The concept behind Rhinebeck’s newly opened Art Bar feels fresh – an attribute not easily achieved by new restaurants and night spots in a market where we sometimes feel like we’ve seen everything already.
The menu features “Black Sea cuisine,” a light, health-conscious synthesis of dishes from the countries and regions surrounding the Black Sea in the southeast corner of Europe: Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and the Ukraine, among others. Think shish kebabs, made with grilled and marinated fish, meats and veggies and served with various sauces. Then zakuski, small plates (like Spanish tapas) of stuffed grape leaves with Greek yogurt, assorted cheeses and olives, a charcuterie of cured meats, Armenian flatbread pizza with spicy meat on top and regional salads featuring fresh vegetables from the farms of the Hudson Valley.
The four lounges offer more than 20 varieties of house-infused Russian vodkas: organic fruit, vegetables and herbs steeped in the alcohol to impart unexpected flavors, like lemon and mint, blueberry, pineapple, mango or ginger, and utilized as the basis of signature Art Bar cocktails.
Then there’s the art, in galleries on two levels of the space: a large collection of original signed works on paper and lithographs by Chagall, Picasso and Dalí, along with original works by Hudson Valley and New York City artists working in all media. The selection will change every 60 days or so, says Stephen Davis Learn, partner with D. J. Kadagian in the Art Bar.
There’s also live music. A calendar of music and events will be posted soon on www.the-artbar.com.
Learn has years of experience in the restaurants and nightclubs of Miami Beach and New York City, most notably as one of the main bartenders of the famous Studio 54 nightclub. Learn says that the disco events and Studio 54 reunions that he has held at various clubs are well-attended. “People love it, even the young kids,” he says. It’s a logical choice, then, that the theme for New Year’s Eve (and the official grand opening) at the Art Bar will be a Studio 54 disco dance party.
The Art Bar will open at 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. There’s no cover charge, and the regular menu of small plates will be available to order from, along with a special menu of themed cocktails. Dress is “disco chic.” A deejay will play Donna Summer and the Bee Gees, starting around 9 p.m., with a dance contest in the works. At midnight, there’ll be a complimentary champagne toast and party favors.
New Year’s Eve Studio 54-themed grand opening, Monday, December 31, open at 5 p.m., disco at 9 p.m., no cover charge, the Art Bar, 6367 Mill Street, Rhinebeck, a little south of the Beekman Arms; (845) 417-8990, www.the-artbar.com.