Mixers & Shakers: Megan Mair and Laszlo Arany-toth

When we paired mixologist Laszlo Arany-toth with Megan Mair, a graphic designer and creative director at NYC-based creative agency Jeremyville, for our Mixers and Shakers series, we thought we had a true culture clash on our hands: the Hungarian born cocktail connoisseur confessed that he had “never heard of” Australia’s Bondi Beach, from which Megan hails. But to our surprise, Laz and Megan found common ground in their creative methods and pursuits.

Check out this original interaction between Laz and Megan at NYC’s Asellina, over the Stoli Hot-infused custom libation “Arrabbiato,” and be sure to head over to our Mixers and Shakers section for more great cocktails!

London Preview: ME London Hotel

With openings in Madrid and Barcelona, the ME by Melia imprint is making a sweep across Europe.Now here comes the UK version; in September, the West End will see the arrival of the new ME London, designed by the prolific Foster + Partners.

Built around a 11-story atrium, the ME features a 157 sleekly designed rooms and suites. But sleep will be the last thing considered here, with glamourous outposts of New York’s Asellina and STK (from The ONE Group), as well as rooftop bar Radio. ME…oh my.

Just Hours Away: Asellina’s All-You-Can-Eat Gelato Bar

When an Italian restaurant announces that they’re offering a one-night-only all-you-can-eat gelato bar in the midst of scorching summer, it’s a little bit like hearing a fresh-water lake is “just up ahead” after walking through the desert for five nights with only a Crunch Bar and a packet of miso soup. But then, when we hear that Asellina’s unlimited-gelato-and-toppings bar is TONIGHT (yes, in SEVERAL HOURS), well, the feeling is just – wow, did our birthday/Thanksgiving/ the season 5, part 2 premiere of Breaking Bad just arrive on the same day? Here’s the when/where/ and flavors lowdown you’ll need for tonight.

WHERE: In the Taverna, Asellina’s back bar.

WHAT: Lots of gelato, toppings, espresso, and affogato.

WHEN: Tonight, August 8th, 6pm-8pm.

HOW MUCH MOOLAH: $10 per person for unlimited gelato and toppings.

PROSPECTIVE FLAVORS: Stracciatella, chocolate, hazelnut, passion fruit, blood orange, & more.

PROSPECTIVE TOPPINGS: Crumbled biscotti, nuts and fresh fruit, drenched in espresso and cappuccino.

ADVICE: Call Asellina and book a reservation. Go. Eat too much. It’s worth it.

Future Pool Parties, My Birthday Tonight, and Michael Alig Soon

I’m being drawn to the area surrounding the Ganesvoort Park Hotel more and more. Development and action in that area seems to be increasing. The Ganesvoort Park Avenue’s entry is a much improved version of its Meatpacking namesake’s design. It’s southern MPD entry was retrofitted to accommodate the success of its rooftop, and, of course, Provocateur. As food and beverage drives certain hotel brands, the venues will be designed with their restaurants and watering holes soundproofed, accessible through street and internal doors and passages. They are increasingly integral to success—driving room rates and attracting desired clientele, and even distracting certain “types.” The bars, restaurants, lounges, and the pool area at Ganesvoort Park were built with this mindset, and not with afterthoughts.

The Gansevoort Park did not build for clientele to be stuck in basements, or in places where the noise of their success makes whole hotel floors un-rentable. Ganesvoort Park understood this before ground broke, and was designed to have minimum impact on hotel guests. The effort and thought put in is paying off, and we will be even more evident if we ever see warm weather again in this town. The pool scene, when the sun betrays the snow, should be hot. Yesterday’s brunch at Asellina on the ground floor was wonderful. The design by my friends over at iCrave is inspiring. I followed the advice from the charming and attentive staff and enjoyed the Swordfish Carpaccio, and will come back real soon. My travels and travails took me to Goldbar to meet up with Jon “the Lover” Lennon. I needed to show him my latest two tattoos, and see the one he is filling in today. No Homo. Amanda was with me to see, and, of course, show hers off. I was going to get a very “Deppian,” tat that read “Winona Forever,” but after seeing her in the Black Swan, it became apparent that that little joke won’t fly, as she is a really bad joke at this point. After all the bearing of flesh and ink, we settled down at a table to drink our bottles—of Diet Coke—and chat with old friends. Goldbar’s Sunday night soiree is still strong after 3 ½ years. DJs Sinatra and Jesse Marco were slashing and burning through rock anthems mixed, mashed, shaken, and stirred over Hip Hop classics. The enthusiastic and sexy crowd wanted it all. I still can’t lift my left arm over my head as a result of some subway steps that resembled a ski slope. Amanda asked me why I would ever want to lift my arm over my head anyway, so I just won’t do it. Problem solved. With a smart girlfriend like that, I may even cancel my health insurance. I did alright slipping and sliding, until I didn’t, which resulted in a dislocated shoulder after hitting a post. It’s back where it should be now, but hurts. I put my new tats on that arm so I don’t notice the shoulder pain as much. Problem solved. I’ve heard of snow blind, but I think I’ve been rendered snow dumb. I will be celebrating my birthday tonight at Bingo at the Bowery Poetry Club with Murray Hill, Linda Simpson and their crew. I think my editors, and maybe you, are getting tired of me plugging the place, but it’s more fun than anything, and I’ll stop when they come. There was a time when my birthday was a glamorous affair, with complicated invites, sumptuous feasts at swanky restaurants, and maybe even some friendly celebrity performance with bottles, smiles, and laughter at an unbelievably fabulous club. I used to be Steve Lewis, and that brand demanded such a shin dig. My new brand, as Uncle Steve the writer, or Steve Lewis the designer, needs a great deal less spectacle and adulation than Steve Lewis Club Impressario.

Facebook gives access to my birthday and yours to all the joints around town. Assistants go through lists and offer me and you free birthday parties as a way of promotion. I guess it fills up rooms on cold nights. I have enjoyed the requests, and the ones from owners who have offered their places, stocks of booze, and services, but I think I’ll be where I love it. Bingo, then BBurg for dinner with my tattooed friends, probably at Lodge. The birthday promo gimmick is an old play. Michael Alig and I saw it being done at an old and awful club years ago. Alig thought it a great idea and I green lit the concept, using one of our innumerable lists. It wasn’t a birthday thing, just a “you won a free party for you and your friends” thing. I didn’t pay attention, and Michael mailed out to one of our lists that had, like, 10,000 names. I think he got 2,000 positive responses, with each response comped, and open bar for an hour for 20 friends.

The thing about the open bar scam is that bartenders can only pour booze so fast that, after a certain point, it doesn’t matter if you have 200 people trying to get a drink, or a thousand, as the bartenders are maxed out. That’s why bottle service really took on. Instead of 8 bartenders, you make your patrons do the pouring as well, and you end up with 30 bartenders. Getting the stuff out of the bottles fast is the whole idea. Anyway, the story goes that something like 20,000 people showed up at the RedZone that night, and chaos ensued. He was talented at that. For those keeping track, he’s up by Canada now, moved to a lower level Medium Security prison. It’s a definite improvement, except too far away for a day trip visit. I’m going up soon, and will send him all your love and hate.

My mind should be less numbed mid-week, as the bottle with 0 refills is getting light. I have some spectacular stuff to tell you about, but after I deal with the condition my condition is in.

The One Group’s Celeste Fierro Expands Her Empire

In a very short while, One Group became a 100 million dollar restaurant empire, and the expansion of the brand is due in great part to the woman beside the man, Senior VP Celeste Fierro. She’s responsible for packing One Group venues with high-profile events and her celebrity friends. Celeste is credited with making STK, the crown jewel in the One Group Empire, female friendly. One Group head honcho Jonathan Segal relies on Celeste and her Blackberry, filled with bold face names, to manage day to day operations. With over a thousand employees and joints opening constantly, she’s a busy lady, one of those unsung heroes of hospitality that deserves at least the 15 minutes of fame I can give her.

Besides your own venues, which hotspots do you like to hang out at in NYC? I always like to check out our friends’ places to show support. Lately I’ve been stopping in at Lavo, Da Silvano, and the lounge at Provocateur.

What do you think it is about your venues that constantly brings the A-list crowd? It’s really all about the overall experience at our venues. We hire great staff to make the service top notch, our music program is fresh and fun, and the food is always delicious, whether you’re eating a steak at STK or indulging in our new Italian fare at Asellina.

The ONE Group is opening an STK in Las Vegas, Atlanta, and in Midtown NYC in the next few months. What’s different about each new location? STK has a signature look and feel (white horns on a white brick wall, crème/black banquettes) but then we tailor small parts to each city. I’d say it’s 75% STK, and 25% is catered to the city.

How have you paved your way in an industry dominated by men? Look, I’m friends with all these guys. I don’t put up with any shit. We all have fun and get the job done.

How does your team keep your restaurants thriving when some are already in their 5th year? Consistency is key, delivering the same great experience. People know what they’re getting. Great food, great experience.

You just opened your first Italian restaurant, Asellina. What has that process been like? Developing a new concept is always fun. Definitely intense, but the restaurant looks beautiful, so we’re really excited to see how everyone enjoys it. So far the feedback has been great. Our clientele from Meatpacking has followed us up here and we’ve tapped into this great new NoMad neighborhood.

When you have a night to hang out with your girlfriends, do you go to your own venues? Sometimes, sure. Other nights we’ll just get together for wine at home and catch up.

While Jonathan Seigal has Celeste I have Jodi Weiser. My assistant for almost a year, Jodi will admit to being 25 years old tomorrow, but as past assistants of mine will attest, 1 year with me is like 5 years with normal humans. So she will celebrate her 30 birthday at Juliet Supper club this Sunday.

New York Openings: The Counter, Asellina, Bell Book & Candle

The Counter (Midtown West) – Burger shop for a new millennium, with humanely raised Angus beef and some 300,000 potential burger combos. ● Asellina (Murray Hill) – Sprawling Italian spot at the Gansevoort Park comes complete with a chef from Vegas. ● Bell Book & Candle (West Village) – Snug subterranean restaurant sources from its futuristic rooftop garden.