When we visited Johnny Utah’s a few days ago, it was a mere construction site with a $25,000 mechanical bull at the center. Granted, in these first interior shots, we still see nothing but the bull, but that’s just because we’re obsessed. And as obsessives, we were a bit concerned when a source told us that Rob Shamlian of Fat Baby had abandoned his plans to install the city’s second bull at 133 Essex Street, the site of the honky-tonk bar and restaurant, at one point called Evan Ford, that Sam Talbot walked away from along with his other project with Shamlian, Spitzer’s.
According to that source, Shamlian is bowing to the landlord, who has demanded a bull-free space. Shamlian’s rep, Heather Tierney, says the problem doesn’t lie with the landlord but rather with a building resident who has been complaining to the community board because he doesn’t want a bar lowering his property value. Through Tierney, Shamlian assures us, “Despite relentless slander and false accusations by one tenant, we’re still moving forward.” The bucking beast is expected to hit the Lower Eastpacking District in a few months. In the meantime, should hipsters deign to cross 14th Street for an ironic ride, they’ll probably want to isolate themselves in Johnny Utah’s private dining vault, pictured above.