The Bra Bar
Venerable neighborhood lingerie shop gets an upgrade Imagine hopping up onto a barstool, greeting the person behind the counter, and ordering a literal pick-me-up: a push-up bra. That's the idea behind the bra bar at the new and improved Town Shop, a lingerie staple on the Upper West Side for over a century, which moved this summer across the street to 2270 Broadway, at 82nd Street. "We were going for somewhere between what we had and an Apple store," said owner Danny Koch, pointing to the spacious, sleek interior of his shop. "We had an opportunity to have a rebirth and we took it. The bra bar is a place for women to hang out before they go and get fitted." Right now, the bra bar's "bratenders" only serve undergarments, but in hopes of creating a hip and social atmosphere, Koch said the store also might hold events and make "bratinis" and "bragaritas." But this won't be a permanent fixture, he said. "I don't think the landlord would be too happy about that!" Gimmicks aside, The Town Shop has been most known for its expert bra fittings, and that won't change at the new location. Koch is convinced that most women are wearing the wrong size. And he said that his experts have to go through training to learn how to expertly demystify the D-cup (and every other size on the charts from AA to K). "Bra fitting is an art not a science," said Koch. "Anyone who heads towards you with a measuring tape, you're going to want to run the other way. We don't need a measuring tape. My girls know what they're doing." Town Shop has been family-owned for four generations, since 1888, making it a rare commodity on the constantly-shifting Upper West Side retail scene. The store pays homage to the family's roots with vintage advertisements from the past, featuring cone bras. Koch credits the store's longevity to its customer service, and the fact that they carry unusual sizes, that the typical Victoria's Secret will not have. He says that they've had three different generations of women come in- grandmothers who bought their bras at Town Shop, mothers who purchased nursing bras, and who are now bringing in those same daughters looking for their first bras. The new storefront also features a place for boyfriends, husbands and fathers to hang out: a brand-new men's section- complete with a TV set to ESPN, and men's socks, underwear and robes. There's even men's Spanx available, which, said Koch, are extremely tight undershirts, but they hold you in just like the original Spanx do. "In the old store the men would complain, 'How much longer are you going to be?'" he said. "But now they have a place to hang out."
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