Angels and Kings, a block north of Tompkins Square Park, is owned by Fall Out Boy bassist and noted Ashlee Simpson canoodler Pete Wentz, in what is apparently the second stage of a multi-platform plan for the Hot Topicalization of emo music, the East Village, and god knows what else. On a recent visit, the place was thick with people who were excited to be spending the heart of Saturday night at a bar owned by a dude from Fall Out Boy, and old enough not to quake at the sight of the two burly bouncers checking IDs out front. This is a blessing in disguise for 19-year-old, painfully naïve recent suburban escapees — plenty of laxer bars still fulfill the East Village’s historical mandate, namely shaming people into developing better taste — but there’s something about seeing a 30 year old in a popped collar doing some sub-14th Street cool-hunting that gives one the eerie feeling she’s mistakenly booked a stay at Club Med: Hipsterville.
Aside from black t-shirts and baseball caps emblazoned, for some reason, with “AK-47,” the bar offers authentic downtown experiences like being served $4 PBR cans by a bartender with sleeve tattoos and a studded belt. (For a larger chunk of your last commission, there are specialty cocktails named after songs by Panic! at the Disco and other mallcore luminaries.) In keeping with the bar’s logo — a McGoth font overlaid on a lower back tattoo-ready set of angel’s wings — its interior is lit with red lights affixed to wrought-iron chandeliers. It’s like an S&M dungeon envisioned by the girl who used to doodle unicorns and recently got into vampires — although the closest things come to either S or M is whenever a woman in stilettos accidentally treads on the feet of a man in flip-flops. In one corner, girls with eye makeup the same color as their roots debate the ethics of hacking into one’s boyfriend’s email; in another corner, a contingent of the American Eagle-outfitted huddle up and plot their wingman formation; by the jukebox, a circle of girls booty-dance to Amy Winehouse, periodically shrieking “take off your dress” at each other. (The jukebox has London Calling — the owner is in a punk band, after all — but Mötley Crüe’s ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ seems to draw a more enthusiastic response from the patrons, along with selections by Billy Joel, Missy Elliott, and guyliner pioneers Queen.) This ain’t a scene, it’s a god damn hedge fund meet market.