Recently opened by nightlife newcomers Kristen Vincent & Nadia Koch, the owners of successful underground taxidermy dive bar Home Sweet Home, Fig.19 is paving the way for new-age exclusive drinking in Lower Manhattan. Eschewing the carpeted queues and bottle service bullshit you’ll find in the Meatpacking District, Fig.19 is taking a different approach to keeping out the tourist and nobody crowds–namely, sequestering itself in the back of a nondescript “art space” (Envoy Enterprises) without a sign out front and placing a fittingly gigantic bouncer outside with a “fuck off” attitude. Oh and did I mention the place opens at 9PM, and only does business three nights a week? On our first attempt, in which we were unable to muster up a business card or a correct name, we were told, “That’s not how we do things,” by the dismissive doorman. Later on some Asian female companions, who had succeeded in entering (big surprise), were able to get us in. Once inside we found a clean, sparse space where longhaired bartenders who look like Anthony Kiedis dispense delicious and fairly priced cocktails to an uppity crowd that obviously feels super smug just being there. The menu apparently changes frequently, but the Pumpkin Sour and Hummingbird we had were especially good. Don’t be afraid to ask one of the rock star bartenders–who humbly double as cocktail waiters–to make you something bespoke. They’ll deliver. The interior carries on in the taxidermal antique traditions of basement big brother bar HSH, and the retired fire place and pretty white furniture offer enough coziness. The real action’s up around the bar, though, where a beautiful standing crowd swoons over themselves. Fuck Boom Boom Room, Electric Room and other uber commercial “rooms” where washed up celebs go to bask in the brown nosing. Fig.19 represents a sexy, illusive, new kind of classism in nightlife, and illuminates the Lower East Side’s glorious transformation from heroin district to place-to-be-seen in the short span of twenty years.
Where: 131 Chrystie St. (between Broome St. and Delancy St.), New York, NY 10002 - figurenineteen.com
What: Secret cocktail lounge
Who: Fashionistas, hypebeasts, girls in heels
When: Thu-Sat 9PM-?? (Closed Sun-Wed); anytime, if you can get in that is--a prohibitive door assures the place won't be jammed, at least for now.
Why: Wanna feel like a celebrity while schmoozing with self-important Lower East Siders? Fig.19 is your joint.