A Touch of Class at Southside

Door guru Timothy Sheldon rules the gate at Southside, one of my favorite haunts. Let’s talk about larger than life — he already measures up to about 6′ 5”, but on a weekend night he still stands on a wooden crate to pick through the crowd. Southside and Timothy have a firm attitude about their door; they firmly believe that mixing up the crowd and having a variety of enthusiastic patrons is the key to long-term success. Timothy is a classic figure — invariably dressed to the nines — and he takes being a gentleman very seriously, both on and off of his little box.

In 2006, Timothy was employed as P. Diddy’s assistant and stylist. He traveled extensively with him as movies were made, fragrances were launched, and events were nonstop. He lived in his house, woke him in the morning, put him to bed and generally kept him on schedule. After his Diddy experience, he went to Vegas, where he handled VIP services at Wynn’s Tryst nightclub and Drai’s as well. Tryst, as a club, grosses more than any other club on our small planet (Tao figures include food). “I learned hospitality at a high-volume monster venue with yearly revenues over $50 million. It’s a place where hosts drive Lamborghinis!” he told me. After that he touched down in DC and planned an excursion to New York City to work at trendy club run by a couple of buddies. Timothy still feels that owning a joint is in the future, but he’s more than content with learning and meeting fabulous folks until that night.

With the continuing success at Southside, Timothy can be found — in case you’re looking for him — Wednesday through Saturday at the door. I DJ there for fun, friends, and no money at the Sunday party, and he’s always there as well. The truly good ones just can’t stay at home because a good club becomes a child that needs to be nurtured. At my clubs, I was always the first to arrive, I answered phones, did the schedules, booked the talent, worked the room and the door, and at the end of the night swept out the place. He does the door because “it’s an opportunity to network with all that’s cool in New York. I meet creative people from all crowds.”

Timothy lives in my hood, so I run into him in delis at 4 a.m. after we’re both weary from having conquered our own little worlds. He is always impeccably dressed, extremely well-mannered, and his home is described to me as based on Andy Warhol’s Factory, where creative people are always gathering and pushing agendas. Timothy is obsessed with returning traditional service values to hospitality. Besides the door-god job, he is also very hands-on with the all-important table seating of clients — making sure that tables are compatible is an art that can make or break a good party. In a world where bottle service is going the way of the dodo, Southside is selling more and more without compromising the crowd with another rare bird — yuppie scum. Timothy takes the door seriously, and he sees it as an opportunity to teach the people who aren’t quite getting in how to close the deal and become next month’s customer. I’ve always felt that to be all-important. He tells me that he’s looking for a great attitude from people trying to get in and that “a sense of entitlement won’t work here.” There is a great deal of cross-pollination between Southside and around-the-corner neighbors La Esquina and GoldBar, where my man Jon Lennon mans the door, but that’s a story for another time.

[Photo: Patrick McMullan]

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