The Museum of Sex has a brand new Art Bar called Play, and it will open to the public on Thursday October 10th. Play lures the inquiring customer to come inside and discover sexuality through all the senses.
Tucked away on East 27th street, adjacent to the Museum of Sex, Play is dimly lit and eager to please. As soon as you walk through the doors, you are greeted with sweet and spicy aromas. Soft purple and orange lighting set the mood in the den area. The space is very intimate and exclusive, which helps the patron feel comfortable enough to start exploring the world of sexuality through food, drink and art. Songs like “Pony” by Ginuwine and “Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake linger in the background to help set the mood. The swanky leather couches allow people to sit in their own little private nooks between tall shelves of books. Different erotic and enticing art pieces engage the viewer with strong visual appeal. There is also a multimedia installment on one wall called “What is Mine Is Yours," by Dana Gringras, which plays on repeat through small cutouts in the white brick wall.
Old school Playboy magazines decorate the tables, making anyone feel like they just found someone’s secret stash. The bar area is in the back of the space with the brightly lit “Garden of Earthly Delights," by Hieronymus Bosch as the focal point. The piece perfectly symbolizes the bar’s sinful and pleasing charm. Even the bathrooms invite you with mystery. One door reads “door no.1, "and the other, “door no.2”. Inside there is a semi opaque wall behind the sink that allows you to see the shadowy movements of the person on the other side. It's mysterious and alluring at the same time.
The menu, spanning more than 10 pages, is an art piece in itself. It helps the customer take a journey through his or her own sexuality, while offering them treats to open their senses. The menu displays an array of tantalizing food and cocktail options, along with different sensual art pieces on every other page. Flirting, fondling and f*cking sections guide you through the different “stages” of food you can choose from. Starting with Szechuan peanuts (flirting), Beef tongue (fondling) and red curry beef short rib (f*cking). The drinks are also far from average. Every cocktail is carefully crafted to appeal to the sensual palette. There is a cocktail called “Julia Childs’ Fan Mail” made with gin, sherry and celery bitters and another called "The Monkey Man” made with banana liqueur, cinnamon, vanilla, lime and pineapple. One of the most seductive drinks on the menu would be the “Rosebud”, made with rosebud infused liqueur and topped with a real rosebud. The flavor is smoky, sexy and definitely pleasing. If cocktails just aren't your thing, there are also plenty of pages of top-shelf liquor options as well as different red and white wines and plenty of beers.
We had the opportunity to speak with Daniel Gluck, the executive director of the Museum of Sex, about his vision behind the bar. He explains that Play was created to be a branch of the museum that would be able to cater to all the senses. He says the aphrodisiacs and aromas of the different food and drinks help create a world where one can understand sexuality. He points to the Bowie art piece behind one of the leather couches and explains how he is one of their idols--they have created a shrine for him in the den area. He wants people to explore sexuality visually. Daniel also explains that they will be doing exhibitions at Play called artist cocktails. Each one will feature that certain artist’s take on sexuality. The first one is a project by Bompas and Parr based off of “Crush Porn”. Select artists will crush up fruit with their feet. This liquefied fruit will then be put into the now empty bottles that already decorate one wall in the den to be later served as cocktails for guests.
Play is a very intimate space, but don’t let that stop you from bringing your whole group of friends. There are big semi circular booths across from the bar for larger groups to sit, and there are plenty of seats at the bar if you are choosing to ride solo. The food, the drinks, the books, the art, the music, the lighting, and the scents are all carefully crafted to cater to an inviting ambiance of sexuality. Play not only invites you to explore sexuality, it also allows you to create new and exciting experiences through all that it offers.Anyone looking for something more than just a typical bar scene or just looking for a new and exciting experience should check out Play on 1 East 27th street. This new bar does not disappoint and offers an unforgettable experience for all who dare to delve into the unknown, let loose and come play.