Alum combines music, bar food

Kendall Levison, Staff Writer

With new restaurants or bars popping up all over Manhattan, Pinks, located in the East Village, hopes to stand out from the crowd. In addition to serving great food, the team behind Pinks wants to turn the cozy space at 242 E. 10th St. into the East Village’s premiere rock bar.

Avi Burn, the owner of Pinks and a former NYU student, wanted the restaurant to embody Kustom Kulture, a term that originated from the car culture of the 1950s.

“Now it encompasses everything from hot rodding to rock and roll, rockabilly, tattoo culture, motorcycle culture, all sorts of things,” Burn said.

This influence is easy to spot in Pinks’ decor, which includes the grill of a ’58 Ford Thunderbird hanging above the bar, a chandelier handmade out of motorcycle parts and vintage turquoise bar stools. 

The food at Pinks is equally eclectic. Most of the menu items are snacks that are perfect for late-night sharing, such as the house-made beef brisket jerky ($7). Unlike the often bland packaged version, this jerky perfectly balances salty and sweet flavors. Spicy food lovers will want to check out the Nitro Shrimp ($9) — fried shrimp tossed in a fiery Sriracha aioli.

Pinks also serves larger meal items like burgers, tacos and its own take on chicken and waffles. Instead of fried chicken served with waffles, Pinks’ Chicken Waffles ($10) are chicken tenders that are coated with waffle batter and then fried. With chipotle maple syrup for dipping, it is hard to imagine a better late-night dish.

Pinks also serves innovative cocktails and a variety of craft beers, cider and wine — all poured from a tap made out of a gas pipe.

Music is another huge part of the experience at Pinks. The bar’s usual background music is blues, but Burn said this genre covers a diverse range of music.

“That’s a pretty wide description — everything can really be traced back to the blues,” Burn said.

No type of music, however, is excluded at the restaurant. Pinks recently hosted a Madonna party called “Like a Version,” where guests were encouraged to dress up as their favorite of the singer’s many incarnations. There are usually DJs three nights a week, including Black N Blue Fridays, which kick off with live music followed by a DJ until 4 a.m.

Burn played guitar and bass guitar for 10 years in Manhattan, and many of the musicians playing at Pinks are his friends.

“It really gives it a neighborhood vibe,” Burn said.

Burn and his team have definitely succeeded in giving Pinks a friendly, laid-back atmosphere. The restaurant has everything one would want in a perfect hangout spot — food, drinks, music, free Wi-Fi and power outlets for phones or tablets. Whether looking for rock and roll, a late-night bite to eat or just someplace to hide from the cold, Pinks is worth checking out.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Nov. 25 print edition. Email Kendall Levison at [email protected]