Red Pavilion, a new eatery-slash-venue in Bushwick that opened on March 14, is a unique union of various enjoyments for both dim sum and nightlife lovers, reports The New York Post.
Founded by Shien Lee, a Taipei-born nightlife producer who also runs an entertainment agency, and traditional Chinese medicine chef and Shanghai native Zoey Xinyi Gong, the vibe of the Red Pavilion is intended to be authentic, accessible and community-focused.
“I would have loved to do some kind of really smoky, opium den-y, sexy cabaret-style venue but we wanted someplace that people could go for a relaxed time,” stated the business's co-founder Shien Lee. She is confident in her decision not to make Red Pavilion a place where attendees felt pressure to “put on the red lipstick and get dressed, but a more playful, fun concept.”
Guests can enjoy traditional Chinese medicine-inspired teas and a wellness-focused menu from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. But, in the evening the space transforms as neon lights and smoke machines turn on for a wide array of theatrical programming ranging from jazz nights to Japanese rope bondage. Then, on Sundays, from noon to 3 p.m., there’s dim sum.
“You know, there are places in Williamsburg that say they have dim sum, which is fine but it’s not a traditional dim sum,” Lee continued. “We actually push a cart around.”
Although the aesthetic of the Red Pavilion is intended to be “David Lynch meets Wong Kar-wai,” inspiration for the space emerged from a combination of recent events.
“The concept really came through during Covid when everybody was very separated and of course lots of [anti-Asian] hate crimes were happening in our community,” said Lee, who was herself the victim of a subway attack.
Both Lee and Gong who have been residents of Bushwick for several years, feel that the neighborhood — though full of great Asian food — lacks space for the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. And in many ways, the both authentic and kitschy style of the Red Pavilion is their answer to this gap.