The Art of Being Omar

Omar and I in his West 9th Street restaurant and private club.  Photos by Lianna Tarantin

Omar Hernandez is one of those extraordinary people who makes anyone feel as the most important person in the world.  He looks at everyone in the eye, listens to what they have to say and really strives for excellence when taking care of his guests.  His Latin charm is undeniable but his determination is that of a New Yorker.  And Omar is Venezuelan, so we have deep connections that extend beyond our “NYC Universe”.  A couple of months ago, Omar opened his eponymous restaurant on West 9th Street, the first venture that is actually his – for the past 13 years Omar worked with Andre Balasz and on his own developing successful concepts for places like the Boom Boom Room, the Hotel Americano, the Lion, The Mercer Hotel, The Raleigh and Casa Tua in Miami and many more. 

Unpretentious, caring and cultured, Omar was named by Esquire Magazine as one of the best dressed men in 2013 and really focuses his efforts on being the best host he can be.  But he is so much more than that.  His hand is in everything at Omar’s, from the cozy yet chic and sophisticated interiors, to the very cool collection of vintage photography on the walls.  He plays the right music (sometimes straight from his Iphone), and happily mingles with and introduces people of different backgrounds when they come to the club.  

The club is actually one half of the 4,000 square feet location, a space with a fantastic library, a dining area and even a small terrace on the back whose main draw is a large roman bust that seems to be silently watching what people are saying and doing while sitting there.  

On the other side, a long bar and a restaurant exhibit one of the highlights of the space: a wall where artist Ian Skalrsky painted many portraits of Omar’s friends using a technique called “blind contour” which means that while Ian is staring at his subject he is drawing  in the paper without never looking at it. The result is what the artist calls “an abstract portrait”. Brilliant. 

Anyone who ever crosses paths with Omar will understand why I praise him so much.  Creating a beautiful lifestyle is very much part of my business and the final product I deliver to my clients has to fill so many areas, visually, mentally and emotionally.  Omar does this effortless and more, every day of his life. Bravo.