While you still can’t (legally) drink on the street, the Lower East Side is about to feel a little more like New Orleans now that it has Canary Club. The Broome Street restaurant, bar, and live music spot opened its doors this week, serving up French Creole-inspired dishes, creative cocktails, and tunes ranging from jazz to disco.
Canary Club is owned by Ryan Chadwick of oyster-forward spot The Grey Lady and his wife Emily Frantz, an interior designer. The idea for the space came after the couple visited New Orleans and were struck by the city’s culture and offerings.
“[We] were inspired by the high energy: the people, the culture, the jazz, the food. We were enlightened by how different New Orleans is and wanted to capture a bit of it,” Frantz explains.
The colorful food menu, which places an emphasis on shareable bites, comes from chef Tadd Johnson, who has previously cooked at The Standard East Village and Mediterranean restaurant The Smile. The fare will likely please both the veggie and the seafood-inclined: expect items like charred chayote squash with chili and citrus, black sesame carrot tempura, and seafood boudin (a type of sausage) stew on toast with deviled egg yolks.
For the more adventurous (and carnivorous) diners, there’s a whole squab, a type of young pigeon similar in taste to duck, roasted in their wood-fired oven and served with the head still on.
Drinks range from the complex earthy-smoky-sweet of the mezcal-based “Surrealist Manifesto,” which has maple, lemon, chocolate molé bitters, and the herbal liqueur Becherovka, to the more sweetly familiar “Kush’s Hibiscus,” containing lime, hibiscus-infused gin, and a citrus cordial. Many places have been offering non-alcoholic cocktails lately, and Canary Club is no different, serving up one mocktail made from the faux-spirit Seedlip, though Frantz says there’ll be more added to the menu in time. Another trendy sipping option is natural wine, of which there’ll be a hearty selection.
Frantz also designed the space, taking inspiration from the Surrealist and Dada art movements as well as, aptly, the canary bird. The upper dining room is largely olive green with a vintage feel, while the lower level sports plush, red seating, funky fringed benches, and a checkerboard floor.
Live music will happen every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Canary Club’s intimate red basement space, which also offers a limited version of the full dinner menu—think caviar, oysters, and the like. Early in the evening, live jazz and funk will rule, and when it dips past 11 pm, the tunes switch over to disco, giving the space what Frantz calls more of a Studio 54-style vibe.
“Going to see all this live jazz [in New Orleans], we realized just how great it was. In New York, there’s a need for it,” Frantz adds. “Everyone’s getting tired of going out to dinner or going to a club. We wanted to create a space where we could do live jazz but it didn’t feel like a traditional jazz club.”
If that’s not exciting enough for you, Canary Club will soon be unveiling their Canary Supper Club, a private dining room next door to the main Canary Club. “We want it to feel like an old French salon and social club,” Frantz says, noting that they plan on hosting evenings like curated dinners with natural wine pairings and other private events.
Canary Club is located at 303 Broome Street, and will be open from Wednesday through Sunday from 5 pm to late.