Hayne Suthon of Lucky Cheng’s has just launched a grungier sibling of the famed drag-queen cabaret. Named Bento Burger, it’s billed as “a dystopian-futuristic Asian roadhouse.” The sci-fi décor is straight out of Blade Runner. Table installations made of wood grain formica and booths covered in red and black vinyl line up against a vast graffiti mural (by Gaber Gabe). The result is an uncanny resemblance to the interior of an abandoned subway station.
An apocalyptic mood pervades the space: tangled neon beer signs form an unlikely chandelier and impart a colorful glow against the padded wall wrapped in white faux-leather; the matte gray ceiling is encrusted with found objects (inspired by scenes from another movie, THX 1138); chairs are tattooed with a decoupage of Japanese anime and finished with an iridescent glaze; anime video loops run on a series of flat-screens; and the unassuming exterior evokes a Tokyo back alley.
Designer Miguel Calvo (the designer behind the cocktail bar Cienfuegos) said he wanted the cinematic combination of “Asian elements fused with gritty street scenes” to create a futuristic space that nods to the artistic and cultural diversity of the East Village.