Kixby Hotel Debuts In Herald Square With Rockwell Designed Eateries

Kixby Hotel Lot 15 Bar
The bar in Lot 15 in the Hotel Kixby lobby (photo by Melissa Hom)
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Rich in history, pulsing with life, and constantly changing, Herald Square feels like the true crossroads of Manhattan — a neighborhood whose often-overlooked architectural splendor reflects its Gilded Age roots.

Now, with the rebirth of one of its storied buildings, Herald Square is about to get the hotel it deserves. The new Kixby Hotel is set to reclaim charm of the stunning 1901 building that housed a legendary luxury hotel, the Collingwood, a century ago.

With public spaces designed by Rockwell Group, Kixby will bring sophistication, history, and wit to Herald Square — along with a sense of intimacy, warmth, and the personal attention of a true boutique hotel.

“Herald Square has always  been the heart of New York, and, at this time of resurgence, Kixby will give guests a prime place to experience it,” said co-owner and managing partner Justin Arest, whose family has operated a hotel on the site since 1995. The area, known to many as being home to the Macy’s flagship and once to the New York Herald, has been reinventing itself over the past two decades. “It has become the ideal mix of history, energy and personality, drawing the best traits from neighboring NoMad and Times Square.  The Kixby will reintroduce many to the neighborhood that, in the early 1900s, was a stone’s throw to the flagships of Tiffany & Co., B. Altman & Co., and Gimbels.”

Today, Kixby’s location puts the Empire State Building, shopping, Broadway theaters, the High Line, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, Hudson Yards and many other attractions within a walk or easy commute.

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The Kixby’s culinary offerings will feature NYC’s inaugural Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer. The eatery is  celebrated worldwide for burgers and shakes. Black Tap is the new take on a classic burger joint with a downtown New York vibe all its own. The menu offers something for everyone from signature burgers like the All-American, The Vegan Burger, and the award-winning Greg Norman Burger, along with chicken sandwiches, burger salads, wings, and snacks and sides. Black Tap’s famous CrazyShake® milkshakes have reached worldwide acclaim with their whimsical and over-the-top flavors such as the Churro Choco Taco and the Cookies ‘N Cream Supreme. Since opening its first 15-seat location in NYC’s Soho neighborhood, Black Tap has expanded to the West  Coast with locations in Las Vegas and Anaheim at the Disneyland Resort, and internationally to Dubai, Geneva, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

Black Tap CrazyShake
Black Tap’s CrazyShake Bar in the Hotel Kixby (photo by Melissa Hom),

Like the Kixby, Black Tap offers a smart spin on tradition with inspiration from classic burger joints and an old-school New York vibe. Designed by Rockwell Group, the restaurant features a stand-alone CrazyShake® Bar, an installation made of 4,000 custom-designed cassette tapes, and an oversized neon boombox.

Based in New York with a satellite office in Madrid, Rockwell Group is an interdisciplinary architecture and design firm that emphasizes innovation and thought leadership in every project. Founded by David Rockwell, FAIA, and led by David and partners Shawn Sullivan and Greg Keffer, the 250-person firm merges theater, performance and architecture to create extraordinary experiences and built environments across the globe. Projects include Nobu restaurants and hotels worldwide; Black Tap (Las Vegas and Singapore); Warner Music Group (Los  Angeles); W Hotels; and Broadway set designs for She Loves Me andTootsie.

Earlier this summer, the Kixby opened “The Lookup” on the hotel’s roof with unbeatable views of the Empire State Building.  With the Empire State Building as its “backyard”  Julie Mulligan and Chris Barish from the Black Tap team partnered with Kixby on The Lookup.  It features a rooftop bar with smart bar bites and cocktails curated by mixologist Pamela Wiznitzer, formerly of the Seamstress and the Dead Rabbit. Both the restaurant and the rooftop lounge mix a playful edge with sophisticated, old-world style that syncs perfectly with Kixby’s spirit.

The Rockwell design at The Lookup is highlighted by a green wall with a neon sign that  greets guests in The Lookup. The three-season space has a summery, crisp, and clean aesthetic, with black and white elements that draw the spirit of Black Tap up to the roof. Tabletops and furniture in bright colors give the space a playful feeling.

In its previous life as the Hotel Metro, the hotel earned a loyal repeat clientele from around the world. Many on the hotel’s team, including its general manager, head of housekeeping and director of sales, have been with the property for 25 years and will stay to welcome guests at Kixby. Arest’s partners in Kixby are Ira Drukier and Richard Born of the renowned BD Hotels, which owns some of New York’s most stylish lodgings.

A namesake character will also animate Kixby. Mr. Kixby is a compilation of the known and imagined characters that have lent themselves to Kixby’s history. He was a resident of the original Collingwood and tended bar there in the early 20th Century. Local lore paints English-born Mr. Kixby as a fabulous raconteur, pioneering artist, and inventive mixologist — a dapper, whimsical, slightly rakish presence.  Kixby takes inspiration from his name and his spirit; its understated luxury blends Beaux-Arts splendor with clean, modern style that embraces and energizes guests from the minute they enter.

New York based Rockwell Group’s spin on history  in the Kixby starts in its lobby.  Working with Arest, Rockwell Group crafted an atmosphere that has a modernized members’-only club feel, with a mix of classic elements, such as rich hardwood floors and fluted dark wood paneling. Modern takes on traditional furniture in plush fabrics like velvet and leather nod to the hotel’s past. A feature wall comprised of bronze screens – a latticed work of art inspired by New York’s classic metal elevator gates – illuminates the room.

“Rockwell Group had an amazing opportunity to create a collection of spaces that brings a new social experience to the hotel,” says Shawn Sullivan, Partner, Rockwell Group. “Juxtaposing modern and traditional, our design concept embraces the building’s history while adding a contemporary layer that feels vibrant and relevant today.”

Guests are greeted at a front reception desk crafted with warm woods and reflective slatted metal.  Kixby associates will be ready with iPads to offer swift check-ins and answer any guest questions. Walking through the lobby, past a curated “book cabinet” featuring New York-themed books, leads to the hotel’s cocktail lounge, Lot 15, which is also operated by the Black Tap team, and offers guests and locals a destination to experience old-New York mixed with elegant yet approachable cocktails and delicious fare. Executive Chef Stephen Parker curated a menu that evokes nostalgia through classic dishes with modern-day twists, such as a bite-sized Hot Honey Crispy Chicken Skins and Wagyu Steak Sandwich, as well as a ‘Sweet Tooth’ section.

The cocktail menu by Mixologist Cameron Shaw showcases familiar yet elevated options like a vegan Whiskey Sour with bonded bourbon and aquafaba, and the Airmail, a Daiguri and French 75 lovechild with honey.

Lot 15 has a gritty, sophisticated feeling, with a dark palette that features gold accents, exposed brick and charred black wood walls in a chevron pattern. With black leather banquettes, high-top seating, custom drapery, art installations by contemporary muralist Fumero, and even its own DJ booth, the space is a destination in itself unlike anything else in the neighborhood.

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