85° Good Evening
85° Good Evening
Eat and Drink

70s-inspired bars in NYC: The VNYL, Blue Light and more

Anyone watching HBO’s “The Deuce” knows that New York was a very different place in the 1970s.

Prostitutes roamed Times Square, subway cars were covered in graffiti, President Ford told the city to “drop dead” — and James Morrissey loved it.

“For me, [the ’70s] was an era when parties were real,” he said. “It was a time when Rolls-Royces belonged in swimming pools!”

With such nostalgia for the ’70s, it makes sense that Morrissey looked to the decade for inspiration when opening The VNYL last year. By modeling the East Village bar after the era, he hoped to create a spot where people could simply have fun — just like they did back then.

It’s a concept that’s taken hold in New York, with ’70s-themed bars opening from the Upper East Side to the Lower East Side in just the past year and a half.

At The VNYL...

The Black Rose Room at VNYL, complete with
Photo Credit: Oleg March

...guests enter the three-floor space through a record store, where they can browse vintage vinyl curated by actor Adrian Grenier. From there, a hallway leads to the main bar area, decked out with wood-paneled walls, orange banquettes and frosted globe lights. Upstairs, the Champagne Garden room boasts palm leaf wallpaper, pink couches, disco balls and a macramé swing, while the Black Rose Room hosts live bands amid green velvet sofas and gold damask wallpaper.

100 Third Ave., 917-675-7725,

Uptown, Ethyl’s Alcohol and Food...

Ethyl’s Alcohol and Food is decorated in the
Photo Credit: Noah Fecks

....takes a similar tack. Charlie and Paul Sub, whose parents owned the infamous Queens club Coventry, asked Paul Gerard to help them open a place reminiscent of their glory days.

“What they already did in the ’70s was an inspiration to me, so it was the perfect opportunity to focus on the disco, sex and rock ’n’ roll that made this town,” Gerard said.

Gerard decorated Ethyl’s in the spirit of the ’70s...

Ethyl’s Alcohol and Food is decorated in the
Photo Credit: Noah Fecks

...pairing gold lame and red velvet with swag pendant lights, porn posters and framed photos of icons like Andy Warhol. A disco ball hangs over the dance floor, where, on weekend nights, go-go girls roller skate to funk, soul and disco from a live DJ.

1629 Second Ave., Upper East Side, 212-300-4132,


Blue Light is decked out with curved banquettes,
Photo Credit: Ethan Covey

...two new bars look to the 1970s' house-party style as their reference point.

At Lower East Side's The Flower Shop, the bi-level space has a rec room aesthetic, complete with wood-paneled walls and cork floors; its downstairs lounge conjures house-party vibes with a pool table, pink fireplace and orange carpeting.

Over at Blue Light (pictured), a new bar above Chelsea spot The Lately, "the late ’70s reminded us of that house-party gathering, where cocktails were made from a bar cart and guests might get glammed up,” co-founder Adam Fulton said.

To achieve the look at Blue Light...

At Blue Light, drinks are in vintage glassware
Photo Credit: Ethan Covey

...Fulton filled the space with curved banquettes, mod lighting, gold pottery and framed covers of vintage magazines. Cocktails come in antique glassware, while bottle service includes spirits served in crystal decanters.

“I think people like to look back on a period of time and glamorize the fashions and lifestyles,” Fulton said. “The late ’70s channel some of the beginnings of nightlife the way we see it now — and they’re a great reference point to creating a fun environment today.”

357 W. 16th St., 212-206-1096,

Want to bring the '70s to your pad?

Record player. iStock pic for story on 1970s-themed
Photo Credit: iStock

DJ Ronnie Magri created this playlist for Ethyl's Alcohol and Food to "pay homage to the golden days of '70s disco and New York's Studio 54," he said. Feel free to use it at your next house party.

  • "Deputy of Love," Don Armando's 2nd Ave. Rhumba Band
  • "Daddy Cool," Boney M.
  • "Everybody Dance (12" Mix)," Chic
  • "Don't Let Go," Tony Orlando
  • "Stuff Like That," Quincy Jones (ft. Ashford & Simpson and Chaka Khan)
  • "I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)," Instant Funk
  • "He's the Greatest Dancer," Sister Sledge
  • "Roller Skatin' Mate," Peaches & Herb
  • "Spring Affair," Donna Summer
  • "The Groove Line (Disco Version)," Heatwave


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Eat and Drink photos & videos