You’d describe Jersey Banks as someone who would welcome a stranger into her home with open arms for two reasons:
- She’s instantly gracious, emanating a warm familiarity that make introductions seem like catching up with an old friend.
- She literally invites strangers into her home.
Banks, along with her partner Lyon Porter, opened Urban Cowboy out of their Brooklyn home in 2014 and has been operating the coolest urban bed and breakfast around ever since. It’s the type of spot where you’re greeted with a glass of whisky and there’s apt to be a bit of skinny dipping in the hot tub. Booking at Urban Cowboy means you’re not planning on watching repeats of Keeping Up with the Kardashians with no one to talk to. It’s something Banks is proud of. “There's a real attention to how people engage in the space as opposed to me getting the keys to your hotel room and going and sitting in a box where you don't have to talk to anyone,” she explains.
The pair have established a getaway with a true emphasis on community; you stay at Urban Cowboy for conversation and connection as much as getting a good night’s sleep (a solid eight hours may not be at the forefront of your mind when said skinny dipping is going down). The space, the drinks and the rotating cast of frequent regulars – each detail is tailored to provide an experience, rather than just a stay. “It's not really that big of a science experiment. If you put good people in a room together, they'll talk to each other and vibe out,” says Banks.
Now with an Urban Cowboy in both Brooklyn and Nashville (Banks and Porter found a space they loved, so they expanded, simple as that) a B&B can be more complex than just a soft mattress and scrambled eggs. When asked if she’s trying to change the way we think about B&Bs, Banks points out that no matter how differently Urban Cowboy may operate, their reasoning was simple: “If you had a big house, wouldn't you want your friends to come over and hang out in it all the time?” Hard to argue with her there.
Meet Jersey Banks.
Lounging at Urban Cowboy
“Our motto is, ‘Arrive as strangers, leave as friends.’”
“There's music playing. The lighting is perfect. The smell is right.”
Out and about in NYC
“It's amazing what happens and the different types of relationships that are built there.”
“We like hosting. We like the idea of having a big family of strangers around you all the time.”
“We're bringing in anyone and everyone we can locally who are contributing to the community and trying to really get a party started, so‑to‑speak.”