“It was my dream to have a bar in the East Village,” says Joseph Daniele, who opened the Black Rose (117 Avenue A), a new rock bar in the old Odessa Cafe space, with his brother Robert Payne last weekend.
“I grew up in the Bronx and I remember my two older brothers — I’m the youngest of seven — going out in St. Marks and telling me about it. How wild it was. How crazy. When I was eighteen, I moved to the East Village. I had to be here. I could feel the history. It was all about energy and possibility. So opening a bar here, well, that’s everything.”
The Black Rose is spacious and pared back; quite a change from the Formica that was Odessa’s primary m.o., though even that layer of history was carefully considered in the refurbishment.
“We stripped the place down. Gave it some TLC,” says Daniele. “We kept the tin ceiling, stripped away plasterboard back to the bricks. We used some Odessa touches — the old kitchen counter now serves as tabletops — but the history of this building is way older than just Odessa. We found an old door with pricing on it from when this was a store, and we’ve preserved that. I tried to use found objects, give things a second life. I have friends who work at Silvercup Studios, so I’d go out there when they broke up a set and load up my truck; we extended the bar with wood from a movie set.”
The bar, broad and sweeping, dominates the front room. There’s a patio out back that’s sure to be a hit if the BBQ plans are able to advance. “We hope so, but we don’t know and we’ll have to see,” says Daniele. The back room is seemingly designed for open mic nights.
“I grew up around music,” says Daniele. “Music gives a place its spirit. We’re planning on having events — jam sessions, DJs, and lots of rock ‘n’ roll — I love Buddy Holly — to straight-up rock. It’s going to be a good time.”
A cocktail collaboration by Ivo Diaz (ex-NoMad and –Eleven Madison), Jessy Peters (Bodega Negra), and the Black Rose’s GM, Ashley Poe, spices up the bar list. Check out the Personal Jesus (Death’s Door gin, lavender syrup, lime, lavender bitters), then kick back and see what the night has to offer.