Fresh Delivery: The Flower Shop NYC

It’s your cool uncle’s basement, it’s an RV trip with friends, it’s the elevated sports bar you’ve always wanted.  It’s The Flower Shop, the new LES gastropub that’s reinventing downtown bar food.

“There is a lack of spots in New York that offer great food in a casual environment. That was one of the main goals,” says Dylan Hales, partner at The Flower Shop. Upon stopping by on the earlier end of a weekday evening, I’d been given a full tour by their GM, and introduced to the elevated everyman cuisine that partners Hales, Ronnie Flynn, and Will Tisch are hoping will push their new venture over the top. As Flynn quipped “New York already has a lot of ‘New York’ bars.”

So toss out what you know about a claustrophobic club interior – The Flower Shop, from entry, is open and inviting. The upstairs’ intimate tables and booths, with windows overlooking Eldridge is a perfect place for a dinner, especially in the summer while the street’s still lit. There, you’ll have access to the full menu with lighter fare – asparagus toast and fennel salad — or such heavy hitters as a 12 oz rib eye.

All veterans of NYC nightlife, the partners began the Flower Shop project in 2015, inspired by Midwestern taverns and ‘Aussie pubs.’ It’s still got a New York flavor but it’s combined with a melting pot of all the founders’ design influences. While Flynn’s background in the Butter Group (1OAK, Up&Down) certainly helps bring in high-profile guests, The Flower Shop is an intimate house party rather than a flat out club. “Like Cheers,” Flynn describes it. “It’s like a band, we all play different instruments but put on the same show every night.”

The upstairs is your destination for a more laid-back dining experience, but the downstairs is where the The Flower Shop shows its real character and charm. Styled in mucho wood paneling and soft beige-pink rugs, it’s got a den vibe that Hales likens to “Elvis’s basement.” Outfitted with Marlboro posters and a slick pool table, it inverts the man cave aesthetic into distilled nostalgia. A curated jukebox blares, fittingly, classic rock. The design was a group effort among partners, says Hales, and Flynn describes the process; “We wanted people to feel at home and nostalgic in a sense, so we designed it as if we were building an entertainment space in our own house.”

The downstairs menu is a downsized version upstairs however it’s still elevated (when’s the last time you sidled up and ordered a citrus and arugula salad?) with the more traditional fried chicken, burger, and fries. Of course, the chicken’s got a tangy curry sauce, and the burger’s dressed with black garlic mayo – just in case you thought things were going to be typical.

As the dinner rush finishes, I get deeper into a rose-petal infused cocktails, and the place starts to fill out. That’s when I begin to see The Flower Shop for what it is, or what it could be: the unified project of some near-centuries of combined nightlife experience, channeled into a place that seeks not to impress with glitz and lighting systems, but with its ability to mimic home and community. The food, obviously, being a spectacular and integral part of that.

On this little LES/Chinatown block, The Flower Shop does stand as a marker of change – at the end of the day, we’re still dealing with a self-described elevated gastropub, not a gritty New York bar. Flynn and Hales both echo the sentiment however that they feel they’re contributing to the community on the block, not changing it for the worse.

What better way to build such a community than by some great food and drinks? As Hales says, “Whether it’s now or in 5 years, I’d like it to be a place where anyone can come because they feel at home.”

You can find more information and book reservations at theflowershopnyc.com, or stop in at 107 Eldridge St.

Words by James Jonhson