Pomona’s Savage Lounge creates its own version of ‘Goodfellas’ scene

A new midtown restaurant and speakeasy is making a nod to one of the most famous scenes in movie history. Guests who arrive at the Savage Lounge at 8 W. 58th St. are ushered down a staircase and snaked through Pomona restaurant's kitchen, where cooks wave "hello" between chops, and into the moody cocktail lounge without having set foot in the dining room. Photo Credit: Pomona

Cooks wave “hello” between chops as you make your way to the lounge.

A new midtown restaurant and speakeasy is making a nod to one of the most famous scenes in movie history. Guests who arrive at the Savage Lounge at 8 W. 58th St. are ushered down a staircase and snaked through Pomona restaurant's kitchen, where cooks wave
A new midtown restaurant and speakeasy is making a nod to one of the most famous scenes in movie history. Guests who arrive at the Savage Lounge at 8 W. 58th St. are ushered down a staircase and snaked through Pomona restaurant’s kitchen, where cooks wave “hello” between chops, and into the moody cocktail lounge without having set foot in the dining room. Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

A new midtown restaurant and speakeasy is making a nod to one of the most famous scenes in movie history.

Guests who arrive at the Savage Lounge at 8 W. 58th St. are ushered down a staircase and snaked through Pomona restaurant’s kitchen, where cooks wave "hello" between chops, and into the moody cocktail lounge without having set foot in the dining room.

The experience mirrors the restaurant tracking shot in Martin Scorsese’s "Goodfellas," where the camera follows Henry and Karen for three minutes as they make their way through the Copacabana. They pass cooking staff in the kitchen, wind their way down shadowy hallways and finally arrive in the nightclub — all in one take.

Pomona, which opened in late November about two blocks from the Copacabana, is using the feeling of exclusivity as its concept.

The lounge's cocktails are created with homemade bitters and shrub.
The lounge’s cocktails are created with homemade bitters and shrub. Photo Credit: Pomona

"It’s an homage to the classic New York joint, where you feel like you’re somebody — you’re invited in," Chef Michael Vignola told amNewYork on Tuesday.

His staff is enthusiastic about having guests see them in their element. Some cooks pose, some "behave" and some don’t, he said.

"They’re roasting steaks, plating … it’s like being in the movie ‘Burnt,’" he said. "It’s dinner and a show."

Adding to the Prohibition-era feel, those who book Pomona’s private dining room can access the lounge through a hidden bookcase door, and its cocktails focus on the classics, created with house-made bitters and shrubs.

Pomona’s street-facing lobby will also become a coffee shop to further create an illusion, according to the restaurant and lounge’s curator, Barry Mullineaux.

"To add to the speakeasy effect, we’re adding a little coffee shop upstairs so it’s like a double speakeasy," he said. "You walk into the coffee shop but you’re actually going into a restaurant but you’re actually going into a lounge."

The space has already attracted "Real Housewives" Ramona Singer, Dorinda Medley, Sonja Morgan and Tinsley Mortimer, Magic Johnson, Bryan Cranston and others, according to Vignola and Mullineaux.

Bites are available inside the lounge.
Bites are available inside the lounge. Photo Credit: Pomona

Near-nightly DJ performances, including one by Snoop Dogg on Wednesday, a rotating collection of art for sale and art events and a fancy but comfortable atmosphere is all done in an effort to bring people together from all sections of the city, owner Michael Savage said.

And while Savage isn’t planning on entertaining gangsters like the Copacabana in "Goodfellas," he hopes the venue is a place where "expensive suits and expensive sneakers" can mix.

Shaye Weaver