Partner behind Red Lantern sees ‘restaurant with a nightlife component’ as ‘greatest Asian loft that you’ve ever walked into’
The trio of partners behind Big Night Entertainment Group — Ed Kane, Randy Greenstein, and Joe Kane — are not known for creating subtle nightlife scenes. Their hot spot the Estate is a massive, buzzing club with an interior that looks like “Gone With the Wind’’ meets the Roxy. Then there’s Shrine, Scorpion Bar, and High Rollers at the
So when the barons of booty bumping describe their latest offering, Red Lantern, as a space intended for people who don’t go to nightclubs, it sounds like a flight of fancy. But glance inside the Peter Niemitz-designed Asian restaurant, which officially opens tonight, and the Big Night partners seem true to their word: There is no dance floor or DJ booth in sight.
“Our role is to create the atmosphere,’’ said Ed Kane as he inspects the space, which sits at the border of the South End and Back Bay at 39 Stanhope St. “What we’re looking for is something very sensual, elegant, and cosmopolitan.’’
Still, the trio want the 250-seat Red Lantern to carry on Big Night’s theatrical aesthetic and late-night offerings. Food will be served until 1:30 a.m. and diners encouraged to linger after their meals.
“It’s not necessarily a nightlife component, but a social component where people will stay and dine for a while,’’ said Ed Kane. “It works in other cities, but when you do it in Boston, a lot of the food community thinks it can’t be good because there’s that social component. We’re not trying to create a nightclub that happens to serve food. We’re creating a restaurant with a nightlife component.’’
The partners enlisted Niemitz to create their vision of an Asian-influenced New York loft — transplanted into a space once occupied by a Bertucci’s. Niemitz, known for his work with Capital Grille and Smith & Wollensky among other restaurants, may seem an unlikely candidate for the project. But he has recently taken on several projects in Asia, becoming well-versed in Eastern design elements.
“Our direction has always been Old Shanghai meets midcentury Palm Springs,’’ said Niemitz, who gutted and opened up the space. “It’s a mix of modern residential and Asian artifacts.’’
While he made the space feel rustic and aged, Niemitz also needed to make the 1890 building feel more intimate. So he went with custom-built lanterns that hang above the dining room to give it a timeless feel.
“We try to stay away from recognizable trend products or trend materials that everyone can point to and say, ‘That was big in 2011,’ and in 2013, people are over it. We’re not designing this to be the hottest thing for restaurant critics or architectural design critics. They all love it, and then six months later people have moved on. The point was to create incredible longevity.’’
Longevity isn’t the first thing people necessarily think of when it comes to restaurants on Stanhope Street, a tucked away alley that has seen rooms such as Bomboa, 33, and Stix come and go in the past decade. But Daniel Newcomb, principal/broker with the Atlantic Restaurant Group, says that with Red Lantern, nearby Post 390, and a soon-to-open restaurant/lounge called Brahmin, the area is seeing new life.
“It took some time for these projects to get on track,’’ he said, “but I don’t see it as a difficult area for restaurants at all.’’
That would be good news for Big Night, which has commissioned several pieces, such as an antiqued bar-length mirror with a bamboo frame that’s made of stained glass.
“You can’t go too
Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com.