A special friend has relayed the information that Ludlow Manor, that ambitious club/lounge/(restaurant?) had an awful time with the New York State Liquor Authority at the full Board Meeting Wednesday. Nobody got hung or shot, but they did get buried with being forced to turn in the liquor license for safekeeping the end result. My ex-wife took my cat Violet for "safekeeping" 20 years ago and I haven’t seen either since. Ludlow Manor is fronted by Georgie Seville and GaGa’s ex Luc Carl, something the board took note of. The Times reported that Luc called himself an owner and, by SLA rules, that isn’t strictly true. It is merely a harmless exaggeration club-runners use to describe themselves when they often own nothing more than their wardrobe. I wont reveal the names of the real owners here.
Last Wednesday I accepted an invite from a promoter named Alana to visit and guest DJ at a new weekly party called Dark Kabaret at the very far down and to the left club DEMI MONDE. Demi Monde is located at 90 Broad Street, which is very close to the Staten Island Ferry in what I guess is called the Financial District. I went with Hotel Chantelle honcho Tim Spuches because I wanted his input, but mostly because I wanted someone to split the cab ride with. Demi Monde is an investment. It works hard to make sure that your trip is worth it. The design is slick and modern, the place is laid out well with intimate seating groups lightly separated by Japanese bondage rope dividers. The bar is ample and well-manned. I tried a (non-alcoholic) celery soda and will try to decide between the other house-made sodas, including the Strawberry Tarragon. Grapefruit, tonic, and sarsaparilla on my next trip. Yes, there will be a next trip and probably more after that since I enjoyed my experience at Demi Monde a great deal.
I saw other promoter types at the party, scratching their chins obviously, trying to figure out how to move it closer to civilization or how to make it work for their crowd there. I asked one (who asked to remain anonymous) what they thought and the answer was "it’s perfect…except…" the except being, of course, the location. Someone said it felt like they were on vacation in some wonderful club, far away. Although the room was filled with familiar faces, they greeted me like they were running into me in Miami. It’s like that.
Like many things in life, inconveniences like distance and toothaches, bad mates, and being short of cash are things people can get used to and I believe this could happen with Demi Monde. The theory behind destinations is that they have to deliver every time. If a person makes that trip and has a bad experience, they are unlikely to try it again. Demi Monde seems to get that and the staff – starting at the door, where Kimyon’s amazing smile greets you, to the not so pushy and friendly waitrons inside – set a tone.
The cocktails were great and the music provided on Wednesdays by veteran rocker Peate Suzuki was wonderful – accessible but not commercial. There were The Love Show dancers, Adrienne the aerialist, Natasha King and Lena Marquise prancing around on platforms everywhere, and a generally sexy vibe. The crowd was mixed and excellent.
One of the principal owners, Chris Nagy, showed me the ropes, literally, and explained how a club too far will survive. Obviously, making it worth the trip is part of the plan. Wall Street "after-work" parties and special events should pay the bills and the Financial District is one of the fastest growing residential areas. We saw a bunch of hipster types walking their pedigrees as we approached. Demi Monde may be very close to an under-exploited mass of neighbors.
This Wednesday I will DJ a rock set from midnight to 1am and then hang around for more than a minute. Defenz Mechanizm will perform. It did feel like a refreshing vacation, a pleasant experience off the beaten path.
Bingo was riotous as usual. Murray Hill and I talked about his May tour with Dita Von Teese. After all that, we kissed our crew goodnight and walked the cool night to Chinatown. The Wo in Wo Hop still stands for wonderful. Encouraged by hearty soups and dumplings, we braved the cold night to visit Matt Abramcyk and Serge Becker’s newish hot spot Super Linda. My dear friend Travis Bass was blowing up my phone, begging me to come. We passed The Odeon and I told Amanda that 20-something years ago it was the hottest place in New York. Today it is just perfectly amazing. We entered Super Linda and immediately knew it was just super. There, a small, sharp set were lounging casually in booths and tables. Vance Bookings held court, surrounded by all his unusually beautiful suspects. I introduced Amanda to Cordell Lochin, and he and I exchanged the secret handshake and a hearty hug. The deep booth had Serge Becker and his crew of hip jet-setters talking the talk. Serge got up and gave me the tour. He explained how the new lights for the dining room had not arrived as of yet and that there were still some finishing touches to the design coming in the next two weeks or so. I loved it. The downstairs had the right amount of hiding spots and comfy booths and there was some great detailing to the paneled wood walls. It’s opening soon. We talked a bit more about the biz and small wonders and then I visited the always excitable Travis Bass at the bar.
He introduced me to Richie Cheung, the owner of that 141 Chrystie space. I exclaimed "OMG (I say that sometimes), you must hate me." I reminded him that I had written a scathing review of his place when it opened. He said, "Oh, you’re Steve Lewis! No hard feelings. You were just doing your job and we’ve made many changes for the better." I loved Richie. I would have popped me in the nose . I felt so strongly about it I almost popped me in the nose. Instead I promised to visit the new and improved space Friday. Travis ,as his norm, never shut up about this and that and what he was doing at 141. He gushed, "I am doing a three-day pop-up at 141 Chrystie Street from Thursday through Saturday next week. It will be a raging dance club party theme. Think Ibiza or rave party with the Red Egg crew and crowd. I am going to do giant balloons and projections and laser beams."
I’m always a sucker for giant balloons and laser beams, so I agreed to go Friday. Anyway, Travis wasn’t taking no for an answer. I couldn’t come Thursday, I explained, as I am DJing at Hotel Chantelle. I expected him to ask me to put on a long song …say "White Lines" and pop over for a hot minute to see his pop-up. He continued (he always continues), "Gonna bring back the old New York high-energy dance club! No more lounging bullshit! NYC is all about fun and we are bringing that back."
He told me he was doing dinner parties downstairs at Super Linda and I almost asked him if that wasn’t sort of "lounging bullshit," but I needed to get home before sun up to write this piece. New York needs Travis’ energy. We are so often ruled by the blasè. He may be a lot of things but he certainly isn’t blasè. We kissed everyone goodbye and headed to Brooklyn to our humble home and puppy and cat. I loved Super Linda; it’s intelligent and adult-offering in a nightlife world increasingly dominated by the unfabulous…the blasè.
The sheer scale of Untitled, an 18,000-square-foot speakeasy, makes it a little hard to keep up such pretenses as "secret" or "underground lair." But it’s always better to cop your cocktail conceptualizing (and the food, for that matter) from the Prohibition Era than from the post-Millennial twee that haunts so many serious new imbibing destinations. And there’s something kind of cooly meta about calling your place Untitled (it’s sort of like naming your kid Noname).
Make no mistake, this is no six-table basement hideaway. Rather, it is labyrinthine supper clubbing to the extreme, with a large-boothed dining area, a whiskey-focused library room, and a lounge with a bar the length of a couple of healthy giraffes. There are the usual text message procedures and special VIP keys and whatnot, to add the frisson of challenge to the proceedings. All sorts of retro naughty entertainments will also be regularly proffered, with Bally Hoo! being the high-profile Friday night fete. Unititled…unfettered.
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Arnaud Frisch’s Parisian nightlife empire expands with Wanderlust, the spectacular new conceptual space along the Seine. Boasting the largest terrace in the City of Light (1600 square meters!) the rather revolutionary Jakob + Macfarlane designed (with visuals by Ghost World author Daniel Clowes) Wanderlust also flaunts an open-air cinema, restaurant, and club.