Tucked away in the heart of TriBeCa, Bari Studio is a mecca for female fitness things (chances are, guys are warmly welcomed; we just haven’t spotted one, with the exception of an instructor or two), incorporating dance cardio, trampoline cardio, and sculpting (via hanging resistance bands, light weights and a few other contraptions) into a plethora of class offerings. Unlike other boutique spots out there where a hodgepodge of styles can resemble a case of multiple personality disorder, there’s a common thread at Bari. Whether partaking in a Micro session (all sculpting, sans cardio), Drip (55 minutes of sensory-aka-dance cardio that did, indeed, leave us dripping in sweat), or any of the “hybrid” situations in between, Bari’s method represents a perfect marriage of both delicacy and intensity; so much so that we’re willing to travel below Canal Street – regularly – to get our sweat on here.
After checking in and getting oriented at our first class, we staked out some territory in studio and started futzing with the hanging resistance bands above us, taking our cue from some regulars decked out in Bari gear (when it comes to boutique fitness, monkey see, monkey do). Trust, you want to be under a band (your spot designator) that secures you a solid view of your instructor when the music stops (read: when class begins), especially in your first handful of Bari experiences, because sh*t gets elaborate. Our instructor led us through a a fast-paced warm-up (shoulder rolls, hip stretches; some aggressive arm-flapping that looks ridiculous but got our whole upper body fired up), and dove into a first (complex) combination without missing a beat.
At Bari, each exercise compounds onto the next, to the extent that the entire session feels choreographed like a dance (even when it’s not), requiring constant attention, coordination, and core engagement (to maintain control during quick transitions); so if you’re more about phoning it in with bootcamp exercises you know and love, Bari might send you reeling. For example, we’ve started many a class with a killer plank sequence, which might get underway with a side-to-side traveling plank move, followed by a mountain climbers, side planks, spider crawls, all of which we tackled individually before putting it all together on the beat of the music for a brutal core (and shoulders; if you can plank that long and not feel it in your deltoids, please teach us your ways) burnout.
Ultimately, there are few studios on our radar that offer enough (quality) variety for us to swear allegiance, much less monogamy, to a single gym. But Bari delivers on a diverse mix that keeps our body guessing and our mind engaged, in a welcoming environment, the byproduct of which is a loyal community of Bari regulars.
Gonna Cost You
$35 a pop, which drops by a few bucks per class if you go all in on a package or membership. But if you get in the Bari action via ClassPass, you can forget all that (until you exceed 3 classes, that is). Bring agua or buy it at the studio.
Every time we’ve set foot in Bari Studio, we’ve experienced nothing short of an exquisitely planned ass-kicking. But worth noting, while classes maintain a standard format and flow, instructor styles (and quirks) vary. In one Drip session, Yin hardly uttered a word in all 55 minutes, favoring gesticulations to indicate transitions, whereas Jenny welcomed newcomers and regulars enthusiastically, demonstrating and explaining (ah, the power of vocalization) Bounce basics for those under 3-4 classes before leading the class with full-out demonstrations.
While not campaigning for the title of luxe boutique gym of the year (come for the workout; not bespoke amenities), Bari Studio houses two classrooms on two floors, and is outfitted with a pair of bathrooms and showers, plus enough lockers to do the job. Sidebar, Bari is around the corner from two of our favorite coffee and more spots in TriBeCa, Gotan and Maman, if you’re in the market for some pre-class caffeinating or post-class sustenance.