Lace up your golf shoes and step right into the middle of the Hell's Kitchen reptile zoo, where someone is giving booze to these goddamn things right now at Bar Gonzo, the Hunter S. Thompson-inspired bar. Described as a "freewheeling, 70s-inspired restaurant and lounge," the colorful new establishment also tips the bucket hat to Ernest Hemingway, with a smattering of George Plimpton. Here, perhaps, you'll find refuge from the brutish realities of this foul year of our Lord two thousand and seventeen, drinking Singapore Slings with mezcal on the side amidst an array of peacocks and tropical-looking plants, with the added promise of fire breathers to burlesque performers to come.
R.L. King, the owner and chef, opened both Gallow Green and The Heath—at the McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More—which could account for some of the theatrics. The full menu hasn't yet been released (the restaurant opens November 7th), but King cut his teeth cooking fried chicken as a kid and the dishes are "designed for sharing." The only menu item to be released, the Latch Key Kid Pizza, employs a ciabatta-like bread topped with tomato sauce, cured meats and cheeses and is meant to resemble a frozen french bread pizza some kid might toss in the microwave after school.
Cocktails are tiki-adjacent and some are served large format-style. Options include a Jasmine Flower (Ford's Gin, pear puree, lime juice, simple syrup, sparkling wine, edible flower) and a Holiday Sangria (Aylesbury Duck Vodka, dry Lambrusco, Bengali tea syrup, lemon juice, seasonal fruit, mint).
The bi-level space features a "Peacock Bar" on the ground floor and a marble staircase that leads to the "Cabana Veranda," which is rimmed in cabanas with a tiki bar in the center. A ground floor dining area and a second floor charcuterie and raw bar station complete the space. BYO ether.
515 9th Avenue; bargonzonyc.com