When J.Crew’s The Liquor Store opened in 2008, it was the first store dedicated to menswear. There the basics of J.Crew, plus the stuff they would call “J.Crew, but better,” rub shoulders with Red Wing and Alden boots, Champion sweatshirts, Aesop soaps and care products, etc. At the time, it was avant-garde, especially for J.Crew.
From 2008 until March 2019, when the store officially closed for the last time, the quality of its content fluctuated. There were impressive peaks and a few mediocre months. But, when it closed, menswear fans mourned the loss as a collective. It was more than a 960 square foot bespoke retail experience. He represented an era and he incubated a number of current menswear stars: Todd Snyder and Chris Echevarria of Blackstock and Weber, for example.
The closure of the Liquor Store was a major moment for the brand – a nail in the coffin, if you will, at least for that time. But then they hired Noah founder Brendon Babenzien to take over the men’s department. Then he launched his first collection. Now, according to a J.Crew executive and a New York neighborhood blog, J.Crew is also entering a new era in retail: one that caters specifically to Babenzien’s aesthetic.
But will the 316 Bowery be as successful as the Liquor Store? At present, it looks like a regular The Men’s Shop, of which there are a few dozen in the United States. But we’ll see when it opens on September 13, a J.Crew employee confirmed. (The opening date also appears on Google when you search for “J.Crew Bowery store”.)
It’s clearly a big opening, though, given how slow construction is. Inside the nearly 6,000 square foot space, she added, there will be a cafe, painted canoes and yellow mid-century modern lamps hanging from the ceiling and lots of well-oiled woodwork. . (You can see pictures of the current store at EVGrieve.)
The address belonged to Saxon and parole, a two-level New American restaurant that closed during the pandemic. Even though J.Crew doesn’t use the basement, the ground level is still over 3,000 square feet, which makes it, at least to my knowledge, the largest J.Crew dedicated men’s store in New York, if not in the United States.
According RackedJ.Crew’s “men’s stores are also smaller and tend to be about 900 square feet”, while “the average to full-line store is about 6,200 square feet, according to company financial records”.
It’s hard to say whether 316 Bowery will resemble The Liquor Store, either in terms of aesthetics or intent. But, the pieces are in place – we’ve all seen how Aimé Leon Dore’s coffee, Cafe Leon Dore (located next door) does. For J.Crew, the cafe might be the hook, but the Bowery is a busy street with lots of foot traffic, and the new J.Crew should get plenty of attention.