Us fashion folk knew Amanda Leigh Dunn well before she landed on Showtime's catty, often steamy, lesbian reality soap opera, The Real L Word. Tough and beautiful, she was a constant presence in our inboxes (and social lives) as she plied her considerable people skills working the PR and marketing games. But she's gone brick-and-mortar with her latest pursuit, The Dalloway. While the Soho spot is yes, technically a "gay bar," with her help, it's become a nighttime favorite for stylish New Yorkers of all persuasions. Here Dunn tells us why she just had to create one of NYC's favorite new hangs.
So, you have a background in fashion PR, marketing consulting, accessories design — you name it. Then, of course, you had a stint on The Real L Word. How is it that you wound up running, of all things, a bar?
“When I came back from living in L.A., it was so evident to me that there was something missing in the scene — a place for the community to go and not feel like they were in a ‘gay bar.’ The people around me were pushing and rooting for the idea. Their confidence in the concept is probably the main reason it came to fruition. When my business partner, Kim Stolz, and I discussed it, everything sort of clicked. Our ideas just meshed, and the timing was perfect!”
To your point, this writer goes to the Dalloway...but not to drink. It's all about the truffle mac and cheese!
“Yeah, originally, we were going to open just a bar. But after meeting Vanessa Miller, our executive chef, it turned into something much more. We took on a space that was much bigger than we planned, but now it doesn't seem big enough. We’re very happy with the outcome.”
Yeah, you've really been able to balance what every community wants and bring them together under one, very welcoming roof — a rare feat. How do you think you were able to do that?
“I sort of grew up in the nightlife scene in NY, as odd and ‘party monster' as that sounds. It taught me a lot that I wouldn't really have learned otherwise, like how to be extra cautious and still cultivate relationships with many different kinds of people from all different places.”
Interesting. Now, we're wondering, as a bar owner, what’s your drink of choice?
“Well, I’m actually not much of a drinker. I have to constantly be social and personable with people. I find that drinking makes me a bit cloudy. Not drinking while I’m at work gives me a leg up, and I never have to worry about being hungover, which is rad. That said, when I do drink, I really like citrus cocktails like this Malibu Island Spiced on Ice. I love the way the orange breaks up the flavor. It’s the type of drink you can curl up with by the fire or drink in the summer by a beach — your call.”
Styled by Lauren Edelstein; Hair and Makeup by Bethany Brill.
WGACA leather jacket; Alice & Olivia jeans; Fendi boots; Logan Neitzel cuff; Lyon Fine bracelet; Diesel watch; Venessa Arizaga Oh Darling Bracelet, $115, available at Venessa Arizaga; Pamela Love Double Cage Ring, $525, available at Pamela Love; Christian Louboutin Panettone Small Bag, $2,195, available at Christian Louboutin .