My First Time: Last Night At Beauty & Essex

Beauty & Essex is one of those places that fell into my social cracks. Believe me; there are many of those and other categories of cracks and, yes, I’m starting to see wrinkles around my eyes. My birthday (Feb. 2nd) is coming up and, well, it’s just starting out to be one of those days. Probably because it was just one of those nights. Anyway, before last night, I had never been to Beauty & Essex. I’ll let the "what kind of nightlife writer do you pretend to be?” lines get out of the way and just say… "it happens.”

Chris Santos, the owner/operator, has invited me a zillion times, and I adore him and respect the brand a lot but…it happens. So last night, I finally went to Beauty & Essex, and it was for bon vivant and scallywag Dave Delzio’s birthday bash. He was there – a hundred familiar people told me – but, alas, I couldn’t find him for an hour. As I was leaving, I finally spotted the rock and roll-club promoter. Dave showed me his new neck tattoos and I asked him a few questions about growing up.

How old are you and what do you have to be most proud of on this day?
I’m 38 and I’m dating the most beautiful girl in the world and I couldn’t be happier?

Why do this party at Beauty & Essex?
Chris Santos is my best friend and it always feels like home here

What do you want to be when you grow up?
You !!

One of the attendees at Dave’s birthday bash was the charming and disarming El (Lindsay) Grace, a beautiful, fresh, up-and-coming model/photographer. Her band, El Grace, will be performing its new age, ambient, psych folk offerings at The Delancey this coming Monday at 10pm. She will be celebrating her birthday at the gig. I would be there but I’m DJing at the new Passenger Bar for Sailor Jerry’s Birthday. Unfortunately, Sailor Jerry will be a for sure no-show.

Speaking of, Charlie Sheen was a no-show at the New York screening after-party for A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III at Hotel Chantelle. Still, there were plenty of celebrities to gawk at from Chantelle’s roof. I arrived as it was winding down; the staff was abuzz about the likes of Swan III director Roman Coppola’s clan which included Francis Ford Coppola, Sophia Coppola, Eleanor Copolla, Jason Scwartzman, Sean Lennon, Anna Sui, Fred Armisen, Alan Cumming, Tennessee Thomas, Alexa Chung, and someone said Bill Murray attended as well. 

Note: today is Pat Benatar’s birthday…she’s 60! And I’ll be honoring her in my set tonight at Hotel Chantelle.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chef Chris Santos Creates Jägermeister-Infused Menu

Most U.S.-based Jägermeister drinkers know it only as a chilled shot, a sweet, potent party-starter that’s easy to drink and is often associated with rock ‘n’ roll. In fact, this isn’t an ad, so let’s not mince words: Jäger’s about getting drunk, fast. Why else do you think so many bars have special Jäger-shot machines? Do your own research and ask the next person you see what their experiences with Jäger have been like. Chances are they involve a pretty wild party.

For its part, of course, Jäger doesn’t condone binge drinking, stating unequivocally that it "encourages responsible decision-making regarding the consumption of alcohol and discourages abusive consumption." That said, Jäger didn’t become the seventh largest selling premium spirit in the world from tweed-jacketed men sipping it out of brandy snifters in the study of some manor house. So it pretty much owns the woo-hoo! market, presenting it with a conundrum about how to grow further in an increasingly crowded field (Patrón shot, anyone?). Here’s what they came up with: using Jäger as a cooking ingredient to highlight its versatility. I recently tried a few Jäger-infused dishes at Stanton Social, courtesy of chef Chris Santos, and they tasted, well, woo-hoo!

Here’s why these recipes work: Regardless of the fact that Jägermeister is a favorite of fist-bumping bros and tanning-salon Traceys from LA to London, it’s actually quite a sophisticated spirit, with a history going back to 1934 Germany, when hunting enthusiast Kurt Mast first blended 56 different herbs, blossoms, roots and fruits into a bittersweet liqueur perfect for staying warm while tracking a herd of elk in the Alps. The next time you’re handed a Jäger shot, take your time and savor its complexity. There’s a lot going on in the glass. 

That means there’s a lot going on in the recipes that feature Jäger as a component. I tried three different Santos-Jäger creations at Stanton Social (Santos also has the popular Beauty & Essex), each playing off a different component of the spirit.

The first, Jägermeister-kissed Chicken Skewers, really bring out the citrus notes, with a perfect mix of juiciness and crispness and a zingy flavor that penetrates the meat, thanks to its two-hour brining process and 24-hour marinade. It’s a perfect app for one-handed eating, saving the other for your shot glass. (Scroll down.)

Jager Burger

The second dish was the Ultimate Charred Jägermeister Burger, a take on the classic burger. It uses Jägermeister in the burger blend, along with Worcestershire. It was tender, smooth, and very tasty. Santos served some onion rings on the side that featured no Jägermeister whatsoever, and were still good. 

Santos must have been going from mild to wild in his presentation, because the third dish was the most decadent and delicious of them all: Black Cherry and Jägermeister Baby Back Ribs. With the ribs, Jägermeister makes an appearance in a sauce that also contains barbecue, mint, orange, and black cherry cola. I loved it, though I do have a penchant for barbecue.

The thing that makes Jägermeister fit so well in all these recipes is the same thing that makes it work in cocktails: its complexity and harmonious balance of flavors. Rather than just some dumb marinade that you slather on meat with a paintbrush, the Jägermeister brings out the best qualities of the base ingredients it’s used with, giving them a liveliness that adds depth to the food and makes it more fun to eat. 

This is partly because Santos is a great chef, whose success in New York is now leading him to open a new restaurant in Las Vegas. Perhaps you’re a great chef too. If so, you may wish to enter a recipe into the Charred: Earn Your Place at the Pit barbecue contest that Santos is judging. Take a look at the recipes he created, try them out yourself, and then put your own spin on the cooking-with-Jägermeister idea. 

Santos is also a cool guy to hang out and chat with, and we discussed everything from his heavy metal DJ sessions at a Brooklyn dive bar to the graceful aging of a rock ‘n’ roller, which involves ditching the cheap ripped jeans and ragged sneakers for, well, pricier, more stylish John Varvatos versions of the same things. Growing up doesn’t mean abandoning who you are. 

[Related: BlackBook New York Guide; Listings for Stanton Social, Beauty & Essex; Jägermeister official site and recipes; More by Victor Ozols; Follow me on Twitter]

DJ Martial Is Just Getting Warmed Up

Marshall Weinstein, known to club-goers and music aficionados as DJ Martial, is having trouble getting used to the deep freeze New York currently finds itself mired in. When I reach him by phone at his Brooklyn apartment, he’s just returned from a work trip to the Caribbean, a difference of 1,650 miles and five layers of clothing. "I was DJing in St. Maarten in 85 degree weather and here it’s 10 degrees outside," he says with a laugh. "The airplane wouldn’t even go to the gate because it was frozen, they had to bus us in. It was crazy." He won’t be frozen for long, as he’ll soon be on his way to balmy New Orleans for a handful of gigs centered around the upcoming Super Bowl. We caught up with him during his brief layover to find out how he got started, his favorite clubs to perform in, and his secret for de-stressing fast.

Where are you from, and what kind of stuff were you into as a kid that led you to being a DJ?

I went to elementary, middle, and high school outside of Boston. I started DJing in 1993 when my older brother introduced me to underground electronic rave music. I was 13 at the time. When I graduated from high school I moved to New York City. My mom is originally from Long Island and my dad is originally from Coney Island, Brooklyn, and my whole family lived in the New York area, so it was a no-brainer. I went to Hofstra and DJ’d my way through college. I’ve been actively in the New York music scene since 1998 when I came to the city.

So, Yankees or Red Sox?

I’m definitely an all-Boston sports fan. It’s a little upsetting with the Patriots losing recently, however now that I’ve got some gigs at the Super Bowl I can focus on work and not sports.

How did you start DJing in the city?

When I got to New York, I realized that I had access to the best city in the world that had the best music. At Hofstra I was on the radio, and I majored in television video production communications, so music was always a part of my life. Whether it was in the studio working with audio tracks or video, or at the radio station on the air, all I did was music music music. When I got out of college, I was still DJing nights and weekends. With my full-time job – I worked at MTV and in the industry – eventually it steamrolled. I was picking up more and more gigs to the point where I was burning the candle at both ends. I couldn’t be in a television studio at six o’clock in the morning when I got out of a club at four.

So you decided to make a change?

In 2006 I realized that I’ve been DJing for 13 years, but I had a career in television. I said to myself, I’ve always wanted to be a full-time DJ. I had an opportunity to work overseas for three months as a DJ, so I sat down with my boss at the time and explained it to him. He said, you’ve got a lot of passion for this, so go for it. I put in my two weeks, it was December 2006, and since then I’ve been a full-time DJ. I also do a lot of private events, not just in New York but around the nation and internationally, and I book DJs at clubs and events through my company, SET Artist Management.

Is that when the momentum started to build?

Once you do one event it leads to another. Being humble and staying true and smiling and constantly following up with everybody, it leads to an escalation. Since then I’ve never looked back or second-guessed myself on leaving a career that I went to college for.

What kind of clubs were you playing at the time?

When I went overseas I was working in Israel, in various places in Tel Aviv,  Jerusalem, and Haifa. Clubs like Shalvata, Lima Lima, City Hall, Layla Bar.  Then I came back to New York and gigs started to add up, residencies here and there. I’ve worked at clubs like Beauty & Essex, WiP, Double Seven, Top of the Standard, Yotel, Stash, STK Midtown, Gansevoort Park, Bounce Sporting Club on 21st, Haven Rooftop.

How would you describe your musical style, and how do you adjust that for the crowd and event?

I’m a 100% open format DJ. I love all types of music and I’m not afraid to drop anything. It’s not about what you play, it’s about what you follow up with. You can drop a song from the ’70s and people start to get into it. For the next song, whether it’s a huge club banger or a perfect smooth transition, it can make the song before it that much better. My outgoing personality shines through my beats, like a sixth sense. I bleed hip-hop, ’80s, rock, house, and still stay true to the music and dance floor because I keep those classics in the mix. And I have no problem playing the most current, hottest tracks, to do whatever I can to keep the dance floor packed till dawn.

So you believe that the context is important, it’s not about any one individual song, it’s about the whole set and the vibe you’re putting out there?

Yes. It’s not like I’ll play one ’80s song, one ’70s song, one rock song, one hip-hop song. Then it can be a bit ADD. It’s more about the way you blend different genres of music together throughout the night to build that crescendo. You finish the night and people look at their watches and they can’t believe it’s four in morning and the club’s still packed.

What do you have going on with the Super Bowl?

I’m down in New Orleans Thursday through Monday. I’m working at the NFL House, doing parties Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and I’m doing a number of parties for CBS, including pre-game and post-game on Sunday. The two CBS parties I’m involved in, there’s one Friday night at the Contemporary Arts Center, and Saturday I’m doing the party at Generations Hall with a live performance from Trombone Shorty, who is a really talented local guy who does huge live performances with a big band feel.

What else do you have coming up?

I’ll be DJing in the number one college town, Morgantown, West Virginia, at a place called Rock Top. I’ll be in Boston. I do a lot of private events for BlackBerry, since I’m the official Latin American BlackBerry DJ. In the summer I’ll probably have a lot of Hamptons gigs.

What clubs do you like to play in?

I like being close to the crowd. Mid-sized clubs work really well. I love working at Stash on 14th Street. Beauty and Essex is a great place to feel the energy and the vibe, and Double Seven is another spot where you’re right in the mix.

What’s on your iPod?

I have a series of playlists for all the new stuff I need to hear. There’s never enough time in the day to hear all the new songs. But when I’m relaxing, I love old school music. Old classic rock, ’70s, ’80s, things like that.

What do you do to relax and de-stress?

I love going to the Russian and Turkish Baths. Sometimes I just need a good shvitz. And I’m not afraid of the cold pool either.

What advice do you have for aspiring DJs?

Be as musically knowledgeable as possible. Everybody knows that electronic music is huge right now, techno, house, dubstep, but the more versatile you are, the more gigs you can play. If you want to specifically become an electronic music DJ, and that’s your passion, go for it, but if you’re trying to get noticed and get gigs and get experienced, the more versatile you are, the more avenues you have. Stay humble and keep in mind there’s a big line between work and play. Keep a clear mind.

Do you enjoy going out and experiencing DJs and live entertainment? Check out the BlackBook City Guides for all the best spots in New York and around the world. Download the free, GPS-enabled iPhone and Android apps, and sign up for our BlackBook Happenings newsletters for New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. Knowledge is power. 

Karen Elson’s Nine West Vintage America Collection Is Here

Hot off the heels of her awkwardly adorable Lanvin dance session with Raquel Zimmerman, British multi-hyphenate Karen Elson has just released her latest project: a vintage-inspired capsule collection with footwear retailer Nine West. Not only does the line of shoes, handbags, and jewelry reflect a genuine nostalgia, but the range feels very much like something we’d find in the model-actress-singer’s closet, like the Moonlight granny boot pictured here.

To celebrate the launch, Nine West has created a dedicated portal on their website that features a music section (complete with a video and plug for Elson’s new album, “The Ghost Who Walks”), behind-the-scenes footage, and an events section that reveals Elson’s next gig location (Beauty & Essex on September 13 from 8-11pm). Limited edition meet-and-greet and show tickets will be available on GiltCity.com beginning September 6. If you can’t make it to the show, Nine West will be streaming the event live on their Facebook page.

Shop the limited-edition collection here.

New York: Top 11 Places to Pick Up a Summer Analyst

Wall Street interns. Every summer they swarm the city, claiming everything from Tribeca sublets to Upper East Side dive bars as their own. But no matter how hard hipsters roll their eyes, there’s absolutely nothing we can do till Duke summons them back for pre-season. But it’s not all bad: no one has more fervent support for the monogramming industry, and in a few years it might be nice to visit their private islands, or at least their downtown lofts with outside space. So follow the smell of Axe to these spots to find a Bud Fox of your very own.

Dorrians Red Hand (Upper East Side) – Burger joint by day, fratastic by night.

Automatic Slim’s (West Village) – Freaky people dancing to a mélange of Blondie, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Brass Monkey (Meatpacking District) – Irish hospitality amid MePa monkeyshines.

Brother Jimmy’s (Union Square) Citywide chain delivering weathered wood and BBQ. “Put some south in yo’ mouth.”

Brinkley’s (Nolita) – Gastropub heir to Bar Martignetti is more Christie than David.

Butter (Noho) – Celeb hang has surprising longevity of Monday night party. High-test hotties and much meticulously tousled hair.

230 Fifth (Union Square) – Hang in a garden chair on the roof deck with your favorite teeth-grinding I-banker. Viva the ’80s, baby!

Turtle Bay (Midtown East) – Relive your college years in Midtown; keg stands not included.

Joshua Tree (Murray Hill) – Young Murrays reminiscing about the MTV they watched in their short-pants days.

The Windsor (West Village) – Gastropub ambitions at this posh, Brit-accented sports bar.

Beauty & Essex (Lower East Side) – More beauty than Essex, as former furniture shop draws a flock of pretty people.

Checking Out the New Downtown Dream

The culture of nightlife and the culture of hotels is about to change. For years, we have discussed the advantages of nightlife finding a protective home in the bosom of a hotel, with all its services, amenities, insurances, lobbyists, lawyers and all that expensive stuff that operators in non-hotel-based joints need to pay for on their own. Hotels are more than ever before driven by their food and beverage establishments. Plus, they come packed with rooms filled with guests who have the best money there is: vacation money.

Vegas has taught everyone that vacation money flows faster than the local variety. The rebirth of Nevada’s desert paradise was built on a shift from hawking gaming to emphasizing the attractions of their clubs and entertainment.

In New York, Ian Schrager drove home the concept of boutique hotels. The Gansevoort took it to new heights with its roof pool and exclusive Provocateur lounge. Food and beverage was driving its whole shebang. Andre Balasz took it all to the next level with The Standard. But lately, Morgans Hotel Group, with its new Mondrian and re-energized Hudson, has upped the ante.

The collaboration between TAO Strategic Group and the Chatwal father-son team of hoteliers redefines the art and the business of both nightlife and hotels. It is a game changer. The Chatwals, fronted by the fabulous Vikram, have had success with their Dream Hotel uptown, the Stay, and many others. They have pushed their nightlife/restaurant program to drive their places. Greg Brier operated Amelia and Aspen Social Club, designed by me and mine. He has had some success with Aspen, which is still under his control. Greg is my boy, but he isn’t TAO Strategic Group. To list all of TAO Strategic’s properties would require that second cup of coffee, so I’ll just offer some: Marquee (NYC and Vegas), Lavo (NYC and Vegas) Tao (NYC and Vegas), and Avenue. They are entwined in Beauty & Essex, Stanton Social, and even Artichoke Pizza. There’s projects everywhere that are hush-hush for a minute. Now, the Chatwals, with all their connections and experience and desire, have turned to them to make the food and beverage drive for their new Dream Downtown. It will take a dozen articles to describe what I saw when Noah Tepperberg showed me the place yesterday. Construction workers for contractor Carlo Seneca, who for my money is the go-to guy for this high-end construction work, were scurrying around to get it done. Private events start early next week, with the magnificent roof due on the 15th. Carlo will finish. His team takes pride in their work and he’s a guy who says “I’ll make it work” far more often than “I’m not sure I can.”

Noah told me about players to be named later, to help sell the place. He doesn’t need them. I’ve heard these names on the street, even though Noah wasn’t talking, and they’re all major, but the place is the perfect place at the perfect time with the perfect operators, and in the perfect location.

The pool is unreal. Noah says it’s perfect for at least 5 hours a day. The staff was being trained as I toured, and were all bright and eager. The design is genius. The one thing that was emphasized to me was that it wasn’t the attached-at-the-hip Maritime Hotel. Both places have those unique porthole windows. The dream team of designers/architects at Handel chose to clad the building in super-chic metal and bring back the ‘hole’ theme throughout. Most noteworthy are the holes at the bottom of the swimming pool, which has lobby-goers looking above. It’s the place the stuff that dreams are made of.