I popped into the day-before-opening-prep (i.e. pre opening party) at The Ritz. New gay bars happen in Hells Kitchen. More often now then ever before. It's interesting, seeing the change in the hood. I feel good that this bar has opened away from the "Triangle of Three" at the 51st Street intersection, recently, the gayest corner in all of New York.
I was initially apprehensious about the address, then realized I welcomed the change. Tommy’s just taking the - I’m here, come and drink approach to launching his new place.
I promised pictures and my camera decided not to give them to you. Mostly because it was lounging on my desk and afraid to snap without my direction. Also this bar is getting a very low key opening. Last week, I walked by and they were still polishing the floor. It's gorgeously done by the way. The bar itself is well put together and looks much better on it's opening then Vlada did on it's first day. Some of the bartenders are from XL and other once gay hot spots. I'm trying to place the faces of some of the staff but I've seen them all before.
The Ritz, is plush and comfortable. The down stairs has an inviting bar with woven chairs and the intimate lounge has plush canvas chases, a couple was kissing fondly on the king size bed in the back. It's very Hampton chic. Upstairs, there are big plush chairs you can sink into. Pottery Barn accents dot the place. My only worry is that it must move beyond a townhouse feel, into something fresh and new.
Tommy succeeded in making his last bar, a comfortable place were many types of men felt good hanging out and meeting each other. I see The Ritz being no different. For the after work crowd and the subsequent shifts after that. Turning into a bouncing club way into the night.
In any case, I'm looking forward to many cocktails, sitting at the bar, maybe even writing, it’s a place I want to take my laptop to and write. There's also an outdoor patio in back and the place flows nicely from one room to the next.
Once again a place opens and the gayboorhood changes. I just sit and wonder, if the bars feel is the outcome of an owner’s determination to open or the changing and unifying taste of his patrons? That question, I won’t be able to answer for a very long time.