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
Ghastly Tales: 14 Kitchen Horror Stories That Will Keep You Up at Night
Why Technology Hasn’t Really Made It Any Easier to Reserve Restaurant Tables
Shake Shack’s Crinkle Fries Make Their Official, Triumphant Return Today
wd~50 Made More Than $100,000 in 10 Minutes Today
This Wonderful Dog Fetches Cold Beer Every Time He Hears ‘I’m Parched’
Soho Sandwich Shop Alidoro Opening Midtown Location on ThursdayAll openings »
Grand Banks Will Cap Off Its First Season With $5 CocktailsAll closings »
Search by name
Or, search by
Stories Elsewhere You Might Like
Make This Delicious Muddled Cocktail While Jack Daniel’s Rested Rye is Still Available
Whiskey Lit: Our favorite new whiskey books
Starbucks's New Franken Frappuccino Is Scarily Delicious
powered by PubExchange
Latest News on Grub StreetColorado Parents Freak Out Over the Idea of Pot-Laced Halloween Candy
Local advocacy groups are worried that people might hand kids Buddafingers instead of Butterfingers.12 Great Marathon-Related Food and Drink Deals
A dozen offers you can take advantage of, whether you're running or just watching.Nestlé Will ‘Hire’ Thousands of Robots to Sell Its Coffee
It should work well, the company explains, because they understand "70 to 80 percent of spontaneous conversations."wd~50 Made More Than $100,000 in 10 Minutes Today
Talk about going out with a bang.SodaStream Will Close Its Controversial West Bank Factory
It also wants in on the sparkling-water-making business.There’s a Good Chance the Shrimp You’re Buying Is Mislabeled
Put down the scampi, everyone.Shake Shack’s Crinkle Fries Make Their Official, Triumphant Return Today
Welcome back, old friends.Why Technology Hasn’t Really Made It Any Easier to Reserve Restaurant Tables
What's the point of all these new apps and services if it's still a hassle to eat where you want, when you want?Cheap Sushi May Be the California Drought’s Next Victim
There's at least 25 percent less high-quality sticky rice this year.This Pop-up Cocktails Book Is Actually the Classiest Drinks Menu of All Time
Only 1,000 copies have been made, and you can take one home for $80 when you're done drinking.
The 16th annual event goes down on November 10.Chipotle Sued for Forcing Employees to Work Overtime Without Pay
The company cuts costs with an "unwritten policy" of wage theft, workers claim.Morgenstern’s Collaborates With Cool Chefs on New Ice-Cream Flavors
Jeepney, Estela, Navy, and Bun-ker are all on board.This New Mind of a Chef Trailer Looks Totally Engrossing
The second half of season three premieres November 1.Ghastly Tales: 14 Kitchen Horror Stories That Will Keep You Up at Night
Blood! Bone marrow! And lots of hot oil!Fireball Reassures World That Their Product Isn’t Actually Cinnamon-Flavored Poison
Fans should "continue to enjoy their favorite product as they always have."NBA Team Unleashes 8-Pound, $70 Burger on Its Unsuspecting Fans
The Hugo's Boss Burger may be the most over-the-top concession yet.England Can’t Stop Putting Penises on Its Food
Never mind the bollocks, indeed.This Wonderful Dog Fetches Cold Beer Every Time He Hears ‘I’m Parched’
Bandit doesn't like a thirsty owner.Here Come the Guy Fieri Halloween Costumes
Be the mayor of Flavortown for just $10.
Plus: new menu items.Grand Banks Will Cap Off Its First Season With $5 Cocktails
The oysters may be all gone, but the bottles of wine will cost $20.13 Spectacular Squash Dishes You’ll Want to Eat Right Now
It's edible-gourd season.Cronut King Dominique Ansel Defends His Croissants
In fact, he doesn't seem too concerned at all with the haters.The Music Industry Wants to Ban Music at Restaurants That Don’t Pay Royalties
One Long Island establishment is facing a fine of $150,000.Empire Brewing’s Response to Lucasfilm’s Trademark Claim Is Fantastic
The short video addressed to the 'Star Wars' maker is nothing short of a blockbuster.Soho Sandwich Shop Alidoro Opening Midtown Location on Thursday
The menu will be supplemented with tea, coffee, and salads, not to mention breakfast and a new namesake prosciutto sandwich.Dunkin’ Donuts’ Korean ‘Cronut’ Finally Invades America Next Week
The chain claims it had been working on this, you know, long before Dominique Ansel became a household name.New York Will Finally Get Its First All-Éclair Bakery
Les Jardins de la Duchesse will open on the Lower East Side any day now.A Deli Employee Got Fired for Allegedly Taking Pictures of a Breastfeeding Mom
"I got sweaty, I was so mad, but I didn't know how to confront him."
The owner says that customers won't even shake her hand anymore.The Growing Cult of the Black-Gloved Chef
"I got them because I think they look badass."What to Eat at Upland, the ‘California-Inspired’ Knockout Opening Tomorrow
Pasta, pizza, and bone-in aged steak.The Mayor Ate Where the Ebola Patient Did to Prove That’s Not How You Get Ebola
Chicken and meatball, pork with mushroom, vegetarian with pesto, and absolutely no Ebola.15 Chocolate Desserts That Might Actually Improve Your Memory
Science proves it — but even if they don't, they're still delicious.First Look at Semilla, Williamsburg’s Newest Chef’s Counter
High-end, vegetable-centric fare in the former Lake Trout space.Momofuku Ko Klosed Last Night
David Chang's relocating the restaurant to Extra Place.City Bakery’s Maury Rubin Trashes Dominique Ansel’s ‘Lousy’ Croissants
"Most people don’t know anything about good pastry anymore," he says.Restaurant Review: At Danny Meyer’s Marta, the Crackly Roman-Style Pizzas Command Your Attention
Even if the space isn't much to look at.Wylie Dufresne Commemorating Final Two Weeks of wd~50 With Ticketed Blowout Feasts
Wylie Dufresne's pioneering restaurant is going out with a crazy modernist bang, or course, and not at all with a whimper.
The waitress who put the cup on the table's edge was negligent.Entire Family Gets Paralyzed After Feasting on Deadly Pufferfish by Mistake
Fugu is apparently as dangerous as everyone says, and doesn't have to be served raw and in Japan by a careless sushi chef to mess you up.Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: Tacos, Tarte Tatin, and More
Find out where to eat in Grub Street's weekly ranking of the city's most-buzzed-about restaurants.5 Awesome Outtakes From Alan Cumming’s Grub Street Diet Shoot
He's a very good sport.People Upset With ‘Illegal Pete’s’ Burrito Shop for Obvious Reasons
"This is a place that's going to instill violence in our community," critics say.This Restaurateur Tracked Down and Stalked a Yelper
"Straight up though if I ever see you near one of my places of business, we are going to have a discussion."Kristen Wiig and Fabrizio Moretti Dine at Locanda Verde; Leonardo DiCaprio Opts for Omar’s
This week's Celebrity Settings.Belgian Chocolate Company ISIS Decides It's Time to Change Its Name (Again)
They found a replacement that has less of a jihadist ring to it.After Ebola-Related Closing, the Gutter Will Reopen Today
Meanwhile, Brooklyn Bowl is all like, "it wasn't us."Alan Cumming Does Most of His Cooking in His Dressing Room
"I have loads of water and vitamins, but also loads of vodka sodas."