Not So Plain Jane

I’m real sick and tired of snarky wannabes who wouldn’t know what end of the bottle to pour booze from, declaring a place done 20 minutes after it’s open. I saw all sorts of silly comments on my friendly neighbor Scott Solish’s blog Down By The Hipster about how the Jane Hotel Ballroom is over. I decided to check out the Jane Ballroom on Friday night and see for myself. I had written about its opening but the distractions of summer have kept me away. A large crowd of attractive people were vying for the attention of the doorman. I approached James, who I didn’t recognize at first and said a few relevant things and was welcomed inside with my companion.

The crowd was simply great. It was the kind of crowd that moves a little to the left to let you pass often with a nod and a smile. This was a weekend night in the heart of the summer and the place was packed with sharp scenesters. There were celebrities: an Olson and that skinny, tall, British, rock-starish, actor Russell Brand. He, like everyone else, moved to the left and allowed me to pass behind him with a smile. The DJs were great laughing and playing fun tunes and the crowd was wildly into it. The lighting isn’t great and it’s a bit hard to see how beautiful the room looks.

My only real criticism is that the bartenders aren’t fast enough and there are certainly not enough of them. I couldn’t find Carlos Quirarte or Matt Kleigman to say hello. There didn’t seem to be anybody in charge or “working the room,” but maybe that’s a great thing. Maybe it’s about the room, the music and crowd rather than the personality of an operator. The place is a smash. Is it the next Beatrice? I don’t even know what that means. Why can’t it just be the Jane Ballroom?

I have yet to see one critical comment, which lays out in terms that I can grasp, what is wrong or expected. I actually believe that the writers of these silly quotes are people who could never make it past James. That doesn’t make them necessarily bad people but it does in so many ways discount the value of their point of view. Jane is near perfect and if some people don’t like it they just shouldn’t go. I hear Bowlmor is open late for them. A joint doesn’t have to cater to people who declare something over simply to impress their loser friends that they’re way cool. A joint doesn’t have to cater to anyone but the crowd they want and not some anonymous loser who can peck unsubstantiated bile on an open forum blog. A joint can define itself and be grand without the validation of people who know so very little about the process. The Jane can cater to a vibrant crowd and be fabulous without the approval of negative nellies. The Jane is great. I say so.

I don’t often disagree with DBTH as they have their thing and I have mine, but I do believe that their article the other day about “ballroom blow,” was a low blow and not worthy of the intelligence, wit and insight that I, as a daily reader, have come to expect. As one person said, it can and does happen everywhere. I didn’t understand the entry. To me, it could only be seen as an attack, an attempt to bring the authorities down on the new establishment. I know that it hurt the operators who didn’t understand why Scott would do this. The Jane is not over. It is brilliant. It is one of the more significant nightlife entries this year. They’re not even up to speed yet. They opened in the middle of the summer and the food element and outdoor spaces will make the place undeniable.

I live near Cafe Gitane in Nolita, and the notion that Luc will bring his considerable restaurant skills to the premises is brilliant. Gitane keeps me fed and will be a great asset to the west side, and as for the Jane, I think all the loser commentators that will now rain down their blubbering bullshit on me should open their own joint and try to make it work. The place would play music that even they wouldn’t like and be inhabited by that too-cool-to take-a-shower hipster crowd. No one would talk, just tweet anonymous downer remarks at each other, and they would declare it over before the bartender could say PBR. The Jane Hotel is operated by Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode. These guys have brought us the B Bar, The Bowery Hotel, The Maritime Hotel, and The Park. Eric Goode gave us Area, easily one of the top 5 clubs of all time. The Smile, Carlos and Matt’s Bond Street entry is one of the great places in my hood. I’d love these snarky know-it-all commentators to open a joint. That space wouldn’t last an Andy Warhol 15 minutes.

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