Diamond Lil, a Nouveau Bar on Nassau
A couple of weekends ago, Diamond Lil quietly opened its doors at 179 Nassau Avenue. The bar takes its name from a risqué Broadway play by former Greenpoint resident, playwright, Hollywood star and sex symbol, Mae West. This is just one of the ways the space pays homage to strong women. The bar is co-owned by John Wright and Tim Murray, who is the same owner of Broken Land (105 Franklin Ave.) which hosted several fundraisers for Planned Parenthood leading up to the Women’s March earlier this year. There will likely be fundraisers in the future focusing on local organizations.
Notably, the Art Nouveau interior is inspired by turn-of-the-century European salons in France and Germany with aspects of this in every detail. “If you frame a space in a certain way visually, it creates this environment that reflects back and forth. If people see a beautiful and ornate surrounding no one is getting out of control. When I thought about New York and thought of an elegant setting, sensibility, and sweetness all wrap up in Art Nouveau,” says owner Tim Murray.
Upon entering, you will notice the welcoming custom floral mosaic, a pink onyx bar, and herringbone tiles lining the floor. Dark green velvet booths provide most of the seating opposite the pink onyx bar creating the feeling of a lounge. A vintage chandelier hangs in the back of the room reflecting the light from the (not yet opened) back yard. Additionally, the walls are covered with hand-painted embossed wallpaper and gilded mirrors by artisan Leah Beth Fishman
“Got no time to be Your Muse” by Jenna Gribbon hangs over the bar. The painting depicts a robed woman reading a book while lying in a garden and not at all interested in being the subject of the painting. “My most recent work uses figuration to subvert the painterly tools men have historically used in depictions of women, to look at the idea of muses, and muse-dom, which is such a silly construct…I like for the women in my paintings to be actively engaged in their painted world, just doing their thing, whether you are looking at them or not” (as told to Nylon). The piece is an instant conversation starter and the low noise level of the bar is perfect for a little tête-à-tête (the intimate booths for two don’t hurt either).
There is something for every palate in their cocktail selection. The menu, by Nathan Venard, ranges from sweet and tropical to classic and bitter. The Valparaiso Collins tastes like the first strawberries of summer. The dangerously delicious A Swizzle, made with fresh watermelon juice, Rhum Agricole, and fortified wine, should be sipped on a shady porch in the French Caribbean. Additionally, the Frozen Coffee Colada, made with rum is available for $8 during their weekday happy hour. Also on offer from 5 – 8 PM are $8 Daiquiris, Old Fashioneds, Moscow Mules and $5 glasses of rosé, and pints of Narragansett. To quote Mae West, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”
Diamond Lil is located at 179 Nassau Avenue, between Diamond and Jewel. They are open Monday to Friday, 5 pm – 2 am, weekends 3 pm- 2 am.