Pop Burger was the original burger joint–cum–party spot, so when partner Kevin O'Connell opened Burger Shoppe in the financial district a couple weeks ago, we were curious to see what would be on the house sound system.
Back when Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman first clued us in to the Rusty Knot, in the old West space, he said little more than, “We’re doing a little dive bar there — it’s going to have a pool table and a jukebox.” In this week’s issue, chef Joaquin Baca tells us what “dive bar” means (an addictive chicken liver, bacon, and avocado sandwich, it turns out), but he doesn’t say anything about the jukebox. All we can say is, don’t expect to hear Masta Ace or New Young Pony Club, like you might at the Pig.
On Monday night, we stopped into Terroir (Hearth’s already-packed new wine bar), where conspicuously mustachioed Thomas Crowley of Bar Veloce happened to be sampling his neighbor’s wares. We’re sure he loved the food and drink just like we did, but the bartender was concerned that he might not be digging the music. That’s because during the entire time we were there, we had to listen to Buena Vista Social Club.
Elettaria’s space was formerly occupied by the 8th Wonder, where a young Jimi Hendrix performed. So is his ghost still setting guitars (or at least flambés) on fire? Since proprietors Akhtar Nawab and Noel Cruz are big into classic rock (Akhtar is a bass player who loves him some Rush), we figured it was a strong possibility that after the early-evening jazz and blues, it would be, “Move over Rover, let Jimi take over…”
Jonathan Ames, self-described “journalist with bad breath, bad teeth, bad hair, and bad debt,” penned a hilarious essay for Spin about infiltrating GoldBar with the likes of Lenny Kravitz, who despite living a few blocks away takes a Town Car to the club (what, no Escalade?). Ames is blown away by the fact that Cameron Diaz isn’t even the prettiest girl in the place, which is “loaded with perfume, emanating from the dozens and dozens of beautiful girls” (hm, nothing about the smell of cigarette smoke). Kravitz, meanwhile, has been there, done that, hence this lyric from one of his new songs: “The night is young, GoldBar's the place to be.” With that in mind, we slipped in last night for a $17 drink and a plate of his favorite truffle fries, to see if Kravitz's name check has earned him a place on GB's playlist.
Last night’s victory unleashed total fandemonium on the streets, especially in the area of the Village Pourhouse where half a dozen police cars were summoned to keep a watchful eye on NYU students chanting “18-1,” “Go Giants” and, er, “Go Jets.” Inside, sliders left over from the halftime competitive eating contest sat untouched while at least one dude stripped off his shirt and sang “We Are the Champions.” Because we’ve never been in a bar before where every single person was belting out “Uptown Girl,” we recorded the rest of the triumphant playlist for posterity.
Does the Spotted Pig have music cred? Yeah, maybe just a little bit. Owner Ken Friedman used to be an industry player, and his partner Jay-Z is, well, Jay-Z. We recall being kicked out of the upstairs alcove so that Franz Ferdinand could take it over after a show (front man Alex Kapranos is a fan of the lamb shank with crusted celery root). With these musician types having their run of the place, what’s playing on a quiet Tuesday night?
We like to confine our House Mix feature to the music we hear in dining rooms, but this week we visited PDT. Not such a digression, actually — the place does serve food, and the thing we really love about it is that it doesn’t match its speakeasy gimmick with throwback jazz. Nothing against those Milk and Honey imitators, but it’s refreshing to sip a Sidecar (and wolf down a Chang Dog, for that matter) while indulging in everything from Snoop Dogg to Momofuku Ssäm favorite “Zero,” by the Smashing Pumpkins.
A while back David Chang told Eater that his new fourteen-seater won’t be a fine-dining restaurant, though a recent Craigslist ad recruiting cooks says “prior fine-dining experience is preferred.” Whatever Momofuku Ko turns out to be, we can’t imagine Vivaldi will be playing in the dining room — it’s not like critics have been turned off by the steady diet of AC/DC that we heard during a recent stop-in at Momofuku Ssäm.
Shorty’s.32, the new Soho spot named after chef-partner Josh “Shorty” Eden, who worked with Jean Georges for twelve years, may bill its cuisine as New American (word to the wise: They have an off-the-menu brunch sandwich called the McShorty, though it remains to be seen whether it will be available during lunch when that starts next week), but the small dining room’s playlist is classic American and Brit. In fact, one might even call it stoner music. Here are ten songs we heard during a recent visit.
If you’re going to open a restaurant in the Lower Eastpacking District, it better ROCK. When we called Le Lupanar on Saturday, the hostess told us to expect French house music (“we’re still experimenting”), but when we arrived, we got a familiar mix closer to what you’d expect at Fat Baby up the block. Not that we’re complaining we like TV on the Radio just fine, and the two beers the BYOB restaurant provided made us forgive the Thin Lizzy.