Art Collecting

The Vinyl Steakhouse combines exquisite dishes with an excellent soundtrack | Pro Club Bd

The other night, in one of the newest restaurants in town, a guest asked his waiter for some cream.

Not a notable request to overhear in a restaurant, aside from what happened next. Within minutes, the entire dining room was treated to a generous portion creamwith a capital C – specifically this group’s “White Room” from their 1968 double album Wheels of Fire.

The Vinyl Steakhouse in the Flatiron neighborhood is dedicated to combining exquisite food and excellent music. When you come off 19th Street, the first thing that strikes you is the music. Not only the sound coming out of the Totem speakers – in this case side B of the Rolling Stones’ LP “Some Girls” – but also wooden shelves lined with old vinyl records. Further inside, closer to the kitchen, diners sit under black-and-white photos of Debbie Harry and the Beastie Boys.

“The concept grew out of the idea of ​​enjoying a prime steak with a bottle of Napa Cab while the Stones played ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,'” said Kevin Flannery, who runs the restaurant with his wife and Vinyl Steakhouse- Sommelier Sofia.

Flannery’s record collection, which is on display throughout the Vinyl Steakhouse and provides his soundtrack, began 20 years ago in Columbus, Ohio, where he bought his first record – Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming – at Johnny O’s House of Music.

The eclectic collection focuses on the suitably tasteful music of the ’60s and ’70s. Your creamy spinach carbonara topped with egg yolk might be complemented by Creedence Clearwater Revival, while your hearty ribeye may find its match in the hearty snarl of Joe Cocker or the guitar theatrics of Jimmy Page.

As for the musical accompaniment to this delicious melted chocolate cake, the delicious sounds of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” of course.

This is all in stark contrast to some of New York’s storied steakhouses, which Flannery points out often have guests dining at eat in silence.

“People are so tired of going to a steakhouse and getting the same old routines and recipes,” he said. “At Vinyl Steakhouse, we simply wash away those assumptions and make the steakhouse dining experience fun, exciting, inviting and rewarding.”

The Vinyl Steakhouse has another connection to, say, certain ’70s rock traditions: it happens to be on the premises of Magickal Childe, an occult bookstore run by recalcitrant New York warlock Herman Slater.

Rest assured, though: the juju, says Flannery, is certainly great.

Kevin, who does the music selection from night to night? What inspires the choice of record?

Sofia and I, the owners, usually put together the setlist each night to ensure it’s anchored in 1960’s and 70’s rock, but also plenty of playful high-energy funk, disco, hip-hop, jazz , 80’s and 90’s. We read the room by the energy level of the night, whether the guests are partying or doing business, older or younger etc. then we adjust the mood to try to best fit the current environment.

The concept was born out of the idea of ​​eating a prime steak with a bottle of Napa Cab while the Stones played “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” and all the while getting stunning backdrops, five-star service and all the wonders of fine dining. We play the full A-side or B-side of the album we choose, so we pay a lot of attention to how the side plays as a whole. We always try to stay in the wheelhouse of 60’s-70’s rock as our ‘home base’ that we keep coming back to – but we love to mess around and play all genres. It keeps guests guessing what the next big hit will be as an A-side or B-side next, while knowing for sure that rock ‘n’ roll will be back before long, even if we turn left for a page or two !

What was the vision behind the design and furnishing of the Vinyl Steakhouse?

The design should focus on the magic and allure of vinyl records, with the vinyl library taking center stage, letting you know straight away that music will be the focus of the evening. The front vinyl library room is warm and inviting and one of our favorite areas. Sofia and I designed the collage wall ourselves and added eclectic band, film and music posters that showcase the laid back aspect of vinyl steakhouse while contrasting with stunning marble table tops and our copper clad wine and cocktail bars.

There is a huge abstract artwork by Brian Higgins adorning the wall we commissioned and several vintage pieces dotted around the shelves to make the area as thought provoking as vinyl sleeves can get.

Moving further into the dining room, we wanted to relax the record-breaking vibes and transition into an Art Deco-era vibe at the bar with amber lights, lots of glass mirror elements, and round ball lights—essentially taking you back in time when vinyl was all that could be heard, right down to the vintage bartender uniforms of the arm-garter era.

The third and final segment of the design is an extension of the bar’s amber lighting into the dining room, but a bit to the left into the modern world with state-of-the-art, dangling pendant lights above the dining tables.

Two original prints by rock ‘n’ roll photographer Ebet Roberts hang on the walls of the dining room, one of the Beastie Boys with Run DMC and the other of Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie in New York in the 80’s. These prints convey the culture of vinyl to our guests: come as you are, be as you are, while enjoying the best of a fine steakhouse. The custom-designed, contemporary gray banquettes contrast with the classic red so typical of NYC’s grand steakhouses, and the linen-less wood tables again represent a modern yet classic dining room not to be confused with a stuffy steakhouse. Tables are set with modern wine glasses and top quality cutlery, which are in a class of their own with our Year & Day stainless steel steak knives.

What would you say about the state of steaks – and steakhouses – in New York City? How does Vinyl Steakhouse react to this?

Steak is still the most iconic and classic dish in NYC. You can’t beat the experience of eating out for a great steak in this city. I am a firm believer in the steakhouse model and think it is the best dining experience you can find of any cuisine and concept.

My take on the state of steakhouses is that we are the future of steakhouses in New York City and maybe the whole country. People are so tired of going to a steakhouse and getting the same old routines and recipes. They mostly offer menus that have been unchallenged by great chefs, ordinary music played at ambient levels or no music at all – yes, many don’t even play music! – a stuffy maitre d’ or waiter who wears a bow tie to impress you and a dress code harked back to a bygone era.

At Vinyl Steakhouse, we simply wash away those assumptions and make the steakhouse dining experience fun, exciting, inviting and rewarding. Put simply, we’ve taken the best aspects of worthy competitors such as Keens, Wolfgangs, Peter Luger, Gallaghers and more and combined the best bits of those aspects with the finest pubs this city has to offer. The jukebox hits, the camaraderie, the warm and welcoming staff meets the best prime beef in Manhattan and some of the best cocktails and wine you’ll find at any steakhouse in town. As for the namesake – steak – you’ll have to buy the best of the best to compete here.

Vinyl Steakhouse spares no expense and we use a 4th generation meat cutter that has been in business since the late 1700’s to deliver our beef and we dare say it is arguably the best beef in all of New York City is.

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