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“I mean, is our sign too obnoxious? Is it obnoxious enough?” ponders Ryan Gleason, the general manager of Pretty Ricky’s, which judging from its name would leave anyone to believe this newly minted Lower East Side establishm­ent has more to do with wellness or hair care than what it actually is: a grown-up den of delight.

“We’ve got something for everyone here,” he adds, as he points to the 40oz Colt 45 then to beverage director Will Wyant’s simplified list of six cocktails, just when chef Jeremy Spector says “yeah, but we also have a porterhous­e steak for two.” Nightlife on the Lower East Side has long been New York’s sloshy spray of dive bars, burlesque clubs and choose-your-vice houses of ill-repute—and where those under 25 tend to trawl on Saturday night. The latter hasn’t changed much, and in part responsibl­e for the local vernacular of dubbing Orchard and Ludlow Streets between Rivington and Stanton as “Hell Square,” or “the cologne zone.” Yet, as Gleason says, “people still need a place to go on a Tuesday.” So with Pretty Ricky’s, “there’s always that feeling that oh my god, am I doing right by the neighborho­od?,” he adds.

Gleason, Spector and Wyant have long been in hospitalit­y. Along with their cohorts Eric Kruvant (himself “Pretty Ricky”), Darin Rubell (in fact related to the Steve Rubell) and Jamie Felber, they have recently formalized their relationsh­ip into something of a formal partnershi­p under the umbrella of Paradise Hospitalit­y. Between “this group of six very different personalit­ies and opinions,” as Wyant calls them, the crew has built a roster of formidable bars that are also restaurant­s, restaurant­s that are actually bars and many a cocktail in between. Likely anyone who’s drank downtown has sat on a stool belonging to Paradise Hospitalit­y: whether at near-decadeold Boulton & Watt, newcomer Mister Paradise, once-cafe Orlin now-paper Daisy, and shakenand-stirred Drexler’s.

But Pretty Ricky’s is more flexible than its brethren. Perhaps that stems from its focus on beer, which simply emerged from Gleason’s own procliviti­es as a brewer (“it’s a pleasure of mine”) or perhaps it arrives from the physical space its in: the former Spitzer’s Corner. “It was an institutio­n on this corner,” adds Wyant. But at the end of the day, “Food brings people in, and keeps people here. And we wanted a beer bar that looked nothing like a beer bar,” says Gleason, “and something that just screamed fun.”


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