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5 Questions with Restaurateur Michael Beaumont Bray

5 Questions with Restaurateur Michael Beaumont Bray


Who is Michael Beaumont Bray?


The stylish South Australian native moved to New York in 2006 and became a successful restaurateur, with  his downtown cool spots Kind Regards, Dingaling, and newest endeavor Bar Valentina. We chatted with Michael and learned about his inspiration, trends in the hospitality industry, luxury and more.  Check it out here:

Pursuitist: Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to be a restaurateur? How did you get started?

Michael Bray: My first job in the industry was flipping burgers at age 15 because I wanted more money to buy records and nice trousers. That was my sole motivation. Then, as a touring musician I’d  bounce around jobs but continually find my way back to hospitality. I became drawn to late nights and the people that make 4pm their morning.

When I moved to New York I fell in love with restaurants and nightlife. The Odeon made me feel like I was in New York City. My eyes were wide. Sundays at Sway couldn’t have happened anywhere else. I became friends with the guys from Employees Only, bar regulars granted me access to Milk and Honey- to me it was like this magical little world under cheap dark lights.
Firstly,  it was the people front and back of house that interests me. Restaurants and bars have their own little subcultures and often support the most interesting cast of bizarre characters. I listened to the stories of the crew as they chronicled their lives pre shift. And as the years went by and I watched folks live, create and work I discovered the joy and freedom the business can bring you. There’s a great deal of leeway to pursue your own particular passions, fashion your life in a way that looks good to you, and every day you get to bring a little of that joy you’ve cultivated to others in the most fundamental of ways. “Here’s some nice things to make you feel good, enjoy, thank you, good night”.


Pursuitist: You founded several NYC downtown staples including Kind Regards, Dingaling and now Bar Valentina.  What does it take to get a restaurant to that level? 

The truth is not that sexy. Consistency. One foot in front of the other, day after day during good quarters and atrocious ones. Covid shutdowns or 2021 summer boom, your approach and vision must be consistent. Also- ask for help from other successful people, don’t be afraid to share information, and believe and invest in your team. A passion for what you’re creating goes a long way too- and makes all the above possible.



Pursuitist: What trends do you see in 2023 in hospitality, cuisine and cocktails?

I think we saw a big peak in old school conspicuous luxury, fine dining service cues,  white table cloths, conceptually bold restaurants. I think accessibility and simplicity are the answers to the rising tide of inflation, giant checks, and labored service. I’ve  recently seen a real “silliness” creep into cocktail culture after years of moustache twiddling. I see elements of that over-the-top approach lingering a in the same way the Sasha Petraske fundamentals became a general part of cocktail culture in big cities. It seems that NYC has gone spritz crazy- something I also see integrating into the drinking culture long term. Who doesn’t like a cheeky spritz on a hot day.



Pursuitist: If you weren’t a restaurateur, what would you be doing?  

Swimming in the Mediterranean, and reading the newspaper at restaurants.

Pursuitist: What does luxury mean to you? 

Enduring quality. A vision that works in simpatico with my ideals. A genuine story behind the experience.