VK Nagrani Transforms Bowery Coffee Space into New ‘Lodge’ at 87 East Houston

Posted on: May 4th, 2016 at 5:00 am by
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One vintage purveyor is traded for another at 87 East Houston Street.

Bowery Coffee and its sister antique shop B4 It Was Cool both bit the dust back in January 2015. Rent hike was the likely culprit, with one barista telling us at the time that the business “was no longer economically feasible.”

Listings in the ensuing period pegged the 800 square-foot space (plus basement) for a whopping $18,000 per month. Joseph Betesh, the Dr. Jay’s scion, acquired this property in 2012 as part of an eleven-property, $62 million Bowery portfolio deal.

Nevertheless, we have a taker – VK Nagrani, a menswear boutique and cocktail den.

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Activity at 87 East Houston has been steady, albeit under-the-radar. We’ve watched for months as a small team of contractors retrofitted the bi-level space with throwback furnishings. Everything from bar stools, old school post office boxes, antique light fixtures, and an exterior mail receptacle.

The VK Nagrani Lodge is what the Wall Street Journal described as a “speakeasy retail store where, before arriving, customers are asked what they like to drink and what they like to listen to.” It’s a luxury boutique run by menswear designer Vivek Nagrani, and previously operated out of a former gallery on the Upper East Side, but closed last week in anticipation of this new location. He expounded in an email:

We are creating an experiential men’s boutique featuring luxury men’s clothing, custom clothing, bespoke jeans, hand made shoes and organic men’s grooming products (hangover recovery kits, post flight rejuvenation kits). Everything is made by artisan workshops in Italy, Peru and here in New York. The space is more theatre than traditional retail. The focus is taking the gent through time to an era when luxury was reserved for those who took the effort to discover it.

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As for the potential “speakeasy” component, expect Nagrani to appear before Community Board 2 for the valuable liquor license.

VK Nagrani opens to the public on June 1.

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An old real estate listing for the Bowery Coffee space

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