Image by Rob McKinley
Hard to believe now, that not so long ago Montauk was the “quiet” corner of The Hamptons. But when Jayma Cardoso opened The Surf Lodge in 2008, it became the buzzy galvanizing point for the new “beach bohemia,” presenting live performances by everyone from Rufus Wainwright to The Kills to Patti Smith, hosting fashion pop-ups by the likes of Topshop and Rosario Dawson’s Studio 189…and solidifying its zeitgeisty influence with a Surf Lodge Cafe at Art Basel Miami and a Snow Lodge at Sundance.
Yet having also lorded over NYC hotspots like Goldbar and Lavo, Cardoso is now back in Gotham with a fascinating new concept: the nightlife destination as WeWork playground and, naturally for her, artistic incubator. Cleverly, The Mailroom is actually the mailroom for the WeWork and WeLive spaces at 110 Wall Street – and so already a natural meeting point. But the mission is really about bringing together creative thinkers and doers to inspire and cultivate ideas. It’s already hosted DJ talent like Mark Ronson and James Murphy; but there will also be Monday comedy nights, Wednesday band residencies (i.e. locals French Horn Rebellion), as well as book signings, film screenings and fashion events.
As for the more practical details, Mailroom’s low-key-sexy interior, by longtime collaborator Robert McKinley, is something like cool-60s-airport-lounge meets trendy-80s-disco-club. Eats come by way of Todd English alum Sean Olnowich; and signature cocktails are by mixologists from La Esquina, with clever “post-office-chic” names like Handle With Care and Return to Sender. A few drink creations even come in “large format” – so you can enjoy the wonderful feeling of sharing with your party, without all that models-and-bottles awfulness.
We caught up for a chat with Ms. Cardoso, who also gave us the recipes for some of The Mailroom’s most popular cocktails.
Image by Rob McKinley
Mailroom seems almost more a “community center” than just a nightlife destination?
I agree, there is something about Mailroom being more than a bar or a lounge. It really serves as a gathering place for a lot of like minded people that are interested in exploring new projects, ideas and ways to collaborate. History has a way of repeating itself; in a way, I think of salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, or the 1940s…but, I think people wanted to come together in bigger ways.
How does the WeWork/WeLive connection help to shape the overall vibe of Mailroom?
The atmosphere is really designed around the collaborative nature that WeWork and WeLive is creating for people who are seeking a different approach to work, to how they travel and live. It’s the same for hospitality…I wanted a place that is a conduit for sharing and creating; this place is designed for where I expect the next big ideas come from. Hence the programming is centered around the arts and giving guests new experiences. This isn’t a club, it’s not meant to be a bar…it’s a place for people to come together in pursuit of their dreams via connecting with others.
Do you think this will be a new trend? Combining nightlife with a cultural and social ideology and “mission” of sorts?
I’m not sure it’s a trend, I think people are always looking for ways to connect…and in a world where we spend so much time in digital and social media spaces, I believe people want more then ever to find others who have the shared idea of doing bigger things by coming together in person.
NYC nightlife has been on virtual autopilot for quite awhile, an endless succession of craft cocktail and craft beer bars. Do you hope to reinvigorate it a bit by building The Mailroom around “ideas?”
I agree. I truly believe in craftsmanship with food, beverages and service; but I’m hoping to make The Mailroom a member of the next evolution, a celebration of all the incredible people who come to New York in pursuit of new ideas, technology, businesses, art, etc. For me, creating a gathering place for visionaries is the next big step.
Cocktail Recipes From The Mailroom
– 1 oz Absolut Vodka
– .75 oz Lemon Juice
– Splash of Ginger Juice
– Mint Leaf
Fired Up Margarita
– 2oz Altos Blanco Tequila
– 1oz Chili Syrup
– 1oz Lime Juice
– .5oz Blood Orange
Cold Pressed Negroni
– 1oz Sipsmith Gin
– 1oz Campari
– 1oz Coffee Infused Vermouth
– 2oz Absolute Elyx Vodka
– .75oz Lime Juice
– Topped with Homemade Ginger Beer