audio experience,” is an extension, she says, “of my passion and gives more depth to what we do. It’s another piece of my culture that I hope to share with guests.”
This article originally appeared in HD’s December 2022 issue.