GoldBar Finally Emerges from the Vault

Don’t piss off the bartender, or else …
You might have heard a little bit about GoldBar lately. It’s the hottest thing since Death & Co. two weeks ago and until Star Lounge goes into soft launch … this weekend. We were pretty confident the décor of this Cain offshoot would be gold, and the involvement of skulls seemed likely. But until last night’s opening to “friends and family,” all details were little more than informed speculation. Now, finally, the truth can be told.

Oil paintings depict a “defunct Italian count who lives like a James Bond villain; he’s obsessed with gold.” Look, over on the left — that’s GoldBar partner David Tetens.
Yes, GoldBar is indeed forged from purest gold: gold skulls embedded in the walls, gold chains separating the rooms (bar with captain’s chairs up front, banquettes in back, capacity around 150), gold ceilings, and golden “love bracelets” for drinks tables, engraved with Latin sayings such as “When I think of gold, I feel three things — love, love, and love.” Or, gold, gold, and gold.

In other words, it’s incredibly tacky in a way that can plausibly be embraced by both investment bankers and hipsters with a sense of humor. The one major design detail that has so far gone unreported are the series of mock oil paintings on the walls, which, designer Robert McKinley explained to us, depict a “defunct Italian count who lives like a James Bond villain; he’s obsessed with gold.” Like, maybe, Goldmember?

In a cute touch, the models for these portraits included GoldBar investors, contractors, and the photographer’s accountant. Other inspirations include Baz Luhrmann, Run DMC, and the catacombs of Paris. Also: The bathroom areas and the D.J. booth (which was pumping out a very weak soundtrack last night) are decorated with murals by “New York’s leading graffiti artist” — whose name, apparently, is Vinnie.

That brings us to the $18 cocktails — no bottle service required for lounging. As crack nightlife correspondent and Friend of Grub Street Brian Niemitz pointed out to us, GoldBar fuses the retro cocktail and luxury lounge trends, á la the Double Seven. The running theme of the cocktails is honey — it’s gold — and it works remarkably well. For gents, we recommend the muscular yet eminently quaffable Gold Rush (tequila, honey, and, if memory serves, lime); for ladies, the smooth and sweet Bee’s Kiss (aged rum, honey, and cream). Also, care to see the menu?

If we had to guess at the shelf life of this one, we’d err on the short side: GoldBar’s undoubtedly set for a run in the tabloids, but partying down inside a melted Krugerrand on a regular basis might be a bit much for anyone other than Donatella Versace. —Ben Williams

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GoldBar Finally Emerges from the Vault