Pawn and Co is an operational pawn shop that's also a 1920s-themed bar-nightclub. It could only have been conceived of by the likes of Josh Lefers and Steven Wools – the guys behind Big Dog creative, Doss Blockos beer, and in Lefer’s case, kitschy Chinese restaurant Happy Palace. They’ve put together a good-looking space, albeit backed by a confusing concept.
In looks, it’s Boardwalk Empire: old books line the walls and vintage armchairs fill the room. Everything in the bar, from your seat to the creepy mink's-head fur stole peering down at you, is for sale. They even hold nights where you can try to sell your own stuff.
There are cocktails, most of which are absinthe-based. The classic Arsenic and Old Lace has the green faery replace pastis in the mix of gin, dry vermouth and Crème de Violette. Stirred down over ice and served straight up, it certainly gets down to the business of getting you liquored up. We wouldn't really come here for quiet cocktails though. What’s packing in the 20-something punters is the 7am licence and weekend DJ installed in the shell of a baby grand piano – an idea veteran club-goers might recognise from the now departed Honky Tonks. The clubby vibe means bartenders are more focussed on getting beers and mixed drinks across the bar than balancing cocktails.
Expect club prices to match. A Doss Blockos, served in a brown paper bag for that dash of hobo chic, is $9.50. They also have the usual suspects including Little Creatures and James Squire orchid crush cider.
Pawn and Co has all the elements to please a younger crowd – it’s busy, and there’s an outdoor balcony from which to watch the wonder of a Chapel Street Saturday unfold. For cocktails, great snacks and old world charm, we’d have to point you to the Woods of Windsor up the road, but if you’ve disgraced yourself at all-night-party-den Revolver too many times, Pawn and Co is open late and at your service.