When Jon Neidich first laid eyes on an empty Williamsburg storefront’s dramatic arched ceilings, the self-described Francophile was immediately transported to the City of Lights. “I was taken with the original design details and set out to add to, rather than overhaul the space,” the head of Golden Age Hospitality explains, “looking to Paris’s Art Nouveau brasseries, whose interiors have been lovingly layered with new design elements over the years.” So enter Deux Chats, an ornate 60-seat raw bar replete with an easygoing old-world elegance befitting its romantic waterfront location.
Neidich and local designer Xavier Donnelly took cues from famed Art Nouveau mainstays Clown Bar and Julien for interior details, which pay homage to decorative art, Jazz Age illustrations, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella The Little Prince. They sourced lamp shades from Saint Germain flea markets, outfitted the painted glass tables with classic Thonet bistro chairs, and backdropped the bar with the pièce de résistance—a fanciful hand-painted green-and-yellow tile mural of two cats playing underneath the Manhattan skyline set aglow by a large moon.
There’s no better place to enjoy executive chef Nicole Gajadhar’s grand multi-tiered seafood towers, stuffed with chilled lobster, tuna crudo, and East and West Coast oysters—all of which are available à la carte—or beverage director Ashley Santoro’s boozy concoctions, such as the spicy vodka Kinky Martini, served up in conical glassware by the official glassmaker of the Prince of Wales. “I envision Deux Chats as a place to escape and unwind,” Neidich says. “I hope it functions as both a neighborhood bar and a culinary destination, where you can celebrate with friends and family over a feast of oysters, small plates, seafood towers, and, of course, ice-cold martinis.”