Provocateur, A Preview

There is an old saying in clubdom, “location, location location.” Provocateur arrives at not only the right place, but at the exactly right time. Located in the Ganesvoort Hotel it might seem to be a little more than the ill-fated restaurant ONO, which just about everyone said OH NO! to. But The Standard, RdV and lots of new growth have given the meatpacking district new life. For a minute MEPA was becoming a frat boy mall and the immortal words of Yankee great Yogi Berra—“that place was so crowded nobody goes there anymore”– seemed to apply. Now the area is undeniable again. Provocateur is arriving by inches, but seems poised to be a serious contender to lure serious people looking for serious fun. The partners Michael Satsky, Brian Gefter, KyKy and Dimitri have a solid following. This place is poised for greatness.

The space was designed by Lionel Ohayan (iCrave) and I think it’s stunning. I was told a zillion times that “it’s not quite done yet,” but what I saw is simply delicious. The lounge room looks like David LaChapelle redid Bungalow 8. Flashy, fun photo collages adorn banquettes and adjacent walls. Patrons will be able to spread out as seating seems to be designed for parties of eight or more. The design goes up about 10 feet and then lurches to about 25 and becomes a retractable roof, which will ensure that summer nights are just marvelous. A cropping of birch trees in the center, swaying from the ventilation system, is a refreshing, happy design accident.

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The second room, the nightclub, was flashy and cavernous. A metal gogo cage and giant wings complement a Funktion-One sound system. The staff is brilliant, beautiful and dressed sharply. The drink menu, by skin care guru Scott Vincent Borba, promises to detoxify you, clarify you, make you shine and stuff like that. My Powers Irish does the same thing–well maybe not, but it makes me not care either way. The entire approach to the environment is feminine. Michael Satsky repeatedly pointed this out to me and I’m a believer. I think Provocateur takes the model/bottle/euro scene to another level. Admission is strictly by guest list only and they seem to mean it.

Owners Satsky and Gefter took a minute from their last minute adjustments to give me a preview. I chatted with Michael as Brian greeted guests invited for a sneak peak and specialty cocktail.

When will you be done with construction or better, when will you be satisfied that you are done? Never! Well… done in one month, but I will never be completely satisfied. There is no such thing as done. I’ll want to keep making it better, always. That’s how you feel about a baby. When you call something your baby you just want to see it get better and better.

When I build a place I envision it in my mind, not only the way it looks empty, but I also imagine the place occupied and with the music playing and people moving about. I can’t do that yet. I try to wrap my head about it, to see people having some appetizers and drinks, but there are so many variables. It’s a very humbling experience. It keeps driving me. I keep going over everything in my mind.

The drink menu is formidable. Tell me about it and what are your hours. Scott Vincent Borba, the beautician and health product designer, has done the cocktail menu. Every drink will have a positive affect on your skin, your eyebrows, aging. We’re open from 6pm until 4am.

What have you been up to? How long have you been working on this place. Two years, it’s all consuming.

What’s your musical format? The lounge is all indie rock from Kings of Leon to Empire of The Sun and the nightclub will be all vocal and progressive house. We have DJ Mitch LJ, he is fantastic, the best local/international DJ around.

What days are you open? The nightclub is open four, Wednesday through Saturday, and six days in the lounge. We will be closed Sunday.

There’s a great deal of hype surrounding this place, who’s going to come here? Friends… New York meets the international crowd. Most places are just all New York or all international. We will mix both and want to be the international heart of nightlife in New York. We want the international luxury traveler and locals to make this their mainstay.

Tell me about KyKy and Dimitri. These are the original guys. Do you remember how great Wednesdays at Serafina were? They offer the highest end international model scene. They’re our partners here and at Lily Pond during the summer season

What are your expectations? We’re as humble as humble can be, but optimistic as you can be as well. 100 percent we want our guests to have fun. Our objective is to have them drink, mingle have a good time and hook up.

And it’s by guest list only? Absolutely! Once you get in there’s free flow between the two rooms. We’re not that big. The two rooms hold about 150 each and I need to know who’s coming, where to seat them. It’s the only way we can do it.

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