I have been able to do some pretty incredible things for Manhattan Digest over the years, but my experience at Dylan’s Candy Bar in Union Square ranks as one of the most fun I’ve ever had for so many reasons. This particular location goes beyond simply selling sweets and candy, as it tells a fantastic story on how it came to be and why it will be one of the most fun spots to go to this spring and summer.
Although they are primarily known for their location in the Upper East Side on 3rd Avenue, their Union Square one (33 Union Square W right off the 4, 5 and 6 subway lines) is gaining steam on the original.
This particular space is one that I have visited in the past, as I stopped by there two years ago when entrepreneur and Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel unveiled her line of Skinnygirl Candy there. Even though the event was crowded and the focus was on her, I couldn’t help but keep my eyes peeled and notice all the colorful concoctions that surrounded me there.
This got me thinking: what is Dylan’s Candy Bar all about? What makes this place sort of like the modern day “in real life” version of Willy Wonka, and why should anyone in their right mind visit this place if they already haven’t? I stopped by there earlier this week to learn more about the Union Square location and how the space that they occupy now once belonged to an amazing pop culture icon.
Their wonderful manager Kevin showed me all around the location, which once belonged to American artist, director and producer Andy Warhol! This would definitely explain why a lot of the designs inside are influenced by his one of a kind artistry that became a phenomenon back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
Wait, let’s backtrack here. Dylan’s Candy Bar was founded by Dylan Lauren, daughter of famed fashion icon Ralph Lauren. It’s first store opened back in 2001, and has since spawned locations across the United States including Miami and Los Angeles.
Dylan was inspired to create a store that would merge fashion, art, and pop candy culture. Her inspiration has definitely worked out for her, as the success of Dylan’s Candy Bar has been a big part of the NYC culture and has also been featured on both scripted and reality shows such as Gossip Girl and Project Runway.
There’s so much to look at while you are inside, that you sort of just want to grab a shopping cart and fill it to the brim with all sorts of delicious items that go beyond the everyday candy and chocolate you would see at your local convenience store. For one, their loose candy and chocolate section is simply to die for, as any type of either that you would like is available for scooping right into your bag. Being the candy man that I am, I beelined for their fresh gummy items like gummy strawberries, worms, and even their version of chicken feet. It sounds gross, but it so isn’t.
I was also impressed by the nostalgic kinds of candy that they had which brought me back to my childhood. Items like Fruit Stripe Gum, Big League Chew and Whatchamacallit brought be back to a happier time when paying the rent didn’t consume my mind and candy and chocolate were the happiest things in my world.
They aren’t just candy and chocolate. Dylan’s Candy Bar also has an assortment of apparel, much of which is perfect given that we are eventually going to be experiencing some wonderful warm weather soon. Items like a Pink Chocolate Bar Sleeping Bag, a Cupcake Pillow, Shot Glasses and Robes really show just the distances that this company will go to in order to showcase just how different they are from the rest. Usually, stuff like this can come off cheap and tacky to an extent, but they make it work as those items blend wonderfully with everything else. Think of this as Supermarket Sweep with the color portion turned up to 250 percent.
Honestly, this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in New York City, and if it was this good for me, then Dylan’s Candy Bar should be just as great for you.
For more information on Dylan’s Candy Bar, click here.