Design drives Robinhood's new posh Hudson Lounge
Like a Palm Spring mirage, the bright-eyed Hudson Lounge has emerged in the midst of the Robinhood Street turmoil as the Rice Village warehouse district's den of all things posh.
Design is the driving force behind the new bar, which is logical considering that its developers, Adam and Alexander Kliebert, are the sons of an architect and were immersed in design as children. The duo are themselves operators of a custom home gig and opted to develop the property as a distraction during the recent real estate lull.
The 1950 building is sheathed in stark white, from the thick stucco walls to the custom-made white marble tables and sweeping bar. This eye for design seeps into the bathrooms, where the sleek white marble countertop makes for an ideal platform for resting your rum or coke.
Hudson hides a few other suave tricks up its sleeve, such as flat screen televisions behind the bar, that when not in use for curated film content, are shielded from view by one-way mirrors. A pavilion in the back stores a stash of wine chosen by Keith Thompson (formerly of Benjy's and The Tasting Room) and is available for busy nights and VIP events. It's a far cry from the building's former uses as an office and the Southampton Montessori School.
Hudson's centerpiece is its back patio, where a line of palms stands watch over an open space punctuated by a sea of ultramarine recycled glass rocks, bridged by massive cement pavers. It is in this enclave that the brothers Kliebert have paid the most successful tribute to the building's mid-century modern origins.
Monumental swiveling glass and steel doors at both ends of the main bar deliver a natural breeze, and while the layout creates an ideal realm for people watching, it also begs for an impromptu runway show. Adam found inspiration for his design-driven establishment from years spent living in Barcelona and Milan, and the Mediterranean influence shows in the lounge's clean, unpretentious gloss.
Hudson isn't all about glam galavanting — there's substance and sustenance to be discovered on the bar menu, which was conceived collaboratively with chef Dylan Murray of two-blocks-away Benjy's. Small plates ring in at a flat $12, with desserts costing $6. The menu's still evolving (an outdoor grill is en route), but for now guests can indulge in short rib nachos with white cheddar and horseradish or sesame crusted pork lollipops.
Shitake mushroom-edamame dip with chili scented crostini and sea salt smoked nuts and crispy oven flat bread with preserved lemon raita will sate the veggie munchies. Indulgence hits a high note with duck and brie-based dishes, spicy green tomato and local shrimp ceviche and a signature "bar salad": Pecan chicken lettuce wraps with vodka tomato vinaigrette and popcorn croutons. Manning the stove is Washington Avenue vet Christopher Latterman of Max's Wine Dive, Laurenzo's and Rainbow Lodge. Angie Gonzalez, a recruit from Soma and Haven, will play the part of bar manager, curating a roster of ever-evolving seasonal cocktails.
It's a pity that Hudson has launched on the brink of winter since its palette evokes sizzling summer nights, but perhaps it's for the best that the new lounge keeps us waiting for the sweltering weather to return. If anything, the lounge's appearance is another signal of change in this oft-ignored section on the fringe of Rice Village and Southampton, which hides multiple architecture firms and design ateliers like Found for the Home. Next up for Adam and Alexander Kliebert: a chichi boutique hotel just around the corner.
Hudson Lounge is located at 2506 Robinhood. Hours of operation are Sunday and Monday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Tuesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.