Las Vegas Opening: Bagatelle Beach

Life is a bagatelle. And a beach. And those artful cultivators of all that is fabulous and famous–Remi Laba and Aymeric Clemente–will be unveiling both this coming Cinco de Mayo weekend. The new and anxiously anticipated Bagatelle Beach will be an amphibious extension of the brand’s lavish restaurant-cum-nightclub at the Strip’s legendary Tropicana. Where inside is all dazzling lighting design and glittering chandeliers, its littoral spinoff emphasizes mellow poolside lounging in private cabanas, or on stylishly designed loungers and, um, lily pads. Or just float on out in the pool, drinkie in hand. With a white sand beach and exotic foliage, it’s a little slice of St Tropez chic in Vegas. Of course, it’s all just a fantastic excuse to launch a new edition of Bagatelle’s already storied champagne brunch.

Since this is Vegas, it’s all big, bigger, and biggest at Bagatelle Beach. A 4,000-capacity performance venue is attached, complete with 1,500 square foot stage and massive LED screens beaming the entertainment throughout. There are also two regulation sand volleyball courts, for those groups looking to recreat their own Top Gun moments. Since it’s a Bagatelle, eats will not be an afterthought. Executive chef John Zamarchi serves approachable cuisine, including fresh snapper ceviche, Thai steak salad and blackened mahi tacos. This being Vegas, there is also something called a Hangover Helper (bacon, egg, cheese on a croissant).
On the cocktail tip, order an Ice Axe (Belvedere Lemon Tea, peach liqueur, house brewed mint tea), a Mojitelle (Bacardi rum, mint, lime juice, sparkling wine, simple Syrup) or a Sangri-Le (Ciroc Peach, ginger liqueur, wine, weasonal fruit). Totally beaching!
[Related: BlackBook Las Vegas Guide; Listing for Bagatelle Beach; More by Ken Scrudato; Follow Ken on Twitter]

Because Size Matters: The Vegas-Style Party Launches Tonight

Whether size matters in the bedroom is still under debate, but the size of a party in a nightclub? Oh, the bigger, the better. And one party in particular is as big as it gets: Magnum Mondays. You know, like the large-sized condom company. Tonight, the party – which first began at STK Vegas by The ONE Group – is launching at its resident NY spot: STK Downtown, a restaurant in Meatpacking known for its ribeye dipped in truffle butter and creamed spinach.

Unlike the sparkler-filled brunch parties at Beaumarchais and Bagatelle, Magnum Mondays offers dinner and a party on the first day of the workweek – officially extending the weekend spirit to a three-day, DJ-filled affair. Beginning weekly at 7pm, the dinner parties start with steaks and celebrity DJs, and end with STK’s signature ménage a trios carnival dessert: a threesome of caramel corn, cotton candy, and a mini funnel cake.

Tonight kicks off with celeb DJ Ross One, who’s DJed with Jay-Z and Kanye, and continues each week after with talents like D-Nice (DJd for Stevie Wonder) and R&B, hip-hop DJ Reach.

Now if you can just recover from Sunday’s revelries and make it to tonight’s. I think you can do it.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here

This Week’s NYC Happenings: Open Market, Film Feast, The Big Cheesy

MONDAY: Meat & Greet At The Meatpacking Fundraiser
Diane von Furstenberg and Theory’s Andrew Rosen are among the boldface names coming out tonight for the Meatpacking District Improvement Association’s inaugural fundraiser. Highline Stages will host, with the whole neighborhood on hand for sampling. The Misshapes and Nancy of LCD Soundsystem are on DJ duty. Food and booze will be provided by the likes of Catch, Bagatelle, and Serafina. Joie, Jay Godfrey and, of course, VF highlight the sample sales.

Open Market at Highline Stages (440 W. 15th St., the Meatpacking District) starts 8pm, Monday the 18th. General admission tickets are $150. To learn more about the event space, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

TUESDAY: A Reel Cool Time At Nitehawk
Nitehawk Cinema takes dinner and a movie to a new level as part of their Tuesday night series known as “Film Feast.” Chef Sarah Nguyen of Marc Forgione lays out five courses of French cuisine while you enjoy the Parisian flair of Amélie. Absinthe will be paired, d‘accord.

Film Feast’s Améliescreening is at Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg) at 7:30pm, Tuesday the 19th. Tickets are $95. To learn more about the cinema, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

SATURDAY: Say Cheese
Pop-up competition The Big Cheesy returns with seven melt masters squaring off at Openhouse Gallery. Returning champs Melt Shop will defend their grilled cheese crown against the likes of Murray’s Cheese Bar, ’wichcraft, and Sons of Essex.

The Big Cheesy at Openhouse (201 Mulberry St., Nolita) runs from noon–7pm on Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th. Tickets are $25. To learn more about the gallery and event space, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Be the first to know about the latest openings & events in NYC by signing up for the weekly BlackBook Happenings email.

Island Hop to St. Barths in Style This Season With Tradewind Aviation

For those of you who don’t respect Labor Day as a seasonal divider, Autumn 2012: The Northern Hemisphere edition begins this weekend. Do you know what that means? If you’re an affluent, stylish opinion leader—and if you’re reading this, of course you are—it means there’s work to do. For one thing, you’ve got to shift your seasonal beach playground from the Côte d’Azur to St. Barths. Don’t worry, your super yacht will meet you there, along with Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Blue Ivy, but how will you get yourself to that gorgeous little speck in the azure waters? Here’s how: By private charter or premium scheduled service on a Tradewind Aviation Pilatus PC-12.


Sure, you could fly commercial, but you’d be at the mercy of all these massive carriers and their limited schedules. It’s so much cooler and more comfortable to arrive in style on one of Tradewind’s many scheduled flights to St. Barths. They’ve expanded their San Juan-St. Barths service with up to 15 flights a day, which means that no matter when you touch down in Puerto Rico, you’ll be wheels up and St. Barths-bound in the time it takes to sip a daiquiri. They’ve added a new Antigua-St. Barths route, which connects seamlessly with the British Airways flights to and from London.  And, if you’re really a player, you can charter one of their fancy planes to island-hop between St. Barths, Anguilla, Tortola, Nevis, Antigua, Mustique, and the Dominican Republic like the swashbuckler you are. They’ve got private jets from the U.S. too, if you’re really looking for convenience. Visit the Tradewind Aviation website for all the details.
Once you’re in St. Barths, whip out your iPhone or Android, onto which you’ve downloaded the BlackBook Guides app, and check out the best the island has to offer. The BlackBook Guide to St. Barths covers such local hot spots as Bagatelle, Nikki Beach, and Le Ti. See you there. 

Brunch: Three New Ways to Get Sloshed Sunday Morning

Everyone loves brunch, but no matter the food spread there are always ways to make it better. For one, how about brunch and movie?

Join the Breakfast Club at Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn! The team behind the hipster movie house is dishing out a $14 prix fixe brunch on Saturdays and Sundays that features a Bloody Mary or mimosa and your choice of entrees like breakfast tacos or chicken with waffles. The best part, for those of you too hungover to deal with conversation, you can just sit back and watch a movie. Upcoming films include the documentary All Ages: Boston Hardcore on June 30 and July 1, and Forbidden Planet on July 14 and 15, and Woody Allen’s Love and Death on August 4 and 5. But if you can’t wait, hit up Nitehawk this weekend for Raiders of the Lost Ark at noon.

Didn’t get enough party in Saturday night? Well you’re in luck, after a three-month hiatus, Bagatelle’s South of France-themed Le Brunch extravaganza is back as of this weekend. What does this entail, you might ask? Well, first on the menu is booze. Then some bubbles, then more booze, some bites of food, and finally, booze. Just remember, Bagatelle isn’t responsible for “broken heels, loss of memory, loss of girlfriend or boyfriend, shirts or any other belongings.” That’s right, they have a disclaimer.

Finally, for the more respectable bruncher who wishes to talk to their companion and perhaps not drink a bucket of champagne, Midtown’s Molyvos launches their Greek brunch this weekend. Chef Jim Botsacos said the menu offers familiar brunch dishes but with twists reminiscent from his family and travels in Greece. For example, Botsacos serves Greek Toast with orange scented Easter bread and the Avga Me Feta Kai Domata, or basically, baked eggs with tomato and feta. “We’re looking to put an exciting new spin on what New Yorkers are used to for brunch,” says the chef. And with all these new options, brunch got three times more exhilarating. 

Los Angeles Preview: Bagatelle

The glamorous Meatpacking District resto Bistro Bagatelle is rumored to soon be reopening in a new MePa location. But in the meantime, Brand Essence partners Remi Laba and Aymeric Clemente will be taking the show to La La Land.

In the old Boudoir space on La Cienega, the new Bagatelle LA is be spread over multiple rooms and an open patio. A bit of laid back St. Tropez chic set back from one of LA’s busiest boulevards, the 2700 square foot space, designed by Studio BRASA, is made up like a posh Parisian apartment, complete with glittery chandeliers. The manicured garden area promises to be tres South of France. Scott Quinn’s seasonal French-Med menu is to be complemented by a bon vivant’s selection of champagnes and rose wines, and DJs will spin breezy tunes well into the night.

BlackBook’s Latest Party at GunBar

Omg, I had so much fun last night. I DJed at the latest and greatest BlackBook party – it was an easy gig to get because I have an “in” there. The gala was at GunBar, a space in a place that was something else, which isn’t worth talking about. I mean—everything in Meatpacking was something else. They used to hang cow carcasses where swells now sip $1,000 bottles of champagne. In time it all gets washed away, and now it’s a playground for jet-setters and raucous revelers. GunBar is different and not just for the sake of it. It’s rock ‘n roll purity in a most unlikely place.

Surrounded by Eurotrash boites and wannabe model-bottle haunts, GunBar takes a left turn from faux elegance. It takes me and you back to a time when the Meatpacking District was a bit less fabulous.

Co-owner Bobby Persson (Southside) greeted me warmly and showed me to the DJ booth, which was inspiring. His partner Aaron Elbaz (Bagatelle) would later visit the booth and continuously turn the sound up, up, up. He’s a turn-it-up-to-eleven kind of guy, and the Funktion One sound system is really a dream. Usually found in all the best house head clubs, the Funktion One is the Rolls Royce of systems. It even made me sound good. In the smallish basement you could hear every word, drum beat, and guitar lick like you were in the studio with the band.

I like GunBar. Every inch of it is covered by graffiti artist Lucas Benarroch’s vision of a time that was. Its ‘80s street chic references brought me back to places like Stickball and Berlin and Save the Robots. It’s a place I can hang my hat and let loose after putting on my game face at surrounding joints. GunBar is a breath of fresh air. Fingerprint Communications P.R.’s gal on the go, go, go, Ariel Moses was gushing about her account and hit it on the head when she spoke about how it is so fundamentally correct. A long time ago—and yes, I’ve told this story before—I ran a joint called the World with a bunch of savvy dudes and after the initial push they never spent a dime maintaining it.

There was one particular period where all the bathrooms were broken. There were holes in the stairs and water was leaking torrentially from a broken pipe. Owner Arthur Weinstein’s solution to our problems was not to fix anything but to just focus lights on them. Well, Andy Warhol walks in one night and I begin blathering and apologizing about how much of a mess the place was. He told me that any place that is too neat or too clean can’t be any fun and that was that.

GunBar seems gritty. Although that grit might be just as big an illusion as the spit and polish glamour of the joints next door, the straight up honest approach to the game that Bobby and Aaron are bringing to the table makes it a must attend kind of place. After my set I had a Heineken and went to say hey to BlackBook head honcho Ari Horowitz and the crew, and I left the DJ booth in the very capable hands of DJ Martial. I caught up with my favorite person in the whole world, student/heartbreaker/ChiChi212 blogger Brittany Mendenhall. I considered getting a free tattoo from Michelle Myles (Daredevil, Fun City) but my next tat is of my Arturo and that must wait as it will take some hours.

I headed off into the night to see if it could be all that it could be. DJ Cassidy was on his way in and I apologized for not attending his birthday on the Intrepid July 6. I told him I was all a blur on July 6 after the long weekend and asked him if he would consider moving his birthday to a more manageable night next year. I think he replied that I’m not invited next year or something like that. The scene on the street outside was glam. The venue was sold out and so many familiar, fabulous folks were enjoying the breezy night knowing that a good party was downstairs. All got in with a little patience, the rarest commodity at these affairs. After that I headed East but won’t tell you all about it.

Industry Insiders: Remi Laba & Aymeric Clemente, Day Trippers

When Remi Laba (left) and Aymeric Clemente founded Bagatelle three years ago, they expected it to be successful. After all, as promoters, the duo helped Pink Elephant, Marquee, and Lotus become staples of New York nightlife, transforming each into European-style spots of sophisticated revelry. What they didn’t expect was that their upscale French bistro in the Meatpacking District would end up pioneering an entirely new category of hospitality.

“The idea was to create a restaurant with a truly Mediterranean feel, identifying with the South of France in both the food and the joie de vivre,” says Laba. This translated into brunch, with guests sipping rosé and picking at plates of tuna tartare. “We added the DJ element to create a bit more of a party, and suddenly it grew into a full-on day of play and fun.” Thus, “daylife” was born, taking elements of nightlife – music, dancing, “champagne superman” – and sticking them where the sun does, in fact, shine. The effect was felt on Bagatelle’s bustling evening business, which found diners hanging around after their meals and ordering cocktails instead of heading off to nightclubs. “Bagatelle was a game changer,” Clemente says. Last winter, however, a dispute with their business partners left them locked out of their now-legendary restaurant. They reached a settlement and are now taking the Bagatelle name and concept to a new location at One Little West 12th Street this fall, as well as opening restaurants in the Hamptons and Los Angeles. “The brand has momentum, so we’ve got to move fast,” Laba says. “The opportunities are ours to seize.”

[Photo by Steven B Ekerovich]