Inside the newest lounge in Crown Heights, it’s all about the details.
For dual owners Norman Escoffery and Chadon Charles, their bar creation opened in early June is a reflection of a space they would drink in — equipped with amazing cocktails, great music, and no televisions.
According to Charles, “We built a bar that we wanted to hang in and built it based on our taste, our life experiences, and our expectations.”
Escoffery added, “We wanted a place where people could kick back, have a nice drink and good conversation.”
The longtime college friends — Escoffery attended Long Island University C.W. Post while Charles attended Long Island University Brooklyn — have more than just dollar signs invested into Drink Lounge, located on 768 Franklin Ave. between Sterling and Lincoln places.
Each piece of furniture, slab of wood on the floor, and built-in armoire behind the bar has their hands and sweat carved into it.
“I’m never happy with what other people do. We didn’t have a designer; my partner and I sat down and decided what we wanted,” Escoffery explained. “Took us a good four to six weeks of hardcore planning where I probably spent anywhere from 70 to 90 hours on a computer modeling stuff out. Our hands are in every part of this room.”
Building out the bar, staining it with a particular finish, and the choice of the royal purple patterned wallpaper were all hand selected by the partners.
Even the flooring, Charles found it in a dumpster ready to be trashed from an apartment building on Sterling Place. While Escoffery and their contractor thought he was crazy, they managed to trust his vision.
“His exact question was, ‘what are you doing?’ Granted, I was standing on top of a dumpster up to my knees in wood holding wood up saying this is our floor and he was like ‘yeah right.’ But, he still rocked with me and dealt with the pain,” Charles said.
Formerly Charles’ tattoo shop, the dual owners approached Drink Lounge with a distinct image in their head, which acts as their anchor to stick to a few rules.
Unlike other bars in the area there are no television screens and the bartenders will not serve any Long Island Iced Teas – a popular drink featuring four different liquors and is topped off with Coke.
“People ask about TV all the time, and we’ve gotten into vigorous debates about it. That’s not what we want to do. There are people that come in here and intuitively they get it,” Escoffery said.
With just four months under their belt, Drink Lounge continues to greet new faces with a growing number of regular patrons daily.
The owners continue to focus on figuring out how to improve upon their vision to ultimately benefit the community they serve. In the coming months, the owners have a few plans coming down the pipeline, including adding on a brunch menu and much more.
“We’re still learning as we go. We’re complete novices,” Escoffery said. “Our goal is by next summer is to be really established in the neighborhood and have the things in the room figured out that we want to figure it out.”