Winston’s Champagne Bar: A Step Backward Is a Step in the Right Direction

I go out a lot — way too much — but rarely find myself at a place where I truly enjoy myself. I’m always fascinated by the way operators, um, operate, and can linger at a place I don’t like for hours figuring out what exactly it is about it I don’t like, and what I would do to fix it. When David Marvisi and I had a meeting about taking over his disastrous Key Club and turning into what eventually became the very successful Spa nightclub, many were amazed that I was able to open the place a mere 38 days later. It was possible because of previous analysis about the wrongs and how to un-wrong them. The champagne at Winstons Champagne Bar tastes like good champagne should.

At Winston’s the other night, that new champagne spot in the Ganesvoort Park hotel, I had nothing to do but enjoy myself. It was a perfectly appointed room done by my friends over at ICrave design. It’s wonderfully laid out, lit, and functional. Proprietor Michael Satsky gave me the proud parent tour, and I could find nothing wrong. I loved the Napoleon wallpaper and the piano was grand. The staff were wonderful. We sat with Michael’s partner Brian Gefter and sipped what they sell.

Winstons is a place crowded with adults who have nothing to prove and only want to enjoy their success and the comfort of people with a mindset like theirs. It isn’t for everyone, and a look at the Champagne list tells you why. It isn’t overpriced compared to other supposedly high-end spots, but it is costly. Bottles of rare champagnes are available, and I glimpsed one that went for around 17,000 dollars. That’s a lot to pay for grape juice.

The wines by the glass proved to be a great adventure. Loyal readers know I only drink two or three times a year, whenever I have sex, and this was a rare exception. (My Amanda wouldn’t make one for my drunken ass.) I had a blast. I love Winston’s because it is as perfect as it can be without the pretensions and false bottoms so often found at high-end joints. Will my friends at White Noise and Lit Lounge enjoy it? Probably not. It’s for the jet-set crowd that’s already arrived. As I sat there listening to romantic tracks from the 1920s, perusing the beautiful people doing what they do in this timeless setting, I realized that the specialization of nightlife can go backwards to go forward.

Oh, I can still list the bold-face names hanging around, like the always gorgeous Devorah Rose and man about town and billboards Jonathan Chebin … but I won’t.

Tonight I will be DJing on the roof of Hotel Chantelle, which thankfully is enclosed when it needs to be. Weather-wise, it’s such a lovely day … if you’re a trout. I want to give a shout out to two old friends who just got older. Both are ageless and timeless and legendary. Michele Savoia, who I’ve known since before there was a before, is a tailor, among many things. His House of Savoia shop on Essex Street is one-stop shopping for the bon vivant. Rocco Ancarola will celebrate his birthday at Lavo, where he has set up shop and is tearing it up and down.There is no nicer person that I can think of. Always a friend, always bringing a smile, and there for me for comfort and advice when life takes it turns. These gentleman’s gentleman age fine like wine — or good champagne, for that matter — and I wish them everything they want and need.

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