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Published March 19, 2012

What a Gem
Parisian Sexiness in Downtown Crossing

Let’s say you had a mistress.

You don’t, but let’s say you did.

You’d want to take her someplace dark. With sexy, red-velvet booths. And mean martinis.

Well, we found you a place. Again, not that you need it...

Get ready for Gem Restaurant & Lounge, a new martini-riffic spot for your next sensual rendezvous (with a mistress or otherwise), slated to open this weekend in Downtown Crossing.

Rising up in the old Kennedy’s pub, this place has the general sexiness of a boutique Paris hotel. You know: walls of exposed brick and dark wallpaper, ornately upholstered armchairs and lampshades with little tassels (the true mark of Parisian style).

The plan: you’ll come in with a mistress or a hungry second date in tow, sustenance-ing with some shrimp and grits and the beef- and boar-heavy penne Bolognese. Or just belly up to the 30-foot, stone-carved bar for an Aviation gin martini and classic rye-laden Sazeracs in the oversized, insanely plush swiveling bar thrones (warning: you may not get up from these... ever).

And to finish the night, you’ll head into the back room, which feels like the kind of cozy den where Gertrude Stein might’ve hosted Hemingway during the ’20s. Think: gray velvet couches, armless high-backed chairs... and a custom sound system.

Ms. Stein’s gramophone could not be reached for comment.
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Photo: Melissa Ostrow