catching up with nurse bettie

The 1950’s Pinup Burlesque Bar making noise in the L.E.S…

by Christian Lavery

Stephen Schuler decided to go with a 50’s Pin-up theme for the empty Lower East Side space he snatched up on Norfolk street, 7 years ago. And who better to name it after than the “Queen of Pin-up” Bettie Page? After seeing a drawing by artist Olivia of Bettie Page dressed in a nurse’s uniform, the name “Nurse Bettie” stuck. He proceeded to renovate and inject the space with Pin-up art and a 50’s style vintage charm all its own. A classic, timeless feel that transcends trendiness. I got the lowdown on the downtown bar from Stephen himself.

Your place offers free burlesque shows on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Tell me about that?

Yeah I’m pleased to offer these shows. On Wednesday night we have “Nurse Bettie Burlesque…The show girls cure for what ails you.” The host is Shelly “The singing siren” Watson. She’s very outspoken and hilarious with an amazing operatic voice that will blow you away. Thursday nights it’s “Spanking the Lower East Side” hosted by Calamity Chang. Calamity likes to change it up going from a sexy Hello Kitty number, to a classic fan dance. Both ladies are tops in the field, very entertaining and sexy in their own way. The girls that perform those nights are some of the city’s best burlesque performers. Needless to say it gets pretty hot in there. It’s free, but if you’d like to tuck some cash into one of their undergarments they won’t turn it down!

What’s up the other night of the week?

I just had our bar staff train with a professional mixologist to insure consistently delicious cocktails. We have a great new fall drink menu…drinks include “Hell on Heels” and “Goes Both Ways”. We have happy hours with lots of cheap drinks deals. Every night we have a DJ as well. It’s a great place for intimate birthday celebrations, bachelorette, bachelor parties or something for the holidays coming up.

Bars and restaurants come and go quite readily. What do you think keeps the “Nurse” in business doling out doses of TLC?

Well that just it we try to provide an unpretentious, comfortable place to escape, unwind and chill. It can be very therapeutic!

There is no denying Bettie Page is influential to this day in her style and sexuality. Do you think between the theme and the burlesque, women enjoy coming to the bar and expressing their inner pin-up bombshell?

It’s definitely a place to be free and open to express that 50’s style, or anything that strikes your fancy. You can usually find glitter, false eyelashes, or a feather or two lying around.

So what’s up your entrepreneurial sleeve next?

I’m exploring the possibility of opening another bar or perhaps looking into the hospitality industry…maybe a hotel. I’m checking out new options and shifting focus after being in advertising for 10 years. But I think it’s important to leave the door open to everything.


“HELL ON HEELS”Tanteo TequilaSorelFresh Lime JuiceCitrus SyrupPickled Jalapenos

“GOES BOTH WAYS”Bacardi 8Citrus SyrupAngostura BittersOrange BittersOrange Peel

-Tina Turnbow