New York’s Sexiest Third Date Bars

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The third date. You’ve made it. Now it’s totally acceptable for you to take your date back to your place and [fill in the blanks]. 

And in order to ensure that you’re both in the mood, we’ve compliled our list of the sexiest bars for that third date. Think of it as foreplay. Enjoy.

4 Out of 5: Toni Hinterstoisser on New York

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Toni Hinterstoisser is general manager of Andaz Wall Street, which opened in February 2010. He has more than 15 years of experience in the international hospitality industry and lives in New York wit his wife and daughter. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.

RECOMMENDED

Hundred Acres – "I was shopping in Soho for my daughter’s birthday and I stumbled up this spot for a rest. There are these beautiful French Doors that open onto MacDougal Street. The cocktails are delicious, the food is wonderful, and their bread pudding dessert is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. The service was friendly but very, very efficient. All in all, it’s become one of my go-to places."

Keens Steakhouse – "I was searching for a great spot to take my executive team to for a celebratory meal. I wanted something that was quintessential New York City. A member of our public relations team mentioned Keen’s as it is one of New York City’s oldest steakhouses, and there is a rich history of New Yorkers and celebrities that have dined there over the years. Learning about the members of the Pipe Club at Keen’s (including Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, and Albert Einstein) was so interesting to me and taught me more about the history of NYC. And the steak is delicious."

Minas Shoe Repair – "The guy that owns it is an icon, and the shoe shine is world class. Best shoe repair in New York City. In fact, the best I’ve experienced in the many countries I’ve lived in. I would travel long distances to have him care for my shoes."

Raines Law Room – "This place feels like you’ve discovered a secret. You walk down the steps of an unmarked building and find a doorbell. You ring it and all of a sudden are lead into a room that can only be described as a piece of history. The cocktails are handcrafted and delicious, and all you need to do is ring one of the bells at your table to summon one of the lovely waitstaff. Service is impeccable, drinks are perfection, and the atmosphere transports you to another time. Great to take out-of-towners to …  it shocks them every time. I love the look of awe on their face. Makes me feel very cool."

NOT SO MUCH

Locande Verde – "I loved Locande Verde when it first opened, but I feel as if the service and product have lost a bit of their luster. The cocktails don’t feel or taste the same, and the food has lost much of the ‘wow’ factor I loved it for. I used to frequent quite a bit, but haven’t been back in quite some time."

Ashley Madison’s Noel Biderman on the Profitability of Infidelity

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With 11 million members and counting (a new member every 6.5 seconds), the Ashley Madison website is hard to discredit—at least, in business terms. A dating service that specializes in extramarital affairs may seem morally dubious. But CEO Noel Biderman contends that those who get caught up in judging his members—and his methods—are missing the point.

After all, Biderman’s site will shortly be gearing up for their annual post-holiday traffic spike, when family members forced into close quarters for year-end celebrations are presumably compelled to seek out something new in the romance department. That’s where Noel Biderman comes in.

So where’s the growth coming from on AshleyMadison.com?
We’ve seen in the last 12 months some acceleration because we’ve entered a half-dozen new marketplaces. We just got back from Italy, for example. Unlike a lot of other websites that are globally available, we actually preclude people from logging in or registering as Ashley Madison members unless we’ve launched in their country — with that language, with that community, with the ability to transact in that currency.

Is that only because you want to have the local currency and language set up?
No. That’s a big part of it, but it’s also the nature of affairs and the way they play out — why expose myself to the risk of the wrong people from Russia or whatever logging into the servers, with no community, only to have them exploit my real community. So if you travel to South Africa, for example, you will not be able to get on to Ashley Madison.

Even if you’re already a member of the site in your home country?
Correct.

You’ve also said that you estimate the site gains a new member every seven seconds.
I think it’s six and a half seconds.

Do you get a lot of traffic around the holidays?
Actually, what we tend to see is that the days following family holidays are some of the busiest of the year on Ashley Madison. So the Monday following Thanksgiving, or the day after New Year’s, or the days after Valentine’s Day, or even after Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.

What’s your male-to-female ratio?
You have to look at age.

It changes depending on age?
Right. For example, in what I call Viagra generation of 50 years old and older, the ratio is probably four men to every woman. But if you start looking at 30 and under, it’s one to one. There are a couple factors in play there. One, I think this younger generation is acting differently already. We’ve been doing this for ten years now and having a widely diverse age group. But we do allow single people into Ashley Madison, and 22-23 percent of the women are single, and most of the single women tend to be in their twenties.

In terms of how the business has worked over the years, what kind of big changes have you made, or tried to make, or foresee making?
We got out of several other brands and verticals we used to own, so I could launch what I believed were relevant market brands that hadn’t been addressed or weren’t being addressed properly. In terms of Ashley Madison, what I mean by that is … we can sit here and say that the world is all about dating so that you can get married. That‘s how eHarmony and Match.com and maybe even Jdate want you to believe the world is.

They present marriage as the successful end event to the online dating experience.
Yeah, marriage equals success, right — so success isn’t a six-week thing, or a vacation, or a hot date, sex on the first night, I don’t know. I think the rest of the world — probably a bigger market segment — sees it differently. So my view was that the road less traveled is actually traveled a heck of a lot more than people realize, and I address that whether it’s people in open relationships, people having affairs, older women who want to date younger men, or wealthy guys, overweight people, whatever, any marketplace that I thought could be defined, addressed, and marketed to that was probably being ignored by traditional companies.

You get a lot of press for attempting to advertise in places that won’t take your advertising. Yet the places which reject your advertising, which overtly caters to those looking to have affairs, will still run ads that are very sexual, salacious, objectifying, what have you. All of which seems hypocritical. Have you had these kinds of conversations with any of the people who have rejected your ads?
I have those talks all the time. The NFL is a great example. The NFL’s job is to produce a world-class entertainment product revered everywhere. And that’s what they do. People are huge fans of it. Their job is not, despite what they seem to sometimes believe, to guide our moral principles. If you just look at their poster boys from the last few seasons, whether it’s Brett Favre or Ben Roethlisberger. One was sending around pictures of his junk when he’s a married man, the other was accused of sexual assault. The NFL’s advertising partners include alcohol, which leads to disease and addiction; and if you’ve ever been to a professional football game, the amount of alcohol consumed there and the behavior pattern of the people watching isn’t exactly something fit for kids. Another one of their commercial partners is Viagra — the only function of which is to allow people to have sex. So it can’t be that they have problems with sex, or the notion that somehow their audience can’t tolerate seeing an Ashley Madison ad. It’s not 1940. They’re mistaken, and I actually think it’s an issue for all of us, because, you know, as an entrepreneur, part of my responsibility to society is to constantly help it evolve, the way an artist does, the way lots of people do. We’re not just in it to make money. What if, 25 years ago with that same organization, I wanted to propose an interracial dating service, and they said we don’t like that idea? Well, tough shit, that’s not good for society.

In the case of your ads getting rejected from NFL telecasts, is it your perception that was coming more from the NFL or Fox, or from both? Or does it matter?
Clearly the salespeople within Fox are the people that want to do the deal, and they say it’s no problem, and then you work on building creative — and again, I’m not being rejected because I’m producing an ad that has intolerable images, right?

Apparently not.
I could just have an ad that shows nothing, that just says “Shhhh, try Ashley Madison,” and they’ll still reject it. It’s the nature of my business they don’t like, and that’s pretty rare.

It’s hard to think of a precedent.
Right. So I can’t tell you where the rejection comes from. It feels to me that it’s at a very high level, that people are saying “No no no no no I don’t want this,” for whatever reason. I think that’s dangerous, if it’s one individual who has that much power. They do broadcast to millions of people, and if they start restricting other products and services from seeing daylight, that feels more like Saudi Arabia than America.

On the other side of the coin, these rejections themselves are turned into great press for the business … almost reliably so at this point.
I call it the plan A/plan B approach. I would love to advertise on Monday Night Football for the rest of the decade, wherever it ends up. If I try and fail, then I scream at the top of my lungs. But I assure you that coverage is very fleeting in comparison to the longevity of what a car company gets the opportunity to do, and so I believe Ashley Madison should and can be bigger than Match.com and eHarmony — maybe even both of them combined. I’m just not afforded the same luxuries. The only difference between us is the majority of their users are single, and the majority of mine are not.

You think the obstacle to growing your membership is purely based on your access to a new audience via these advertising channels?
Absolutely. I didn’t create infidelity, and it happens. Unfortunately it happens in environments where there is collateral damage. I’ll give you an example: An affair that happens in the workplace — and listen, more affairs happen in the workplace than on Ashley Madison. Someone gets an unfair promotion as a result. There is a victim there that wants nothing to do with the affair and gets roped into this nonsense. Someone loses their job, and then investors suffer from that whole kind of thing. Or an affair happens on a singles dating site – imagine you’re a single who meets someone on a singles site, gets involved with someone, sleeps with them, only to find out they’re taken. They didn’t realize that’s what they were getting into. They were lied to, to the nth degree. That’s a little different than saying I have a nice job or whatever. That’s saying, I’m available, and let’s see where this can go, only to find out you were never really available. So not only is society a little better off from the presence of Ashley Madison, in the sense that I can clean up this behavior pattern, but my job in advertising is not to convince people. I could never do that. I can’t convince people to be unfaithful. Even one to one, let alone with a TV commercial – what I can convince them is, if they decide to have an affair, not to do it in the workplace, not to do it on a singles site, not to do it on Facebook. To do it on Ashley Madison.

There have been high-profile cases of people being exposed on dating sites — celebrities or notable people behaving unwisely because they think they’re anonymous. Have you ever had a problem with exposure?
Ten years, no problems. Unlike a traditional dating site, I’m so focused on what I call “digital lipstick.” I realized early on that my role in this was twofold – create the connection, and help you not get caught. That’s what the perfect affair is. And so I did my research. How are people getting caught in this era? They’re not getting caught because they’ve got lipstick on their collar — they’re getting caught because they’ve left digital lipstick behind. They’ve left a text message behind, a voicemail behind … so the entire way I built my platform, from the moment you sign up anonymously, to the way you put your photos under lock and key, to the ability to not just delete your profile when you’re finished, but to actually remove historic messaging that you sent to somebody else’s inbox, to the way our apps function, the billing records that we create … the entire service is all catered to and designed around discretion.

Unlike some sites, Ashley Madison users aren’t charged a subscription, but rather pay for contacting other members. Why?
It’s pay as you play. If you want to join, it’s free. If you want to communicate with another member, that’s when you need credits. But once you open a line of communication with someone, it’s free forever. You can talk for ten years, and I’m never going to charge you another credit.

And why did you design it that way?
It’s about not just the connection, but keeping it permanently on Ashley Madison. There’s no reason, if you have connections open and you’re not being charged, to take it to a personal device, to take it to your personal email. And that to me was a great way to mitigate potential exposure.

So of those 11 million members, how many are paying?
Fair question. Almost 95% of people who purchase credits end up being men. Despite my attempt from day one to make this a female-focused brand and build something — from the color scheme of the TV commercials to the nature of the customers attracted … I still have more men than women. It plays out the same in every demographic, in every country, city, province, or state that I’ve ever launched in. It plays out the same way as it does in human nature. Women like to be pursued.

So women wouldn’t have to pay at all, necessarily.
Exactly. So to answer your question, 6 to 7 million people have purchased credits.

You also “guarantee” your affairs. Do you get a lot of requests for refunds?
Eleven.

Eleven? Total?
Eleven in the history of Ashley Madison.

How long have you been offering the guarantee?
Almost three years.

You also offer same-sex connections. Are you seeing material numbers there?
We have 350, 000 women who are married seeking relationships with other women, and about 250, 000 men seeking relationships with other men. I think it is significant that more than a half million people who see themselves as heterosexual, or to some degree are in heterosexual relationships, find that their partner can’t even fulfill their sexual desires. They’re of the wrong gender. And so how do we address those people? Does it mean they shouldn’t be married and raising families? It’s complicated, and that’s part of the reason why I do this. It’s just not so clear-cut, not so cut and dried. I suppose in a perfect world it would be really great for those people to communicate with their partners and try and find a way forward, but it’s not always doable.

Being married yourself, you’re often asked what your reaction would be to finding out your wife was having an affair, and you’ve said you would be devastated. So in the context of what you’ve said here about not getting caught, and how your business is focused on that, would it be fair to say that your philosophy of affairs is “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”?
I think the argument has a bit more complexity. You also have to believe in free will, you also have to believe that inanimate objects don’t cause people to do things, that people choose to do things because that’s their prerogative, and thankfully we live in a society where they’re allowed to do those kinds of things. I’m not there to judge how people get through the day. Some people need a drink at night, some of them might need to view pornography, and many need to take a lover. I suppose we only see it as a problem because we’ve created a context. But truthfully, we see in 2011, we get divorced more often than we stay together. Infidelity rates, if you follow the economics, speak to people like me or the strip clubs or massage parlors, where attendance has tripled that of Broadway and the opera combined. We can’t fake those economics at Ashley Madison — we couldn’t be in business and keep the lights on. When it comes to marriage, we have a broken paradigm. We tell people that you should be monogamous, and we have to be like this, but we mostly fail at it, and we find these couples who have the courage to talk about it, changing their lives, getting into open marriages — and their divorce rate plummets. Though it’s a shame to call merely not getting a divorce a success.

NOEL BIDERMAN LIKES: Harbour Sixty Steakhouse

Photo by Hugo Arturi. Styling by Raul Geurrero. Grooming by Joanna Pensinger for Exclusive Artists/Dior Homme. Location: Raines Law Room, New York City.

NYC: The Poetry Brothel’s Top Spots for Poets

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The Poetry Brothel, produced by The Poetry Society of New York, is a conceptual group that presents poets as characters—or “high courtesans,” as they say. The Brothel aims to take poetry outside the classroom and lecture hall and “place it in the lush interiors of a bordello.” Made up of a cast of “Whores” who put on innovative events staged to feel like the fin-de-siècle brothels in New Orleans and Paris, this band of poets strives to evoke the avant-garde movements and French Symbolists of the 19th century. The poets act as whores, calling their audience their “Johns” and, as you can imagine, the events are not your Mother’s poetry readings. Their next event isn’t until January 23rd at The Back Room (invite below), but the group has offered up a list of their favorite nightlife places where poets can bide their time until then. Here is the Poetry Brothel’s top places to live the poet’s life: places where poetry is inspired, where poets hang out, or maybe where one can find the ghosts poets past.

1) The Back Room – as much as we hate to plug our own venue (not really, we’re whores), Sunday nights at The Back Room are the best nights to meet poets, listen to poetry, talk about poetry, and be inspired to write poetry, because all those things are exactly what we at The Poetry Brothel aim to do.

2) The Brooklyn Bridge – I don’t know about you, but most of the poets I know are broke half the time. (See Mike Todd’s famous quote: “I’ve never been poor, only broke. Being poor is a frame of mind. Being broke is only a temporary situation.”) Grab a flask of homemade absinthe, a moleskin journal, and a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge; you’ll be seeing ghosts and writing poems in no time. If you’re feeling friendly, you’ll probably also run into a few Walt Whitman fanatics.

3) Goodbye Blue Monday – It’s a bar, coffee shop, art gallery, antique store, music venue, etc, with an artist-in-residence at all times. They have poetry readings most Friday nights (The Stain of Poetry) and some other nights throughout the week. The decor is as bizarre as the clientele, a mix of weirdo and beautiful poets, musicians and visual artists. Good times.

4) KGB Bar – Hosts literary readings almost every night throughout the week, and on Monday nights they’re always good. Best American Poetry series editor David Lehman started the Monday night reading series there back in the early 90’s, and since then, it’s become somewhat of a literary mecca. If you want to hear award-winning poets in an intimate setting, KGB is the place to do it. Get there early. It’s small and fills up fast.

5) Cafe Loup – On Tuesday and Wednesday nights particularly, Cafe Loup is the place to go to meet up-and-coming poets. Professors and students alike in MFA programs at the New School and NYU go there after class to drink and mingle with each other in a more informal setting. In addition, many of the major readings throughout the year (Best American Poetry, National Book Critics Circle Awards, National Book Award) take place at the New School Auditorium (which is a block away from Loup), and Cafe Loup is always the after-party destination.

Runners up include: Bowery Poetry Club Chelsea Hotel Battery Park City Raines Law Room Rose Live Music

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Graham Elliot Bowles, Chef

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The number of superlatives used to describe Graham Elliot Bowles are basically endless. Maybe he’s Chicago’s Sci-Fi Chef, for the various molecular gastronomy tricks he’s constantly inventing and employing in the kitchen, like mac n’cheese with truffle bubbles and trumpet mushrooms or a signature foie gras strawberry Pop Rocks dish. Maybe he’s Chicago’s Rock Star Chef, for the various bands he’s befriended through his restaurant (see: The Get Up Kids, Thievery Cooperation). Or maybe he’s America’s Young Gun Chef, for the various awards and distinctions he’s earned over the years, prior to turning 32.

Just a sampler: a three-times James Beard nominee who became the Chef de Cuisine at Tru at 23, before going on to win 2004’s Food & Wine Best New Chef and becoming the youngest Four Star Chef in America at Charlie Trotter’s classic go-to for Chicago’s frequent fine diners, Avenues at The Peninsula. That was before the he opened up his own shop, and flourished for the palates of some of history’s harshest food critics (GQ’s resident culinary hardass Alan Richman; former New York Times widowmaker Frank Bruni). As it turns out, though, he’s just the guy in the kitchen at Graham Elliot, trying to control what comes on over the kitchen stereo.

One would think, the guy would have a superstar personality to match both the cooking and the accolades. Chefs of his stature often wear cliched, self-absorbed arrogance and pretension like the standardized white kitchen linens. Not Bowles. Especially seeing as he doesn’t do white linens in the first place. Then again, nothing about the 32 year-old proprietor of one of Chicago’s hottest dining destinations is remotely typical.

Sitting down with Bowles, it was hard not to be immediately taken aback by the chef’s unguarded exuberance. Just like the well-guarded Raines Law Room, where we met up with him, Bowles’ welcoming demeanor’s obscured by the stereotype of celebrity chefs’ shaded clout. In a world of brash Batalis and Colicchios, we’re more primed to expect a looming hardass over what was actually in front of us: a jolly softie who digs old-school emo bands. But don’t mistake the shameless sweetheart for a first-timer: the baby-faced Bowles sits with the confidence of a guy who knows he’s made it, and where he’s made it from, starting with dropping out of high school at 16, slaving as a dishwasher and bus boy for two years, and working his way up the cooking hierarchy thereafter.

“My chef had gone to cooking school, so I decided, ‘Okay. I need to work with my hands. I’ll go do that, instead of being a plumber…or something,’” Bowles laughs. “Then, I came across Trotter’s cookbooks, and that was the defining moment. You know? The eureka thing: where food can be art, and elevated, and a form of expression.”

“I went and worked in Texas for a year at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, and then worked for Charlie,” He continued. “I was running my own kitchen at 26 in Vermont. Then, I was Food & Wine’s Best New chef in 2004 at 26. It was huge. Those were things that I had always in my head been driven by. You know? Goals. Being a sous chef by this age and a chef by this age….but I didn’t even know what stars were, or that there was a Food & Wine. I knew what the James Beard Awards were, but that was about it. I never thought I could be in that world,” Bowles sheepishly confesses. “I just wanted to cook.”

Cook what? became the question for him, though, and after years of playing with the recipes of others, and then his own modest takes on food, he started to move towards something more authentic to him, something unafraid of offending, something unafraid of mocking convention, and something maybe a little revealing of his personal impulses: molecular gastronomy. The aforementioned Foie Gras Strawberry Pop Rocks, for example: isn’t he afraid of being pigeonholed as one of those chefs? Naturally: no. Which he related to his favorite genre of music:

“Molecular gastronomy is like the culinary version of Emo….(So many) bands are like, ‘Well, we got the emo thing thrown on, us but we’re really just a rock band.’”

image Graham Elliot Bowles with the Kings of Leon. No big deal.

And that’s another funny thing about Bowles: he wears his culinary influences (Wylie Dufresne, Charlie Trotter) on his sleeve, but his fandom of other artists like a concert tee. For example, check out his website. The first thing you’ll hear? The sound of popcorn popping and Sufjan Stevens. And of course, when you walk into Graham Elliot, prepare to raise your voice, or at least: resist the urge to sing along. “The Smiths, the Cure, Band of Horses, Animal Collective, Prince, Talking Heads” are in rotation. Plus, “A lot of the older stuff that I used to like — like the Get Up Kids, the Promised Ring,” beams Bowles.

Bowles’ high-meets-low, playful haunt cuisine comes served with unconventional warmth. Waiters wear denim and chucks. “We will break up with customers all the time,” says the chef. “Older people that will come [and say,] ‘The music’s too loud. I don’t like this.’ We’ll tell them, even before they sit down, ‘It’s not you. It’s us.’ They look totally freaked out.”

This unapologetic approach extends beyond customer service, though. The menu, divided in 5 categories — cold, hot, sea, land and sweet — borders on compulsive categorization. It’s simultaneously indulgent and avant-garde, homey and sacrilegious. Think wagyu beef stroganoff with peppered spaetzle and caramelized shallots, chicken fried foie with buttermilk biscuits and quince butter. “You’re not going to sit there a week later, and think about pizza,” states Bowles. “You’ll be thinking about that crazy ass foie gras anchovy thing. I think that that’s what’s beautiful. That’s starting to happen now with food, for better or worse. It’s more performance, almost.”

“We play what we do.” Simple as that.

A lot of guests tell Bowles that the restaurant seems like a place built for the staff, “for your team to have fun, as opposed to the customer,” he explains. The kvetch is genuine. After all, Graham Elliot is a spot where the staff makes the playlist and the chefs make a mad-dash to the stereo every morning for tunes during prep and service. “Some guys will run in, and all day it’ll be gangster rap. Then, the pastry guy will randomly get there, and its Beach Boys, and you’re like, “What? Who the fuck put this on? Are you kidding me?”

Bowles rarely takes over the IPod – even when so-cal brothers are crooning soapy harmonies – because Graham Elliot is at heart a safe-haven for personal freedom and culinary experimentation, whether you’re in the kitchen, or eating their food. “It’s all trying to show who you are by doing this as your medium,” Bowles relates. “Let’s try to reinvent what the whole idea of fine dining is.” This could mean lavender-infused pea soup on linen-less mahogany.

If Bowles has his way, his flagrant creativity could also take a variety of even less-expected forms: he suggests a TV show with fellow molecular wiz kid Wylie Defraine. [“Dude. Somebody needs to film us just driving in a car all day. The other day, we were in a car driving and “Take My Breath Away” came on. It led to a whole discussion about the Top Gun Volleyball scene.”] A rockabilly, outsider’s “greaser” diner is in the works. A concert trailing food truck isn’t out of the realm of possibility. It’s taken time, but now he’s at the point where he’s ready to push forward. It’s taken time, but he now has “the confidence to be able to say, ‘I’m just going to do this.'”

“I think that’s what we try to show with our restaurant all the time,” Bowles says, referring to Graham Elliot’s status as a no-holds-barred creative hub, a place for fun, for expression, and for turning convention on its head. “Don’t come in just looking for dinner.”

GRAHAM ELLIOT BOWLES’ FAVORITE VENUE: 9:30 CLUB, WASHINGTON DC.

With reporting and interview by Foster Kamer.

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New York: Top 10 Bars for a Bathroom Hookup

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Per Se at the Time Warner Center (Midtown West) – Discreet and intimate, with stunning attention to detail. That’s how one would choose to describe this advanced gastronomy resto at the Time Warner Center. It doubles for the bathrooms. Discreet, intimate, and roomy. I can name more than a few hookup tales thanks to these private rooms. ● 1 Oak (Chelsea) – Private bathrooms lined in a row for a gorgeous group waiting in a line. Floor to ceiling coverage, low lighting, and mirrors where you just barely make out your own reflection. Bonus for the fact the attendant never seems to be around. Maybe he’s getting it on as well? ● Plaza Hotel (Midtown West) – Act like you’re old money having an affair like the rest of the clientele. Restrooms are private and off main grid of the palace, though everyone’s too wrapped up in themselves to notice your vulgar behavior. Posh, gilded — dare we say fucking tacky — catering to tacky, sexy quickies.

Back Forty (East Village) – Such a virtuous, healthy restaurant — the scene for a hookup? Named for the unplanted quarter of 160-acre homestead where farmers get wasted after long days baling hay, the idea brings to mind your romp-in-the-hay fantasy. Just me? Well, the clean, private bathrooms, left unattended and rarely used, provide room for some other fantasies. ● The Cooper Square Hotel (East Village) – Some might blame an amorous evening on the beautiful views, but you could venture to also place blame on the size of the bathrooms. Everything is low key — even the lobby is unassuming. Small, clean lines, and lots of places to get lost in, including the bathrooms. ● BEast (Chinatown) – Should Chinatown bathrooms be this clandestine? Clean, separate, all-white water closets act more like a hangout space than anything else. ● The Box (Lower East Side) – The attendants are busy flirting with the regulars somewhere, the cushion-covered, plush restrooms seem as though they were made for a hookup. The stalls aren’t exactly private, but that makes it all the more dangerous. ● Raines Law Room (Flatiron) – What laws? Speakeasy vibe and overall privacy of this joint plants the seed; the floor to ceiling doors shut out the noise and bring to mind more dirty deeds. And if you need any more suggestions, consider the bathroom wallpaper: stick figures in various sexual positions. Subtle! ● Bungalow 8 (Chelsea) -“It’s a standby” says [redacted] enthusiastically about banging in the Bungalow loos. In his professional experience, one should slip the always-friendly attendant a $20, and do as you like. The sexy lights, sturdy counter tops, and close quarters will do the rest. ● Baddies (West Village) – Here, it’s all about the mirrors. Small, unlit hallway leading to the bathrooms helps as well. Single, private rooms, though not a lot of room to get creative. Still, people will leave you alone to get the job done.

Photo: Purple Diary

Full Blast: The Noisettes Taste Test at Raines Law Room

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British new-wave warriors the Noisettes turn up the volume at Raines Law Room, Manhattan’s newest speakeasy, while pricking their palates with the sharpest spirits in town.

SPYGLASS (1 dash fee brothers cherry bitters, 1/2 oz. Fee, brothers Orgeat, 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice, 1 oz., 18-year Flor de Caña aged rum; shake hard with ice and strain into a cocktail glass, top with Moët & Chandon Imperial champagne, garnish with a brandied cherry.) SHINGAI SHONIWA: This tastes like a tropical storm. But you’re with a very peaceful person, nuzzled up in a cabana with no front door, and you can see the storm raging outside. After two of these, you both decide to take your clothes off and run naked into the storm, along the beach, watching the lightning electrocute all of the nautical species. It paves the way to a lot of imaginative thinking.

BIJOU (1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6, 1 dash Fee Brothers Orange Bitters, 1 oz. Carpano Antica Italian vermouth, 1 oz. Green Chartreuse, 1 oz. Plymouth gin; stir briskly until arctic cold and strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist.) SS: This is like a candyfloss knuckle. It’s got that juxtaposition of strength—the taste and intensity hitting you straight away—but it doesn’t linger too long, and then leaves behind it a wake of softness.

WIDOW’S KISS (2 dashes Angostura Bitters, 3/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse, 3/4 oz. Benedictine, 2 oz. Laird’s Bonded Applejack; shake hard with ice and strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist.) JAMIE MORRISON: This is a rock ’n’ roll drink. You can tell it’s doing dangerous things to you. After four of them, you’re going to have to be carried out of wherever you are, or you’ll end up giving all of your money to a homeless person.

AVIATION #2 (3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice, 1/2 oz. Maraska Maraschino, 1 tsp. Creme de Violette, 2 oz. Plymouth gin; shake hard and strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a brandied cherry.) SS: It’s got crushed ice in it, and I’m not a big fan of ice, although I like the shaking, the rhythm of it. We need to get a cocktail percussion section!

THE CHERRY (Soaked and aged in 100 proof Rittenhouse rye, 151 proof Bacardi rum, Maraska Maraschino and sugar.) SS: My cold’s gone! I feel like Eve in the Garden of Eden. I’ll be right back [ducks behind the bar]. I needed to hide for a second—it’s the only way I could deal with this sensation. It’s pretty tangy, isn’t it? It’s going into my gums! Is this novocaine?

The Noisettes’ second album, Wild Young Hearts, will be released this month on Mercury Records.