Hot off the heels of his latest restaurant debut (Oolite), local chef/restaurateur Kris Wessel is taking his first step into the nightlife scene with an art and music bar called A.I.R. An acronym for "artist in residence," the 2,000 square-foot A.I.R. is named for the signs placed in the early days of SoHo New York to alert visitors there was an artist occupying a loft, and is located right next door to Oolite (but will operate as an independent bar). Wessel's vision is for AIR to provide a weekly rotation of live, house and spun music, as well as a space for various artists to showcase a rotation of contemporary and progressive art (and, of course, a full liquor bar, craft beers and food offerings).
Wessel and partner Roman Cherstvov have brought in longtime friend Jeff Vaughan, a designer whose portfolio includes gigs with NY's Studio 54 and Area in the mid 80s, to create the bar. "We have wall space for different artists and we have friends in the community who are artists, so we're giving them the space and then we're going to do a roster of both music and art that changes every week," says Wessel, adding that "early evening to late at night, we'll always have music and we'll always have art — nothing pretentious, nothing fancy, just a cool locals bar." A.I.R. opens this Friday, August 1 at 7 p.m. (with live music from Jolt Radio) and will thereafter be open Thursday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.
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[Photo Courtesy of A.I.R.]