5 questions for: Doug Hines

The accomplished commercial designer clues us in on his culinary magnum opus—Midtown’s chicest secret gem—The Consulate.

Being here feels a bit like strolling a spy movie set.
We wanted it to be a place James Bond would have lunch or dinner. There is even a cocktail named Dr. No. We want guests to feel they’re not just having dinner, that they’re part of a mise-en-scène. Everything is precisely orchestrated.

How does the design scheme reinforce this theme?
My wife and partner, Mei Lin, and I envisioned The Consulate as international, luxurious and decadent, but not pretentious. We have an original Eames recliner, brass Z tables by Karl Springer, a Milo Baughman étagère, ceiling pendants by Verner Panton. The bar lamps are by Louis Poulsen, and I designed the channeled banquettes. Being an interior designer—I was on the sixth season of HGTV’s Design Star—I wanted a return to glamour: The Consulate is midcentury modern meets Hollywood Regency; very chic.

The art is equally impressive.
I’m a former gallery owner; in 2001, I ran Gallery Domo in Buckhead, where Restaurant Eugene is now located. I’ve always been passionate about fine and contemporary art, and I made sure to include works by noted artists—Atlantan Radcliffe Bailey, midcentury Russian artist Ilya Bolotowsky. We have pieces by Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, a 1953 lithograph by Matisse.

We can see why you’d want to keep such treasures incognito. Is that why you chose such a clandestine location?
We spent months seeking this location. It’s in the heart of Midtown—right next to the Federal Reserve—but tucked away, so you have to know where to find us. That was intentional. Being New Yorkers, my wife and I like the idea of a place that’s hard to find. And that extends to the food and drink, as well. Beverage director Michael Jones compiled a globally influenced wine, beer and cocktail program based on scarcity and quality. Our chef, Tara Mayfield—previously of Buckhead Life—rotates the menu each quarter to a new country of inspiration. We also plan to do a dim sum–style lunch and brunch that will be unique to us.