THIS WEEK in celebrity news we can actually use, Sopranos and The White Lotus actor Michael Imperioli and his wife Victoria Imperioli have announced a hot new venture called Scarlet. Located in New York’s Upper West Side, the speakeasy is cosy, stylish and according to our sources on the ground in NYC, on track to become a new favourite winter haunt in the city.
Impeccably styled by Victoria, who is an interior and theatrical set designer, Scarlet’s interior is inspired by art-deco-era speakeasies and what the designer calls ‘French Wartime’ aesthetics. Think: pure opulence—deep red velvet seating, gold furnishings and warm, but moody lighting. It, of course, has a cocktail menu too that throws to at least one of Michael’s cinematic roles, a White Lotus-themed cocktail, which is a mix of Don Q Cristal rum, pineapple, yuzu, coconut sugar, and Champagne. On the menu are tapas-style plates, and eventually, Scarlet will be hosting live jazz, spoken word, DJs and lounge music entertainment. Speaking to the NY Post, Victoria stated that she hopes “Scarlet can be the oasis where a weary traveller can reconnect with his or her senses and the timeless now.”
This isn’t the Imperioli’s first bar and restaurant, as between 1999 and 2007, their Chelsea bar Ciel Rouge, which Victoria owned and operated when the couple first met, became a famous spot for ‘The Soprano’s’ afterparties, and spotting celebrities like Madonna and Oasis. While today, it’s becoming more common for celebs to invest their money into a brand or product route, the celebrity-owned hospitality joint is still a long-standing infatuation among the A-list—as it not only offers creatives a unique way to invest their money or get a taste of everyday life beyond high-security lifestyle. Importantly, it’s a world-building exercise for creative people who might not get the chance to express themselves authentically all that often. And arguably, one of the few invitations we mortals will ever get into the real-world lives of the rich and famous. Here, we round up five of the more interesting bar and dining ventures owned by A-listers to add to your USA travel black book.
Jac’s on Bond
New York City
Situated in New York’s NoHo neighbourhood, this converted townhouse is co-owned by Succession’s Nicholas Braun, aka Cousin Greg (also an investor in Ray’s bar in lower Manhattan). Designed with ‘90s minimalism’ in mind, the relaxed hospitality concept is designed to be a neighbourhood ‘conversation house’, where locals can hang out, play a game or two of pool and casually mingle with friends. Unlike some of the other cult-status bars in NYC with A-list clout, Jac’s is designed without pretence.
Arguably one of the hottest bars in terms of A-list investors is Pebble Bar, a NYC haunt located in a four-story Rockefeller Centre townhouse. Who’s behind it? Pete Davidson, Mark Ronson, Justin Theroux and coincidentally again, Nicholas Braun. Legend has it that this bar, or at least its location, was one of the most iconic hangouts for comics, writers and media superstars—Jack Kerouac, Johnny Carson, David Lettermen and more used to hang out at this spot, and the team behind it hoped that lightning could strike twice. The aesthetic is mid-century intellectual cool meets old New York meets glam marble bar. It’s worth popping in for a cocktail, should you ever find yourself in mid-town, come for the tourist trap reprieve, or stay for the potential celebrity spotting.
Did you know that Bad Bunny owns a restaurant? You do now. The Puerto Rican musical star opened the Miami venue in 2022, his first foray into hospitality. Gekkō is located in Miami’s Brickell neighbourhood and is described by the founders as a ‘Japanese-inspired steakhouse’, and seems to serve Hibachi-style grilled food, including Wagyu steaks, filet mignon from Kagawa and ‘snow beef strip’ from Hokkaido steak dishes. Also on the menu are sushi and sashimi fusion dishes and other Japanese delicacies—including a signature milk bread. According to the team behind it, there are hopes for Gekkō to expand globally. Nobu should watch his back…
“At Joanne Trattoria we’re all about family. Our classic Italian cuisine is truly authentic—inspired by family favourites that have been passed down for generations. Today, we enjoy sharing them with our new family.”—by all accounts, this homely Italian trattoria, located on West 68th Street in New York City, looks like your everyday, run-of-the-mill Italian-American restaurant. It serves pizza and pasta and looks like a regular suburban restaurant, complete with thick water goblets. If you didn’t know, you probably would never have guessed it was co-owned by Lady Gaga and her parents, Joe and Cynthia Germanotta and has a revolving menu that draws from the Germanotta family recipe book.
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While not all of us are lucky enough to be decked out in Louis Vuitton by Pharrell Williams, with the right amount of forward planning, we might be able to dine amongst his aesthetic. Swan and Bar Bevy is the multi-hyphenate’s Miami dining destination. Located in the very cool design district, this stunning bar and restaurant complex is comprised of two different spaces, each with a different feel. Swan itself is a vibrant, brasserie-style restaurant, serving locally sourced fare with a seafood slant. The venue is a Miami-styled take on a classic European eatery, according to the owners, and includes a patio oasis, which is green and lush, a perfect daytime destination for outdoor dining. Upstairs is Bar Bevy, a Moroccan-themed party space, complete with private areas divided with Sarahan tent-like curtains and VIP areas aplenty, that comes above after the sun goes down (and where the bottle service flows).