NYC: All the Week’s Parties, Eggnog Edition

Wednesday night, André Balazs accepted a small green KidRobot monster. There’s nothing quite like an awards ceremony to inject a little energy into nightlife, and the gracious Balazs excitedly accepting on behalf of his Standard Hotel promised energy is on the upswing. Just being in the same room as nightlifers like Six Six Sick and Harley & Cassie invigorated my addiction to the night, and I’m not the only one.

Perhaps it’s because people want their noms next year, but suddenly there is so much to do. The trees are getting trimmed and the eggnog is flowing freely with a number of places to partake in the merry-making. CV makes a splash with Diddy and Jay-Z paying it an Empire State visit and vies for a place on the Thursday-night party scene, with Amanda Leigh Dunn playing hostess to a downtown crew. Maialino gives you just one more reason to pop into the Gramercy Park Hotel. Suddenly we’re reminded how great the drinks taste at Macao and Apothéke. With wintery hideaways, new restaurant openings, and new faith in old parties, the holiday season is beginning to look a lot like New York Nightlife.


Lowdown: There’s nothing like extending your weekend during the holidays. In fact, the holidays are one big weekend, starting with a nice cozy brunch, and easing into football or other day drinking opportunities. Which explains why Sundays are so very important. Hot Now:GoldBar (Nolita) – If gold is on your Christmas wishlist, indulge in the cozy gilded music hub. ● Sway (Sway) – Moroccan themed bar + holidays + booze + sketchy people = Sunday mental vacation. ● Greenhouse (Soho) – The Van Dam party isn’t by Jean Claude, but it’s still just as ass-kicking. ● White Slab Palace (Lower East Side) – Suddenly a staple! Worth a Look: ● Brooklyn Yard (Williamsburg) – Sunday Best in your Sunday’s Best! ● Charles (West Village) – Cozy charmer is quite possibly even more charming in the light of day. French toast, ricotta pancakes, eggs in the hole, and the lobster BLT balance custom cocktails that make you feel pretty darn good about drinking. Again.


Lowdown: Monday night means the beginning of your drinking week, the nearing end of your fantasy football league, and the drowning of sorrows and celebrating of victories. Here’s how we do it. Hot Now:Stanton Social (Lower East Side) – Yes, still a great place to have a fun bite/Monday night drinks. ● Butter (Noho) – Not only is this a truly great place to get sloshed on Mondays, I am now excited to admit it. There’s a cool, younger crowd that’s mixing in on Mondays and adding a bit of an edge to the festivities. Worth a Look:Black & White (Greenwich Village) – Restaurant becomes cramped, sexy, and very cozy during the holidays after ten. ● Warren 77(Tribeca) – Just right for football fans with a bit more flair. ● Johnny Utah’s (Midtown West) Those huge TVs! It’s like a co-ed college party for industry folks (and half of them are not watching football). ● Diesel Presents Danny Clark’s Monday Nights at The Ainsworth. It’s hosted every Monday Night by Giants Linebacker Danny Clark, and admission to the football party includes cocktails, beer, and food. All proceeds are 100% tax deductible and support the Danny Clark Foundation. Meh.Antik (Greenwich Village) – Okay, so Le Royale’s former party isn’t actually in Antik, it’s in the basement of Antik. We swung into the small, rock ‘n’ roll space it was small enough to feel really full, even on a slow night. Naturally, it heats up on the late side, after Monday Night Football has dissolved. Go to make friends.


Lowdown: Gramercy has sharpened its edge, with a little help from Nur and a new resto. Hot Now:Rose Bar (Gramercy) – This really has a lot to do with Nur Khan, and now the music enthusiast is upping his game with Nur Kahn’s Rose Bar Sessions, featuring a band every Tuesday night. But they are secret shows. So shh. ● Maialino (Gramercy) – Now you can eat, stay, and party the whole way through the GPH. ● Avenue (Chelsea) – People were astounded to find this place under our Tuesday heading: “Duh, the hot nights are Monday and Wednesday, obvi.” Those people are right, but those people have never known the true Bea. And really, Avenue is good every night — right? ● 1Oak (Chelsea) – Right around the corner, the one-of-a-kind kids get the spillage of displaced hipster kids, who can’t decide between one gilded lounge or the other. Again, people agreed to disagree — and with a name like “Tight Jean Tuesday,” we know Jay-Z’s knots don’t fit. Others to try: Superdive(East Village) – Dear Santa: I would like kegs of champagne for Christmas, wheeled out to me by elves. Thanks. ● Simyone (Meatpacking District) – Might be able to add another notch on its belt; Tuesdays are hot at SL. ● Greenhouse (Soho) – Green is for garland and mistletoe! And Vodka!


Lowdown: Hump day may prove to be a weekday favorite for the holiday season. Hot Now:Le Cubain (Lower East Side) – Great spot for pre-drinks and cheap eat with babes with bangs in boots and vintage fur coats. Maybe even make it downstairs for a Chloe revival — so cozy for the winter season. ● 1Oak (Chelsea) – This is still 1Oak’s undisputed hot night. ● Greenhouse (Soho) – This one is in the basement, kids. Well, it’s in the whole of Greenhouse, but it’s better down below. ● Avenue (Chelsea) – Again, Avenue. But this is a raging night for the kids on the Ave. ● SL (Meatpacking District) – Tonight is the night for this Aalex Julian-guarded door. Worth a Look:Southside (Nolita) – Tutti, Franco, and Brion run the DJ booth. If you think you know, you have no idea. ● Eldridge (Lower East Side) – Rock and roll, yes. ● Von (Noho) – Party in the basement is “pretty packed and a lot of fun” for the Noho set after 10pm. ● Coffee Shop (Union Square) – One of the true day clubs, chocked full of promoters networking via text message; the basement named USL will be making random appearances throughout the week.


Lowdown: This is Manhattanites’ Friday night, which could explain why Butter is moving their dancey Friday party — Whipped — to Thursdays come 2010. Dancing, dinner, glitz, and even some glam, without the B&T jam. Hot Now:CV (Lower East Side) – Something has finally been done with the oversaturated spot formerly known as 105 Rivington. Hopefully Amanda Leigh will continue with the feel good vibes and attract a good, loyal crowd. ● BEast (Chinatown) – Main Man, Ryan McGinley’s night of debauchery, is still in swing. Expect a Misshape or two, Sophia Lamar, and a band of insiders. ● subMercer(Soho) – You may have forgotten about this celeb-laden underground, but she’s back. Worth a Look: Avenue, Boom Boom Room and 1Oak are still a great standby for good times, while the down belows — USL (down below Coffee Shop) and Macao’s basement opium den are also a great place to begin your holiday descent. Coming Up:Butter (Noho) – Friday-night party Whipped is so fresh, most can’t believe it’s Butter. Resident hipster DJs Matt & Maia draw out big name fashion folks like Alexander Wang and the Ronsons.


Lowdown: It used to be a day of rest for jaded New Yorkers, but since we’ve stopped bleeding moola, Friday’s a great day to cut loose. Civetta bit the dust for a bit, as we look to Santos’ Party House to bring it with their OPEN party. Hot Now:Boom Boom Room (Meatpacking District) – You probably won’t make it in like the rest of the plebeians (us included), but if you could, this would be the night to go. ● The Standard Grill (Meatpacking District) – What’s that, didn’t make it in to Boom? Luckily, the Grill is jumping with everyone else who tried their luck and are now eating duck (or crow); even the most beautiful, classy folks gather here, so it’s a hotspot nonetheless. Worth a Look:Home Sweet Home (Lower East Side) – Jonathan Toubin brings the fairly popular New York Night Train to this little living room on Friday nights. ● Santos’ Party House (Chinatown) – A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip. Upstairs. Funk.


Lowdown: Whether you are above or below 14th Street, you should probably be planning on going out somewhere near to or below 14th Street. Hot Now:Boom Boom Room (Meatpacking District) – Again, try your luck. ● Lit Lounge (East Village) – Saturday night is grimy and fun! ● Bowery Hotel (East Village) – Simonez throws ragers here, spanning Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Worth a Look: Bagatelle (Meatpacking District) – Bagatelle’s scene gets an early start with their Rock and Roll Brunch.

Other Parties to Keep the Holidays Rolling: With Cafe Gitane in the Jane Hotel, the café with a devoted following in Nolita has taken root. And even better news? The Jane will be reopening the dancefloor to a bevvy of dance eccentrics and poseurs. If you are entertaining some out-of-towners on the weekends, Friday and Saturday nights at Highbar offers a nice (warm) view of the city. Fully heated and enclosed by glass windows — you don’t have to worry about the weather. Kittichai at 60 Thompson has just introduced three- and four-course prix fixe modern Thai menus for reasonably priced holiday meals. These are set menus served family style and available for 6 to 35 guests. A loophole to avoid Aunt Mildred’s meat pie!

Going Legal: Buying Prescription Smoke in LA

Rather than grope another day for a passable excuse to visit Amsterdam, I took my lunch hour to interrogate one of the jailbaiters who holler at sandy locals and lumbering Midwestern tourists about the benefits of medical marijuana outside of Venice’s beachfront Medical Kush Club. With prescribed pot quasi-legal in California for 12 years under Prop 215, I needed to know how close to the golden ring of a legal ganja prescription I could get. Ditching thoughts of $50-$80 dollar baggies of unmarked produce from the back of some bearded weirdo’s van, I imagined delicately sniffing rows of Banana Kush, AK-47, Bubblegum, Pineapple Express, Snow Cap, Cotton Candy, and Purple Voodoo in a Wonka-esque daydream of psychoactive flowers peeking from glass jars. Leaving my Abbot Kinney office, I picked up a cappuccino at Groundworks and approached the darling bud barker.

“How does a person get verified?” I whispered above some rockhead’s radio and the crash of a decent wave.

“Just go upstairs and see the doctor,” she chirped.

Say what?! Could it be that simple? Though my dates will argue, I’m not technically sick. Could not having AIDS or cancer suddenly be a detriment to my quality of life? Encouraged by the baked betty, I squeezed up the stairs into the dingiest waiting room I’ve ever seen, my unlucky trips to Jamaican emergency rooms notwithstanding.

Three couched stoners, younger and clearly higher than I, stared into space until beckoned by the good doc, a laid-back, bi-racial 30-something not hiding the Hawaiian shirt under his white coat. A cutie taking calls traded me a clipboard of forms and agreements in exchange for my driver’s license, then took a snapshot of my mug.

A lifetime of sleep deprivation made me feel honest enough while listing insomnia and depression as my dire conditions requiring massive bong loads. Prior to the doctor’s compassionate face-to-face interview, I’d checked enough boxes on my papers that I never really had to mention my condition specifically to him, being painlessly guided towards the accord that weed is, indeed, the cure for what ails me.

Placing a stethoscope to my back for a few lame wheezes, the rules were then dispensed: Don’t sell, give, or share medicine; and be advised that police might trip over ounces and concentrates. Back at reception, I received a plastic card bearing a grainy image of what is most likely myself, plus a paper prescription for a $140 fee, which seemed to make up for my deficit of prior medical records.

My next stop was a mere five giddy paces away at a co-op sharing a wall with my new doctor’s office. Sativa strains were listed for energy and depression, while Indicas were promoted for relaxation, pain, and passing out 15 minutes into The Daily Show. I drooled over $25 grams of freshly picked batches of Jason King OG Kush and White Widow; pricier than street costs, a prevalent theme in LA’s Westside co-ops. Sweet and sticky, with deep complex notes of fruit and pine, this was perfectly manicured, genetically superior herb in neat plastic prescription bottles. Offered a lounge to “medicate,” I kicked back and watched the surf roll in, smiling through my stupor that, in roughly 20 minutes, I was legally buying and burning top-grade natural narcotics. Minutes later, Zelda’s supply of mini-donuts was dust.

Los Angeles’ medical marijuana co-ops pepper its most famous boulevards, spanning from pristine alternative pharmacies to what could be mistaken for back-alley baby dumps. An informed staff at Hollywood’s Apothecary420 serves free drinks and food in a spotless atmosphere that rivals the town’s best spas. I dallied over the Volcano in their vaporizer lounge before business partners hosted me for a trippy flick at Cinespace. Downtown’s Grass Roots Exchange (213-622-0415) has weekly Monday Night Football parties, movie nights, an X-Box lounge, pool table, and smoke room. Various co-ops offer potential porn stars as budtendresses or are curated by Rastafarian ministers. At grimier spots, the owners look like they might rob you before the MS-13 lurking outside get the chance.

Perhaps sweetest for newly inducted patients is the shops’ competitive nature and the bounty of bighearted gifts that brings. Venice’s Farmacy gives 25% off for registering, then there’s $35 1/8ths of newly harvested Garlic and Jr. Sour Diesel, with a cookie and free watermelon lollipop that had us buzzing harder than the martinis at the Brig’s Wednesday-night Sapphic slam “Bubble Lounge.”

Downtown Discount Caregivers (213-925-8962), where I perused an aromatic ounce of Grape Ape for $300 before nodding my head off at Echoplex, tossed me a giant brownie gratis to help with a smoke-free family Turkey Day, in addition to a blunt splitter, flavored cigars, and lighter. The gorgeous heina at Reseda’s Happycation (818-757-3574), one of many vendors bumping her 1/8ths of Chocolate Thai ($40) and Bubbleberry ($50) up to four grams, also pointed us to Nippon Ramen for killer Japanese noodles after throwing us a free gram of El Nino with a wink. Discount coupons pop up frequently, and free chronic grams, glass pipes, and lighters are practically hurled at co-op virgins.

Most co-ops carry over 30 strains of excellent cannabis and take the responsibility of providing low-cost quality medicine quite seriously. Strong OG Kush dominates the spotlight, with beloved Headbands, Purples, Diesels, Wrecks, and Skunks pouring from seemingly every strip mall. The San Fernando Valley is currently the reigning green-light district, with a variety of stores offering the finest obtainable herb capped at $55 per 1/8th. I commonly leave these co-ops with fiery 1/8ths for $40-$50.

But what really captures the imagination is the range of available product that is not combustible cannabis — namely the rainbow of available edibles and concentrates. I rekindled a lost love affair with Afghan Blonde hashish, neatly pressed into minute strips of milk chocolate bark. I chased a bowl of Kief with a bottle of Cannabis Cola, nailing me to the couch for hours. I gobbled weed-laced blueberry strudel, red velvet cupcakes, peanut butter cups, topical oils, cough drops, and pondered THC-laden throat sprays, breath strips, and pre-made Cannabutter for cooking. Premature plants and imported seeds offer a challenge for my crappy Encino apartment, and I’m honestly scared to try Earwax, a tiny pool of costly amber sap that a shady acquaintance compares to freebasing. Moon rocks and Romulan Cornflakes, on the other hand, merely look like crack. In other words, just when you thought Southern Californians couldn’t possibly get more stoned …

The Prop 215 culture, comprised mostly of agreeable patients, doctors, and suppliers, treats medical marijuana reverently, spawning numerous monthly tabloids, award ceremonies, a Cannabis College, and a number of weed-focused attorneys who even manage to look super-duper baked in their ads. Co-ops and patients alike rally around, the Internet’s prescription pot hub.

Through the site, we eventually discover Nature’s Natural Care Collective (818-344-1102), with possibly the best supply at Crazy Eddie-style prices. A Candyland of dank ounces hovers around $320 and below, making a slog on the 405 to overlooked Reseda well worth it. With legal marijuana and barely legal porn flowing from the San Fernando Valley, who needs Amsterdam?