How to Best to Bribe NYC’s Wintertime Doormen

Matt Duckor has some “Pro Tips” over at The Feast today. “The Seven Coldest Doormen in New York” asks the town’s busiest club gatekeepers to offer their take on surviving a frigid night outside. Everyone from Wass Stevens at Avenue to Eddie Bilowich at Bunker discusses the warm and cozy details of their layering habits this time of year, as standing outside all winter certainly makes them experts on the subject. But this fun and breezy article might also serve a double-purpose: As the guys weigh in on their personal warming habits, they’re actually exposing a collective Achilles Tendon, a weakness for preferred hand-warmers and cashmere under-pinnings that could, if you’re slick enough, be exchanged for entree into the clubs. Here are your best bets for winter-time bribes.

Simonez Wolf Door: Le Bain Method of Comfort: Huge parka, not having to stay outside all night. Bring Him: A pack of Little Hotties Hand Warmers.

Rich Thomas & Cristian Achirill Door: Lavo Method of Comfort: Layers and Fur Bring Them: Uniqlo’s Lab Heattech Long Underwear. Makes gifting underwear less creepy.

Aalex Julian Door: SL Comfort: Mental and physical vacations to warm places. Bring Him: A Lei from Hawaii or a Pineapple

Jonny Lennon Door: Goldbar Comfort: Roughing it by pretending he’s in the great outdoors. “On nights when there’s a full on blizzard, I make a point of it to be outside all night, to survive it.” Bring Him: Bear Grylls. If these can’t be rustled up, maybe a pair of snowshoes or something from Carhartt.

Herman Solomon Door: The Mulberry Project Comfort: Drinking a lot of water and having style. Bring Him: A stylish water bottle! See what he thinks of the Bobble—a cute water bottle that filters water as you drink it.

Wass Stevens Door: Avenue Comfort: Cashmere, fur, and his own personal heat lamp. Bring Him: Unless you are planning on swinging by Burberry to pick up a fur trapper for the doorman of all doors, don’t bother with a bribe. It’s luxury for this man, all the way down to his cashmere undies.

Eddie Bilowich Door: The Bunker Club Comfort: Heat packs and hats. Bring Him: Something vegan. Sure you can bring him an extra pack of glove warmers, but the man used to run a website called “The Hot Vegan,” so a nod to his foodie past would be more appreciated than an extra skull cap.

Barbarians at the Gate: New York’s Door Deciders

Gone are the days of the grunting, cross-armed, meathead bouncer. Inspired by the example of revered nightlife fixture Gilbert Henry Stafford, the current generation of doormen are sophisticated and stylish toughs who adorn — and block — New York’s tightest doors.


Aalex Julian, Simyone Lounge and Abe & Arthur’s – “In the end, the man makes the clothes. It’s not always what you wear, but how you wear it.” Aalex wears blazer and shirt by Tom Ford, jeans by J Brand.


Richard Alvarez, subMercer – “People need to wear their clothes rather than be worn by them.” Richard wears leather patchwork jacket by Maison Martin Margiela, vest and tails by Norisol Ferrari Bespoke.


Binn Jakupi (right), 1Oak/a> – “Clothing is an integral part of setting the tone for the place that you represent, and it is of the utmost importance that you do it with your own style.” Binn wears shirt and tie by Dolce & Gabbana. Genc Jakupi, The Box – “The Box, being about performance and extravagance, requires a more theatrical form of dressing up.” Genc wears suit by John Varvatos.


Wass Stevens, Avenue – “People are dressing up more, finally. I think it’s great.” Wass wears suit and shirt by Isaia, tie by Barneys New York, cashmere overcoat by Gucci.

Photography by Adam Fedderly. Grooming by Tracy Alfajora for MAC Cosmetics.

A Response to ClubPlanet’s Most Hated People in Nightlife

In an article appearing on his Clubplanet blog, Justin Ross Lee named the “Top Ten Most Hated People in New York Nightlife,” a list in which he includes himself. I like the idea of this list, specifically the idea of identifying who the biggest assholes and bullies are. I just think Justin’s list is a little too narrow. With the exception of Strategic Group honcho Noah Tepperberg, he names the puppets and not the puppeteers. I became aware of the list when promoter Sally Shan, who made the list, asked me what she should do about it. I had just written about Sally, and she told me it had reinvigorated her haters, which is odd since she is certainly not a bad person. In fact, she is hard working, moral and somewhat pleasant. Promoters like her are motivated by many things — money, glamour, excitement — but the need to feel loved is at the core of it. This is especially true for Sally, since her big heart doesn’t take criticism well.

My advice to her was not to worry. “I was on the top of lists like that for years!” I said, “If you don’t have a few haters, you’re doing it wrong. Promoters are generally people who, besides the money, seek admiration. Those going down that road will have haters throwing dirt at them. The bigger you get, the bigger the target you become. Feel sorry for those who find satisfaction in hurting others … they are merely moths to your flame since they have no light of their own. Otherwise they just live in the darkness of their own making.”

This seemed to cheer her up, and as any good promoter would do, she proceeded to publicize the mention proudly. Others on the list include Matt Lipman, a promoter who flies under my radar, so how bad can he be? Adam “The Glove” Glovsky is another promoter I can’t see harming a fly or doing anything except annoying people to come to his events. I’m sure Glovsky and the other promoters disturb people with texts and Facebook invites, but that’s part of their job. Jonathan Schwartz is harmless — unfortunately, way more harmless than he himself thinks. He is brighter than most and has risen quickly through the unwashed promotional ranks to become a promotional director. Although snarky at times, he is never malicious, and this “hated” branding is uncalled for. David Jaffee, like Adam, considers annoying an art form and is so good at it that the art form becomes fun. Mathew Assante is a puppy, not a pit bull. He is always a gentleman that travels with a polite and pretty crew, and I have never seen him do or say anything that would warrant an emotion as strong as hate.

Now as Justin Ross Lee described them, “the rope rats.” Aalex Julian and Rich Thomas stand in front of clubs that hold about a tenth of the number of people that want to enter them. Saying “no” a few thousand times a night will collect haters. To the people who know them and are deemed worthy to enter their spots, they are a pair that is loved: both are professional and both must be defined as people who have a lot more going on than standing in the cold and rejecting the Justin Ross Lees of the world. The only really big fish on this list is Noah Tepperberg. He is described by Justin as “Dr. Evil.” I’ve known Noah for over 15 years and have never seen or heard of him going back on his word. His success is undeniable, his list of friends expansive — he supports thousands of people with his vision. Noah loves what he does and has quietly been a friend to so many in need. Running an empire is not an easy task and if sometimes he seems distracted or indifferent to the small talk of people he doesn’t know, it should be forgiven.

In a business populated with real assholes, Justin Ross Lee seems to have named none except himself. Out of the 10 he lists, only he remains without my defense, which is ironic since Justin once told me that he was going to try to be the most hated man in the business. To do that one has to actually be in the business and be important enough to be noticed, which means one has to target the real players and creeps rather than point out the people who deign to kiss one’s ass. I certainly am hated by many and accept that as part of what I do. I’ve always felt that If some people “like” me then I must be failing. I like Justin a great deal — he’s smart, witty and I consider his antics a unique branding ploy. But he throws spitballs, not rocks, which doesn’t really earn him a spot on my hated list. There’s plenty of real live jerks out there who need calling out, and Justin seems to be flailing about and screaming like a three-year-old trying to get the adults’ attention. I’m an adult, Justin Ross Lee, and now you have me listening. Did you have anything important to say?

Nights of Columbus

Columbus Day creates a sort of/almost three-day weekend and a Sunday night where more people are out than usual. I received more calls last night from people ‘looking for a good time’ than my self-soliciting ex-girlfriend did on a weekend night. I didn’t really have answers for these party-seekers. I offered up Cielo and Vandam at Greenhouse, but for some…not their scene. I rattled off the usual places, but few of my suggestions were well-received. Sundays at GoldBar are good (to dot all my i’s) but some members of my crowd are less visually stimulating than some doors allow, so, I didn’t send them to see Jon Lennon. I sent a couple friends to the 5th Anniversary of Pink Elephant the other night, and they brought in a third wheel of misfortune. The door correctly taxed the crew, and I called to apologize. The same thing happened over at Simyone where a gal pal who isn’t hard to look at brought a couple of friends who were 4 or 5 sheets to the wind and, of course, not door-worthy. So…don’t call me for guest list help for a couple weeks, children.

My crew parked next door at Son Cubano where I met them. It was a blast. There were three people in the place—including staff—that had a chance of getting past Alex Julian at Simyone’s door, but it was a party and I know one when I see one. You could sit anywhere you wanted, and I bought four drinks and got decent change from two twenties. It took ten minutes and then I went to Simyone’s with my friend and was treated like Mick Jagger. I was escorted to owner Eugene Remm’s table where I was introduced to Mickey Rourke. I couldn’t see Eugene and asked Pavan Pardasani where I could find him. Pavan has found a home at EMM group and I wish him well. He’s a good, hardworking guy, and he’ll thrive under the golden umbrella that Eugene and partner, Mark Birnbaum, have created. Eugene was DJing and really doing a decent job. He had it all together: hands, body posture, even the headphone tilt was right. Everybody was having fun, but there were very few unusual suspects. It was packed and all the girls were tall and pretty and all the guys were dressed well and the place looked nice. It was Tenjune déjà vu. It certainly seems like heaven to the bottley/modely crowd that was swaying to the sounds but I, of course, like a dirtier (or at least grittier) kinda joint.

I was back in Son Cubano in a jiffy enjoying a $7 beer and deflecting drunken revelers from the women folk. It felt nice to pay for a drink. The old school clubs were different—sort of a cross between the two places. Old heads said hello at Cubano and I felt comfy there. Saturday night took me to Lit, a grungy oasis that’s still vibrant and relevant after seven years. Leo Fitzpatrick and Justine Delaney got my attention. My Blackberry was vibrating so often by those lost souls looking for a good time that I almost had a sexual experience. Lit was wonderful. Sure there were trust fund kids in gaggles, slumming and funning, but there were enough core downtown types to keep it real. Leo and Justine attract enough trendoids and the bartenders have great tattoos. So I stayed for hours.

The next day was spent watching HBO and Showtime reruns and debuts. We also caught the Columbus Day Sopranos episode. That’s the one where Tony’s crew gets all worked up as Native Americans are protesting Columbus because of the genocide he might’ve begun. The Italians in this TV comedy/drama see old Chris C. as a hero, a symbol of Italian heritage and pride. The Native Americans see only thugs and a lost world. There was a time when each club had a Paulie Walnuts type hanging around. The good ol’ days were a blast for those dancing to legendary DJ’s, at legendary hot spots. But, things behind the scenes were not always so gentile. That seems to be long-gone now, as the demise of the Teflon Don seems to have relegated such characters to TV screens and Pulp Fiction.

So, on this Columbus Day weekend, while watching Eugene Remm DJing with Mickey Rourke (who isn’t really a bad boy but often plays one on the big screen), I thought back to that different world. Today’s owner is a businessman and has little street in him. With a few exceptions, most wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes in a day when you had to watch what you said and who you said it to. There really isn’t any true grit left in Clubdom. Sure there’s some grunge and a little edge but the romanticism of the nights of Columbus Days is long gone. I’m glad for that and see it clearly now for what it was: a great big lie like Columbus discovering America or the cover up of the genocide or the faux exclusiveness of most joints in town. The current crop of clubs have—for the most part—become mere escapes from mundane realities. The old joints were hotbeds of culture, fashion and ideas. Envelopes were opened, limits pushed and you could really get hurt if you crossed the line. There’s a feeling of rebirth in club life lately. The recession has gotten some juices flowing and a return of creative types to the scene. Still, without the Paulie Walnuts types lurking in the shadows, it lacks a little edge. Not such a bad thing, trust me.

The Top 10 Industry Insiders of 2008

Our Industry Insiders series has covered the personalities that drive nightlife, dining, hotels, and related scenes throughout the world. We’ll continue targeting more movers and shakers throughout 2009, but from the past year, here are the ten people who generated the most fervent reader reaction (both love and — the other thing).

10. Amy Sacco – She may no longer rule New York nightlife with an iron guestlist, but she still has plenty of admirers. 9. Richie Notar – A hometown boy made good, from shirtless busboy at Studio 54 to white-tie hotelier to the stars. 8. Michael Achenbaum – The man behind the Hotel Gansevoort has been known to draw the attention of a hater or two.

7. Lionel Ohayon – His design firm is responsible for the look of many cutting-edge venues. 6. Remi Laba – The Meatpacking District maestro On boring models, the grub at Pastis, and bringing down the house (music). 5. Jeffrey Chodorow – The owner of China Grill, Asia de Cuba, Kobe Club, Ono, and other esteemed global eateries dishes on Ian Schrager, disses on Rocco DiSpirito, 4. Derek & Daniel Koch – The day-party twins build an unlikely empire. 3. Ivanka Trump – Donald’s diamond daughter describes her new hotel ventures. 2. Rachel Uchitel – From losing her fiancée in the 9/11 attacks to running VIPs at some of the hottest joints in New York and elsewhere. 1. Aalex Julian – The infamous Tenjune doorman trashed his foes and became the poster boy for anti-doorman malice.

Britney Spears Bringing the Circus to Tenjune

Nothing gets me juiced like a fat, fresh Britney rumor, so when I read that the rejuvenated Rolling Stone cover girl is scheduled to celebrate her upcoming birthday at Tenjune, I did cartwheels around the office and nearly leapt out our fourth-floor window. Spears will be in town on Tuesday to launch her new album Circus on Good Morning America, the same day she turns twenty-seven, and after will be hitting her favorite spot in New York (Three times in one week!! Strippers!! Puking!!) for a circus-themed party.

But if you’re planning on scheming Aalex Julian for a way in, you might want to reconsider — because the last time she was rumored to be at a circus-themed event, she so wasn’t.