Two Articles On Bottle Service That Are Completely Clueless

There have been two recent articles professing the end of bottle service that I am being asked to weigh in on. The first: an article by Hardeep Phull on NYPost, and a story by Megan Willett from Business Insider. Both profess a "Chicken Little" approach to bottle service when all that’s really happening is an expansion of existing formats, not a quantum change. I contributed to my pal Hardeep’s article with a quote taken out of context from a much larger dialogue. He has it wrong, but compared to Megan’s take he is spot-on. Megan is clueless.

Marquee’s approach to dance was a calculated take on the market and their place in it. Their approach signals an internal decision to re-brand the NYC Marquee to be relevant to the Vegas Marquee, the highest-grossing nightclub in the country. They also have a Marquee in Australia. The NYC Marquee, after six years of wonderful and a few more of OK, needed a redux to bring it up to speed. I helped with the plan and the layout, but not the design. It was made clear from the start that it was all about the music, with some areas to accommodate big spenders who also cared about the music. It was also designed to be fairly non-competitive with their other NYC properties Avenue and Lavo, where bottle service thrives. Marquee made a smart move using their international DJ booking connections to create cachet. It doesn’t signal a trend of the end of bottle service in any way. Avenue and Lavo are bottle-selling machines. In that regard, the stories are just straight inaccurate.

Output in Brooklyn is as irrelevant to a larger social club concept as Cielo, the joint that spawned it. I love Cielo – did from day one. Its design, sound system, and bookings have made it one of the premier dance clubs in NYC. It has never been part of the larger club culture and has seen no need to be a part of it. Its new Brooklyn outpost should be a winner but it does not signify a trend. It’s merely serving dance aficionados in an ever-expanding Brooklyn scene. The trendy hipsters sipping $15 cocktails and eating $30 entrees at nearby hot spots in the new Williamsburg may never go to Output, and Output’s patrons may never go there but both will coexist in BBurg’s new world. Both are enjoying the transforming neighborhood which recently got a movie theatre and a Duane Reade and The Meatball Shop, and all sorts of other entertainment/distraction choices previously only found elsewhere. Output doesn’t signal the end of bottle service, but merely the expansion, or perhaps the gentrification of BBurg. On a side note ,I find it fascinating that a "no dress code approach to door policy" was mentioned or sited as portending a trend. I live in Williamsburg and basically everyone dresses the same here anyway.

Nightclub Space Ibiza is on its way to New York. It will be big, it will be grand, and it will compete with the other Ibiza-based mega club that thrives in NYC: Pacha. Webster Hall, a little as well. I go to Pacha on occasion, although not as often as I would like. I love Pacha. Eddie Dean and Rob Fernandez are magnificent at what they do. They find new talent, book established stars, and have created a mega club where you can dance and chat and buy bottles of booze or just plain water. They know their patrons and have a social scene that’s unique. They thrive and survive and have vast experience in the market. Space will be coming in and have to learn a lot quick. Big clubs attract big enforcement and scrutiny. They are off-the-beaten-path, but so was Crobar/Mansion before it was pummeled to death. 

Will there be competition? Of course. Will Space mean the end of Pacha? OMG, no. Space is a natural development. As EDM spreads to the masses, clubs will embrace the trend. More dance floor is needed to accommodate more dancers. These dancers are not being drawn away from bottle service. These clubs are not in competition with those clubs. EDM DJs command salaries in the high five and even six-digit ranges, and mega clubs are the only places that can afford them consistently  Space, Pacha, and Marquee have relationships with these superstar, rock star DJs as they are all international brands. The big club experience is enjoyed by many and shunned by many as well. I loathe EDM but I am confident that EDM heads would loathe my Ministry and Stones and Zeppelin DJ set.  

One of the things I particularly disapproved of in these articles and the comments that followed in social media was the comparison of these clubs to the mega clubs of yore. Palladium and Limelight and Tunnel all had door policies that culled crowds of 5,000 down to 3,000. Without getting into a discussion of the merits of door policy, those clubs had highly-developed social scenes at their core. We strived to book the best DJs available and had multiple, sometime six or more dance floors working in the same joint. We mixed crowds from all social strata, races, and creeds. Does EDM appeal to a mixed racial profile? Hmmm, I have not observed that. To me it seems to be white boy shee-it and that’s that, for now.

The articles also failed to recognize that EDM is a genre of music. There are many other genres of music. All have a place in our city which does include people of many ethnic backgrounds and classes and ages. EDM is expanding, but from my point of view it appeals mostly to a certain demographic and has not completely taken over the mindset of NYC clubs. Hip hop, mixed format, rock, pop, salsa and all sorts of other genres still pack them in. Sitting or standing or dancing with friends around a bottle is part of our club way of life. Marquee played a huge role in that development. Bottle service isn’t dying, going away, or being replaced. The writers just didn’t understand what the….  what they were talking about. No offense. 

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A Birthday, an Anniversary, and a Date With my Editor

I have decided to no longer call my dear friend Nur Khan. From now on he is NUR KHAN. Last night, Nur…er NUR, delivered big time…again. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) put on a wonderful, intimate, driving rock and roll show at NUR’s Electric Room, which I suspect is the size of many of the dressing rooms this act has gotten used to. I last saw them a couple of Fashion Week’s ago when NUR showcased them at the now-defunct Don Hill’s. At the time, NUR insisted that BRMC was never again going to be seen in a room that small. He was wrong, but in such a good way.

The invite-only crowd was full of the beautiful and cool and all the usual and unusual suspects. There was enough sound in the small Electric Room to power a stadium and a big-time light show as well. Every time I write one of these, fans of the band chime in and get all upset that I don’t talk about what they sang or wore or said. This isn’t a review of the show, but merely a testimonial to NUR and BRMC and the effort put in to enlighten a select few. Electric Room’s Tuesday night DJs Justine Delaney and Nick Marc were on before and after the act. We chatted while Justine offered up sounds that unfortunately cannot be heard in most places. Tonight at Wass’ birthday bash at Avenue, I will be true to my school until they pry me from the booth. I want to say thank you, NUR KHAN.

After my DJ gig, I will be heading to Cielo, another little club that delivers big with a devotion to a purity in music. They are a house venue, and although I definitely rock and roll, I do love house when it isn’t being offered as a mindless medium to jug heads. Tonight is the eighth anniversary of Louie Vega and Kevin Hedge’s Roots NYC. Louie, just in from a seven-week tour of Europe, will spin from 10pm till 4am. He is so "one and only" that I have decided to no longer refer to him as Louie Vega. From now on he is LOUIE VEGA. One of the nicest guys in the biz and easily one of the most talented DJs to come from here. I look forward to his set.

Lastly, my editor Bonnie Gleicher, O.K. BONNIE GLEICHER, has put herself up for sale – or at least rent – in a silent auction win-a-date bidding thing. She will go out for a night on the town that I will arrange with the person who bids the most for her charming company. The loot will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. As of this writing she is up to $300 but I assure you she’s worth much more. I would walk a million miles for one of her smiles. I’ll write about this adventure and give you 15 minutes of fame (if you like) if you are the winning bidder. Find out more about this date with destiny here.

Duran Duran’s Roger Taylor Trades the Skins for the Decks

All the best rock stars are multi-dimensional. Ron Wood is a painter, Lenny Kravitz is an interior designer, Ozzy is a philosopher…and Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor is a rather fashionable DJ. Of course, you remember him from such Simmons-drum-pad-driven classics as “Girls on Film” and “The Reflex”. But in the ’90s he took to the decks and never looked back, even scoring a UK top ten dance hit with “Love is Like Oxygen.” In between Duran Duran regroupings, he trots the globe, spending a lot of time, naturally, in Ibiza, and holding a regular residency and London’s Met Bar. With gigs this week at Chicago’s SpyBar (25th) and the Top of the Standard in New York (27th), we managed to sit him still for a chat.

How did you come to start DJing? Do you now consider it as a career?

I was going to so many clubs at one point in my life that I just literally stumbled into the booth one night and started spinning with a friend. I loved the feeling that I was somehow controlling the vibe in the room. I was also producing dance music at the time so it all felt kind of destined.

Does it seem perfectly natural to be a DJ? After all, like DJs, drummers are the people hidden away in the back doing the hard work of actually helping everyone get their groove on.

Yes, it felt very similar to being the drummer in a band. I seem to thrive as the guy at the back who’s actually very important but can also go somewhat unnoticed. I think I have a very juxtapositional personality.

What do you love most about DJing?

That moment when two records mesh beautifully together, both in beat and in harmony…usually an accident, and you think ‘how did that happen?’

What’s your favorite city to DJ?

New York, just because it’s my favorite city in the world.

What does your playlist look like? Are people expecting you to just play Roxy Music and Chic songs?

I started off very eclectic in style but as I moved up to bigger clubs I embraced a longtime love of house music. After all, if you’re booked to play to play to 2000 people in a nightclub in Rome on a Saturday night, you can’t get up and play ‘Wordy Rappinghood’. Some people still can’t get beyond the fact that it’s Roger from Duran behind the decks and can sometimes have certain expectations of what I will be playing…and are somewhat shocked when I start playing obscure French House music.

Duran Duran were a DJs dream, with a zeitgeist-defining remix of almost every single. As a DJ now, what current acts and tracks to you represent the epitome of cool?

I’ve always been a fan of Daft Punk and am really enjoying their collaboration with Nile Rodgers. I’m loving ‘Get Lucky’. I’ve also been impressed by the Deadmau5 phenomenon in recent years and those Swedish chaps Axwell, Ingosso, and Angello. I call them the ‘Abba’ of dance music. And Disclosure are doing a pretty amazing job of re-inventing house music in the year 2013, which is no mean feat in itself.

Duran Duran rose up through a blitz of trend consciousness. “Planet Earth” even name checks the New Romantic movement. Are you aware of music having kind of lapped itself? That you can play songs from the ’30s, ’50s, ’80s, and now without ever drawing the ire of trendoids? After all, you could probably play Ace of Base at Le Bain and no one would flinch.

You’re probably right about Ace Of Base, and yes music has certainly travelled around in a big circle. Artists like La Roux and the Killers owe more than a little to the early Duran sound.

What is your favorite club of all time? And your current favorite?

Pacha Ibiza, for me, is the ultimate super club of all time, but Cielo in New York is my current fave…I love the sound system there.

Are the other members of the band jealous of your new career? Are you the one holding up the next album?

I don’t sense any jealousy. Nick has numerous art and music projects on the go, John has recently become a best selling author and Simon is a busy and competitive sailor. But there definitely is a next album. It’s already in the works.

Duran Duran were obviously an exceedingly provocative entity—the puffy blouses, the glorious hair, the white-boys-copping-funk, the S&M videos. Do you think it’s possible for anything in the context of music to still be provocative?

Very difficult, as it does seem that everything provocative has been done. But people most likely thought the same thing once Elvis had been filmed below the waist.

What’s your favorite Duran album and favorite song?

Has to be the Rio album. It’s become a classic of its period. And ‘Save A Prayer’ will always hold huge emotional weight for me.

What is your idea of the perfect night out?

My favorite evening is actually a wild night in with my 20-month-old son, eating pizza and watching Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine.

[More by Ken Scrudato; Follow Ken on Twitter]

This Week’s NYC Happenings: THE LCL, Output, Village Pourhouse

Greenmarket Cocktailing at the Just-Opened THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen
The Gerber Group of Stone Rose and Whiskey Blue fame opens its first NYC restaurant: THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen, which holds down the lobby of the Westin Grand Central with a versatile bar, lounge, and dining room space. You will drink well, whether its Stumptown at breakfast, Organic Avenue at lunch, or a biodynamic wine for dinner. Enjoy multiple trends at once with farm-to-bar cocktails, rocking cold-pressed juice, organic booze, and greenmarket add-ons. On the dining side, look for elevated comfort food like Pat LaFrieda burgers and New York cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese.
THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen (212 E. 42nd St., Midtown East) opens today. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

NOW: Beats For Billyburg
The team behind Cielo deliver the first proper dance club in Brooklyn with the opening of Output. Funktion-One covers a killer sound system, and global DJ talent provides the beats.
Output (74 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg) is open now. To learn more about the club, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

WEDNESDAY: Beer & Kisses
All gender clichés aside, a night of beer, cherries, and chocolate makes both halves of a date happy. This Wednesday, Village Pourhouse hosts a beer sommelier for flights and pairings. You’ll also get take-home notes, should you want to put anything to work on Valentine’s Day.
Chocolate and Cherry Beer Tasting at Village Pourhouse (64 Third Ave., East Village) starts Wednesday night at 7pm, repeated the following Wednesday. Tickets are $40. To learn more about the bar, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Find out first about the latest openings and events in NYC by signing up for BlackBook Happenings, the email brought right to your inbox every Monday. And download the BlackBook City Guides app for iPhone and Android.

4 Out of 5: Baker on New York

Baker is a pop singer from New York. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.

RECOMMENDED

Top of the Standard – "A.k.a. the Boom Boom Room. A classic. Beautiful people, beautiful space, and a great vibe."

Electric Room – "This place is beneath the Dream Downtown. It’s very different than other places because even though it’s in the super-clubby Meatpacking District, they often play alternative or punk music and make great drinks. If fist-pumping isn’t for you, this is the place to be."

Simyone Lounge – "A.k.a. SL. This club can get a little intense sometimes with security and lists, but once you’re inside, it’s a lot of fun."

The Westway – "My favorite spot. There’s always a great mix of people there, and they play the best music. I’ve never had a bad night there."

NOT SO MUCH

Cielo – "A club in the Meatpacking District. You’ll never see someone who lives in Manhattan inside those doors."

Jessica 6’s Nomi Ruiz Talks Going Out In NYC

Nomi Ruiz has that quality—that je nes sais quoi, in fact—that doesn’t allow you to look at anything else when she is on stage. It isn’t just her gorgeous looks or the way she simply melts sex appeal; it’s also her voice and her big eyes pleading with the crowd as she purrs, wails, and beckons over the Italo-infused tech-house of her band, Jessica 6. From Lady Gaga stylist Nicola Formichetti to Antony Hegarty, Ruiz has played muse to some of music’s biggest influencers. With her non-stop tour, modeling, and DJing schedule, she is a New Yorker worth knowing. She shared some of her favorite late-night secrets with us.

Best bar when money is tight:
The Holland. Best dive bar in town!

Place or bar whose name immediately induces hangovers:
Trophy Bar. To be honest, I’ve had many a walk of shame after night there. 

Best place for a covert makeout session:
Bembe. Great place to take your mistress and do a little dancing. 

My favorite guilty pleasure venue:
Pacha. I secretly love to fist pump and hook up with gorillas on the down-low.

My favorite jukebox/DJ/bartender who plays great music:
Honey Dijon at Cielo. I always wind up in a dance battle at her off-the-hook parties.

Alcohol you won’t see me drinking:
Hypnotiq

Where you might find me a night off:
Shopping on 5th Ave in Sunset Park, back home in Brooklyn

Hands down, best drink in NYC, and you can quote me on it:
A sazerac at Williamsburg‘s The Richardson.

[Photo by Marco Ovando]

Terry Casey Talks New York Nightlife

My old friend Terry Casey is getting a little older and will celebrate his birthday at Home Sweet Home this Thursday. He isn’t getting any wiser, apparently, as he has asked me to DJ for an hour. I will be sandwiched in early around 8pm between Rocco Ancarola and veteran spinner Walter V. That’s like 80 years of club experience throwing music that isn’t muzak at you. Terry is one of those bright, go-to guys that I go to for advice or insight on what’s going on. He can be seen everywhere as his taste in nightlife is as diverse and eclectic as his grasp on music. I am honored to play for him.

Tell me about your upcoming birthday event. My birthday event is a fun, non-serious affair combining music, art, and fashion. There will be DJs, an art show with great artists (courtesy of Javier Leonard of Leonard Tourne Galleries), and a small fashion show. The venue really helps with this, as it has a real gallery with a cool cocktail bar attached. Artists want the best setting for their art and Home Sweet Home’s new gallery space offers that. They don’t want just a few walls in a nightclub/bar/lounge setting with bad lighting. I picked a wide selection of DJs and friends to do two rooms of music. It’ll be everyone from the bottle/social scene to the DJs playing the Brooklyn warehouse parties—I like to connect the groups (dots). I asked you, Rocco Ancarola (Pink Elephant, Lavo) and Walter V (Studio 54, Danceteria) to play music in a gallery setting and what more experienced nightlife crew could I have found for a 3 hour opening session? The crowd will get to hear these people play songs they want to play and not just the radio or karaoke/wedding DJ songs like most spots in NYC. Later in the evening we’ll open two rooms, with one for indie dance music and the other with electronic DJs like Varick, Carlos Mejia and more from the techno/minimal/warehouse party scene. That includes parties like Sheik N’ Beik (Julio Santo Domingo’s), Blkmarket Membership (Taimur and Fahad), Low Pitch Orchestra (Carlos), Flawless (Jen and John), Made Events and many more. These parties introduce new acts before they become mainstream and bring culture to the New York scene.

Since you closed Le Royale, what have you been up to? Is there a venue in your future? Le Royale closed when it was still very very busy, with four months worth of bookings and global acts coming to play a 150-person DJ room. That’s not a good or normal reason to close a club but it’s also not normal for your business partners to not show any accounting for the business. To this day I have not received any accounting from my former partners, David Baxley and Elaine Romagnoli. The issue will hit the courts in the next few weeks and they can explain their actions to a judge. Their actions were damaging to staff, promoters, vendors, and to me who all lost a lot of money and two years of my life building a strong brand. Their actions were dishonest and I expect to be able to show their actions were not in good faith in a court. At first, I took a year off doing no events and just listened to lots of music and worked on a few small projects away from nightlife; I was not sure if I wanted anything more to do with clubland. The ugly side of this business left a bad taste in my mouth, it was a sad experience. But it’s made me a lot wiser and I have already pulled out of deals with similar characters trying the same type of stuff. I understand that clubs and bars are a business and expect them to be run with honesty and care. My love comes from the inspirations of music and creative people, and combining those is so much fun; nightlife can be such a creative avenue for people and it caught my heart many years ago. Will there be more clubs from me? Yes. I expect there to be more ventures but it needs to be the right deal and a place that can make people feel at home. I’m working on a few things now but talk is cheap, as we all know.

Tell me about technology and the changes DJs are adapting to. What I have been doing since Le Royale is listening to lots of new music to make myself happy. My favorite is a new music style called electro swing which combines old swing music with electronic beats like house and hip-hop. I recently DJ’d a night of 90 percent electro swing music to see what people thought and was pleasantly surprised. There are pockets of people in many cities around the world making this music and sending it to each other and spreading the word globally—how fun is that? I’ve also been checking out new DJ technologies, which in recent times has moved to a new level. I came into the music business from being a DJ and I started out in London at 16-years-old, buying import dance releases from NYC, Chicago and Detroit. It was mostly house music at that time, but over the years my taste expanded as I grew musically and learnt more about music. Now I’m open to everything from dubstep, to classic rock, to world music and everything in between. At the moment I’ve been excited by DJ Controllers and Midi Controllers—I hate to say it, but CD players and turntables are going to be history in clubs soon enough, because the future is here. I currently use an S4 Controller by Tractor and it just blows my mind. I don’t need anything but the controller and it does more than a CD or turntable ever could with music. I have to thank DJ Kris Graham (Diva) for turning me onto this. Kris is a nerd surrounded by beautiful women, but he’s a nerd, I’m calling him out on it right now.And of course, the Technics SL-1200 is still an amazing piece of engineering.

What are the positives and negatives about the current New York nightlife scene? I think the positives are that social clubs are booking and promoting new music, not just booking people to play the radio. I believe that’s partly because of YouTube and other outlets promoting new music, which now gets to the masses and not just DJs. At this time there’s no need to wait on radio stations and the losers at MTV to play new music. MTV wanted us to believe that reality TV was bigger than music and more profitable to shareholders but I think it’s safe to say that YouTube has a brighter future then Viacom. You only have to look at Lady Gaga’s career and how the web took her to new highs. Then, if you look at Lavo, Provocateur, SL and other socially/bottle-driven clubs, they have taken a serious approach to booking the established and rising stars in electronic music.

In Brooklyn we have world-wide sensations and New Yorkers need to be proud that we have such a creative force in our hometown. We also have a new rising star in festivals with Electric Zoo and you have to give it to Mike Bindra for taking that chance and seeing the vision in doing a purely electronic music festival. We are also lucky to have Bowery Presents in NYC and great live music shows at Bowery, Webster Hall, and Music Hall of Williamsburg. Le Bain has a great music policy now, with Jerome and Neil Aline and Cielo is a stable for house heads. On Fridays, Webster Hall Friday is dubstep heaven and draws the biggest acts from dubstep and electro. The brunch/restaurant parties in NYC are off the hook, day and night, including Lavo and Bagatelle. Rocco Ancarola’s Sunday night is my favorite party at the moment and the DJ plays almost no house and no hip-hop, so that’s rare. There are lots of performers and it’s held in a restaurant so you see people like U2, Paul Oakenfold and movie stars dancing on tables to world music.

Negatives, well that’s easy: Some aspects have not changed much, including bottle service, door policies, a lack of diverse crowds, too much focus on money and no culture, to list a few. Also, rent is too damn high, as our friend who ran for mayor said.

Where is Brooklyn headed? Brooklyn can only get bigger and better, it’s where the youth of NYC look to live, not Manhattan. It’s very international especially Williamsburg and Dumbo. People used to move to places like Williamsburg to save money on rent and now they live there because they want to be with friends. To me, Williamsburg offers what Manhattan is not able to offer—a real community. Manhattan is becoming very generic, which is not cool to watch because there are still areas that feel like community, for example the West Village. But most people can’t afford to live in those areas so it’s a luxury for them. More people will move to Brooklyn from all over the country and the world before even touching down in Manhattan. There’s already more people living in Brooklyn over Manhattan so it can seen as its’ own city or even funnier, Manhattan as a suburb of Brooklyn (that’s a joke). Brooklyn can expect some of the issues from Manhattan over time, like more chain stores (Starbucks, etc) and rising rent costs. Rent prices have gone up a lot over the last 10 years, and more than doubled and tripled in some areas, but there’s been great progress for the communities in Brooklyn and Queens at Manhattan’s cultural expense.

Are you British, or is that a speech impediment? And why are you in New York? I’m a big city guy, born in London and was very lucky to be born in what I’m told is the music capital of the world, although NYC and Brooklyn are fighting back strong.

The Rise of the Outer Boroughs

Once upon a time, not long ago, the players who ran New York City decided that noisy, smelly nightclubs had to be discouraged from operating in residential neighborhoods and encouraged to open elsewhere. A few areas, seemingly uninhabitable by the swells who ran things, were carved out. Licensing was issued fairly easily to those brave souls who would try to create a couple of new club districts. The most notable were the West Chelsea warehouse/manufacturing area and the Meatpacking District. Both were well-known for transsexual hookers, ugly straight hookers, pimps, and other miscreants that hover around such goings on. The clubs came in on the heels of the galleries that were high-rented out of SoHo. Soon the hookers were gone, replaced by the half-hookers who wait on bottle service patrons; the pimps were replaced by promoters. We could spend a long time chatting about which is worse. The cruising cars filled with Johns from Jersey looking for a desperate cheap time were replaced by cabs and limos taking guys and dolls from Jersey and everywhere else looking for an expensive good time. All was wonderful until developers saw the neighborhoods get cleaned up and decided to develop living quarters for the well-to-do.

The West Chelsea club district was harassed out of existence, and only the Meatpacking now remains as a mecca for messes, models, frat boys, and the other miscreants that hover around such goings on. In time, and possibly starting right now, the warehouse districts of Queens and Brooklyn, which face the same pre-developmental issues as the old MEPA and West Chelsea, are getting clubs. The city will eye this development and probably encourage it. It might just be easier to eliminate all late night goings on in Manhattan and move this fun to less attractive areas, away from the high-rent districts. There may come a night when going out means going over a tunnel or bridge — I have always felt that a 2a.m. license looms as the greatest threat to our scene. Over the last few years, new operators have accepted the crumbs of 1a.m. and 2a.m. licenses from community boards who think: that’s late enough, go to sleep already. A couple of areas in the outer boroughs where 4a.m. licenses are easy to get may attract the big clubs to move there. Joints like Pacha or Cielo, so often at war with city agencies, might find enough peace and quiet in another borough to make lots of noise. The house clubs will be the first to make the move as their crowds will walk a million miles for the smiles that international DJs bring to their faces. Vincent Faraci is opening a joint in Brooklyn, close enough to everything, and far enough too. It’s called Jaguars. I caught up with Vincent and asked him a few things.

When will Jaguars open? We’re gearing up to open in February, with a lineup of private events.

Do you expect other venues to open nearby? Will this be a foothold for the industrial area becoming a nightlife enclave? I think people will follow in my footsteps and the building owners will also try to entice restaurant and club owners to come to the area after they see our success.

Was the location chosen to avoid being a burden to the community? We are located in an industrial area, which gave us a very large space (20,000 square feet) for the price we paid. It’s ten minutes away from the Battery Tunnel and the Verrazano Bridge with ample parking, which also made it a great location.

Tell me about the DJs… We’ll have Las Vegas DJs flown in and I’ve already begun interviewing local DJs for specific nights. I’d also love to have you come spin when you’re free! What does the name Jaguars mean? Jaguars refers to the venue’s jungle theme and goes with the general atmosphere. It’s something you are going to want to experience. Seeing is truly experiencing in this case. I’ve brought the experience of having a restaurant in a nightclub and done it another way.

Is Brooklyn becoming more diversified while Manhattan loses ground to real estate and regulation? Will Brooklyn nightlife be on par with the “City” in just a few years? I don’t see why not, with the way things are in the current economy. For someone to open a club in Manhattan, they have to not only hire staff that has to travel into the city, but also pay high rent costs. If I can keep my rent down and return it to the people, then I don’t even have to compete with Manhattan. If you find a location like I have at Jaguars then you can compete.

What kind of place Jaguars will be? Jaguars offers fun and affordability for all walks of life. It’s an Italian restaurant, a nightclub and bikini bar. All are separate entities but have the same underlying jungle theme. When the nightclub is closed, it is curtained off from the restaurant. But once it opens, you will be dining in a restaurant within a nightclub. What is the targeted demographic for Jaguars? Are you trying to attract Manhattan clubgoers? We have something for everybody. We’re trying to attract everyone who wants to go out, have a good time and enjoy an affordable, fun night out. Is the place a viable alternative to Manhattan venues? You aren’t going to find anything like it, anywhere, New York City or otherwise. I’ve been around for a long time and have never seen anything like it. The jungle theme is really what makes it fun and casual. What’s the primary difference between operating in Brooklyn and Manhattan? It allows me to give more back to the customer in regards to pricing. I can provide a more affordable experience to the customer by being able to spend more in the areas of service and accommodation. It would be more difficult for someone in Manhattan to compete with me because of their overhead costs. Are you promoter driven? Everyone has to dabble with promoters, but most of my promotions come from within the company. I like to be hands on in that aspect, I know what works and I like to keep control of the promotions. What is your hospitality background? I’ve been in the business for over thirty years, operating venues in Las Vegas since 1984.

Pacha Celebrates 5 Years

Five years of life in club years is like seven dog years, so Pacha is arguably almost as old as me. The absolutely ancient Pacha has been celebrating its five years by showcasing some of the DJs that have helped define it. There was David Guetta last Friday, Kaskade last Saturday, and Luciano will be there tonight. I will try to get there this evening, but I will for sure attend the Erick Morillo/Fedde Le Grand DJ extravaganza Saturday night. It hasn’t been an easy five, as economic downturns and over-zealous city agencies have been a constant threat to survival. Few clubs have survived, and those that have aren’t what they used to be, with, of course, the Don Hill’s exception. That joint is now way better. Marquee was around five years ago and is still going strong, although its core crowd has moved on to Avenue and Lavo. Webster Hall has been around for more than a century and still thrives as a live music and big DJ mecca. Cielo was there over seven years ago, and still is.

Pacha, Webster, and Cielo all have a large following of house music heads. Clubs that feature house music seem to remain relevant to their crowds long after the swanky hip-hop, rap, mixed, or open format joints. Those clubs designed around the table and its particular 21st century sociology lose their chic factor over time. Chic is as important as the music. Although the types of DJs that play at those slick spots are often brilliant, it is possible to bounce from club to club and hear one particular track at all of them.

The house DJs are offering a more complex set, with unique remixes and more variation. Yet to many, house just doesn’t float their boat. Except for the spectacle of it all, I rarely get excited – I can’t usually tolerate this format. I’m an old-school rocker. Rock clubs fare poorly with few exceptions, as rockers just don’t spend very much. The few great places in the borough of Manhattan – Lit, White Noise, and Bowery Electric – have a devoted following who often buy nothing more than a couple of beers. Hard to make ends meet like that. House heads are sort of a religious cult with temples all over the world. They are trained to pay admissions, a rarity in other scenes, and some embrace table service, providing a much needed revenue stream.

The US of A, for a long time, was a leader in the house world, but now we follow the Brits and the Dutch and most everyone else. Pacha is the center of New York’s house scene. I do not discount the contribution of Cielo, but it’s small and house was meant to be played in grand rooms or stadiums. Webster often books great events, but as a concert more than a weekly scene. The jury is still out on District 36 (ask me again in 5 years). Pacha, warts and all, makes us relevant in the eyes of the international dance community. The relevance there is that it attracts gobs of tourists who recognize and respect the brand from its 20-something other international locations. House heads are a loyal bunch who return for good product. They come to dance, and as long as the sound system remains sweet, and the joint brings in DJ talent, the people will come. DJs like Danny Tenaglia will close their birthday week on Sunday with their “classics.” Congrats to Eddie Dean, Rob, and all the rest of the Pacha crew who have beaten the odds and still do it so well.