On Sunday as I was checking my Facebook, I saw an interesting status: “Aram Sabat looking to buy a new bar or club. Anyone got leads?” Aram, the owner of 49 Grove, is both a Facebook friend and real friend and I love this approach. With all the impending doom out there and wringing of hands and depressing chatter, there doesn’t seem to be any space available. Well, none in any areas near to thee. In fact, I have a number of clients desperately looking. What does this mean?
I spoke to one owner who has a number of joints under his control and was told that the weekends are still slamming except for the occasional snow delays, but that the beginning of the week has gotten way weaker. His plan is to cut deep into promoters’ fees and keep his staffing as low as possible. By cutting out the promoters whose shtick has been bringing hot girls to get broker types to buy bottles (a concept as relevant as Julio Cesar Chavez’ boxing career), he will save loot on salaries, comp bottles, and have a table to hawk as well. The days of $1,000 fees for promoters who draw 20 peeps are over.
My phone and emails and Facebook are being barraged with resumes. Usually I can hook up an experienced waitress with a gig in a day or two, but not now — many of these gals are just packing it in and heading home. It’s back to the Ozarks or Chicago or Ohio or some other hinterland, and the acting/modeling/singing careers are being put on hold or abandoned. Yet owners all over town are looking to expand. A dismal corporate Christmas season was followed by a real good New Year’s Eve cash-in, and it’s possible that the operators are feeling that they have a grip on the crisis … that they have seen a bottom and can make it work.
The political atmosphere is more favorable to get a new license or transfer one, as seen in the reversal of Community Board 4 giving Noah Tepperberg of Marquee approval for the Earth space. As far as my friend Aram Sabat — well, he’s made that 49 Grove space hum, and I think that is an amazing accomplishment. If anyone knows of a space, please let him know about it, or better yet, call me. My clients will pay more.