Divide and Conquer: Multi-Room Bar Works on Many Levels


Around this time every year, the walls of your cramped tenement digs start to close in on you. Shake off the claustrophobia and hoist a few drinks ($6 for well and $5 for beers) at Fontana’s, which is so big, it could comfortably fit your East Village apartment seven times over. Situated in the downtown scene’s most recent playground—the blocks just north of Canal where Chinatown converges on the Lower East Side—the venue was completely gutted before being rebuilt as a multi-room establishment. The first room is teal blue with rockabilly-inspired paintings and red banquettes sharing the space with a generous-sized bar. The next room provides activities and diversions with a pool table, vintage movies projected on the wall, and a DJ booth on the cozy mezzanine level. Feel free to move to any grooves you might hear; they obtained an ever elusive cabaret license thanks to one of the site’s past incarnations as a dance hall. In the basement sits a band-ready stage; lineups are already being booked with up-and-coming local bands. Stop climbing the walls in your rent-stabilized little cave and scoot over to Fontana’s, where you’ll find plenty of room to breathe.