Nightlife promoter Alon Jibli — partner to Danny A and friend to every clubgoer on the New York scene — talks about Israelis in nightlife, Mark Baker as the godfather, and shady industry people. Where do you go out? First of all would be my own Barbounia. I like Bar Pitti because of Giovanni Giovanni Giovanni, the owner. I like Downtown Cipriani again because of Guiseppe Guiseppe Guiseppe. Because when the owner knows your name and knows what you eat and your favorite table, and when they greet you when you walk in and buy you a drink — that makes you feel at home. I would say the best bar in New York right now is probably Rose Bar. I like the crowd a lot. It’s a place that starts early and ends early. So I think it’s the best place to go for a drink in New York at 11 o’ clock. I like the new place called RDV. It’s under Bagatelle. Lots of Europeans go there. Most of my friends are French and Italian, and they like to hang out there.
How did you get your start in the industry? I started in a club called Tatou in 1992. I was promoting their Tuesday nights, and ever since, Tuesday night is my party night. From Tatou it went to Lotus, and now it’s at Marquee. It’s the hottest Tuesday night in New York, believe it or not. It’s called “Tuesday Baby Tuesday.” If somebody from out of town sits in a cab on a Tuesday night and asks the cab driver to take them to the most happening place, he’ll take them to Marquee.
Why are Israelis so big in nightlife for such a little country? Because we live the day. I think Israelis and Argentineans are very similar because we come from a place that you probably can’t really plan ahead. You live the day. You enjoy to live the day because you never know what tomorrow’s going to be like.
What’s going on in nightlife right now? People are trying harder because there’s not a lot of money. In the past few years, everything was extremely boring. It was all about bottle service and the big-money spenders that are long gone in the past six months. Club owners and people in my business are trying harder and competing harder. And I see it happening. It will be very good for the customer. For example, if you go to clubs now, you’ll see far more themed parties. At 1Oak, they had a show the other night. You can see more decoration, more fun stuff. Like the nineties, when you went to a club, it was fun and happening. It was real.
And what sucks about New York nightlife now? I think clubs in New York became way too commercial. I don’t see a lot of clubs that are really adapting to what nightlife is, for instance, in London. There, it’s a really serious business, where you really want to have a customer come and have an experience from the second he goes in. In these places, even the bathroom is an experience. I don’t see it in New York.
What’s your favorite country to party in? Argentina. The house music is awesome. And the people live in the day, like in Israel.
You were always the behind-the-scenes guy, and Danny A was the visible face of your duo. Did that hurt or help you in the industry? It didn’t hurt at all. I have my crowd, and Danny has his crowd. Danny is a more LA kind of guy — a celebrity-oriented promoter. And I’m a little more masses. I can do huge numbers, and I don’t know any promoter that can bring more celebrities then Danny. Yeah, we still do the Tuesdays together.
What’s he up to nowadays? Danny is shooting a film called Holy Rollers. He’s producing it himself and also acting in one of the lead roles. It’s based on a true story about an Israeli drug smuggler.
Who else do you admire in the industry? The guy for my generation is Mark Baker. I think he’s the godfather. My first steps in New York, he was holding my hand. He’s also probably the nicest person in the industry. I think he taught me how to treat people nicely, no matter who they are. That’s the greatest lesson I learned from him.
You’re a nice dude in an industry full of shady people. How do you deal with it? I think a lot of people would relate being nice to weakness. I think it’s a strength. I think you should treat people the way you’d like to be treated yourself. Regardless, if it’s my business or if it’s my life, I treat people the way I want to be treated.
What’s your favorite book? Gabriel Garcia Marquez is my favorite writer of all time. If I could be him for one day, it’s probably going to be the greatest gift. One Hundred Years of Solitude. It’s my favorite book of all time.