Behind an inconspicuous black door on a stairwell in New York’s 28th Street subway station, the person in the know will find cocktail lounge La Noxe.
The roughly 46-square-metre dimly lit bar is an oasis from the street noise and the screeching of the trains as they grind to a halt.
“I think it’s almost a bit like Alice in Wonderland-esque,” said La Noxe founder, Jey Perie.
“The energy that you have in the subway, there’s like a very tough energy, like people going from A to B, and then the rush and you’re underground. And then you enter here and it’s more like velvet and warm colors and flowers and carpets,” he said.
“I like the dichotomy of it, that contrast between the roughness of the New York streets and energy, then here it’s very peaceful.”
Perie said he was initially hesitant to set up the bar in the space because it was so small.
“But I fell in love with the location and the fact that it’s inside of a subway station is insane and it’s very unique,” he said.
Like many restaurants and bars affected by the pandemic, La Noxe (pronounced La Noche) was originally slated to open in March 2020, but delayed its opening until last October.
Perie says the novelty bar’s popularity is now another challenge and that it has a 2 000-person waiting list.
“The problem is, we’re tiny,” he said. “Only like 10 people, 12 people can be here at the same time and (with) reduced hours due to COVID, we can now only operate from like 5 p.m., 6 p.m. to midnight.”
Perie, who was born in the south of France and has lived in Barcelona, Hong Kong and Tokyo, said he fell in love with New York because of its diversity.
“A Wall Street banker can be seen next to a young designer from Brooklyn and a stripper and a policeman and all have a conversation and have a drink together,” he said.