Photos: Villains Tavern, a Steampunk Bar, Opens in Downtown's Art District
Dana Hollister has done it again. The famed interior designer and bar owner and founder 's latest venture can be found in downtown's Arts District, under the long shadows of the 4th and 6th Street Bridges and tucked into a sleepy nighttime area. Perhaps, however, this will change things.
"I think it's really about the place. Whenever I work on a project, I always really get inspired by the building itself," said Hollister, who has either founded or currently owns the 4100 Bar, Bordello, Cliff's Edge and the Britespot. "So this building talked to me about being on the edge of town, and kind of a litlte bit left of everything else that's here. And so for me it was all about constructing something that was unlike anything that was over here, and the idea of kind of like an outlaw place, or like a villains outlaw place [came to us.]. When we got that name together we realized we really had something."
And so it became steampunk, the anachronistic steampowered 19th Century H.G. Wells and Jules Verne inspired style. "There's a lot of 19th century elements in this," Hollister explained of the mix of old and new elements found throughout the space.
For example, beers are served in chilled jars, an old Gothic-arched church window, rescued from a Brooklyn church, has been repurposed as a giant mirror and placed behind the bar, 600 antique apothecary bottles line the facade, Furniture on the 1600 square feet of patio space is mostly Argentinean wrought iron, dating from the early 1900’s and giant gates from a 1920’s apartment building in Buenos Aires are not railings for a staircase that leads to a cozy dark second floor mezzanine.
You can find 28 beers on tap, with 20 of them that be mixed with a shot of liquor for an $8 Villains Mix & Match. A number of coctails are also offered, including ones that are made with "squeezed to order" fresh juices. Food offerings include a 1/2lb Kobe style burger topped with a bacon marmalade, balsamic, and sour cherry spread, a German Weiner dog with braised red cabbage, olive tapenade, bacon and cheese, a grilled cheese complet with a chili-onion-tamarind sambol and the most interesting, fried chick peas, lightly cripsy on the outside and chewy in the inside, all topped with chili flakes.
Parking isn't a problem in the neighborhood at night and a bicycle rack is offered. Villains Tavern open starting this weekend and can be found at 1356 Palmetto Street.