What do Marie Antoinette and a lightweight boxing division have in common?
They are currently both being immortalized on the Lower East Side thanks to Bantam, a new lounge which quietly opened on the Bowery in the beginning of April.
The Steve Lewis-designed space pays homage to the other meaning of its name in size—bantam also means a small fowl— due the venue that once was Stanton Public’s small size.
Its less-than-hefty floor area helps dictate the door policy, according to Seamus Regan, who owns the club with Scott Hockens, Amit Zaman and Norman Reedus, an actor who is best known for his work in AMC’s The Walking Dead and cult-flick Boondock Saints, not to mention being the ex-husband of super-model Helena Christensen. “We just don’t want pretention,” Regan specifies.
“With a space that is small like this, you want a hot crowd, and with all these owners, they know most of the people,” chimes in Lewis, who has designed a plethora of popular club and lounge spaces.
With Bantam, however, a space where uptown meets downtown and steeped with a rock and roll vibe, a typical façade wasn’t going to cut it. “It couldn’t be too buttoned up because it’s the Lower East Side and the idea is that it’s been here forever,” he says.
The original inspiration came from a room Lewis saw in the movie Marie Antoinette, that was full of layered blues. From there, came the glass urns in the window that illuminate, as well as the bar that does the same, made from a door that is more than a century old.
The real attraction of the space, though, may be the outside area—a porch framed by an old, 1940s neon whiskey sign—an outdoor space that will be perfect for those nights between weekends away when the city’s weather is scorching.
Although the 75-person outdoor alcove is just now opening to the public, the venue has already attracted those with a penchant for rock and roll. Julian Schnabel and girlfriend (model May Anderson), and actors Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt and Dean Winters have all ventured to the spot. The space has also held an event for the Hole Gallery and Andy Rourke from The Smiths was a featured deejay last month.