CV Turns ‘I’ & Snap Gets the Yankee Stadium Treatment

Barely bigger than a bread box, CV is I year old—that’s roman numeral stuff. CV is 105 and I is 1. If you read my column, you get an education every day. Last Saturday night, CV, that tiny club in the Rivington Hotel, turned one years old. I designed the joint with a budget of $40,000 all in – it’s a small place, but not that small. We got lucky. We had a great crew, all our little tricks played out, and the product seems to have worked. As with that pudding proof saying: it’s still there.

I came by to pay my respects, but also to catch the scheduled performer, Slick Rick. Alas, it was not meant to be as Slick was sick, reportedly a near-pneumonia situation. Maino filled in, but I had moved on and was hanging elsewhere with bon vivants and hipsters. Successfully operating a small joint isn’t easy. Certain costs, like management and PR, are incredibly high when size defines and limits income. With one small bar and very few tables, it is difficult to turn a profit. The location of CV inside the Rivington Hotel isn’t really an asset. On a block that enjoys some of the best foot traffic in town, the Rivington seems to be avoided. Although I personally am shocked and awed by the wonderful Marcel Wanders design, I don’t believe the public ever took to the hotel. Maybe it seems a bit cold or expensive for the hood. Whatever the reason, nothing viable has occurred there.

CV, located in the hotel but with an entrance a little bit to the west of the main portal, enjoys its disassociation. Design-wise, I moved away from the hotel’s grays, blacks, and the coldest red I’ve ever seen, using instead deep browns, natural woods, and good fake leather to warm it up and separate its feel from that of the Rivington. I replaced expensive cool lights with inexpensive warm ones. I ripped out great gobs of back-lit plexi as I tried to transform the cold empty room into a hot spot. Matt Isaacs and his pro promotional team have managed to reel the people in, but I do believe it’s a destination for his crowd – I don’t think many people just wander in. Matt, who swore to me about a year and a half ago that he would never own a joint, operates CV and SNAP. I did design them both, for all of those out there that want me to come clean. I caught up with Matt and asked him some questions.

So congrats on the year. What does it feel like to have reached that problematical milestone? Thanks, yes, we just celebrated our one year anniversary at CV this past Saturday night. Maino, a New York city-based musician with two “Top 10” hits (“Million Bucks” and “All the Above”) came by and gave an amazing performance to our crowd. It’s been a very busy and trying year for me and my crew. We opened CV last November, though it feels like it was a few Novembers ago, and in February we broke ground on SNAP, the sports bar that we recently opened in the Meatpacking District. You are intimately familiar with both projects, Steve, as the main designer.

Tell me about the concept behind SNAP? Why did a guy like you so entrenched in normal nightlife venues go in this direction? The SNAP concept is very exciting. There are so many new and unique opportunities with the sports bar/mixed use bar and restaurant platform that simply don’t exist in the pure nightlife format. For example, there is a wide array of sports and recreational companies that we are developing events and marketing programs for that wouldn’t have fit in the nightlife/luxury mold.

What will CV do to stay relevant going forward? CV is very strong going into it’s second year. Sure, some of the initial following we had in the very beginning now goes elsewhere, to the newer spots, but we’ve managed to attract a very loyal following down there on Rivington street. The weekends are always slammed with return customers, and the weekday nights are more specialized. We just developed a new Thursday night House/Dance music platform with a French twist. We are open 6 nights a week.

Besides SNAP being a high-end sports bar, you will soon start serving food. So now you are not only an owner but a restauranteur to boot. We are really excited to launch the food program at SNAP in the beginning of next year. It’s going to include some really sophisticated offerings that you won’t find at the traditional bar. The menu is kind of like the Spotted Pig meets a sports bar. We were inspired to do a semi non-traditional food program by observing the new stadiums in the New York area and the sophisticated options that were going into the concession spaces. Danny Meyer is at Citifield, etc. So we recognized that the modern New York sports fan appreciates more than just the typical stadium burgers and hot dogs.

Who else is involved? My partners at SNAP include Danny A., Justin McManus, Jed Stiller, and Jordan Harris.

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