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Interiors

Little King Bar

by Garrett Fleming

We’ve all been there. You’ve just traded in your work clothes for a pair of sweatpants, and *bam* hunger strikes. “Great. I guess it’s time to cook, ‘cuz I’m clearly not going anywhere,” you think to yourself. Or maybe you still can. If you’re a Brooklynite, I know you have a Pinterest board on how to dress up those sweatpants, so pair them with a bomber jacket and get yourself to Williamsburg’s trendy new spot Little King. The team behind it has put together a gorgeous – yet approachable – space that beckons all types, from those in their “Sunday sweats [to their] Sunday best.”

Working within a shoestring budget, the space’s designer Christina Salway had to adopt this same “anything goes” attitude while putting together the look of the restaurant. You name it, garage sales, auctions, Craigslist — no source was below Little King. In fact, these secondhand options ended up offering items with the perfect patina and character she was looking for at a fraction of big-box-store prices. To squeeze every last drop out of the budget, Christina even went so far as to hand stencil Little King’s harlequin floor herself! As you’ll see, it flows up to a lustrous bar she and the team refurbished, and the entire scene is lit by orb lights that prove one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure (the entire set was only $250). Click through to take a look at the entire space. It’s sure to not only get your eyes popping, but your stomach growling. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Jane Beiles

Little King: Where the Bar's Gilded, but the Vibe's Casual, Design*Sponge
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To keep costs down, Christina and her husband scoured Craigslist for deals on a bar, lighting -- all sourced for under $250 -- and decor that would enchant but not alienate anyone with its style. "We want our guests to know they can come by in their Sunday sweats or Sunday best, and our easy-going and friendly atmosphere will ensure everyone feels at home," Christina says.
Little King: Where the Bar's Gilded, but the Vibe's Casual, Design*Sponge
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The team behind Little King: manager and part owner Sam Esterman, executive chef Philip Vernier, interior designer Christina Salway and part owner John Moskowitz.
Little King: Where the Bar's Gilded, but the Vibe's Casual, Design*Sponge
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The team couldn't resist these golden doors when they came across the set on Craigslist. They even bought them before Little King had found a spot to call home.
Little King: Where the Bar's Gilded, but the Vibe's Casual, Design*Sponge
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Sam's brother Isaac laid this floor then Christina hand-painted the pattern with Benjamin Moore "Black Jack" and Farrow & Ball "Old White." "We let customers walk around on the floor for about two months before we sealed the paint with a Bona sealer. We wanted the pattern to get just the right amount of scuffed up before we protected it," the team tells us.
Little King: Where the Bar's Gilded, but the Vibe's Casual, Design*Sponge
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The high-end -- yet casual -- vibe means the offerings range from top shelf liquors and what's on tap to beers in cans.
Little King: Where the Bar's Gilded, but the Vibe's Casual, Design*Sponge
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A bold mirror adds a dash of dazzle to the quaint space. Another Craigslist find, the gilded beauty was crafted in France in the late 1800s.
Little King: Where the Bar's Gilded, but the Vibe's Casual, Design*Sponge
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Although it took time, finding the perfect blue hue for the banquettes got top billing in Christina's book. She didn't want the shade to be too trendy or too much like something you'd see in an outdated diner. Panache Upholstery in Queens got on board with her vision, and together they zeroed in on her dream color.
Little King: Where the Bar's Gilded, but the Vibe's Casual, Design*Sponge
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One of Little King's industrial sconces.
Little King: Where the Bar's Gilded, but the Vibe's Casual, Design*Sponge
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A sampling of chef Philip Vernier's small-plate menu offered at the new Williamsburg joint.

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Comments

  • They really did a great job creating an atmosphere that welcomes several types of people. The fact that they scoured for the home decor makes this bar even more interesting and welcoming.

  • It’s all quite lovely. The only thing that may need attention is the bare “white”wall leading into the kitchen. I recommend geometric wallpaper or hand painted shapes…Art Deco style or G Klimt inspired design…

  • Amazing! I need to shoot over to Williamsburg and check it out! I can definitely see myself sipping a cocktail at that great bar.

  • Great colors! I’ve always wanted to become a publican and run a friendly bar like this… keeping the dream alive!

    It’s fun to see behind the scenes of the interior design process of a business – where budgets and branding really come into play.

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