Featured Bar: January 2024
East Village, NYC
Romeo’s, a retro-style neon cocktail den located at 118 St Mark’s Place, is the newest addition to the East Village’s vibrant scene. Inspired by the iconic era of the 1990s and characters from well-known romance films, this lively establishment serves classic cocktails with a creative twist in frozen glassware.
As the new bar on the block, Romeo’s seeks to join the celebrated nightlife legacy of St Mark’s while setting itself apart with a meticulously crafted cocktail menu and hyper-specific design. Curated by Co-Owner and Beverage Director Evan Hawkins (previously of Mother’s Ruin, Goodnight Sonny, and Broken Shaker NYC), Romeo’s offers a unique blend of flavors and nods to the classics, in a contemporary setting that is a fusion of whimsy and nostalgic allure. From the moment patrons step through the doors, they are treated to a welcoming atmosphere amidst a modern and fun design that is sure to guarantee a memorable night out.
“I’ve always admired the unique energy of St Mark’s and all of the nightlife history that lines the street, so I knew this would be the perfect location for Romeo’s. However, I wanted to make sure to provide the community with something completely different from what they would typically find on the iconic block,” says co-owner Evan Hawkins. “We aim to be a fun, new addition to the neighborhood and hope to leave a legacy worthy of this historic address through our creative riffs on classic cocktails and our bold, unapologetic atmosphere.”
The menu is categorized into three sections — Highballs, Shaken, and Stirred. Images of each cocktail are pictured on three large light boxes next to the bar so that patrons know exactly what they are ordering and in what format it will be served. Each section promises a journey through inventive concoctions that feature fresh and premium ingredients, skillfully crafted to cater to the diverse palates of New York’s cocktail enthusiasts. Drawing inspiration from texture, temperature, and color, Evan’s approach to crafting cocktails is meticulous. Starting with the visual and sensory aspects, he considers how a drink looks, and feels in the mouth, in addition to its optimal serving temperature. Standout cocktail menu items include:
● Avocado Margarita – tequila, lime, avocado cordial, spicy tincture, garnished with chamoy and spicy salt
● Elote Mezcal Old Fashioned – Repo mezcal, nixta corn liqueur, elote seasoning, saline, agave, Ango Bitters, Orange Juice, garnished with a mini corn skewer
● Chocolate Negroni – Gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, Tempus fugit creme de cacao, garnished with Terry’s chocolate orange wedge
Space + Design
Evan Hawkins, co-owner, is the visionary behind the unique ambiance at Romeo’s and the brains behind every design detail seen throughout the space. His longtime passion for movies and creating a distinctive and memorable atmosphere is evident in each corner of the establishment. Drawing inspiration from the iconic Leonardo DiCaprio in “Romeo and Juliet,” Evan transformed his vision into reality by incorporating elements of this timeless character into the design aspects. Images of iconic couples from 90s films including DiCaprio hang on the peach-colored walls as a testament to Evan’s love of cinematography.
Evan’s journey in shaping the identity of Romeo’s spanned over a decade. When searching for a name, his preference for simplicity and uniqueness led him to the choice of “Romeo’s”. What started as a suggestion quickly evolved into a character that would become the embodiment of the bar itself—steeped in the spirit of the 90s. Evan’s goal is not merely to run a bar, but to create an immersive experience that reflects Romeo’s taste and style. Rejecting the common aesthetics seen in neighboring establishments—think exposed red brick, white candles, and remnants of design trends from the early 2000s—Evan created an unapologetically bold atmosphere that makes a lasting impression. The result is a space that pays homage to the 90s with neon lights, a curated selection of over 1,000 movies that can be seen projected on the walls nightly, mirrors throughout, a 20-foot bar made of cement, and custom-made banquettes that collectively contribute to the bar’s distinctive identity.
Co-owners Evan Hawkins and Reed Adelson and Partners Wilson Tang of Nom Wah Tea Parlor in New York and Randy Pechin of Little Spirit and Dad’s in Atlanta are the collaborative team spearheading the recently opened Romeo’s. Each member of the group has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, bringing their creative insight, skill, and commitment to delivering an unparalleled experience to bargoers. Reed formerly worked at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, Restaurant Charlie in Las Vegas, and The Mark, Locanda Verde, and is the current owner of Virginia’s in New York. Evan’s bar knowledge stems from his experience at renowned NYC establishments such as Mother’s Ruin, Goodnight Sonny, Ludlow House, and Broken Shaker. Collectively, the team not only brings a wealth of experience from their respective backgrounds but also a shared passion for crafting a distinctive space that transcends the traditional bar concept.