The window display suggests a risqué costume rental store, while the interior is somewhere between an antique boutique and a junk shop. In fact there’s so much cool stuff to see at The Keep in New York that at first glance you might miss the bar, for that is primarily what this Bushwick/Ridgewood borderland place is. By day, a boozy cafe and vintage shop with rustic Roman small plates on the menu and any number of reading-friendly little corners to curl up in, while by night the possibilities are endless: live music, tarot readings, film noir nights and dinner theatre are among the planned events.
Stephanie Castillo is responsible for the entertainment and the decoration. A raver from way back (1980s NYC clubs and the Alphabet City neighbourhood), she has a knack for getting a party started and an eye for a souvenir from her many travels – souvenirs that now festoon every inch of The Keep’s interior. Antique paintings, dolls, mirrors, tea sets, and church pews hail from places such as Nigeria, Peru, Britain, Thailand, Italy, and France, as well as some native New York mementoes. Stephanie’s husband Diego, originally from Mexico City, has overseen the refreshment selection, having tended bar in some of the city’s favourite venues including Apizz in the Lower East Side, where he is currently manager.