A Look Around Bonnie Vee, A New LES Neighborhood Bar


We felt a small twinge of sadness when Stanton Public closed its doors, if only because we were momentarily nostalgic for the evenings we’d spent on the back patio, whiling away an evening with a beer in hand before craft beer bars were, you know, like, a thing here in New York City. It didn’t help that the next tenant was a gag-inducing bottle service club, though there was some consolation when that place went out quickly in a vodka-fueled blaze.

The address sat empty for a few months, but it’s now home to Bonnie Vee (17 Stanton Street, 917-639-3352), a neighborhood cocktail bar that opened just before Thanksgiving.

The address’s new incarnation comes by way of Counting Room owner Doria Paci and military vet Jason Baron, who channeled his personal history to name the place and fill out the concept. “Bonnie Vee was the name of my great uncle’s bomber plane in World War II,” he explains. The plane was shot down over Germany, he continues, and part of its crew were sent to Stalag Luft III, a prisoner-of-war camp, where, Baron thinks, they were part of the Great Escape.

Bonnie Vee’s decor channels the era: “We kept that style; the 1930s and 1940s style,” Baron says. “It’s not a speakeasy, but it has that comfortable feel.” The place is filled out by textured wallpaper, dark woods, and softly glowing orb-shaped sconces. Come spring, says Baron, look for the garden to open.

Despite the decor — which is similar to many of the illustrious cocktail bars that populate this city — the owner is clear that this is not supposed to be a mixology mecca. “A lot of bars in New York have a ‘thing’ — our thing is that we’re a neighborhood bar,” he explains. “We didn’t want to do mixology like at PDT or Death and Co. — we wanted more of a mix. We wanted to open a place to get a great cocktail or a Miller High Life.”

And this neighborhood, he says, was craving that. “I think people are looking for a neighborhood bar — a spot that’s not a destination and doesn’t have a line,” he explains. “People want a place to go in after work.”

The list at Bonnie Vee covers twists on classic cocktails like the white negroni, a rye-vermouth-scotch concoction called 1625, and the salt and ash, a tequila and mezcal cocktail that comes from the Counting Room; an old world-centric wine list; and craft beer on draft and in bottle. out door garden starting in the spring. We felt the neighborhood was missing that neighborhood spot.

You’ll also find a limited bar snack menu, which deals in drinking treats like meat and cheese boards, mac and cheese, deviled eggs, and tater tots.

Bonnie Vee is open Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., Saturday from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m., and Sunday from 2 p.m. until Midnight. Happy hour runs on weekdays from 5 until 8 p.m.