Owning and operating bars and restaurants in NYC is tough – but Kyle O’Brien seemingly has it all figured out, and now has a mini-empire of places all around town. There’s Hotel Chantelle for the party crowd, The Garret (the original sits atop a Five Guys in the West Village, and is only accessible through a back entrance of the burger joint) for a chill cocktail vibe, dinnertable for an elevated dining experience and Williamsburg Pizza for late night eats, among others.
O’Brien started off in the biz as a nightclub promoter and has managed to find success in the world of F+B. We caught up with him to chat about everything from his fave hangouts, go-to cocktails and tried-and-true hangover cures. So without further ado, let’s go…
Drinking With Kyle O’Brien
State your name & title & where you work & where you live for the record.
Kyle O’Brien owner and partner of Hotel Chantelle, The Garret, The Garret East, The Regal, dinnertable, Profundo and Williamsburg Pizza
I live in good Chelsea, NY for so long and only in two apartments.
How did you get started in the biz? What was your first hospitality job?
I started in the Biz as a late teenager as a promoter at a mega club called Exit in NYC (ed. note: us, too!). Then shortly after, I was thrust into bottle service style lounges of the late 90’s early 2000’s; Veruka was the game changer with Tim Spuches and Massimo Lusardi.
What is your current go-to drink order?
The 2 lime crew at The Garret – Titos Soda two limes. Works every time!
I’ve got a few: charcoal lemonade, tons of water and a good sweat really works great
Best late night – aka drunk – eats?
Pizza @ Williamsburg pizza #duh. Also, I do love me some late night WoHop – spent a lot of my youth there.
Do you drink coffee or tea? Any favorite local spots to mention, how do you drink it and how many times a day/week?
I’m a tea guy and used to love going to Teany on Rivington back in the day. Soho House has a nice selection or Chiltern Fire House was my local when I lived in London, but my Nana made the best tea on the earth.
What are your favorite bars in NYC:
- Classics: my absolute favorite is [Peter] McManus in Chelsea; also, Tavern on Jane, JG Melon on the Upper East, and funny enough, a few of my friends love O’Nieal’s in Little Italy to watch the Sex and the City tours come in. It never gets old.
- Best places to go on an expense account: Sushi Nakazawa (thanks, Rory Bacon)
- Where do you take out-of-towners for cocktails for an “Only in NYC” experience? PDT has the wow factor from the entry like The Garret. Also, The Campbell in Grand Central is a really cool cocktail experience.
Special shout to any bartenders or drinks makers out there that you do your best to visit and you think deserve some special love?
Justin McManus at McManus, Grant Wheeler/Aleksey at The Garret properties, Adam Lipiec and Steve Escobar at Hotel Chantelle/Profundo/The Regal, and Scott Whitcomb at UVA,
Spill it …. shameless what are you working on right now/what’s next?
Currently working on a sports club, and a hotel property called the Oasis in Rincon PR.