Why New York’s Newest Hangout Might Give You Flashbacks to High School

Hint: it was inspired by a grandma’s basement.

By: Fiona Byrne
Photography: Alec Kugler

“We wanted everything to be a little tongue-in-cheek,” says Ronnie Flynn of The Flower Shop, a newly opened restaurant and bar in Chinatown, “and not take anything too seriously.” Actually, “newly opened” is a bit of an exaggeration. Today is their first day in business!

Alongside partners Dylan Hales, William Tisch, and Dave Turner, Flynn went for all-out nostalgia with the decor at the Modern Americana restaurant/bar, achieving a layered, convincingly multi-generational interior that pays homage to all four’s favorite haunts from Montauk to Manly, via New York and Los Angeles.

With its wood-paneled walls, floral banquettes, copious tchotchkes, and everything from so-bad-it’s-good art to Bad-era Michael Jackson adorning the walls, The Flower Shop is a place you want to go right at 5 PM, before everyone else gets there, just to take it all in. Read on as Flynn and Hales talk us through the evolving ideas of the bi-level downtown space.

Flower Shop is located at 107 Eldridge Street, and you can find more information (and make reservations!) here

“It started with one idea and totally evolved. We didn’t stay specific to a certain style and decided to style it as if it had been here through a few generations, as if every generation had left something behind, so it became more organic in the way it felt.” —RF

“We were inspired by everything from The Dock (a no-nonsense fisherman’s haunt) in Montauk, to Grandma’s basement. A lot of it was instinct. It was really follow-your-gut along the way.” —RF

“The wooden-back chairs are from Craigslist. They came from Pennsylvania.” —DH

“The wallpaper we had commissioned by [Australian artist] Anouk Colantoli, who traditionally does individual art works. She knows us and took ideas of who we are, and we had it printed as wallpaper. A lot of it was paying homage to uptown establishments like The Carlyle and JG Melon, we’re doing the downtown version.” —RF

“We sourced stuff from all over the place. We’ve had things given to us, we bought stuff from a giant flea market in Austin, got stuff in New Jersey, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Etsy, eBay, Craigslist…” —RF

“We want people to eat at the bar, so we made the bar stools comfortable.” —DH

“The floral fabric is reproduction vintage sourced through our banquette maker. We had to figure out what companies are still making certain things. Cork floors and wood panel walls aren’t as easy to get as you would think. We had help from designer Jeanette Dalrot, who helped us source things.” —RF

“It’s not a club, no DJs, no door people. There’ll be sports downstairs, but, like, World Surfing League and Wimbledon, not traditional sports. It should feel like someone’s basement.” —DH

“The fireplace idea came from a beautiful ‘70s Mexican villa. We used Bubble Bath pink by Benjamin Moore. We painted it three different pinks over a few months, because it just wasn’t the right pink.” —RF

“When we first went downstairs, we were like, ‘What do we do with this huge space?’ because the ceilings were so high, it felt barren. It’s double height because a floor had been taken out. We talked about a mezzanine, but then a light bulb went off and we decided to bring the whole floor up, then sink it back down as a sunken living room. Then we pitched the ceiling with beams, and it felt a lot more warm and cozied the whole place up.” —RF

“A lot of bowling alleys and garage floors had that old speckled rubber floor, so we were trying to do everything with that in the downstairs bathrooms. Will found some black-light posters, and they’re super cool and finish the bathroom off.”—RF

“Most of the lighting is from Germany. First, we got tons of lamps then realized we have nowhere to put lamps, so we got all this other vintage lighting and then had to rewire everything, but we wanted to stick to nostalgia and not compromise. We only have a couple of new lights in the whole place.” —DH

“This Japanese fretwork was originally going to be a divider, it’s from 1897.” —DH

“This corner is a happy little accident. We wanted to make it feel like you weren’t stuck in some corner, so we made this the ‘couple’s wall.’ We found these pictures at Round Top Antiques Fair in Texas. Dylan’s parents are up there, and all the other parents are going to go up there, too.” —RF

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