In a city where competition
for people’s booze budget is fierce, there
are a lot of theme bars, most horribly gimmicky
and Disney-land tacky, usually shutting down
just as quickly as they start up.
The Hanger Bar Boutique
But when you think about it,
the idea of bar/boutique is pretty damn ingenious.
Girls can shop while their boyfriends hang back
and drink. If you’re jonesing for a flirty
new skirt but your friend’s tightening
her belt, she can still have fun with a swanky
libation in hand. And after a few of those well-mixed
cocktails, a flirty skirt can start to seem
like a much more justifiable expense.
The Hanger's Cool Patrons
This brilliant concept is
executed with a whole lot of charm, wit, and
style at The Hanger, a Lower East Side clothing
store and watering hole that’s a helluva
lot of fun. I was lucky enough to sample the
Hanger at its best at its “Couture Launch”
event on July 19.
The brainchild of a bunch
of twenty-something friends, one of whom is
currently pursuing a master’s degree at
Columbia, The Hanger was celebrating the launch
of an entirely new line of vintage clothing,
shoes, purses and jewelry, hand-selected by
newly hired buyers.
Looking at the new stock,
it was clear that the overhaul had more than
paid off. Lined along the left side of the store
was an impressive array of elegant yet funky
finds from older, long-forgotten labels. At
the very front of the store hung a small collection
of men’s shirts – strategically
placed across from the bar to entice the fellas
to take a trip behind the changing curtain.
Beyond these were well-ordered collections of
sexy secretary blouses, funky retro skirts,
and a rack of dresses in enough fun prints to
suit every taste.
Along the shelf on top of
the racks was a collection of vintage shoes
and purses gorgeous and varied enough to make
any fashionista drool. In a glass curio cabinet
near the back of the store an equally fabulous
array of brooches, chunky necklaces and spangly
earrings were on display.
But the greatest surprise
was The Hanger’s very reasonable prices.
Most of the very alluring skirts ranged from
$40 to $60. A sparkly pair of Stuart Weitzman
shoes goes for $80, while some of the treasures
in the jewelry cabinet go for as little as $15.
All items are labeled with blue heart-shaped
price tags, adorned with endearing hand-written
messages – like “Go, speed racer”
on a mod-style skirt and “You’re
a REAL man!” on a yellow button-down with
an abstract heart pattern.
The sartorial treasures were
only the beginning of the diversions The Hanger
offers its patrons. In the middle of the red-walled,
fashionably run-down space was a great old-fashioned
pool table – festooned with flowers and
trays of canapés for this occasion, while
a nearby side table was covered with cake stands
full of delicious cheese scones and chocolate
macaroons. In the very back, in a kind of makeshift
booth, a skilled DJ set the mood with a perfect
mix of old-time jazz, blues, and rockabilly.
|Low Ball Cocktail
||The Karl Lagerfeld
The real action, however,
took place at the bar, where the good-tempered
and industrious servers kept whipping up samples
of Hanger’s fantastic and lethal signature
cocktails, every one named after a fashion icon
and each more delicious than the next. There
was the creamy, lemony “Twiggy”,
garnished with a sunny yellow flower; the “Narciso
Rodriguez” a sophisticated update on the
Cuban mojito, named for the most sophisticated
of Cuban designers; and this writer’s
personal favorite, the Halston, a beautiful
scarlet-hued concoction that tasted like heaven
and went down like the finest silk.
So the next time you’re
downtown and looking for something different
– not to mention some new threads, a great
drink, and a really good time – check
out The Hanger. It’s the new black.
The Hanger Bar & Boutique
is located at 217 E. 3rd St. between Aves. B
For more information, visit their website at