Sun and Tue-Wed, 1pm-midnight; Thu-Sat, 1pm-2am; Mon, closed
F, J, M, Z at Delancey St.-Essex St.; B, D at Grand St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
The early bird may catch the worm but at the Dressing Room, stylist turned proprietress Nikki Fontanella is hoping to bank on the Lower East Side’s popularity as downtown's late-night destination of choice. Open until midnight or later, this designers’ co-op sits has come to function as a makeshift community center, with a full-service bar, art shows, and film screenings. But what is even more impressive than the bar-as-boutique approach is the store’s impressive mix of inventive designers featuring real up-and-comers (think FIT students) with eye-popping creations. Based on a four-month rotating schedule, a screened selection of ten designers are each given a rack in the store’s narrow space to showcase and sell their works, which range from printed T-shirts to princess-style dresses. Downstairs, the store operates an equally friendly clothing exchange, where customers are invited to trade in their vintage pieces for either cash or credit to be used on cocktails at the store's popular bar.