Who is Bridget Kelly?
In front of a massive crowd at the 2010 Coachella Music Festival, Jay-Z performed his hit New York anthem “Empire State of Mind.” The single famously featured Alicia Keys singing the chorus, but on this sultry California night, a promising young newcomer stepped up to belt out the catchy refrain. Though Bridget Kelly always had big dreams, singing a song about her hometown alongside the city’s most famous rapper–who’s also her boss and mentor–was almost beyond her comprehension, until she did it.
“It was the greatest opportunity for me as an artist,” Kelly tells VIBE. “To be on the stage with Jay was life changing.”
As an artist signed to the rap mogul’s Roc Nation label, Kelly has already made a name for herself thanks to her critically acclaimed EP, Every Girl, and “Special Delivery,” the single to her not-yet-titled debut album, which has already made a splash on radio stations across the country.
Kelly says her success is a testament to hard work and her musical roots, having graduated from New York’s famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts (notable alumni: Slick Rick, Nicki Minaj, Azealia Banks …)
In addition to touring with Jay-Z, the Chelsea native recently opened for another one of her musical idols, Brandy, and will soon release her first music video, which, not surprisingly, was filmed in New York. It almost goes without saying, then, that Kelly knows the city well, so we asked her to share a few of her favorite spots to shop, dine, and lounge in this “concrete jungle, where dreams are made of.”
The Bahamas Reviewed:
- The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a country consisting of more than 3,000 islands, cays and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, north of Cuba and Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeast of the US state of Florida
- Its capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence.
- The Bahamas consists of the following ethnic groups: African 85%, European 12%, Asian and Latin Americans 3%
- The official language of the Bahamas is English (official), with a small percentage fluent in Bahamian Creole
- In terms of GDP per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas (following the United States and Canada)
- The slave trade was abolished in the British Empire in 1807 and many Africans liberated from slave ships by the Royal Navy were settled in the Bahamas during the 19th century.
- Slavery itself was abolished in 1834 and the descendants form the majority of the Bahamas’s population today
7 things you didn’t know about Bridget Kelly:
- Biracial Bridget Kelly is of Irish and Bahamian ancestry
- She is a graduate from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan
- Kelly has regularly filled in for Alicia Keys when performing the song Empire State of Mind with Jay-Z
- Her music is a fusion of R&B, soul and rock with influences coming from Alicia Keys, Alanis Morissette and Pink
- Her favorite places to eat are: Dinner on Ludlow, Hillstone, Boqueria Soho, Catch and Restivo Restaurant (details below)
- Her favorite place to shop is Buffalo Exchange (details below)
- Her favorite place to party and unwind is Mister H (details below)
Bridget Kelly on her favorite places to eat:
“This is my new spot. I made friends with chef John Keller and his girlfriend at the restaurant opening a couple of weeks ago. I had the lamb and mashed potatoes with steak tartare, followed by a slice of cheesecake. It felt like a home-cooked meal experience.” – Bridget Kelly
The former Ludlow Manor has been rebranded as Dinner on Ludlow, a swank lounge, bar, and restaurant with a first-floor bar and dining room, second floor lounge known as the Red Light Room, and a third-floor rooftop outdoor patio with views of the Lower East Side and Williamsburg Bridge.
It’s nicknamed “The DL,” which is fitting for its low-key ambiance. Decor is chic; high ceilings, tall glass windows, and crystal chandeliers. Focuses on dinner and late-night bites, with traditional American dishes like short ribs, roasted chicken, sliders, and greens.
“A must-go for me is Houston’s–though they call it Hillstone now. Their food is exquisite. I love their sea bass. They have amazing spinach and artichoke—it’s off the chain! The hamburger and shoe-string French fries are to die for.” – Bridget Kelly
Once known as Houston’s, the Hillstone takes its name from a hillside valley in the Napa Valley which produces Cabernet Sauvignon. Its cuisine is traditional American-style–try the Hillstone Hamburger, the Hawaiian Rib-Eye, and the Prime New York Strip Steak. After you’re done stuffing your face, relax with your choice from dozens of Cabernet Sauvignon blends, fresh from the valley.
“I’m a big foodie so I like to have a lot of different tastes. That’s why I like Boqueria, a tapas bar in Soho. I love the pork belly, and the quail and vegetable dishes are the bomb.” – Bridget Kelly
More diabolical small plates from the Boqueria Flatiron original. Authentic bites inspired by the bars around Barcelona’s ancient public market. Fried quail eggs and chorizo, lamb meatballs, three year-aged Jamón Ibérico Fermín. Sangria in shades of red, white, and rosé. Bustling space takes after the original, clad in wood plank and tile. Pride of place? The open kitchen in back.
“Catch is one of my favorite places to eat. I love all the seafood dishes there. It’s dope and the ambiance is really great.” – Bridget Kelly
Get the catch of the day at this flashy, fun, and pricey EMM Group restaurant. It’s worth the coin, as executive chef Hung Huynh serves some of the greatest seafood in town. Crispy Whole Red Snapper, sushi, and a raw bar.
The family-style tables offer you a chance to get to know everyone in your group, but keep your eyes open, because the joint – located smack in the middle of the Meatpacking District – is always crawling with celebrities. Get ready for a taste of the Mediterranean.
Kelly says that when she’s in Chelsea she can’t miss a chance to visit one of her favorite Italian restaurants. “I’ve gone to Restivo for years. Their portions are really good.”
Serving Chelsea since 1993, Restivo offers dishes made with the freshest meats, vegetables, seafood, and breads, using classic Italian recipes. It never uses frozen ingredients, and just to prove it, it doesn’t have a microwave in its kitchen. Specialities include calamari, ravioli, and risotto.
Its full bar is open late. Great place to have a romantic getaway, or swig back a couple of drinks and nosh a few apps after work.
Bridget Kelly on her favorite places to shop:
Rather than spending her coin on high-end retail shops along Fifth Avenue, Kelly says she’d rather go to one of her favorite vintage spots. “I like Buffalo Exchange a lot. I’m a big fan of thrift stores. Thrifting is a talent and skill.”
A unique thrift store franchise with dozens of locations in the U.S. If you’re looking for a stylish selection of used designer goods, Buffalo Exchange may tickle your fancy. Prices are a steal–average of $15 per item.
You can also sell clothing you no longer want for cash. Make money and immediately shop for less–a win, win situation. But if you see something you want, grab it quick, because the top picks go flying off the shelves.
Bridget Kelly on her favorite places to party:
“My friends DJ Mos and DJ Kiss are DJ’s at Mister H. The lighting is really dope. It’s dim without being too club-like, because you can still see everybody. I like lounges with a chill vibe. I’m not a big fan of the club scene. I like to be where the music is good, somewhere small and in the cut.”
Mondrian SoHo’s trendy lounge named after the fictitious “Mister Hung”. Separate entrance on Lafayette Street gives space its own identity, grants celeb set respite from overzealous paparazzo. 1930s Shanghai speakeasy décor—red banquettes, jade and gold floors—with splash of neon lights, contemporary art.
Make it past the door and sample a dozen house cocktails, then squeeze into a spot on the cozy dancefloor.
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