Happy Ending got a new beginning last night, as Oliver Stumm of Cafe Select and Rintintin threw a preview party for his new place in the onetime Asian massage parlor on Broome Street.
Just like the legendary establishment that preceded it, this one — opening early next month — is called Happy Ending. But there are some obvious differences, starting with a neon sign outside (a flamingo under a palm tree) designed by Los Angeles artist Brendan Lynch. The ground floor — done up with cheerful carpeting, striped wallpaper and modernist light fixtures a la S.A. Boulanger — has become a proper restaurant offering French food on white table cloths (the chef is Francis Gabarrus, who has worked with Joël Robuchon, Alain Ducasse, and Thomas Keller). Beyond a rectangular bar adorned with light boxes, there’s a raised dining area in the back. Downstairs, the illicit basement cabins have been demolished to make for a more spacious dance den.
Upstairs, the ceiling has been raised and two gigantic works of mirror art hang on the wall. Max Levai, who made Forbes’s 30 Under 30 after his father appointed him director of the Marlborough Chelsea gallery at the age of 24, is a partner in the operation, and it shows in the art that adorns the front entry lounge.
Levai is no stranger to the neighborhood — he opened Marlborough Broome Street just a block away about a year ago.
And Stumm — who DJed with A Touch of Class before he was a restaurateur — is no stranger to turning former sex dens into dance dens, having once thrown a party in a brothel that had been shuttered by police.
Seems like a happy beginning.
Happy Ending, 302 Broome St., nr. Forsyth St.