On Wednesday, Black Rose Hospitality opens The Woodstock (446 W 14th St.), an innovative 1960s-inspired cocktail and pizza bar in the heart of Meatpacking District that aspires to show guests that an affordable product does not require a sacrifice of quality.
After seeing an obvious gap in the market for high-quality drinks at an accessible price point, James Morrissey, Irish-bred entrepreneur and owner of Black Rose Hospitality (The VNYL and The Late Late), along with partner David Sitt of Thor Equities, envisioned a novel cocktail bar concept, The Woodstock. Inspired by the long-standing European, and more recently American, success of fast-casual models, Morrissey and Sitt saw great opportunity in the bar industry to build a venue where quick service meets superior quality and attractive settings. “The fast-casual concept has garnered so much success for bars in European markets and is long-overdue in New York City. I believe this should and will become a standard model within a matter of years. It just makes sense. We are beyond excited to be the first to venture into this space and turn the market on its head.”
Just steps away from the 14th St. Highline entrance, The Woodstock harkens back to the original Woodstock Festival in 1969, where freedom of expression reigned during the 3 Days of Peace & Music. The Woodstock preserves the groovy nostalgic details of the 1960s and is outfitted with uniquely sourced boho-chic elements. “We see the impact Woodstock had on the world, such positivity was transmitted by giving people a platform to express their feelings…no matter what those feelings were. I see this space in the same light,” says Morrissey. “I truly believe value is not only determined by price. It’s the quality of a cocktail, the location, the creative design of the space and the unrivaled experience we plan on giving the consumer.”
The cheerful lifestyle space evokes the welcoming aesthetic of a convivial living room while boasting a rotating set of 24 authentic Salvador Dali pieces, from David and Joe Sitt’s personal collection, decorating the walls. “I am thrilled to be able to give our guests an opportunity to enjoy the finer things in life – cocktails of a high caliber, fine artwork, a delicious menu, all at an approachable price. That is the constructive contradiction we are trying to showcase here,” says co-owner David Sitt.
Skillfully crafted by Beverage Director D’Arel Miller, formerly of Soho House Group, The Woodstock’s radical beverage program showcases favored classic cocktails with a twist, all at an uber accessible price point of $10 and created using premium liquors and quality ingredients. Those looking for ‘boujie’ or ‘extra’ spirits can choose from a varied selection for $15 and $20 respectively. “Taking inspiration from the tail end of the 60’s, when calls for political change were running rampant in America, I wanted the cocktails to reflect inclusivity and equality, two principal ideas we at The Woodstock take pride in celebrating. We want guests to feel comfortable to ‘come as they are’ in a neighborhood that so regularly boasts the contrary, ” says Miller. “With eye-popping colors, fun ingredients and an unbeatable price point, I really feel that we have something special here and can’t wait to share the good vibes.” Signature cocktails include Yellow Submarine with Tanqueray, Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth, Suze, peach bitters; Electric Lady Land with Ketel One Citroen, Curacao, hibiscus, lime, agave, Angostura Bitters; and Lucy in the Sky with Bacardi Superior, strawberry lime Oleo, agave.
Executive Chef Nino Coniglio, owner of Williamsburg Pizza and World Champion Pizza Maker 2016, brings a menu dedicated to Neapolitan thin-crust pizzas all inspired by influential and culturally impactful women from the Woodstock era. The creative pizza menu consists of twelve signature pies, along with a selection of rotating specialty pies, all set at $15 ($20 for special topping requests). “Coming from an Italian family, I grew up admiring unapologetic Italian women, especially those inspired by the 1960’s movement in America,” says Chef Coniglio. “Not many people outside of Italy know their names, so I decided to pay homage by naming the pizzas after them and other inspirational women from around the world that were a part of this thought-provoking movement.” Signature pies include the Jackie with tomato, mozzarella, sopressa, parmigiano, pecorino, peperoncini peppers, hot honey; the Twiggy with semi dried cherry tomatoes, artichoke, meatless fig salami, oil cured sicilian olives, roasted garlic, fresh parsley; and the Woodstock with mozzarella, pecorino, escarole & cannellini bean puree, guanciale, fennel pollen.
“Mixing nostalgic relics and photographs from one of the most inspiring eras in American history, we wanted to create a warm, rich, enjoyable, and familiar space for all kinds to enjoy,“ says designer Damaris Cozza, who comes from a set design background and helped design previous Black Rose Hospitality venues. “On a street lined with high end boutiques, this is one of the few spots you can come and relax in a playful environment.” Upon entering The Woodstock guests walk by vibrant window displays containing numerous multi-hued bottles before passing through retro wooden blinds. Unveiling a spectacle of 1960s inspiration, The Woodstock is layered with thoughtful and quirky elements such as starburst clocks, colorful bead curtains and funky lighting fixtures. While making your way further into the 4,000 sq. ft. space guests pass the 14-seat bar where cocktails are cleverly advertised through striking back-bar graphics, opposite a faux fireplace lined with tables flaunting uniquely offbeat chair designs. Claim a spot at the hightop bar rail or one of the large communal tables, each fashioned out of old bowling alley lanes, or play a game of pool on the bright fuschia custom-felted pool table. ‘The Lounge’ is fit with distressed leather couches and nostalgic radios, while across the period-style linoleum floors visitors will find the open kitchen holds a state-of-the-art Cuppone pizza oven. Don’t leave without snapping a picture of the eye-catching fuchsia neon sign and likewise declaring you “Never Left Woodstock.”