Halloween is coming, which means hundreds of dudes prowling around in Hawaiian shirts, aviators, and bucket hats. And Hunter S. Thompson’s spirit will live on past the holiday, when a new restaurant called Bar Gonzo opens in Hell’s Kitchen on Nov. 9.
New York has taken its stab at Hunter tribute spots in the past. (Remember Aspen Social Club, which served bison sliders and “gonzo sauce” in an attempt to evoke HST’s down-on-the-range life in Colorado?) But that isn’t stopping the proprietors of Bar Gonzo from opening what press materials say is a ’70s-influenced restaurant that nods to literary scamps like HST, George Plimpton, and Hemingway.
To help you get over your fear and loathing of the Times Square area, the bilevel space is outfitted with handsome peacock statues, true to the peacocks that HST kept in his sprawling backyard as he engaged in shootouts with his neighbor. There’s a “Peacock Bar” on the ground level. Up a marble staircase, there’s a tiki bar (HST did pen a novel titled The Rum Diary, after all) and a terrace dotted with cabanas.
Wait, cabanas? I’ve been to the Good Doctor’s local, Woody Creek Tavern, and it’s not the kind of roadhouse that would have cabanas (hell, it barely has a bathroom). But Gonzo is influenced more by glamorous spots like the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills, we’re told.
As for the food, HST is on record as a breakfast man. But trying his infamous cocaine-and-eggs routine is a very bad idea, so Bar Gonzo’s chef, RL King, will instead be serving a ciabatta-style “Latch Key Kid Pizza,” raw shellfish, cured meats, and cheeses from Saxelby Cheesemongers, among other share plates.
King was the opening chef at The Heath and Gallow Green at McKittrick Hotel, and some Sleep No More-style theatrics will be on display at Bar Gonzo. The press kit promises DJs, burlesque performers and even fire breathers– because as his Rolling Stone editor, Jann Wenner, can tell you, Hunter knew a thing or two about fire breathing.
Bar Gonzo, 515 9th Avenue, bet. 38th and 39th Sts.