A Manhattan Restaurant Fit For a House Party

Chinatown’s Flower Shop is a roadside diner meets ’70s basement hangout.

The street-level dining room.

“We all really liked the idea of nostalgia and surprise. We wanted it to feel as if you have just gone back in time into your cool uncle’s basement,” says Dylan Hales, a partner at Chinatown’s new retro arrival, Flower Shop. Helmed by chef Michael Hamilton, who previously worked in the kitchens at the Black Pig and Daniel Boulud, the concept is a throwback to a groovier era. Hamilton’s American menu is served in the street-level space outfitted with yellow leather banquettes, wallpaper with illustrated vignettes of city life by Australian sketch artist Anouk Colantoni, and even a luminous fish tank behind the bar. On the menu: fried chicken with curry sauce and burnt lime, smoked-celery beef tartare, and mussels on toast.

A cucumber Gimlet.

The subterranean bar is straight basement vibes, from the vintage pool table to the sunken living room to the pink-brick fireplace. Seemingly random tchotchkes are strewn about, including portraits of couples sourced at the Round Top Antiques Fair in Texas, JFK beer glasses, and black-light posters in the bathrooms. “We started getting gifts and knickknacks from friends to add to the décor, so it has an evolving character,” partner Ronnie Flynn says. “We’re all so fond of our old hometown bars and memories of our grandparents’ converted garages.” Flynn points to one TV classic in particular that influenced the project from the beginning. “We all separately loved the idea of opening our own version of Cheers.”

The subterranean bar.
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