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Von

3 Bleecker Street New York, NY 10012

We started as an antique shop but that didn’t go over so well since the Bowery in ‘95 didn’t really have a need for Victorian day beds and crumpets. So we got our beer & wine license, asked some friends to DJ and then all of a sudden we had a bar. A real bar. Then we got our liquor license and it was a BAR bar.

Why did you select this location?
I used to spend a great deal of time walking around the city. My great uncle, a life-long New Yorker, and I would stroll through the city from his home on 46th Street and cross intersections in whichever direction the sign said “walk.” We’d get lost, find new neighborhoods, new stores, people. Playing this game on my own when I moved to the city after college, I came across this block. Something struck me about the location, about the feeling of clashing old and new things: 19th century tenement buildings, SRO occupancy shelters, Bowery Bar (it was the ‘90s). It felt genuine, and both exciting and comforting at the same time.

What do you love about your neighborhood?
I love that my neighborhood still has that new/old mix. That feeling of excitement that comes with new businesses, new restaurants, moving traffic, walking people, but that all of it somehow sits on top of the history of the neighborhood, on top of a feeling of community and caring. I love that there is a real commitment to the historical elements of the area (that CBGB was a stone’s throw away, that the Merchant’s House Museum is close by, as is the site where McGurk’s Suicide Hall once stood, and that other remnants of the Bowery’s fascinating history can be seen). At the same time, there’s always something new to behold, something fun to do.

What project do you plan to use the Love Your Local grant funding to implement?
We plan to rework our online presence, and to renovate our front seating area. These two things are our face to the world: the digital world (our website), and the physical realm we inhabit (our store front). I want people to feel that same feeling I do when I walk through my neighborhood, to feel struck by the clashing elements of new and old: of historical sites and exciting new ideas. I want people to feel that impression of history, of old New York living again, but I also want to give the impression that something exciting is happening inside our space. And it is! Old friends. New conversations. Old couch. New cushions. I want Von to be a comfort and an inspiration at the same time.

www.vonbar.com

Phone: 212-473-3039