We catch up with the Dickens owner Bryan Hannon as they approach their first anniversary
Hi Bryan. Congratulations on your first year of business. How are you feeling?
Wow, what a fast year! It’s hard to believe we are approaching this milestone already. It feels like we were signing the lease only yesterday, but at the same time, it feels like the Dickens has been here forever. I am feeling very grateful every day.
How has your first year open been?
It has been beyond amazing. We are always in awe of the love and support from the community since the first day we opened our doors. Strangers have become regulars; regulars have become friends and we continue to work on building and expanding this everyday here at the Dickens.
Tell us a bit about where your inspiration for the Dickens came from?
The Dickens concept was always to be an elevated LGBTQ+ cocktail bar and restaurant. To offer something a little different in Hell’s Kitchen than was currently available. Also, to have multiple spaces for private events and celebrations.
We wanted to focus on quality cocktails, delicious food and creating a unique vibe that anyone could feel at home in. Being from Ireland, I wanted to bring the world-famous Irish hospitality to the LGBTQ+ bars of the area. I wanted it to be somewhere people can come for a date, with their friends or family for an amazing meal, enjoy a martini or dance the night away, all under the same roof.
What have been some of your highlights in the last year?
Nothing will ever beat opening the doors on day one. It was always my dream to open my own bar. After 13 years in NYC working in many different types of bars and restaurants, being able to open not only my own business but to open one for the LGBTQ+ community, which I have always been extremely proud to be a part of, has been amazing.
Our first Pride Month also stands out in my mind. The entire month, the feeling of love and celebration was infectious. We also opened our rooftop at the same time, which felt like the beginning of a whole new chapter for the Dickens.
Oh, and Sasha Colby coming to celebrate after winning her crown on Finale Night of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 was an incredible night!
What does the Dickens have in store for year two and beyond?
So much! We are continuously growing, learning and working on being the best we can be. We love feedback from our customers and take everything on board to make sure we are giving the people what they want and constantly improving.
We have some revamps planned for a couple of our event spaces and are already planning for an early Spring Rooftop reopening, with many fun new ideas and a new décor. We never stop working on new food and cocktails to keep things fresh and interesting.
We aspire to become a staple for the LGBTQ+ community in NYC and we aim to be around a long time. We also foresee another Dickens location in the coming few years…
Anything you want to let our readers know about current goings on at the Dickens?
Of course! We have lots going on every week. Bottomless Cocktail offerings Monday-Thursday, Bottomless Bingo Brunch with Jacklynn Hyde Saturday and Sunday, DJ’s Wednesday-Saturday Nights. We are open till 3 AM Thursday through Saturday with a Late Night Happy Hour from midnight with $6 Well Mixed Drinks and $5 Well Shots.
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram
@thedickensnyc or check our website
www.thedickensnyc.com to keep up to date with everything.
And how about you? When you are not at the Dickens, where do you like to go?
Other than the Dickens haha, Flex is my favorite bar. They opened this year also and we all love the place. It has such a welcoming vibe and the staff is amazing. We were both nominated for Best Bar and Best Newcomer in the W42nd St Best of 2023 Awards, and it was a privilege to be nominated alongside them.
Any last words before I let you go?
I just want to say a huge heartfelt thank you to every single customer who has supported us over the last year. The Dickens is nothing without all of you. Also a huge thank you to our amazing staff and my business partners Michael and Patrick McNamee, the owners of PMacs Hospitality who believed in the vision of the Dickens and made it all possible.
Year two, here we come!