Levine & Shah Battle Over Sons of Essex, ‘Bodega

Matt Levine outside Sons of Essex.

Matt Levine outside Sons of Essex.

Yesterday, nightlife operator Matt Levine told Eater that one of his establishments, Cocktail Bodega at 205 Chrystie St., would be closed for an extended period due to “building issues,” which he said were related to plumbing problems.  Then a few hours later, Eater posted an update, including a statement from a rep for Levine’s partner, Michael Shah.

“IndieFork Hospitality has parted ways with Matt Levine effective immediately,” the statement read. “We are grateful for all Matt has done for us, and wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.”  The company also operates Sons of Essex, which the duo opened at 133 Essex St. in 2011.  The plan is, apparently, to reopen Cocktail Bodega “with a brand new concept.”

“Cocktail Bodega” Set to Open Next Week

Matt Levine and his team at Cocktail Bodega are getting ready for the launch of the new venue at 205 Chrystie Street/19 Stanton Street.  Here’s a promotional image for one of the new bar’s alcohol-infused cocktails — the “Wheatgrass Jim Beam.”  We hear the Sons of Essex honcho plans to open Cocktail Bodega next week.  As Grub Street indicated recently, the place has “aluminum picnic tables and bleachers” on the main floor, while downstairs there’s “a grittier vibe, with graffitied walls, subway seats, and a dubstep-and-jungle soundtrack.”


My LES: Matt Levine

For our regular feature spotlighting the people who live and work on the Lower East Side, we talked recently with Matt Levine of the celebrity hot spot Sons of Essex. If you know someone you would like to suggest be featured in “My LES,” please email us here.

What do you do?

I wear many different hats (and I purchased them all on Orchard Street. Haha, kidding). Hospitality and operations are my passions. I co-own Cocktail Bodega and Sons of Essex with my business partner, Michael Shah. (I guess you can say I am a restaurateur.) I also own a branding, marketing and special events company based out of the LES, Brandsway Creative, with my business partner there, Kelly Brady.

Cocktail Bodega Wins Approval From CB3 Liquor Committee

Don’t you just love visual aids?  This particular graphic explains most everything you need to know about Cocktail Bodega, the fruit-smoothie themed lounge from Sons of Essex operators Matt Levine and Michael Shah.  Last night, Community Board 3’s alcohol licensing committee signaled its approval for a liquor permit at 205 Chrystie/19 Stanton.

Levine said there will be a restaurant on the first floor — a lounge on the lower level. Chef Roble (of Bravo-TV fame) is designing the menu, which will offer new twists to traditional street food.  The applicants came to the meeting last night with letters from residents in support of the project, and more than a dozen people prepared to speak in favor of the concept. Shah, a real estate developer,  recently purchased the building.

The CB3 committee signed off on a 4 a.m. closing time seven days a week. They did ask the operators to come up with a traffic management plan, since the area around Chrystie and Stanton is nightlife heavy. The Box is right there, as well as new venue Experimental Cocktail Club and the re-branded Inga at 141 Chrystie.


Cocktail Bodega from Sons of Essex Team Debuts May 15

In February, developer Michael Shah announced he had bought into 205 Chrystie/19 Stanton Street, a five-story mixed-use building.  Shah, who along with Matt Levine opened hot spot “Sons of Essex” a few months ago, said they planned a new “restaurant and lounge concept” at 205 Chrystie. Now we hear the new venue has a name and a tentative opening date.

Word is that construction is underway inside the two-level space, which will be called “Cocktail Bodega.”  If all goes according to plan, the new venue will open May 15th.

In a February news release, Shah said:

DelShah Capital absolutely loves the Lower East Side. As a neighborhood, it is further gentrifying and epitomizes the melting pot of New York City. The area is also home to some of the city’s most interesting art galleries, fashion boutiques, new restaurants and leisure locations. It’s no surprise that more and more people are moving here from all parts of the city – there is growing potential for commercial and residential real estate in this neighborhood.