A basement lounge in the historic Woolworth Building opened it's doors in October for those who were, quite honestly, cool enough to know about it. The buzz surrounding the swanky yet surprisingly comfy hangout has turned The Wooly into one of the most anticipated openings in the nightlife circuit. Off the beaten party path, Eric Adolfsen's faux speakeasy hideaway (tucked away from the Wall St. suits) has already been home to some of the city's most intimate and elite gatherings. With a $95 pipe organ salvaged from a Brooklyn antique yard acting as a service bar and the light fixtures inherited from the Plaza, The Wooly has the right amount of charm to entice those who are looking for a change of pace.
NiteSide recently chatted with owner Eric Adolfsen about wooly mammoths, his day job and the best lobster special in town.
What is the inspiration behind The Wooly? When/why did you decide this was something you wanted to move forward with? The Wooly is inspired by the building she lives in. Built in 1913, the Woolworth Tower was the emblem of imagination and hard work. My dad had unused space the back of his restuarant, and I finally realized it could be place for making pretend and experimentation.
Other than yourself, who else is involved with the transformation of the Woolworth Tower basement? My friends -- too many to name right now -- have each lent their time and talents in different ways. The best part is we're not close to being done yet.
In addition to opening the highly anticipated downtown hideaway, do you have a day job? I do. I direct commercials at Brand New School, a film and design collective in New York and Los Angeles. I also moonlight as Artistic Director for House of Waris.
What do you think makes the nightlife scene in New York unique? If you know where to look, you can often find yourself in a locale feeling everyone around you is worth learning from.
Tell me a little bit about the decor. What kind of atmosphere are you trying to create? What's your favorite thing in the room? The Wooly is inspired by its predecessors like The Stork Club, The Mayfield Club, Club Vendome, El Morocco and more recent spots like Area -- not that recent I guess. ... I will always cherish the portrait of the Wooly painted by Lynne Tobias, mother of my girlfriend Lisa Tobias and Wooly collaborator David Tobias. Inspired by the work of painter Wayne White, I asked her to paint a Wooly Mammoth into one of her existing landscapes. The beast she created was bolder and wilder than I could have dreamed.
When do you plan to open your doors to the public? And what should we do with ourselves until then? I'm excited to report we are currently re-imagining the front space with interior design duo Own Entity (both formerly of Roman and Williams). Once completed, the restaurant will be a magical place. Until then, I recommend visiting some other landmark places around the city. I'm partial to El Quijote in the Chelsea Hotel for their lobster special.