CultureGeorgia Graham

Dimes NYC, #1.

CultureGeorgia Graham
Dimes NYC, #1.

Cedar Tavern, Cabaret Voltaire, Café de Flore; for years the progression and development of new art and ideas has been synonymous with café culture. Replace the green fairy with green juice and you have today's modern equivalent - a downtown New York dining establishment where novel ideas are served up by a team of young New Yorkers, each with their own creative agenda.

Here some of the city's newest creatives can be found waiting tables and stirring drinks, offering a slice of the avant-garde as a side to Dimes' already colourful menu.


Sara Rabin

Tell us about your work.

I always loved drawing. I did fashion and beauty illustration at school, however over time doing conventional people got so boring, so I started focusing on my own stuff.

I do some big commission work; for Barney's and Seventeen magazine, but I also draw my friends' dogs. I've also been drawing stock photo images of emotions; I'll type emotions like "happy" into google - a lot of the time the images are really bizarre and really irrelevant.

I do my drawings all really quickly - it's the same as how an athlete trains, like keeping in shape. Drawing quickly allows me to capture transient moments; emotions, people on the train, people eating.

I love drawing all types of people, I guess it's easier to say what I don't like to draw, which is stuff that's boring. I like drawing things that society would call flaws; big noses or crooked teeth, old people and fat people or people from movies.

I also really like to draw rhythmic gymnastics and dancers - those are really beautiful.

How does your mood affect your work?

It's almost like anger management - Instead of getting angry with a customer I'll draw it and make it something funny.

[The customer sketches] were all done on receipt paper, when something would happen that I'd want to translate into drawing.

I've been doing the train drawings for longer. Transportation is always different and most people are sitting still, on their phones, or reading. One of my ultimate goals is to have one of those long MTA banners of my illustrations on the subway.

Do you ever show people your portraits of them?

Nooo! One time on the train I was drawing a girl and I looked up and she was drawing me and we started laughing - and she ripped out the page and gave it to me with her email address. If I'm drunk on the train at night drawing someone I might show them.

There's a bit of a girl power thing going on creatively - do you relate to this?

A lot of my friends are doing the kind of pink feminine thing and it can work really well but it's not so much for me. If your art is good it doesn't matter if you're a boy or a girl.

What’s the best thing about working at Dimes?

My coworkers, the food, not knowing who is going to come in the door. It’s more than a job - which sounds cultish but it's true! A lot of artists come in as well - Sabrina and Alissa are really into art. The Dimes Instagram account is like looking into Dimes' brain if Dimes was a person and had Instagram.

What’s your favourite thing on the menu?

I like the hot sauce, I put it on everything.

If someone gave you a 10,000 dollar tip what would you spend it on?

I would put half in the in bank straight away and then I would go shoe shopping! I love buying shoes. Sometimes I buy shoes I can't even wear.





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Arley Marks

How did you get into cocktail making?

After graduating RISD I travelled for a year in China and came back totally broke. I'd always made drinks for fun and got a job as a brunch bartender, learning the basics of the job.

I graduated from Sculpture at RISD with Mike from Eckhaus Latta, so they invited me to design cocktails for their first A/w 2012 show. That's where I was introduced to the folks opening the first Mission Chinese in NYC. Being hired to manage their bar launched me into doing creative cocktail work professionally in NYC.

How did you start working at Dimes?

I was walking with my roommate searching for a new breakfast spot and we happened on Dimes. It was their first day open! We loved it and ended up going there all the time. Initially Dimes just had a wine and beer license, so I came on board and made a cocktail menu based around low alcohol ingredients. One of the first drinks I designed was the "Budlove", a spritzer made with the dandelion wine I produce with my business partner Raphael Lyon.

Tell us more about Material Vodka and the bar you’re opening.

Material’s aim is to provide creative artists with the means to further their projects, to give them the space to make great work. I met Patti and Thymaya at Math Bass's opening at PS1. Patti works as a curator and is also a lawyer, and Thymaya works as a filmmaker and art director. I guess I am the official Material Vodka Mixologist.

We collaborate on parties, design ideas and fundraising projects, working with galleries and labels such as 356 Mission in LA, Martos Gallery, Hood by Air, and Eckhaus Latta .

My friend Raphael and I are also opening NYC's first Meadery and cocktail bar at 99 Scott Ave. in Bushwick, it should be open by March 2016. Half of the space will be the production facility and the other half will be the bar.

Do you find that Dimes’ area and customers influence the kind of cocktails you make?

Definitely - I live in the area and walking to work I pass by all the Chinese markets. They are surprisingly seasonal, so it's always inspiring to walk by and see a new fruit you may not have seen since last year, or ever before.

In terms of people, I think the wheatgrass margarita is a typically "Dimes" cocktail. It’s inspired by health food practice but it is also surprisingly delicious, just like the food.

What I love about Dimes' menu is that it’s very fresh and bright. It's California style food; healthy but not restrictive. Sabrina’s design sense permeates everything, and it is so beautiful and minimal, for cocktails I try to make things look sculptural and colourful, so they will complement the environment and the food.

What’s the best thing about working at Dimes?

We're all creative people who have chosen to take a non-traditional path so that we can fully channel our creativity into our own work. The people there are so great and Sabrina and Alissa are the most wonderful weirdos in the world - they have such a clear vision, which I really fell in love with from day 1. Restaurant owners and managers can be so unpleasant but they are always so totally wonderful.

What’s your favourite thing on the menu?

Any of the salads,  or the striped bass. But the steak is also so good.... It's very hard to choose one thing! The Poke from the new deli is amazing and the rotisserie chicken is off the hook.

If someone gave you a 10,000 dollar tip what would you spend it on?

I’d probably spend it on Modular synthesizer gear, or a new refrigerator for my apartment, it makes smelly ice...


Words by Georgia Graham

  Portraits by Alejandra Sabillon