A relative newcomer to the Harlem restaurant scene, Vinatería opened in April of this year. The bar and kitchen distinguishes itself from the competition with an impressive list of wine and spirits and a unique interior. Owner Yvette Leeper-Bueno, a Harlem resident, hired Jonsara Ruth, director of the interior design MFA at Parsons, to create an environmentally-conscious space that is both upcycled and an update to the “flea market” look.
Within a year’s time, Ruth and her team of collaborators found their materials, almost all of which have been reused, combining surfaces such as wood, stainless steel, perforated felt, glass, and the occasional “new” layer of aluminum. Fritz Karch, former collecting editor at Martha Stewart Living, acquired many of the restaurant’s furnishings–including the bar, chalkboards, and church pews–at flea markets and secondhand stores in the area. Meanwhile, James Scott created the laser-cut aluminum panels that cast shadows onto the restaurant floor. Two artists collaborated on the walls. Martin Mahoney of Mirabilis Finishes plastered the walls in black and white, using Italy’s marmorino technique for the dark walls and Japan’s shikkui method for the white. Then, artist and stylist Helen Quinn painted “wall tattoos” of two nautilus and a rhinoceros. The finished space, while predominantly gray, brings color into its neutral palette and juxtaposes soft shadows with mirror-esque metallics. With decor as enticing as almost any plate or drink, Vinatería is a true uptown destination.