The Beekman has welcomed a new resident. Open Friday, the Alley Cat Amateur Theatre is Serge Becker’s latest addition to New York’s downtown nightlife scene.
Designed in collaboration with Jason Volenec of Volenec Studio, the lounge taps into the history of the venue’s surrounding location.
“The name and theme were inspired by the history of the location on Theatre Alley, where we will have our main entrance,” said Becker by e-mail, traveling internationally. “The design concept is really picking up cues from the raw mechanical basement space.”
The lounge draws inspiration from what was once New York’s theater district (Theatre Alley operated as the backstage entrance for the Park Theatre, owned by John Jacob Astor and John Beekman until it burned down in the 1800s), and the decor reflects the location’s theatrical origins through details such as a costume body form and marionette dolls sprinkled throughout the room.
The cocktail program will riff on Tokyo nightlife, and the food menu will be managed by Tom Colicchio’s Temple Court, located on The Beekman’s ground floor. In addition to standard lounge fare, the space will offer a lineup of performances, curated by Becker.
“No program is set yet, but we will slowly grow into the room and most of the initial performers will be personal friends,” said Becker. “The full name includes ‘amateur theatre.’ This is referring to a certain DIY aesthetic. This can manifest itself by having non-professional DJs share their musical tastes, or maybe a waiter is also a singer or poet or has a drag act.”
While many new hot spots are defined by who they let in — and who they won’t — the Alley Cat Amateur Theatre was created to be a democratic space, without the trappings of lines and velvet ropes. Asked what sort of guest the venue is catering to, Becker said, “People that can be present and not just in search of the latest flavor or Instagram moment.”
Of course, Instagram is a great publicity tool; expect to see plenty of photos from the atmospheric lounge pop up on your feed soon enough.