You literally can’t miss it: a bubble gum pink temple nestled very obtrusively among the low-key bistros and late-night food joints that line the first block of Orchard Street. A bright pink storefront with hearts in the windows, you might mistake the Lower East Side establishment for Barbie’s dream house or some child-friendly locale geniously designed to attract kids and reluctant parents — that is, if the door weren’t clearly marked “Adults Only,” and, of course, if it weren’t called Kinky’s.
A first-of-its-kind erotic dessert bar in one of New York’s grooviest nightlife neighborhoods, Kinky’s is certainly no place for kids. Customers must be 18 or over to enter, and yes, they do card at the door. Rather, with all its kitsch and whimsy, Kinky’s fashions itself as a playground for grown-up fantasies — or, as creator and co-owner August DeWindt tells InsideHook, an “adult candy store.”
Created by DeWindt and her husband John, the food entrepreneurs behind the festival- (and Instagram-) friendly John’s Juice, the erotic sweetshop offers kinky confections including stuffed waffles shaped like penises and vulvas, cupcakes with pierced nipples and brightly decorated cookies depicting all manner of genitalia and sex acts. While Kinky’s is far from the first establishment to sell seductive sweets, this isn’t your old-school seedy bake shop hawking penis cakes on the sly.
“We’re not trying to hide it,” says DeWindt, noting that in many other places, selling sexy baked goods remains something of a taboo. “You could go to a bakery and probably order a penis cake, but they’re going to be real discreet about it.”
Kinky’s on the other hand, “Is really out in the open,” as evidenced by the bright pink storefront. “We’re really about sex positivity. The space itself is just really designed with kinks in mind,” says DeWindt. “So it’s just really out there in your face.”
Step inside and a pink and purple mural welcomes you to Kinky’s, while a gallery of erotic art lines the opposite wall. Handmade countertops, tables and chairs are lined with clippings from vintage Playboys and porn mags. Like an increasing number of businesses and attractions these days, Kinky’s seems to have been designed with Instagram and TikTok potential in mind — though, speaking from experience, Instagram will take down your post if you try to share any of that old-school porn.
On a Friday afternoon at 5 PM, the store, which first opened its doors on Valentine’s Day, welcomed a steady stream of Gen Z and young Millennial customers who snapped photos of splashy wall art declaring things like, “I Want To Do Bad Things To You” and “Mouthful of Yum.” Upstairs, in a speakeasy-style lounge where the owners hope customers will soon be able to enjoy drinks with their penis waffles — DeWindt says the business was just approved for a beer and wine license — neon wall art shows women in bondage, penises in hands and couples wrapped in erotic embrace. Back downstairs, a red-lit BDSM-themed bathroom is decked out with chains, whips and a collection of books on kink. Wall art above the sink asks bathroom-goers what their safe word is.
“We wanted to incorporate sex positivity and just make a place that people felt comfortable going,” says DeWindt, whose knack for creating content-worthy aesthetics around food has earned her 3.7 million followers on TikTok. “I want them to come in and feel like they can really be themselves.”
Orchard Street, which has long combined the glam with the grit and the kink with camp, couldn’t be a better home for a gaudy dessert bar that prides itself on sex positivity, inclusion and social media-friendly aesthetics. Across the street from Mr. Purple, Kinky’s will surely catch the attention of a generally young nightlife crowd that flocks to the assortment of swanky hotel rooftops nearby. Just down the block is The Slipper Room, New York’s home of neo-burlesque where lovers of sex, camp and a certain kind of kitschy, old-school glamour have congregated for years. Clearly Kinky’s is in good company.
“It’s high camp, in a way” says Sam E. Goldberg, food blogger and host of Respect the Chain. “It’s the kind of place that isn’t afraid to commit to a theme, but doesn’t take itself too seriously.” In other words, Kinky’s is unapologetically, unironically sexy, yes, but in a way that’s charmingly tongue-in-cheek, with a healthy dose of self-awareness. Of course, as Goldberg adds, “It doesn’t hurt that the pastries are legitimately delicious.”
In the near future, Kinky’s hopes to establish itself as not just an Instagram-friendly novelty, but a sex-positive haunt where guests can hang out on vintage-porn covered furniture and enjoy drinks and live music.
“We eventually do want to become a hangout spot,” says DeWindt. “I want customers to come in and feel like they can really be themselves.”
Kinky’s is open at 181 Orchard St from Tuesday through Sunday. A Black- and woman-owned business that prides itself on inclusivity and sex positivity, Kinky’s enthusiastically welcomes guests over 18 of all genders, races and sexualities. Enjoy a delicious dessert in the flavor and genitalia of your choosing, check out some erotic art and stay kinky, New York.