The Financial District is about to get a new cocktail spot capitalizing on New Yorkers’ nostalgia. Recreation is a new bar from nightlife hitmaker Jon Neidich, whose Happiest Hour and Tijuana Picnic are popular party spots in the city. It’s set to open in the upcoming Moxy NYC Downtown hotel, located at 26 Ann Street, in September.
As with Neidich’s Slowly Shirley, a 1940s-themed basement bar, Recreation has a very deliberate throwback concept. The 5,000-square-foot space is meant to look and feel like a 1980s house party, equipped with skee-ball and an arcade machine with classics like Ms. Pacman, Centipede, and Donkey Kong. There’s also Twister, with a twist: Instead of a mat, the colored dots for this truly nonsensical but enduring game are painted on the floor.
The bar even has a basketball half-court, so it’s really going hard on the “recreation” theme. “I think that era is one that I’ve always been a fan of, and I think that is a time when people took their leisure time a little bit more seriously than perhaps we do today,” Neidich says, adding that he wanted to capture a carefree element of childhood in the bar’s design.
But the drinks are adult, of course. Keeping in line with the theme, the cocktail list comprises classic two-ingredient cocktails like screwdrivers, as well as spiked punch bowls and cocktails on tap, with tonics and sodas serving as mixers. Neidich says he wanted to do something similar to Happiest Hour — where he’s trying to challenge the idea that a place needs to be super serious in order to serve good drinks. There will be food, too, but no details are available at this time.
Unlike Neidich’s other bars, Recreation will be open during the day, operating as a co-working space with coffee and then becoming a drinking den at night.
It’s not the first bar to open recently with a “throwback living room hangout” aesthetic: The Woodstock off the High Line in Meatpacking is designed to look like a 1960s den, and the Breakers, a new spot from the team behind The Woods, has a 1980s skater garage look.
Recreation is slated to open in September.