Grungy Doyers Street seems like one of Chinatown's unlikeliest nightlife destinations, but that's precisely what appealed to siblings Heather and Christopher Tierney when they opened Apothéke in 2008. Six months ago, they expanded their Doyers Street profile and opened Pulqueria two doors down. "It's cool because during the day it's barber shops and people running around, and then at night, it's serene and kind of eerie, with streetlights and everything closed down except these two spaces," Heather says. Subterranean Pulqueria is an oasis of color on this curving back alley, with a raw feel from exposed brick and abundant cinder blocks, tempered by feathers bursting from Deco-style sconces. Staff are encouraged to wear turquoise, gold, geometric pieces, and color in general, but beyond that they're given free fashion rein and it shows. See what we mean straight ahead in the latest edition of House Style.
Andrea Diaz hostess, and Jennifer Fontao, Maitre d'
What do you think about when you're dressing for work? Jennifer: It's really your own personal expression. We like to try to keep with the colors of the restaurant and some of the motifs — Aztec shapes, and gold and turquoise and vibrant colors. Andrea: Usually I try to style myself as a Mexican fortune teller. I have a lot necklaces, I have saints, crystals; I do a lot of red and black and silver. I think the what we wear enables us to transport ourselves into the space. Does the clientele have a particular style? Jennifer: Well, every night is different. On Wednesday we have an Afro-Cuban band. And Monday we have the Pollo party, which is more like a club-kid thing. We have some celebrities, like Calvin Klein, and Jude Law was here the other night. And it's all ages, and all different types of people. Do you have a day job? Andrea: I'm a singer in City on Fire. I'd call it rock noir.
Pulqueria's servers and backwaiter
What do you notice about the people who come in? Muonja Simba, left: It's a pretty stylish crowd. We had a Vogue party here and I noticed a lot of people were wearing bright colors. Is it fun getting dressed for work? Muonja: Yeah, the place encourages us to be flamboyant with our style. Malia Scharf, right: I like to throw on fun pieces. This is a vintage dress I found. Natalia Carrasco, center: Outside of the restaurant I'm a makeup artist, so I'm always trying to bring some of the cool fashion in. I do some color sometimes, I usually do bright pink or orange lips — it matches the style of the place. Are you looking at the customers like a canvas? Natalia: All the time. And I get inspired a lot by seeing people's looks. People are so beautiful and then they have a hipster-ish style. It's good inspiration for my work.
General manager Zee Smith
I love your bright dress. Do you usually wear a lot of color here? Yes, I do. It's such a cavernous space, it's a burst of sunshine down here. Did you have to buy new clothes when you started? No, I did a stint at Miss Lily's [Ed note: see our House Style there], so that pulled the color out. Most New Yorkers wear black all the time. You walk into most restaurants and it's a black uniform. But I think we're a great depiction of New York City overall. Everyone looks different but they still incorporate the Pulqueria theme. How does this fit in with Chinatown? I think we're the Rainbow Brites of Chinatown. It's like Starbursts; you see so many different colors. I always say to the staff, 'A lot of people are waiting on us to brighten their lives,' whether it be by food, libation, or just with our energy.
Pulqueria's bar staff
Is this a typical ensemble? Khay Muhammad, second from left: Here we have to wear all black. I try to mix it up: I do black suspenders a lot and a little touch of flair, like an African medallion. But I'm one of the only girl bartenders, so being a girl is already distinct; I can tone down the style. I see you have a feather earring. I'm part native American, so I collect feathers. Here it's just a total coincidence. Does the clientele have a particular style? At the bar, it's a pretty international crowd. Yesterday there were about fifteen people from Sydney. You get a cool European crowd. And then you get smaller cliques of people that love tequila or have Latin blood. And then the newbies, who go to cool downtown New York spots. How does the restaurant fit in on this gritty Chinatown block? Mexican and Chinese is an interesting marriage, but you have two of the largest groups, Latinos and Asians, living in close proximity. People always look at me because I'm not either, so when I come down the block it's like Where is she going?
Bartender Darren Lampione
What do you wear behind the bar? Not this. I wear a black collared shirt, black pants, and usually some sneakers that have some kind of turquoise in them. We also have turquoise ties that we wear. Where do you find those shoes? I'm a sneaker collector. How many pairs to do you have with turquoise? Probably like six, by chance. I already happened to have sneakers with that color.
Owners Christopher and Heather Tierney
Do people go back and forth between here and Apotheke? Heather: The whole reason we chose Mexican is because Apotheke — after you have a couple cocktails, I think Mexican food sounds really good. It seems like you've created a mini nightlife district here. Heather: It's cool because Le Baron is now here. And the Nom Wah dumpling parlor is another new spot on the street. What's the vibe at Pulqueria? Chris: The inspiration was drawn from parts of ancient Mexico, Aztec culture. The gold, the deco geometry from Aztec jewelry. And the cinder block. So it mimics that shape? Chris: Yeah. If you go to Mexico City they've kind of rebuilt a lot of their structures with Aztec temple stone. I couldn't find real Aztec temple stone, but this kind of goes along with the lines and the geometry.
Most Viewed Stories
Ben Lyons Tries to Eat Chinese Food Every Sunday Night
Horrific Animal Cruelty Exposed at Farm for Domino’s and Pizza Hut Cheese Provider
I Pumpkin Spiced My Life With Black-Market Starbucks Syrup
Inside the World’s Most Mysterious Nutella Emporium
Neil Patrick Harris Lunches at Landmarc; SJP Dines at Acme
Inside the World’s Most Mysterious Nutella EmporiumAll openings »
Looks Like Krescendo Has Served Its Last PizzaAll closings »
Search by name
Or, search by
Latest News on Grub Street8 Great New Versions of Okonomiyaki
The savory Japanese cabbage pancake has been compared to pizza, latkes, and omelettes.Burger King Japan’s Black Burgers Are Even Worse in Real Life
Some people say it has a mysterious "peppery" taste, too.How to Get Ample Hills Ice Cream Delivered Right to Your Home
"Classics" include Peppermint Pattie and the shop's famed Salted Crack Caramel flavor.Just What You Never Wanted: Airline Food Delivered Directly to Your House
Make sure your seatbacks and tray tables are in their fully upright and locked positions, and you have plenty of sriracha sauce.The Grub Street Food Festival Is Back on October 5
Roberta's and Doughnut Plant lead the pack of vendors this year out.Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: GG’s Opens, the Modern Returns, and More
Find out where to eat in Grub Street's weekly ranking of the city's most-buzzed-about restaurants.America’s Beloved PBR Will Be Sold to Russian Brewers
"America's Best in 1893" gets foreign owners in 2014.Now Olive Garden’s Employees Are Threatening to Strike
They want executives and shareholders to know they have issues, too.Neil Patrick Harris Lunches at Landmarc; SJP Dines at Acme
This week's Celebrity Settings.2014 Is on Track to Be the Best Year Yet for White Truffles
A lot rain and a lot of warmth make for a bumper are good for the fungus.
"I had a glass of wine at lunch because it made me feel European."Taco Bell’s Bánh Mì Offshoot Will Replace Its ‘Communist’ Logo
The restaurant corporation apologized to Vietnamese Americans who were "hurt and offended."Scottish Bars Where You Can Watch Tonight’s Referendum Voting Results
Including Highlands and St. Andrews.Blue Bottle Has Launched Its New Coffee-Delivery Service
They're completing their acquisition of Tonx.Why It’s Time to Start Eating Tibetan Yak Cheese
"We call every day," Ripert says. "They say, 'maybe tomorrow.'"Here’s a Restaurant That Rewards Customers Who Give It Bad Yelp Reviews
Haters get 25 percent off and free cooking classes.The Cotton-Candy Ice-Cream Cone Is Now a Reality
S'mores ice cream plus sugar cone plus smoked cotton-candy.Horrific Animal Cruelty Exposed at Farm for Domino’s and Pizza Hut Cheese Provider
Video shows workers punching and shocking cows.Check Out This Marvelous S’mores Espresso Drink
It required a month of testing to perfect.Why Tartine Breadmaster Chad Robertson Is Going Global
"We'll keep to first names for now."A Bold Facebook Post Reminds Everyone How Horribly Female Bartenders Get Treated
Yes, "misogyny is alive and well" in the service industry.It Only Took America 80 Years to Turn Bloody Marys Into a Complete Joke
Congratulations, everyone.Tom Colicchio’s Next TV Show Will Be ‘Completely Different’ From Top Chef
"I’m laboring over this, because I want to get it right."People Are Not Happy With the ‘Communist’ Logo at Taco Bell’s Bánh Mì Offshoot
"You're just insulting Vietnamese Americans by associating Saigon with the communist symbol."Dominique Ansel Will Open in Tokyo in 2015
"There will be something created just for Tokyo, and I will personally see every aspect of development," the chef says.Krispy Kreme Has Limited-Edition Ghostbusters-Themed Doughnuts
With Slimer and Stay-Puft, of course.A Restaurant Somehow Thought an Adrian Peterson ‘Spank Your Server’ Promo Was a Good Idea
The owner calls it "a bad joke gone awry."Manhattan Takes Its Next Step Toward Becoming One Enormous Shake Shack Line
Hope you like crinkle-cut French fries.Here’s the Scene at Today’s Opening of a Real-Life Friends Central Perk
Free coffee, and one special orange couch.
It's the Goat Town reboot.How a Beloved Restaurant Moves Forward With a New Chef
Il Buco Alimentari's new executive chef Roger Martinez on the changes he has planned. (Don't worry: The short ribs are staying put.)Walmart Told Customers a Fake ‘Sugar Tax’ Was Making Their Coke Cost More
The "tax" equaled the amount discounted by an ad.This Coffee Start-up Uses Whiskey Instead of Water in Its Cold Brew
It's clearly an idea whose time has come.Kobayashi Battles the Tiny Hamster in the Eating Contest You’ve Eagerly Awaited
It's like Ali versus Frazier, but with hot dogs.Group Reconsiders Plans for a Pop-up That Only Serves Death Row Last Meals
It offered all of the culinary perks "without the nasty execution bit."I Pumpkin Spiced My Life With Black-Market Starbucks Syrup
One man's quest to make everything taste like a latte.The Rainbow Room Finally Reopens October 6
The Art Deco landmark is back.Bidding Is Up to $100K on eBay for NFL Player’s 20-Cent Tip Receipt
Six figures for a glorified autograph.OddFellows Launches Delivery in Manhattan
Right in time for the cold weather.
According to a new study, they might!Starbucks Is Testing a Dainty ‘Mini’ Frappuccino
A ten-ouncer you can hold in the palm of your hand.Corporate Executives Defend Olive Garden’s Unlimited Breadsticks
"The Outlook for the Future Is Bright."6 Dishes From a ‘Weird Chinese Food’ Dinner That Mostly Just Sound Delicious
Duck gizzards, pig ears, and thousand-year eggs.Surge — the World’s Most Nineties Soda — Is Coming Back
The revived brand will be sold in 12-packs available only on Amazon.What to Eat at Marta, Danny Meyer’s Brand-New Pizzeria
Pizza, beer-brined chicken, and more pizza.Fall Fruit: 16 Spots to Hit If You’re Looking for Fresh Figs
With foie gras, quail, ricotta, and, of course, honey.A Pizza Hut Horrified Animal Lovers With Free Pets for People Who Bought Pizzas
The offending store concedes it was probably a "bad idea."An Ice Cream Shop Rolled Out ‘Big Straight Ice Cream’ This Weekend
"What's the issue? We can call our ice cream whatever we want," the wine bar's manager says.Restaurant Review: At Wilma Jean, the Southern Chef Surrenders to New York's Fried-Chicken Fixation
Plus: Hanamizuki serves up fusion omusubi in a serene setting.