Inside peek at Beauty & Essex
There's nothing subtle about Beauty & Essex. The new tri-level, 10,000-square-foot restaurant, bar and lounge does opulence and old Hollywood-style glamour on a massive scale.
The owners of the restaurant The Stanton Social teamed up with a design firm to transform a former furniture store into an homage to all things ladylike. The space features four dining rooms, two bars and a lounge, all with a different jewelry-influenced theme.
And there’s an added bonus for gals: A bartender pours gratis glasses of bubbly in the ladies room and lounge. Sweet!
Decor: Beauty & Essex is filled with items, such as antique perfume bottles and vintage jewelry, that look like they could have been plucked from Mae West’s personal collection. But the owners pay homage to the neighborhood’s gritter past, too. Guests enter via a pawn shop, which sells — what else?— antique jewelry and vintage items. At the entrance to the restaurant, a circular staircase wraps around a two-story crystal chandelier. And there’s more in the way of over-the-top glamour, including a room adorned with antique lockets and a lounge with a pearl chandelier covering the ceiling.
Vibe: It's not just the interior that's aesthetically pleasing. The whole place is filled with beautiful people, including celebrities. One night, we spotted actress Mena Suvari celebrating her birthday with friends, including designer Christian Siriano.
Food: Though Beauty & Essex is a hot nightlife spot, the food is not an afterthought. In fact, for many, it’s the main draw. Chef Chris Santos is known for expertly created dishes designed for sharing — and, in keeping with the spot’s theme, they are also pretty to look at. Signature items include crostinis dubbed "Jewels on Toast” ($10-$14), oven-braised chicken meatballs ($18) and General Tso's monkfish ($16).
Drinks: It’s the perfect place to sip on a glass of bubbly or a beautifully crafted cocktail, such as the B & E Pink Lady, made with Oxley gin, house made pomegranate grenadine, lemon and apple jack. All cocktails are $13.
Inside tip: On Friday and Saturday nights, the bar areas get packed. While weekends are the perfect time to take in the eye candy, if you’d prefer not to be elbow-to-elbow with your neighbor, grab a drink here during the week or make dinner reservations.
Beauty & Essex is located at 146 Essex St., btwn Stanton and Rivington sts. (212-614-0146).