Nurse Bettie Bar

3_view from shelf bar looking towards entryView from shelf bar looking towards entry

Located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, this project is a funky bar with a 50’s pin-up girl theme which combines vintage and modern accents and fuses newer, sleek elements with those with a rough, patinaed edge. At approximately 415 sf, the size of the space posed a design challenge, as there was a strong desire to separate out different zones of activity within the bar. The front of the bar provides an area with banquette seating for group conversation that activates the bar’s entry, while beyond is the bar itself, which forms a peninsula wrapped by 50’s chrome bar stools. These also sit in front of the shelf bar which frames Nurse Bettie’s central space.
Project Team:
Vanessa Keith, Karolin Keilbar
Photos (c):
Tom Sibley Photography / Wilk Marketing Communications
Read more about the project at:
The L Magazine:
Time Out New York: out NY.jpg

2_view from entry into spaceBar entry


4_custome banquette seating area and bar Banquette seating area and bar


The banquette at the back of the bar is perhaps one of the most intimate spaces, and is envisioned as a space for conversation between two people. Lighting is incorporated into the backs of the banquettes and is allowed to gently wash the walls. The floor is exposed concrete and steel beams, and the bar itself has a base composed of multiple strips of salvaged blackened steel. The bar top is made of individual cubes of red oak with a dark stain and a steel edge. The bathroom has a clerestory window made from a salvaged Ratner’s door, and the door itself, also salvaged, has a wonderful patina of years’ worth of multiple layers of paint. The ceiling sports a collage of pin-ups from period magazines, and customers are challenged to find the one hidden image of the notorious Bettie Page. Reproductions of period artwork by Gil Elvgren grace the walls and are the work of Brian Life (


6_red oak shelf bar and vintage bar stools Shelf bar and vintage stool


10_red oak bar with blackened steel base  Red oak bar with salvaged blackened steel accents


13_view from barView from bar toward entry


9_vintage pin up ceilling collageVintage pin up ceiling collage


Starting the night in the bar