Vinyl might have been cancelled, but VNYL is about to open in the East Village.
James Morrissey, owner of The Late Late, says that although his new bar nods to the ’70s, he actually came up with its name before he heard about the HBO show. It stands for Vintage New York Lifestyle, but the place’s decor was primarily inspired by the “elegant, chic, sophisticated” decor of Los Angeles homes during the ’70s.
Morrissey said he wanted his new spot, located in the former Nevada Smiths space, to have a residential vibe, and he’s calling it not a bar or a restaurant or a nightclub but rather a “lifestyle space.”
And what a lifestyle space it is. VNYL boasts four levels, starting with a basement for private tastings and parties. The ground floor has a dining room as well as a storefront space that will house a cafe and a record store curated by Adrian Grenier of Entourage. Grenier, a regular at The Late Late, helped pick out the 300 or so LPs (with a focus on ’70s music, naturally) that can be dipped into via an in-house listening station. He’s also contributing to VNYL’s playlists, and as an environmental activist he had a hand in ensuring the restaurant’s seafood menu was 100% sustainable.
Among the albums for sale are those of Irish band Thin Lizzy, whose iconoclastic lead singer, Phil Lynott, was another inspiration for VNYL. A strapping black man with an Afro, he “wasn’t exactly what you usually think of when you think of Ireland,” said Morrissey, who is himself Irish. “He was a disruptive force in a good way.” On the top floor, there’ll be a Black Rose room (named after the Thin Lizzy album) where Grenier’s Wreckroom Records will curate monthly performances.
Also on the top floor will be a cedar-walled “champagne garden” designed for champagne service and champers cocktails. On the mezzanine below, as an alternative to the usual bottle service, you can splurge to have a tableside “private mixologist” mix top-notch cocktails for your group or pour pre-made milk punches created by Gareth Howells.
But wait, Thin Lizzy and champagne? Morrissey explained that part of what he liked about the legendary parties of the ’70s was that they “had a very formal air about them but a lot of those parties were actually being frequented by rock-and-roll hellraisers who had no appreciation for formalities or elegant lifestyles but somehow those two groups mixed and it worked.” He’s hoping to achieve the same vibe at VNYL.
By the way, chef Jordan Andino’s menu was also “California-inspired,” right down to the “Out-N-In” burger. Among the 18 savory items are candied-bacon quinoa sushi and a hybrid of Peking duck and duck confit. Naturally, plates come in the sizes of 45s, 78s, and 33 1/3s.
VNYL, 100 Third Ave., East Village; cafe open 7am daily, restaurant open 5pm to 2am daily and until 3am Thursday through Saturday.