For the most welcome NYC-inspired night spot since John Travolta opened one in the Soviet Union while under the illusion that he was in Nebraska (The Experts, 1989, Betamax it), head to Empire Rock Bar. Soft-opening a week from today, the subterranean party spot's helmed by the NYC-bred co-owner of OT Tavern, who, having grown up in places like the infamous Limelight, is hoping to recreate a little come-as-you-are bedlam. Some questions, and their answers:
So does that mean I have to show up dressed as a vampire angel or whatever people wore back in the '80s? Not at all. In fact, there is no dress code, so wear whatever floats your bloat. No cover either, but to ensure a slightly higher maturity level guys do have to be 24+ -- girls are 21+, because they mature faster, and a bar'd have to be undead to turn down legally eligible women.
What's the layout like? Everything from the stone-supported tables to the marble-topped limestone bar was procured locally, but things look decidedly roxotic: blue faux-croc booths line the wood & diamond-patterned stainless steel wall, and a VIP room's segregated by a chain-link curtain and, soon, a curtain of fog, onto which they'll actually project vids (so, an oasis behind a wonderwall).
How shall I get my drink on? A Mexico trek resulted in their very own double reposado Herradura barrel, but you can also suckle classics (martinis, mojitos, Manhattans) with fresh-squeezed juices, foamed-but-still-potent moleculars, and beers like Fireman's #4, DEBC, Franconia, and Fat Tire.
How shall I get my jam on? "Everything from the '60s to today" is fair game, as long as it rocks in some fashion, and has a danceable groove, guidelines that still allow for everything from Depeche Mode, to Metallica, to Soundgarden. Thursdays will resurrect something truer than the "neon-themed '80s people are used to now, because this is not SMU" -- thankfully, it's not Russia or Omaha either.