Grungy Doyers Street seems like one of Chinatown's unlikeliest nightlife destinations, but that's precisely what appealed to siblings Heather and Christopher Tierney when they opened Apothéke in 2008. Six months ago, they expanded their Doyers Street profile and opened Pulqueria two doors down. "It's cool because during the day it's barber shops and people running around, and then at night, it's serene and kind of eerie, with streetlights and everything closed down except these two spaces," Heather says. Subterranean Pulqueria is an oasis of color on this curving back alley, with a raw feel from exposed brick and abundant cinder blocks, tempered by feathers bursting from Deco-style sconces. Staff are encouraged to wear turquoise, gold, geometric pieces, and color in general, but beyond that they're given free fashion rein and it shows. See what we mean straight ahead in the latest edition of House Style.
Andrea Diaz hostess, and Jennifer Fontao, Maitre d'
What do you think about when you're dressing for work? Jennifer: It's really your own personal expression. We like to try to keep with the colors of the restaurant and some of the motifs — Aztec shapes, and gold and turquoise and vibrant colors. Andrea: Usually I try to style myself as a Mexican fortune teller. I have a lot necklaces, I have saints, crystals; I do a lot of red and black and silver. I think the what we wear enables us to transport ourselves into the space. Does the clientele have a particular style? Jennifer: Well, every night is different. On Wednesday we have an Afro-Cuban band. And Monday we have the Pollo party, which is more like a club-kid thing. We have some celebrities, like Calvin Klein, and Jude Law was here the other night. And it's all ages, and all different types of people. Do you have a day job? Andrea: I'm a singer in City on Fire. I'd call it rock noir.
Pulqueria's servers and backwaiter
What do you notice about the people who come in? Muonja Simba, left: It's a pretty stylish crowd. We had a Vogue party here and I noticed a lot of people were wearing bright colors. Is it fun getting dressed for work? Muonja: Yeah, the place encourages us to be flamboyant with our style. Malia Scharf, right: I like to throw on fun pieces. This is a vintage dress I found. Natalia Carrasco, center: Outside of the restaurant I'm a makeup artist, so I'm always trying to bring some of the cool fashion in. I do some color sometimes, I usually do bright pink or orange lips — it matches the style of the place. Are you looking at the customers like a canvas? Natalia: All the time. And I get inspired a lot by seeing people's looks. People are so beautiful and then they have a hipster-ish style. It's good inspiration for my work.
General manager Zee Smith
I love your bright dress. Do you usually wear a lot of color here? Yes, I do. It's such a cavernous space, it's a burst of sunshine down here. Did you have to buy new clothes when you started? No, I did a stint at Miss Lily's [Ed note: see our House Style there], so that pulled the color out. Most New Yorkers wear black all the time. You walk into most restaurants and it's a black uniform. But I think we're a great depiction of New York City overall. Everyone looks different but they still incorporate the Pulqueria theme. How does this fit in with Chinatown? I think we're the Rainbow Brites of Chinatown. It's like Starbursts; you see so many different colors. I always say to the staff, 'A lot of people are waiting on us to brighten their lives,' whether it be by food, libation, or just with our energy.
Pulqueria's bar staff
Is this a typical ensemble? Khay Muhammad, second from left: Here we have to wear all black. I try to mix it up: I do black suspenders a lot and a little touch of flair, like an African medallion. But I'm one of the only girl bartenders, so being a girl is already distinct; I can tone down the style. I see you have a feather earring. I'm part native American, so I collect feathers. Here it's just a total coincidence. Does the clientele have a particular style? At the bar, it's a pretty international crowd. Yesterday there were about fifteen people from Sydney. You get a cool European crowd. And then you get smaller cliques of people that love tequila or have Latin blood. And then the newbies, who go to cool downtown New York spots. How does the restaurant fit in on this gritty Chinatown block? Mexican and Chinese is an interesting marriage, but you have two of the largest groups, Latinos and Asians, living in close proximity. People always look at me because I'm not either, so when I come down the block it's like Where is she going?
Bartender Darren Lampione
What do you wear behind the bar? Not this. I wear a black collared shirt, black pants, and usually some sneakers that have some kind of turquoise in them. We also have turquoise ties that we wear. Where do you find those shoes? I'm a sneaker collector. How many pairs to do you have with turquoise? Probably like six, by chance. I already happened to have sneakers with that color.
Owners Christopher and Heather Tierney
Do people go back and forth between here and Apotheke? Heather: The whole reason we chose Mexican is because Apotheke — after you have a couple cocktails, I think Mexican food sounds really good. It seems like you've created a mini nightlife district here. Heather: It's cool because Le Baron is now here. And the Nom Wah dumpling parlor is another new spot on the street. What's the vibe at Pulqueria? Chris: The inspiration was drawn from parts of ancient Mexico, Aztec culture. The gold, the deco geometry from Aztec jewelry. And the cinder block. So it mimics that shape? Chris: Yeah. If you go to Mexico City they've kind of rebuilt a lot of their structures with Aztec temple stone. I couldn't find real Aztec temple stone, but this kind of goes along with the lines and the geometry.
Most Viewed Stories
Here’s the Ramen Burger, on Sale at Smorgasburg This Saturday
Padma Lakshmi and Top Chef Crew Were Allegedly Threatened While Filming Show’s Boston Season
Chef and Restaurateur Matt Haley Has Died
The East Village’s First Rice-Burger Shop Opens on Monday
Here’s the Full List of Competing Cooks on Top Chef’s New Season
Search by name
Or, search by
Latest News on Grub StreetMouth’s New Collection, Momofuku Chefs Look Back
Today's Leftovers.Is This ‘Stupendous’ Butter Knife a Work of Genius or Just Plain Dumb?
Regardless, it's raised five times its funding goal.Pizza Pop-up Margot’s Will Open As a Full-Time Restaurant
Proprietor Adam Kuban is in the early stages of planning the place now.A Sneak Peek of the Food at Marta, Danny Meyer and Nick Anderer’s Forthcoming Restaurant
Croquettes, fritto misto, and a very pretty salad.Saveur Editor-in-Chief James Oseland Is Leaving the Magazine [Updated]
The high-end food magazine has won numerous awards under his direction.Buvette’s Jody Williams and I Sodi’s Rita Sodi to Join Forces at Via Carota Next Month
Two cooks, one kitchen.Here’s a Look at the New Dishes Debuting at Berg’n, Opening Wednesday
Ramen churros, balsamic-boiled peanuts, and two fried-chicken sandwiches.Padma Lakshmi and Top Chef Crew Were Allegedly Threatened While Filming Show’s Boston Season
The show's crew didn't pack their knives and go.The New Tasting Menu at Huertas Is Only $55
Savory courses might include sliced duck breast with duck liver, heart, and carrots served with a red txakoli.Yet Another Restaurant Doesn’t See a Problem With Discounts for Churchgoing Customers
Atheists cry foul over church-bulletin discount.
It's all Little Debbie's fault.Chef and Restaurateur Matt Haley Has Died
"My life is no longer about the center of the plate."Maison Premiere’s Labor Day Party; The Pines Teams Up With Table on Ten
Today's Leftovers.The Restaurateur Who Made Servers Pay Diner’s Credit-Card Fees Had a Sudden Change of Heart
"We have always listened to our guests and our community," said Blue Plate owner David Burley.Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s Nut Butters Included in Wide-Reaching Recall
Perhaps your PB&Js should just be Js for a while .Here’s the Full List of Competing Cooks on Top Chef’s New Season
Richard Blais joins the 16 new contestants as a guest judge.Yuji Ramen Will Pop Up at Okonomi Beginning Next Week
This is great news for fans of Yuji Haraguchi's inventive noodle dishes.You’re Not Imagining It: Starbucks Is Literally Following You
The company has announced the launch of food trucks.Crumbs Bake Shop Chain Closer to Reopening, Possibly Now With Dippin’ Dots
Just $6.5 million for 27 stores. A bargain?Here’s Some Jägermeister-Sauced Poutine Served in an Old Bottle
Plus, Canada gets its "very first 100% bacon sausage Hot Dog."
Less than one percent of kids’ meal combinations met recommended government nutrition standards, according to a recent study.Judge Temporarily Halts Subway Inn’s Eviction Proceedings
"We know that this is just the first step in a very long and hard David Vs. Goliath Fight."The Other Critics: Reviews of Delaware and Hudson, Root & Bone, Cherche Midi
This week's roundup.Watch a Clip From the New Season of Mind of a Chef
"I treat this piece of wood with a lot of respect," he says.No. 7’s Birthday Party; the Cleveland’s New Large-Format Options
Today's Leftovers.Tiny Indiana Town Despises Oreo for Sending Them Lots of Tiny Cookies
"Why in the world would they ship out one mini cookie is beyond me."Korean Barbecue Specialist Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong Will Open Manhattan Location This Fall
There's a Momofuku vet in the kitchen, too.Spiking Booze With Straight Viagra Predictably Ends in Entrepreneur’s Arrest
The Viagra and booze bootlegger described his concoction as a "nutritional healthy liquor."Doctor Who’s Cast Reacts to New York’s Newest Doctor Who-Themed Café
Guess Who's coming to dinner, indeed.Bakery That Supplied Crumbs Laid Off 75 Workers After Cupcake-Bubble Bust
Standing orders for 225,000 cupcakes per week suddenly dropped 100,000 just below the closure.
Outraged patrons stormed out in protest.Slaughterhouse Owners Allegedly Ordered Employees to Process Meat From Cancer-Stricken Cows
They allegedly put healthy heads on diseased cattle to fool inspectors.Ketchup vs. Catsup: Why Heinz Is Irreplaceable
Cherche Midi's fries are perfect. Its fancy-ass ketchup is not.Rose’s Luxury, High Street on Market, Estela Named ‘Best New Restaurants’
Bon Appétit released its annual Hot 10 list.Burst Pipe Temporarily Closes the Modern
It'll be back up and running in no time.Lobster Bash at Jeffrey’s Grocery; Back Forty’s Crab-a-Palooza
Today's Leftovers.Restaurant Owner Isn’t Sure Why Everyone Hated Her Nazi-Themed Spaghetti
"Long Live Nazi Spaghetti" had its share of critics.Taco Bell Gives America $1 Normcore Burritos
The Doritos Loco dust has apparently settled.100 Montaditos Will Give Away Free Sandwiches Tomorrow
And they have more than 100 of them to hand out.Golden Cadillac Will Reopen As Boilermaker Next Month
The on-tap Zombie made with three kinds of rum is classified as "cool & refreshing" on the menu. This is going to be fun.
Your life really can be life a box of chocolates.The Seinfeld Restaurant Is Pretty Meh About Accommodating Customers in Wheelchairs
"We have tables outside, though, that they can use."Williamsburg’s Second Starbucks Will Dazzle Patrons With Alcohol
Just don't ask your barista for the secret, off-menu Pumpkin Spice Latte chardonnay.A South Korean Restaurant Banned ‘Africans’ Over Nonexistent Ebola Risk
The owner quickly reversed the policy.Watch Jimmy Fallon and David Chang Have a Hot-Wing-Eating Contest
It's the Tonight Show showdown you knew was coming.Freemans’ Ten-Year Anniversary; Left Bank’s Oyster Dinner
Today's Leftovers.The East Village’s First Rice-Burger Shop Opens on Monday
Wasabi salt!Albert Trummer’s New South Beach Bar Sounds Even Nuttier Than Apotheke
The creator of "fantastic medicinal cocktails" is at it again.Arrested McDonald’s Worker Sues News Station That Posted Her Personal Data
Debra Harrell is suing the station.Take a Look Around Stieber’s Sweet Shoppe, a Charming New Candy Store on Bleecker Street
Over 400 kinds of candy!