Lolita, The Bar

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As suburbanites, most of us in Verona don’t get to the Lower East Side of Manhattan much. Katie Kutscher, however, does. A Verona resident for the past five years, she is also the owner of Lolita Bar, a Broome Street venue where art, music, comedy and mixology coexist.

Kutscher, originally from Detroit, and a graduate of  Michigan State University, started her professional career in the marketing department for Universal Records. After several years in the music business, and a very quick climb up the corporate ladder, Kutscher realized she was missing something from her life. Booking bands for campus events in college and throwing parties for bands professionally was close, but there was a lack of intimacy. Kutscher quit her job and launched the quest to create her own music venue. In 2000, Lolita Bar, named after a vintage sign in a nearby store, was born.

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In an historic raw space, formerly home to a plumbing supply company, Kutscher created a venue for the arts. Whether that art is reading, writing, singing, photography, painting, sculpture, or mixing the perfect drink, Lolita Bar is home to six art shows annually, the Spoken Word (an open forum for poetry, thoughts, readings), Tell Your Friends (a comedy night), debates, Meetup groups, and of course, music.

Kutscher, a mother of two, loves not only owning a music venue, but the flexibility and creativity she has with Lolita Bar. “I never wanted to just sell beer. I like creativity and the experience it allows for customers,” she says. She also shows off her creativity in Lolita Bar’s decor, which got a big lift from an unusual source: Verona’s antiques and vintage clothing boutique Vintage Alley.

Although Kutscher did bartend for seven years, she now utilizes her “amazing staff” who keep the bar safe and running smoothly. Her award-winning mixologist, Matt Friedlander, keeps the creativity flowing well beyond the art adorning the walls with beverage masterpieces such as The Lolita, Purple Haze, Apples & Honey,  and Ode to Irene.

Lolita Bar is located at 266 Broome Street (at the corner of Allen Street). The bar hours are from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. Sunday through Saturday. The phone number is (212) 966-7223.

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Photos copyright Katie Kutscher. Used by permission.

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