Industry Insiders: Michael Satsky, Agent Provocateur

Michael Satsky, the former proprietor of Lily Pond in East Hampton and now-defunct Stereo nightclub, has been busy launching his venture, Provocateur at Hotel Gansevoort, a lounge sprinkled with feminine touches that will “cater to a woman’s every desire.” Now in the soft opening phase for private events and parties, the man behind the Meatpacking District’s hottest new haunt gives BlackBook a sneak peak after the jump.

Tell us about the Provocateur concept. It’s femme in every possible way from the front of the house to the back. It truly is going to back up what the description says it is. From the décor to the staff to the front of the house to the drinks in every way shape and form. It’s going to compare to walking into a Bendels rather than a Barneys, you’re going to know that you’re in a female department store.

How does that appeal to your male clientele? To be honest with you, it’s not something I’m concerned with. I think that women lead by example, and the men will follow.

And guys go wherever there are good-looking women, so… It’s going to be different for them. Guys are going to think it’s a little strange, but I’m cool with that.

Besides the retractable roof, what’s your favorite aspect of the venue? There’s a catwalk that overlooks the bar set about five feet above the bar, and that’s something that I really wanted to integrate into the design. Having interactive entertainment components to your venue is something that I don’t really see anywhere else I go.

How is prepping for this opening different from your other venues like Lily Pond or Stereo? It’s different in every single way, shape, and form. When you truly build something from nothing, it takes on a life that you can’t even imagine. It’s almost like building a building, which I’ve never done before. From the walls to the roof to the floor, everything is new. There was nothing usable from the previous tenants or the previous building. Hotel Gansevoort is my landlord, so it’s been a learning experience even though I’ve been in the business for such a long time and I’ve done so many projects like this. I gained a lot of knowledge from building this project.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve taken from the process? Honestly, there are so many. Everything that I’ve learned is valuable. I’d say I’ve received a degree in construction, so I know a lot of things that I should have never known, but maybe one day I’ll be able to use them. When you build things from scratch, you learn things that you never thought you were going to learn.

The Meatpacking District has been changing so much recently, especially after the opening of The Standard Hotel and the venues there. What’s the new clientele in this area that you’re hoping to attract? We’re trying to actually bring more clientele to this area than take from it. We’ll take something from it because there are a lot of great things around here. But I think the international traveler that we’re going to attract here is something that can’t be found anywhere because what we’re going to do is have a mixture of organic New York, and at the same time, I believe the organic Australia, or the organic Europe or the organic South America—this is going to be where they’ll come. So it’s all of these worlds clashing at once, and I think that’s going to create such a beautiful environment.

What do you mean by organic? Something that cannot be manufactured. You can’t manufacture your family, that’s something that comes with the territory. If you, yourself develop a certain clientele or a certain group of friends, I feel that that’s your organic circle, and I feel that the organic circles that are in other places just like mine in New York are going to gravitate here.

Will you have entry for hotel guests automatically? No. Even thought it’s inside the hotel, it’s completely separate. Although we want to be as courteous to the hotel as possible, they’ll have the same protocol as anyone else.

And what sort of door can we expect? I would expect something similar to a Fort Knox experience.

Are you doing anything special with bottle service? This is going to be a product that people are going to feel comfortable paying for. Even though we’re not going to have certain restrictions, I’d expect that we’d be able to receive the highest amount of sales per table compared to anywhere else in the city. People are going to want to spend money because they’re going to feel comfortable. Not because someone is asking them to or making them, they’re going to have the proper environment the proper entertainment and they’re going to have all the amenities that they need.

What are your go-to places? Il Mulino in New York City would be one of my top restaurants of course in the world because I grew up there and I still feel like it’s the best dining experience possible. Maya’s in St. Bart’s is one of the best restaurants. It’s such a great environment and authentic as well. I also like Morimoto.

Is the Greenhouse/Provocateur URL scandal resolved and behind you? Yeah, they returned it. It wasn’t a big deal. It got blown up to something. Its’ not something that crossed my mind or upset me at all.

What are the pros and cons of being in this neighborhood? There are so many legitimate businesses in this neighborhood that it’s a huge probe. The neighborhood isn’t going anywhere. This neighborhood has such a cutting edge fashion forward crowd that it’s such a plus being here. The pluses being in this neighborhood, I could go on and on.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Beluga Caviar.

How did you get into nightlife? When I was a youngster going out to Moomba or Spybar, Life, Club USA, those type of venues attracted me to the business. That’s where I met my first network of clientele.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone aspiring to get into nightlife right now? Make sure you do it for the right reasons, and make sure that if you get into nightlife your ultimate objective is to continue with it, stick with it, and do something that will going to make a change and impact people’s lives.

Who do you look up to? I think that Ian Schrager does it right.

What’s your favorite Ian Schrager hotel? I love the Delano.

Is that where you stay in Miami? No.

Where do you stay? Hotel Gansevoort.

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