Like the rest of New York City, the East Village’s most defining characteristic is constant change. Bespoke cocktail bars and a vague longing for a cooler, bygone era that will never come back are both close seconds. That’s why DJ and animal rights activist Moby opening a new vegan cocktail bar Ladybird on East 7th Street this week makes perfect sense.
Billing itself as a “vegetable bar,” Ladybird is actually the brainchild of Ravi Derossi, a prominent restaurateur who’s in the process of converting all 15 of his dining establishments into animal-free environments. After an initial attempt at running this vegan bar and restaurant in Greenwich Village failed, Derossi brought on Moby as an investor for a second attempt.
With experienced New York-based mixologists Jane Danger and Alla Lapushchik contributing to the cocktail menu, Ladybird won’t just serve White Russians with almond milk. Each avian-inspired cocktail comes with fruit and vegetable juices and garnishes. The basil-cucumber base of the Reunion Ibis sounds quite refreshing, and options like the kale- and banana-based Dodo’s Conundrum seem set to prove that a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be for dreary teetotalers.
This isn’t Moby’s first foray into the world of vegan restaurants. He’s also an investor in the LA eatery Little Pine and co-founded the now-closed Teany in New York. And while the musician published a collection of essays about the dangers of factory farming back in 2010, his statement celebrating Ladybird’s launch makes it clear that opening a restaurant is a tastier method of advocacy: “I've been vegan for 30 years, and promoting animal rights is my life's work,” Moby said. “Sometimes one of the best ways of promoting plant based eating is by serving people wonderful food in a beautiful space.”