The Closing of the Club Formerly Known as Cain

Last night I attended the wrap party of what might be remembered as one of the great clubs of the bottle era. In reality, the Cain we all knew closed a long time ago. The redux as Cain Luxe never caught on with the crowd owners Jamie Mulholland, Jayma Cardosa and Robert McKinley were accustomed to entertaining. The neighborhood, Chelsea, had died a quick death from enforcement malpractice after city zoning procedures changed the area from commercial to mixed use. The rebirth of Cain as Cain Luxe didn’t work and probably never could have. Perhaps last night signaled the end of an error.

Those in attendance were saying goodnight to Cain and ignoring the Luxe part they never cared to know. The neighborhood’s new residential high rises provided ample motivation to destroy the Chelsea club mall that stretched from 27th to 29th street. The police barricades, search lights and cops on horseback were no longer in sight. They had already completed their mission and destroyed almost all the business on the once thriving block.

As I strolled down 27th street you could hear a soggy pretzel drop as I passed by the bones of once thriving clubs. Gone were Bungalow 8, Home, Guesthouse and Spirit. A few long-legged ladies approached the door where Pink Elephant once roared as if they were lost in time. They must of come a few years back and thought it was still a relevant club. The Elephant has left the building and only Pink remains as management changed and the old owners moved on to friendlier ‘hoods. There were more security and support staff outside than patrons. There used to be lines of hundreds.

I was greeted at the door of Cain Luxe and treated like I was Elvis. Jamie Mulholland greeted me inside enthusiastically, smiling like I was delivering him his morning coffee and croissant. I congratulated him and he looked at me like I was going to deliver a punchline. I told him he had so much to be proud of. The smile he had practiced all week faded. I said that club god “Steve Rubell couldn’t have made Luxe work” he almost offered a “but” but I wouldn’t let him. “You did a great job no one could have made this work with the police and the constant harassment, Cain will be remembered as a great club.” It was hard for him to accept this praise. Club moguls never want to close the doors. This crew still has GoldBar, which is still so fun after 3 years. The Surf Lodge in Montauk is brilliant and set to reopen with the season. The Bahamas is said to be beyond cool. As hard as it must be for Jamie to say goodbye to his baby in reality it will give him so much more time to excel at these places and elsewhere. I almost asked him who he sold the place to as if you my readers might care who or what will be there. I didn’t think you were interested.

He got me and mine some waters and got me to PR guru Steve Kasuba and we worked the room our way while Jamie went off to do the same. I saw real estate honcho Steve Kamali, who was just named on Societe Perrier as number 5 on the “The 10 Most Beloved Nightlife Impresarios in New York City.” I came in at number 8. I asked to be removed due to technical difficulties, but no one was amused.

The crowd was confused. They couldn’t decide whether they were at a wedding or a wake and I finished my exercise of shaking hands and straining for names and went towards the door. As I was leaving a security guard, with a rubber stamp in hand, asked me if I was “coming back tonight.” I looked him in the eye and said “No and never again.” He was not amused. Outside the New York Post hit me up for sound bites. As usual they were interested in what Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton did when they were at Cain. They asked me why they closed and I pointed to the new residential buildings going up across the street. I told them that the New York Post had spearheaded a campaign of bad publicity about the clubs on the block, a campaign that eventually helped drive the crowds away. I turned them over to the always dapper Cain alumni Randy Scott and slipped back into the present.

We hit the quiet streets and stopped at Marquee to see how the SL design was holding up. It looked good, still crazy after all these years. We strolled down 10th Avenue to Avenue, chatted with actor/door god Wass and popped inside the bottle-popping Mecca. Noah Tepperberg and I talked shop and exchanged inside info that’s so hot-to-tell that I wont tell it. The crowd at Avenue was stunning. Wealthy, dressed and having fun like those types like to have fun. We made our loop and went to 1Oak and chatted serious chatter with the players who play there. Again we were off into the night. About once every week someone asks me if I miss it. The glamor the clamor, the riotous nights. I do sometimes, but walking towards 9th avenue holding hands with a person who only knows and likes the person I am and doesn’t know the person who used to be Steve Lewis, I felt very warm fuzzy and satisfied. I had done the best job I could have back then and like Cain, I think I will be remembered fondly. After all, I am the 8th most beloved nightlife impresario in NYC.

Good Units Opens Tonight

I caught up with a seemingly suave, cool and collected hospitality designer, Robert McKinley, as he prepared for tonight’s opening of Good Units, the brand new space in the Hudson Hotel basement. Publicist Steve Kasuba told me Robert was frantic finishing up, but I sensed no panic, except from Kasuba. One thing is for sure, when opening a joint, in 99.99% of the cases, no matter how much time you get to complete the task, there will be paint drying opening night. I love Robert McKinley’s designs. I loved Cain Luxe, thought Surf Lodge was a home run and GoldBar a masterpiece. Shoot, I’d go to GoldBar even if Jon Lennon wasn’t there

The trend of superior food and beverage in superior hotels continues. Mr. Kasuba told me, “Robert designed Good Units and worked closely with Ben Pundole of Morgans Hotel Group. The approximately 7,000 square foot space will operate as a private event space, not a nightclub”. Good Units is the buzz spot as fashion week approaches. Interview will celebrate its 40th anniversary tonight. Susanne Barttsch is hosting a fashion week soiree. Patricia Fields was doing a much whispered about photo shoot with DJ Superstar Mark Ronson, bon vivant jewelry designer, actor and all around nice guy, Waris Ahluwalia and glorious supermodels Pat Cleveland and Julie Henderson. Giant Step, who throw hipster events leaps and bounds above the rest, will also host a gala here. I caught up with Robert on a 15 minute break.

Where does the name come from? The space is a long abandoned YWCA gymnasium in the Hudson Hotel basement. The words “good units” is literally spray painted on the walls near old electrical meters. Probably to indicate that this set of “units” is still working.

I love what you’ve done to the place. Tell me about it. We kept a lot of the character of the old gym, including the telescopic bleachers. We added low tech ‘80s dance lighting and neon gelled spot lights. We made it look like young cool kids came through and added graffiti, collages, images and artwork. There’s an old concrete floor

This is outside your partnership with Jayma and Jamie at GoldBar, Surf Lodge and those properties. I’m still partners with them, but do many design projects outside that relationship. For instance Saint Ambroeus www.bbook.com/guides/details/sant-ambroeus , I’m updating their West Village location. It’s the same owners as Felice Wine Bar, which I also designed

You just completed a nail for nail GoldBar pop-up at Sundance. Now you’re recreating a Surf Lodge installation this weekend at Milk Studios. Yes, Milk will host an alternative to the tents–‘Milk & Mac,’ the hip alternative to the tents. We’ll recreate the look and feel of the Montauk spot in the 8th floor loft space. Chef Sam Talbot will create meals and there will be parties for the likes of Gwen Stefani, Purple Magazine’s Olivier Zahm and Alexander Wang.

What else do you have time for? I’m collaborating with designer Rogan Gregory of Loomstate for a clothing collection that will be available at Bloomingdales stores starting this April.

The 40th anniversary of Interview magazine must be noted and honored. Andy Warhol created this icon in 1969. Back in the day, I never missed a copy. No one with any hope of downtown social status could. I read it as much for its advertising as I did for the articles. I dressed myself, fed myself, enlightened myself via Interview. For 15 years my friend Richard Bernstein did the cover art. He passed from complications from AIDS in October, 2002 and must be remembered on this day. His covers were portraits of the stars of that day, an era of glamor and style that seems to be eeking its way back, despite all the powers lined up against it. Richard was as sweet as he was talented. Paloma Picasso said. “Richard portrays stars. He celebrates their faces. He gives them larger-than-fiction size. He puts wit into the beauties, fantasy into the rich, depth into the glamorous and adds instant patina to newcomers.”

I met Richard at the Chelsea. He had a grand space behind and to the left of the hotel’s entrance desk. When I lived up on the roof, he would come visit me. If not for his easy demeanor and Cary Grant charm, I would have been awestruck. As a long term member of Warhol’s circle, he was supremely connected to a world I was trying to enter. I would listen to stories of Andy and Edie and Ondine for as long as he would allow. He had it all. He had class

Say It Ain’t So Bro!

The football team from the City of Brotherly Love has found love and forgiveness in it’s heart and has hired Michael Vick–torturer and murderer of dogs–as its new quarterback. Will this piece of dog shit torture and murder the “Eagles” as well? I am all for forgiveness. Heaven knows I have been forgiven for my many sins against humanity. But his sins were against animals unable to speak for themselves. I’ll just say a couple of words about this on their behalf. I believe that no patron presenting a Philadelphia ID should be allowed into an NYC club on that day when this asshole plays in our area. They should be sent back to that second rate town with a message. It was slick how Vick manipulated the system, smoking a little weed to violate bail, then using the bust to get into a drug rehabilitaion program once inside the joint. Smoking the j got him an early release. So many people asked how stupid could someone be to smoke pot while out on bail and subject to drug testing. I’d say sly like a fox, but he would most likely torture and kill that creature as well. Vick is a low life punk and the NFL should be ashamed of itself.

i attended Noah Tepperberg’s birthday party at his uber-hot Avenue gastro-lounge. I asked him how old he was for publication. He responded “I’m proud to be 34,” alluding to all that he has accomplished at such a young age. Avenue was amazing last night. The crowd was intelligent, well-dressed and adult. There was a lot of money in the room. We talked in the afternoon of a rosy future and Avenue’s position as fall approaches. I can’t remember anyone accumulating so much wealth, experience and respect at such a young age in this business. Marquee has had a major financial resurgence which begs the question: with Guesthouse and Home gone, is there an opportunity to return Cain and Pink and Bungalow to their collective glory? Without the crowd these two defunct clubs were promoting to, will A-listers feel more comfortable coming back? If you missed Noah’s birthday, you still get a chance to catch it as it goes on the road with soirees in Dune Southhampton and Lavo Vegas.

I hiked down to the Jane Hotel & Ballroom with my new business manager. She was already saving me money by walking. We followed a gaggle of hipsters who had stolen Noah’s birthday balloons for their parade. At the Jane, Kid America (Frankie Sisti) was playing one gorgeous song after another. “I’m a Believer by the Monkees” convinced me I was in the right place. I am truly a believer in the Jane Ballroom. The intriguing Alicia Cassidy and the impeccable Vanessa Beckett asked me “if i wasn’t here where would i be tonight?” and i drew a blank. The question reminded me of an old W.C. Fields movie. They were taking the scoundrel Fields to the gallows and the whole town was screaming for blood. Fields pleaded “don’t i get any last requests?” The guy in charge begrudgingly agreed. Fields then deadpanned “I’d like to see Paris before i die!” This sent the crowd into an angry frenzy and Fields offered meekly “Philadelphia will do.” No, Philadelphia won’t do anymore, and without the Bea, this is the best place for me to be.

New York: Top 10 Tuesday Night Hotspots

It seems like slim pickings for a Tuesday party prowl. Perhaps many are in hangover recovery courtesy of their Friday to Monday weekend. Most are waiting it out for humpday. But as we anticipate a heatwave, these hot spots emerge. Break out of your comfort zone, put off buying that AC unit, and join the rest of the denizens of the anti-day scene.

Happy Ending (Lower East Side) – If you’re still mourning the loss of pre-Giuliani New York, get a quick whiff here courtesy of the Tuesday night “Six Six Sick” party. Interesting fashion ensembles keep the nightlife photographers clicking; booze-drenched girls falling out of their interesting ensembles keep the nightlife photographers clicking in the tile-shower stalls. Things are a neon-bright messy in this massage parlor-cum-bar-cum-literary-hang-cum-on-your-blue dress. ● Home Sweet Home (Lower East Side) – The speakeasy vibe is peppered with middle-school nostalgia thanks to the Tuesday night “4 Page Letter – The Aaliyah Tribute Party.” Feels like a locals-only event or a junior high gathering, except everyone is friends thanks to DJs Nicholas Kratochvil, Florencia Galarza, and Scott Meriam pumping 90s throwbacks and R&B tracks. And there’s no running out because Sarah decided to dance with your crush when KC & JoJo started playing. We’re all grown-ups here.

Black & White (Greenwich Village) – “East Side Social Club” has been keeping the Tuesday-night rock star off-duty thing going strong for almost three years now. The leather jacket/skinny jean average is broken up with multiples of swingy skirts, fedoras, and costume jewels, recalling the days of sock hops and jive talk — or just the golden Beatrice days. DJs look as good as they sound and will put your Doris Day get-up to shame. Go late to save yourself from the early game of trivia. ● Angels & Kings (East Village) – The kids call it “Trainwreck Tuesdays,” but it’s also the epicenter of guyliner, flat-ironed bangs, and hoodies thanks to Pete Wentz, the demi-god of such who also happens to own the joint. The crowd looks like pop-star minis; Pink sipping PBR in the corner is actually that chick from your bio class. Ashlee Simpson leaning against the blood-red wall is actually, oh wait, it is Ashlee Simpson. ● Marquee (Chelsea) – Maybe it’s all of those commercials Wass has been in lately. Perhaps it’s the heightened entertainment brought about by watching PYTs fall down those stairs. For whatever reason, Jason and Noah’s “Tuesdays, Baby Tuesday” is still packing in six-foot Slavic princesses and the suckers who love them. It’s a Harvard fact. Though the gene pool is dwindling, the classic Tuesday vibe still abounds. Though this time around, you and your hard-headed pals wont have to bribe a bouncer. ● Kingswood (West Village) – This basement bar has nothing to do with the Aussie eats upstairs. Not as packed as the “Baddies” Thursday-night to-do, this Tuesday night is hyped to be chill. A pleasant stop-off for some West Village wandering — if not for the mixology, at least for the people-watching. Pretty girls and prettier boys sprawl on the banquettes, smoking. Literally and figuratively speaking. ● Griffin (Meatpacking District) – Former PM relaunched as a new hotspot fueled by NYC nostalgia, and on Tuesday nights, fueled by “Lust.” This party was meant to indulge your fantasies, and the ladies in lingerie and masks seem to confirm that. Seems to be bringing new zest to the Meatpacking, hit or miss. ● Lulu (Nolita) – If you’re hesitant to dive into midweek partying, the “Dinner Party” may be just the thing to ease you in. By no means is it a party with training wheels — Nicky Digital tells it like it is. “Why should dinner and partying be exclusive when you can combine the two?” A booze-drenched dinner amongst your favorite skinny-jean sightings. People-watching, ceviche, and Nolita at its finest, not to mention Nicky on hand to capture all of those memories you might want to forget. ● Hudson Terrace (Midtown West) – The view alone is enough to take your mind off of the 9-5, and the post-work cocktails will let your mind slip even further. “Sunset on the Terrace Tuesdays” bring in weekly mixologists and cocktail tastings which last all summer from 5-10pm, with the classic after-work 2-for-1 special from 5-7pm. ● Rose Bar (Gramercy) – Tuesday nights are fun, indeed, but Ian Schrager’s model filled, cozy hall seems to be every Manhattanite’s favorite place- whether they’ve been there or not. And with the tight door, family like atmosphere, and devastatingly good looking crowd; why wouldn’t it be? Never the less, Tuesdays are particularly chummy, slide into a sexy booth and make eyes at your model girlfriend to-be under the big art (Basquiat, Twombly, and…Schnabel). For updated party information, check out this weekly curated list on where to go and what to do all week long.

Got more ideas for Tuesday or other weekly parties? Let us know.

Industry Insiders: Joao Daniel, Brazilian Export

UPDATE: Joao has actually moved on from Le Royale — see here for details on his new gig.

Upon his arrival in New York, Joao Daniel started working in restaurant kitchens hoping to become fluent in English, but he ended up picking up more Spanish than he anticipated. Like most newcomers, he eventually started hitting the club scene, and surprisingly, this was where he honed his language skills. His nightly activities quickly snowballed into a profession. Now the charming Brazilian has his weekly schedule consistently booked with hosting gigs on Monday nights at Le Royale,Wednesdays at 60 Thompson, Thursday through Saturday at Pink Elephant, and Sunday nights at The Eldridge. He’s also in on the Saturday and Sunday pool parties at Hotel Gansevoort. Joao gives us the scoop on where we should be going out.

How’d you end up in the big city? I’m Brazilian; I came here three and a half years ago and started working at Pink Elephant as a busboy. I didn’t speak English at all, and I had to work my way up.

And that led to … I did the door at The Box for awhile. I hosted at Mansion. I hosted at Cain. I host Pink Elephant at the moment, and I work there three nights a week. I’m really good at organizing these parties. I also used to do Monday nights at Stanton Social. I moved to Vegas and passed off the Monday night gig. When I came back, I wasn’t interested in getting involved with that again because it was a very different crowd. A mutual friend of mine and Terry’s told me about the Monday night at Le Royale. Not too many people in the city knew about the party, like they do now. I know a lot of people in the industry so, it’s really become well-known. I left Le Royale recently, and now my focus is the weekend pool party at The Gansevoort.

Why’d you move to Vegas? I went out there to work, but ended up back at Pink Elephant in the summer of last year. I worked at Tao in Vegas, because Rich Wolfe of Stanton Social is also an owner there. I got offered a job to work at Tryst at the Wynn, and Rich said, “No, you have to work for us.” But I finally got the offer to work as a host for Pink Elephant, and because I started there as a busboy, it was important to me to work as a host there. I especially missed New York.

What did you miss about New York specifically? New Yorkers don’t say things that they don’t mean. If they say that they like you, it’s because they like you. If they don’t like you, then they’ll show that they don’t like you. It’s very black and white, and I love the style. People like to dress up, and people like to be in fashion. It makes the city more alive.

Best thing about Le Royale? The place is completely music driven, and that’s why I love it so much. The music at Le Royale on Monday is a little of everything, but not the cheesy stuff we hear at other places in New York right now. Stuff you’ll hear at other clubs, you’ll hear at Le Royale six months before. They have the real hipsters there. I try to avoid promoting too much, because it’s industry night. We end up having promoters from other places that just come because they like the party.

Is there live music? Terry is so well connected with the music industry, so some Monday nights we have special events. We had Shiny Toy Guns play, and usually, when they play in New York, they play for 300,000 people. There is a cover, so we can have bands to open the night. We can have big DJ’s, and I think we’re one step ahead of every place in New York City in terms of music and a good crowd. Now, bottle service is in a big crisis because of the economy, and Le Royale wont die because it doesn’t depend on that. It depends on the music and people go because the music is amazing.

What’s the best night, for parties/nightlife in New York, in your opinion? I work on the weekends, and I’m having a lot of fun at Pink Elephant because I really love house music. My favorites are definitely Sundays and Mondays. On Sundays, I never miss going to brunch. Brunch parties are taking over the city. Via dei Mille and Sol are the best. People get drunk and dance their asses off until 9 o’clock at night. After brunch, I go to Felix, and then I hit up GoldBar.

What are your spots in the city? I love going places with amazing cocktails. I like the bar at 60 Thompson. It’s out of control. I like Employees Only. For restaurants, I go to Jewel Bako sushi in the East Village. I love Stanton Social, which is great if you have a big group and want to share food.

What are you doing tonight? Getting ready to go to Le Royale.

Griffin to Open in Old PM Space

My partner Marc Dizon is the lead designer for the new restaurant/club Griffin, which is opening in the old PM space in the Meatpacking District. A hard date for the opening isn’t set yet, but somewhere around the third week of April seems feasible. The management team consists of Josh Kaiser (Pink Elephant), James Hinojos (Lesly Bernard), Rachel Uchitel (Tao Vegas), and Hector Longoria (Cain). Josh is still in the Pink Elephant mix while he puts the Griffin staff through an intense training schedule. They wouldn’t confirm it, but a friend tells me that the Milk and Honey and Little Branch crew are doing the drinks. The management team are volume-club veterans, so I believe there will be speed when there is a need.

The music will be a “mixed format” as opposed to mash-up, and the sound is by Dan Agne, so of course that means function one. Dan is one of the premiere guys doing club sound. I caught up to him at my Greenhouse party last night, and he was most enthusiastic about how the room will sound. I hear that it’s a 6 p.m. opening with light food. The thing that seemed most interesting about the menu are the celebrity-endorsed lollipops from Sugardaddy.com.

Since his project is near completion, I decided to hit my partner Marc Dizon with a few questions about his work.

What is your history as a designer? As a kid I was working in construction, so that parlayed my career in architecture. I went to architecture school at Parsons; from there I was recruited into Richard Meier and then I worked on some very important buildings. I designed the Jubilee Church and a few other notable museums in Rome, but after that I realized that my true calling was hospitality. I’ve always been around this world — the first club I ever went to was Steve Lewis’ when I was 14. It’s funny how everything comes back full circle. I think it’s a better application for my skills and technique because it’s about experience, the user, and changing a persons perception of what a space is like and how they interact in a space.

What is it like to be my partner? It’s fun and it’s creative because we bounce ideas off each other. We’re like the Jekyll and Hyde team — you’re a bit of live wire, and I’m a little bit more composed. It’s a great combination on so many levels because we both come up with great ideas that are half-baked, and if one can’t figure out how to develop an idea fully, the other person picks it up very quickly. So we can have a really half-assed idea and bring it together because we’re very complementary to each other.

What was the design intent behind Griffin? It was really about creating a space that was going to embrace that whole Meatpacking/Gansevoort location, but not as a hip, hot place — instead as a starting point of old New York, turn-of-the-century French Colonial, Dutch-inspired architecture and interiors. Using that aesthetic as a basis, we created the space using modern techniques, making it a little bit more edgy with oversized chandeliers, hanging a gigantic mirror on the ceiling, etc.

How did sound considerations affect your design? The sound was important because there were a lot of complaints from the neighborhood. We had to create a pretty intensive sound room, so we basically designed the whole place as a box within a box. The internal box is floating from the shell, so we’re kind of in a space within another space. And with the acoustics — we definitely worked very closely with Dan Agne to create a room that was sonically efficient. The shape of the room enhances the sound.

Industry Insiders: Rob McKinley, Good as Gold

Rob McKinley — part of the team responsible for hotspots GoldBar, Cain Luxe, and Surf Lodge — began his design-oriented career behind the scenes at fashion house heavy-hitters Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, and Giorgio Armani. After a shift into nightlife, the GoldBar concept stemmed from McKinley’s fictional idea of a European count obsessed with anything and everything gold. The golden boy met with us to discuss keeping his bar alive, the fall of the Meatpacking District, and those guys across the street at Southside.

How did GoldBar come about? My partner told me about the space, and I told him that I had a concept which would work really well. For me, creatively, the idea was to create a bar inspired by some of the grand hotels in Europe — Paris and Rome — but without the hotel. I wanted it to have the old-fashioned, traditional style of service and the formality of those bars and then almost poke fun at it and make it overly decadent. It came into being when we picked the space and we had gold leaf everything as soon as you walked through the door. The skulls were inspired by the catacombs in Paris. Little by little, it came together while working with all the different artisans, fellow workers, and artists.

Do you worry that GoldBar will lose its coolness factor? Luckily, we have a pretty cool crowd which has been mostly consistent. It has to do with the style of our service. Bottle service isn’t required. It’s all about the cocktails and the unique design. Even though the bar is over the top, it’s not just a trend, and I think it can stand on its own two feet. It’s also about the music. All the music we play has deep roots.

What do you think in terms of longevity? Even thought this is a nightclub, if people ask me what I do, I say I’m a designer, and I have a bar and a hotel. We pride ourselves on our cocktails. Those bartenders behind there are serious business. We want to be here for 10 years, for 15 years. We want it to become a good, solid place where people will always be able to have a drink and listen to good music.

How do you keep it innovative? We change the drinks every season, and we have great bartenders. They really know their game. Quality is a big part of what we do. My partners and I are all on the same page when it comes to that, and there’s a lot of attention to quality and detail. We have all fresh-squeezed juices, and the ice is all hand-cracked everyday. And yes, I oversee all the music. That’s something that we have to constantly question ourselves, but luckily all of our DJs are really brilliant, and a lot of them are musicians.

What are your busiest nights? Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Sunday, there is a younger, sort of rock hip-hop vibe.

What’s your relationship like with your partners Jamie Mullholland and Jayma Cardosa? I think we’re all a little bit nuts in the best way possible. We all get a kick out of each other, and we respect each other within the realm of our business. I think that’s the most important thing. We’re all very good at what we do.

Who does what? I handle all of the creative stuff, which consists of the musical direction, any invitations we need to do, and obviously the decor and lighting. Sometimes even the garnishes for the drinks. I go nuts for the small details: olives, incense. I’m a freak about the specific French incense that needs to be here all the time. I do the graphic design and the uniform design for GoldBar, Cain Luxe, and Surf Lodge. Jamie does the operational stuff, and Jayma is great at getting people here, being front of house and the host.

Any quibbles during the process? Always. If we didn’t, then something would be wrong. I probably get nagged about money the most. Jamie is always telling me to watch the money, but ‘m the designer, and I like things a particular way. They’ll ask me, “How much is the incense again?” We always manage to figure it out in the end.

Do you have any formal training in design? No, not at all. It’s just something that I love to do. I always ask my assistant (a graduate of Parson’s school of design) questions about how you’re really supposed to present and format things. Let’s just say I always find my own way to do things.

Besides your own places, where do you hang out? I’ve been going to Café Select a lot recently. I like the food, and I love the coffee. The little bar at the back is really great as well and kind of a little getaway. The music is really great. Sant Ambroeus in the West Village is one of my haunts. It’s a great café for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with excellent food, great coffee, and great desserts. There are really interesting people there all the time from all walks of life. Do the Meatpacking clubs, including Cain Luxe, have any hope of redemption from the bridge and tunnel crowds? Bridge and tunnel isn’t so bad. I’m bridge and tunnel deep down inside and always will be. When I was 16 and 17 years old, I was going to clubs in the city. It was just a different attitude then. We were going where the music was great and where the people were fun. And then it became a lot more velvet rope, and there were different requirements to get in. It still can be very good, and a lot of people will go. If it’s a good party, it’s a good party. Best GoldBar night? I remember one night we had nine different DJs in the DJ booth. We had two DJs on that night, and the rest came as guests. We all knew each other, and we were just going song for song. It was myself, DJ Kiss, Chris Liggio, DJ Cassidy, DJ Nice, DJ Ruckus, Tony Touch, MOS, and Damon DeGraff. The rule was: only one song. So, it was really tough because one song is your bridge to the next song, but we just had to keep it in that same vein all night. We also did an amazing masquerade party here with free-flowing Dom Perignon. The invites were these really beautiful boxes with hand-painted Venetian masks. How does Southside fare as competition? It’s cool. I was at Southside the other night. I think it’s like anything else. I had a good time. Music was good. We’re two different things.

Favorite celebs to step foot in GoldBar? A bunch of them, but we won’t talk about them. It was a great honor for them to be here, but what’s even more of an honor is when they come back. Ian Schrager was here a bunch of times, and that was a big deal for me — being a designer and him being the Studio 54 guy — and all. Lenny Kravitz comes a lot, and the only reason I can say this is because he wrote a song about GoldBar for his last album called “Dancin’ Til Dawn.” Giorgio Armani came one night, and that was big for me because I used to work for him.

What’s your dream venue? I want to do a resort similar to Surf Lodge but in the mountains. Snow Lodge, if you will. I would love to do a spa someday. A super-duper spa inspired by some of the natural springs and baths of Italy and Scandinavia.

Who’s your dream guest? I’d love to have any one of the Rolling Stones here. Or have Stevie Wonder put a piano smack dab in the middle of the room and play all night long.

Photo: Joe Termini

Dave Delzio Brings Back Rock ‘n’ Roll

There’s an exploding rock ‘n’ roll scene in New York City; bands are banging everywhere, and there are more than a few options every night for this vibrant community. I was at Bowery Electric last week for the Bloody Social gig and found a super-hot following of rock models and scenesters mixed with a crowd from the Max’s Kansas City era — old-school rockers that I hadn’t seen in years were everywhere. Dave Delzio is making moves and is a force in this new rock social scene. He’s involved with the post-Snitch rock Mondays at Greenhouse — which are absolutely kicking — and is about to start a Wednesday night slated to run like the long-lasting weekly party at Marquee, which for me was the sole reason to be there. After talking about tattoos — he gets his done over at North Star Tattoo by Becca Roach, and we decided that he’s going to hook me up for my first ink job — we managed to get in a quick chat about the projects he’s currently working on.

Are you a club promoter? Is that what you would call it? I actually own an entertainment company called Rock Box Entertainment, and I just partnered with MoodSwing 360, which is an entertainment talent agency co-owned by Ricky Greenstein and Johnny Maroney, who book DJs and live acts. I’m coming in to bring more live acts and a different dimension to the agency — bringing more of the rock side into it and just expanding upon what they have. Right now we’ve got everybody from the Good Charlotte boys — Joel and Benji Madden — to Tommy Lee, DJ Enferno, The Crooklyn Clan, and a whole mix of artists.

So your focus is on booking talent? Right now I’m getting into a lot of concert production, and the main focus of my business is producing major events.

Where are you throwing events currently? We’re finishing up with SXSW, and then we’ll be working on the Winter Music Conference and the Coachella festival. My partners are down in Austin for SXSW now, and I’ll be heading down to Miami for the WMC this week.

What are you guys doing at the WMC? We have a few things going on: we’re doing the Moodwing360 party with all our artists, the pre-record release party at the Fontainebleau for LMFAO, who have their single “I’m in Miami Bitch” all over the radio; we’re hosting Samantha Ronson, DJ Chachi, and DJ Enferno at the Gansevoort rooftop pool on the 26th and a few other events.

So what are you trying to accomplish at these music festivals? We’re trying to establish the brand, market our talent, and find the next big artists to come out. We’re good at finding new, great talent.

In addition to that, you’ve used your connections to promote certain party nights in New York. What joints are you working at right now? With MoodSwing, we’re programming the talent on Tuesdays for Cain — we’ve had DJ Riz, DJ Chachi, and DJ Inferno recently — Sundays at Southside, and I’m looking forward to starting the new party at Greenhouse on Wednesdays. We’re going to program good DJ talent in there and have a mix of uptown and downtown promoters, so there’s a nice, cultural mix of pretty people — an upscale, sexy crowd with an edge.

So you’re going to be bringing in talent and all of your rock ‘n’ roll friends? I’m excited about it. I want to make it like the nights at Marquee from the get-go — that rock ‘n’ roll vibe, but still upscale and classy. Wednesday nights were always a cool night.

Why Wednesday? Wednesday is good, but I think it’s always been a tough night. Yeah, if you don’t have a great party, no one’s going to come out, but it reminds me of Disco 2000 and Marquee Wednesdays, which were always great. Generally speaking, it’s an industry night. Monday used to be the industry night, but now everybody goes out on Monday. For example, our Monday night parties at Snitch. That was a party that lasted for a long time; it was its own beast. It grew horns, and we took it on for a long time.

I’ve been making statements in my column saying that I don’t think there are really any great clubs, but I do believe that there are some great nights. In my opinion, the rock ‘n’ roll nights are banging, like the Monday nights over at Greenhouse. I stopped by Lit on Wednesday night with my buddy, and although Lit has been around for awhile, it’s still great. You go in there and it’s a hip-hop vibe, with model girls standing around and rockers all over the place. And also, if you look at a lot of the new clubs opening up now, you can see that the bottle service is really starting to swing. I’ve heard clubs are opening up and instead of bottle service, they’re offering pitchers of alcohols now.

The rock ‘n’ roll scene seems to be thriving; there are a lot of great bands being booked, concerts are selling out, and the scene is vibrant — it reminds me of the early 80s in this town. I’m working with a lot of bands right now. I’m currently managing a band called The Dirty Pearls — they’re headlining and selling out the Bowery Ballroom every time they play. And we’re touring with Brett Michaels this weekend for the Rock of Love tour, doing the opening act for that. We have a lot of really interesting things coming up, and I think that during the recession times, the rebel mentality really starts to come back. I live in the East Village, and if you walk down the street now, it seems like it’s getting back to where it was in the early 90s a little bit.

Yes, I think there’s a rebirth of nightlife — certainly in the rock ‘n’ roll community. If you’ve noticed, even in the John Varvatos store which moved into the CBGBs space, there’s now a monthly rock ‘n’ roll party where we’re having New York City bands perform and then do the after-party at Bowery Electric.

The rock community has never been rich — it’s a lot of people who are trying to make it, so they don’t necessarily suffer in this recession. As traditional ways to make money diminish, I think this scene is expanding and become much more vibrant. New York definitely took a break from the rock scene for a long time with bottle service; the lounges took over Manhattan for a long time, and it’s good to see it come back again. But you can see the change now, because every DJ mixes at least some kind of mash-up of rock ‘n’ roll in their sets now — even the old DJs who were playing nothing but hip-hop and house are playing rock ‘n’ roll now.

There’s Still Hope After 27th Street

One very successful operator recently told me “there are from three to five joints that are actually making money right now.” But despite his expert assessment, I still see operators looking to expand their enterprises to a second and even third or more location. However, the places they are looking are not the same as a year ago. Back then, everybody wanted to be either in the Meatpacking or on 27th Street, and although the Meatpacking is still hot, the 27th Street strip has lost most of its cachet. My source says that no one is happy there and that money is just not what it was. Pink Elephant seems to be doing better, although its programming and crowds have gone through some changes. Cain Luxe also seems to be staying afloat, but again with a crowd different than was previously expected at Cain.

Rumor has it that Cain Luxe owner Jamie Mulholland and crew are in some sort of deal negotiations for the Lucky Cheng’s space on 1st Avenue and 2nd Street. I know they were looking at it a few months ago with other players bidding as well, but all deals were dependent on owner Hayne Southern finding a new home for Lucky Cheng’s. Times Square was her desired location, but she wasn’t able to secure a spot there. I haven’t heard anything new until yesterday, and I don’t like to report rumors, but I have a gut feeling that this is real. UPDATE: I spoke with Southern today, and she says the rumor isn’t true. She says that the family does not want to make a move in this economic climate. However, she did inform me that she is still negotiating for a Times Square space — which I hear is the China Club — and that may make Lucky Cheng’s current spot available again.

On another front, notorious club kid Michael Alig was moved to a medium-security prison yesterday, from the maximum-security where I have been visiting him. This move should signal a clarification of the question everyone always asks me — “When does he get out?” Serving a 10- to 20-year sentence for murder, Michael would normally be released after 13 and a half years, and at this point he’s been in for about twelve and a half. There are many factors that could extend his stay, but the move to a medium-security facility is encouraging for him and his devotees. He has expressed to me his profound desire to live the “second half of his life as a charitable and remorseful person.” He says he “can never do enough to make up for what he has done,” but is determined to try. There is much more to this story, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I get the green light.