Kareem Bunton has been around.
His musical collaborations have included the estimable likes of Run the Jewels, Prefuse 73 and TV on the Radio. He’s also been at the center of the scenes at such venerated NYC nightlife spots as Mr. Fongs, VON, Union Pool, and even Max Fish.
Now he’s taking it all to Bushwick, packing every bit of that experience into a outrageous but welcomingly democratic new venue, fittingly monikered Bunton’s World Famous. The location choice is no surprise, as New York nightlife has found a new incubator in the once decidedly insalubrious Brooklyn neighborhood. But the “mission” may surprise, as it’s meant to convey the vibe of a Tangier hotel bar – albeit one that draws a steady stream of urban cool kids.
Top image by Hannah Grankvist; This image by Taylor Sesselman
“What I like best about the’90s scene,” he says, “was that it didn’t really matter what you had in your pocket or what you did in the daytime. Looking good, being a great dancer, or just having a lovely personality were often enough to get you through the door. Building a space is easy, creating a scene is not. To do this we are attempting to build a sense of community by hiring old school DJ’s and youngsters.”
The interior space is not what you would call cavernous – but there’s a 1400 square foot patio, with a lushness that may indeed transport you to your favorite tropical destination. But to further attest to the unconventional exoticism at work here, drinks will nod to tiki bars and to sexy sultriness of New Orleans after dark – all while eschewing the preening nature of the current crop of over-concepted cocktail lounges.
“Think flavored daiquiris, hurricanes, rum runners,” says Bunton. “Lucas Moran of Mr. Fongs will be designing the menu. It’s usually my preference to keep cocktails simple and quick to make. Waiting 10 minutes for a drink while listening to an unsolicited speech about botanicals is not my idea of a good time.”
Image by Claire de Lespinois
It’s telling that Bunton’s World Famous has already embarked upon ambitious artistic collaborations for what will be an assortment of rotating retail fashions – they expect to quickly have fans who want to wear the brand. (The inaugural collection includes an attention-grabbing assortment of snapback hats and long & short sleeve 100% cotton T’s available at buntonsworldfamous.com).
What is most germane to BWF’s mission, however, is a sense of egalitarianism – that starving artists and thriving art dealers can hang side by side, and groove together on the dancefloor to unforgettable nights of old-school hip-hop and the like.
“Because I love consistency,” he explains, “we are going to structure the schedule by genre rather than promoters or weekly residents. Different DJs will be able to share their interpretations of reggae, afrobeat, nuyorican soul.”
Perhaps a classic ’80s rap from The World Famous Supreme Team would best sum it up: “You gotta make them dance you out your doggone shoes.”
World famous, indeed.
Above images by Claire de Lespinois
(Bunton’s World Famous merch items – including a camper/dad hat, snapback hat, long & short sleeve 100% cotton T’s – are available at buntonsworldfamous.com)
Blackbook invites you to celebrate the Grand Opening of Bunton’s World Famous during New York Fashion Week on Friday, 15 February 2019 at 7pm located at 1005 Broadway in Bushwick, Brooklyn. RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org
Image by Hannah Grankvist