I wear multiple nightlife hats. I, of course, write here daily; I design joints; I DJ; and I help in the marketing of that delicious Beau Joie Champagne. There are often conflicts, especially in the writing. I follow the rule of disclosing what I can about the new projects I am designing, but I do comply with the rules publicists and management lay out. I often do not get the first photos of places I’m designing or often even the first substantive story. In the case of the The Elsinore at 17 Stanton Street, my latest creation, publications like Crains and Thrillist got the scoops. I also will not write about a place differently because I am involved. This has upset a few clients, but others like the added dimension of this column.
The Elsinore will preview tonight with a Fashion Week soirèe for Buckler. This is a private preview event and there will be some other such events in the space in the two or three weeks before it actually opens. The Elsinore is nearing completion with more wallpapers and moldings and finishing touches going up daily. It is not quite ready for primetime players but the folks attending tonights bash and the ones to come will see something new and I think very different. Having a party at a virginal space seems to thrill party planners. The Steve Lewis designer hat wishes people would see it for the first time when it is done. I caught up with The Elsinore honcho Noel Ashman late last night/early this morning for some thoughts.
You must be excited. Although The Elsinore is incomplete, with a scheduled opening in two or three weeks, it is previewing for Fashion Week. What are the upsides and downsides of pre-openings?
Well the upside is that we keep our word to the designers and other fashion peeps we promised the space for their Fashion Week events. The downside is the space is still very raw and unfinished which is why we are calling it construction preview parties.
Who is involved with you on this latest project (and for the youngins reading my column) who are you and what have you done?
I am nobody they should not know who I am lol. I have been very blessed to have a great team working with me on this project. We have a bunch of partners in The Elsinore… actors Norman Reedus and Damon Dash have come out in the press so far but we have some other interesting creative entertainment peeps involved as well, which I am sure will come out in the near future. Richie Rich is designing the waitress uniforms and is hosting a weekly night as well. A guy named Amit Zamen is a co-owner with me and is great at handling lots of the back-of-the-house details that usually go underappreciated (except by me). I also brought in some other operational partners who have been incredible in helping me get the space together and who we would not be here without. Seamus Regan is our very capable GM and a partner as well. Scott Hockens is helping with internal marketing and is also a partner. Clarence Fuller is also doing in-house marketing and is one of our creative directors.
Where does the name The Elsinore come from? Who came up with it?
I wish I could take credit for it but actually a very close friend of mine suggested the name and I loved it right away. The Elsinore is actually the castle from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
What is The Elsinore doing to fill a void in nightlife or push the envelope of nightlife?
I think many clubs/lounges in NYC have gotten very commercial and seem to be almost copying a Las Vegas formula, which can be profitable but I find very stale. They have lost a lot of the NYC authenticity and artistic flavor that, in the past, had made NYC the envy of nightlife all over the world. I think we are trying to bring an updated version of some old-school, more selective NY clubs/lounges like my old club Veruka, Spy Bar, Bungelow 8, etc. but with some new twists. We are designing the space for many of the creative high-profile people that do not feel protected in current venues, to give them a more private place to hang.
The location seems to be getting hotter by the minute. Why did you choose to be in this area?
I spent a lot of time looking at venues and areas of town and I felt the Meatpacking area was way too over-saturated and commercial. The Bowery, to me, is the next great nightlife destination and The Elsinore was just perfect for what I wanted to do. It is small (holding approx imately 175 peeps at a time), but has a feeling of being very spacious because of the high ceilings and has a great backyard, outdoor area so I just fell in love with it.