This Bushwick dim sum spot becomes a nightclub by dark

In a cavernous corner expanse that was, until recently, home to a glass window wholesaler — at a Bushwick intersection that still feels industrial and gritty — a new eatery-slash-venue has quietly been feeding and entertaining guests since February. 

Red Pavilion’s grand opening isn’t until March 14 — but beginning last month, the new multipurpose spot (an apothecary by day, an Asian pulp-noir nightclub after dark and a brunch destination on Sundays) has quietly been preparing for its grand debut. 

“I would have loved to do some kind of really smoky, opium den-y, sexy cabaret-style venue but we wanted some place that people could go for a relaxed time,” co-founder Shien Lee told The Post of the decision not to make Red Pavilion a place where attendees felt pressure to “put on the red lipstick and get dressed, but a more playful, fun concept.” 

Lee, a Taipei-born nightlife producer who also runs an entertainment agency, paired up with the registered dietician, traditional Chinese medicine chef and Shanghai native Zoey Xinyi Gong to deliver the multifaceted concept.

The aesthetic is “David Lynch meets Wong Kar-wai,” the latter being the Hong Kong film director known for his saturated cinematography and nonlinear narratives. The vibe is intended to be both authentic and kitschy, accessible and community-focused.  

red pavilion bushwick opening
The vibe is meant to be kitschy but authentic.

red pavilion bushwick opening
At 3 p.m., the space ceases to be a teahouse and transitions into a nightclub.

red pavilion bushwick opening
When she’s not running her three businesses, Lee likes to go to techno clubs.
Mark Shelby Perry

red pavilion bushwick opening
A Valentine’s Day dinner and preview party.

When visiting its teahouse manifestation, guests at the 2,400-square-foot 1241 Flushing Ave. space can enjoy traditional Chinese medicine-inspired teas and a wellness-focused menu including multigrain congee, black sesame lattes and snow fungus stew from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

In the evening, the neon and smoke machines turn on for a variety of theatrical programming ranging from jazz nights and aerialists — to Japanese shibari rope bondage, hook suspension and other shows with a fetish edge and a costume focus.

The drinks menu features Chinese shamanism-influenced drinks and herbal shots, including the $17 Sesame Colada (tequila, wolfberry-infused baijiu, caramelized pineapple, mangosteen and white sesame paste) and the $12 Awake (whiskey and baijiu, infused Buddha hand, and bayberry).

Then, on Sundays, from noon to 3 p.m., there’s dim sum. 

“You know, there are places in Williamsburg that say they have dim sum, which is fine but it’s not a traditional dim sum,” said Lee. “We actually push a cart around.”

red pavilion bushwick opening
During its dim sum incarnation, the brunch crowd can expect both carts and fill-out cards.

red pavilion bushwick opening
The menu features traditional offerings with a focus on healthy ingredients.

red pavilion bushwick opening
Zoey Xinyi Gong and Shien Lee, the co-founders of Red Pavilion.
Rose Callahan Photography

There will also be a fill-out order form, and Gong herself plans to push a cart, Eater first reported

Although Red Pavilion is intended to be a unique union of various enjoyments, its diverting offerings were significantly inspired by the combination of recent events. 

“The concept really came through during COVID when everybody was very separated and of course lots of [anti-Asian] hate crimes were happening in our community,” said Lee, who was herself the victim of a subway attack. 

Lee and Gong, who have both lived in Bushwick for several years (before that, Lee spent seven or so in Williamsburg), felt the neighborhood — though full of great Asian food — lacked a space for the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. 

At Red Pavilion, they plan to “actually give a stage” to and highlight Asian artists, “To show culture through food, tea and performance.”

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