BlackBook Staff Picks: Dining, Drinking, Shopping, & Staying

Here at BlackBook, we pay a lot of attention to where cool customers go out — bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, you name it. So why not flip the frame and let you see where we go out? Here’s a periodically updated, exhaustive list of hotspots currently favored by everyone at BlackBook, from the mighty bosses down to the humble interns, from the charming local lounges around the corner to the jet-setting temples of luxe living.

BLACKBOOK MEDIA CORP ● Chairman – Bob Hoff, Voyeur (LA) ● CEO – Ari Horowitz, W South Beach (Miami) ● Associate Publisher – Brett Wagner, Da Umberto (NYC) ● Director of Finance and Operations – Tim Umstead, Aquagrill (NYC) ● Corporate Counsel – Drew Patrick, El Ay Si (NYC) ● Executive Assistant – Bridgette Bek, Manhattan Inn (NYC)

EDITORIAL ● Creative Director – Jason Daniels, Morimoto (NYC) ● Vice President Content – Chris Mohney, This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef (NYC) ● Senior Editor – Nick Haramis, Freemans (NYC) ● Features Editor – Willa Paskin, The Sackett (NYC) ● Writer-at-Large – Alison Powell, Jean Philippe Patisserie (Las Vegas) ● Nightlife Correspondent – Steve Lewis, subMercer (NYC) ● Assistant Editors – Ben Barna, LeVack Block (Toronto), Cayte Grieve, Vince (NYC), Foster Ethan Kamer, Sel De Mer (NYC), Eiseley Tauginas, Maialino (NYC) ● Copy Editor – Michèle Filon, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (Miami) ● Editorial Interns – Megan LaBruna, Crash Mansion (NYC), Averie Timm, Madiba (NYC), Hillary Weston, Les Halles (NYC), Annie Werner, DBGB (NYC), Ashley Simpson, Barcade (NYC), Michael Jordan, Destination Bar & Grill (NYC)

ART ● Art Director – Amy Steinhauser, Union Pool (NYC) ● Assistant Designer – Serra Semi, Five Points (NYC) ● Photography Assistant – Stephanie Swanicke, Provocateur (NYC) ● Freelance Designer – Krista Quick, Fornino (NYC)

FASHION & BEAUTY ● Fashion Editor – Christopher Campbell, Grand Sichuan International (NYC) ● Fashion Interns – Jillian K. Aurrichio, Greenhouse (NYC), Anabele Netter, Il Buco (NYC), Nicole Applewhite, Vanilla Bake Shop (NYC), Deanna Clevesy, Tao (NYC)

ADVERTISING ● Senior Account Executive – Dina Matar, Blue Duck Tavern (Washington, DC) ● Executive Director, BlackBook Access – Gregg Berger, Charles (NYC) ● Advertising Director – Michelle Koruda, Supper (NYC) ● Detroit Account Executives – Jeff Hannigan, The Lodge (Chicago), Kristen von Bernthal, Pukk (NYC) ● Midwest Account Executives – Susan Welter, Old Town Social (Chicago), Andrea Forrester, Tuman’s (Chicago) ● Southwest Account Executive – Molly Ballantine, The Tar Pit (LA) ● Northwest Account Executives – Catherine Hurley, Flora (Oakland), Shawn O’Meara, Nopalito (San Francisco)

MARKETING ● Marketing Manager – Julie Fabricant, Eponymy (NYC) ● Partnerships & Promotions Manager – Andrew Berman, Bozu (NYC) ● Interns – Adam Meshekow, Ronnybrook Milk Bar (NYC), Kayla Gambino, Grom (NYC), Marie Baginski, Stir (NYC)

DIGITAL ● Director of Development – Daniel Murphy, Standard (Miami) ● Developer – Bastian Kuberek, Greenhouse (NYC) ● Developer – Dan Simon, Hudson Terrace (NYC) ● Designer – Matt Strmiska, Uchi (Austin) ● Developer – Sam Withrow, Phone Booth (San Francisco) ● Quality Assurance Engineer – Sunde Johnson, Ginger’s Bar (NYC) ● Mobile Developer – Otto Toth, Alloro (NYC)

The Brats and the Fire

Fashion Week is draining, even for a very unfashionable fellow like myself. I attended a Blackbook party at GoldBar last night and chatted up friend and GoldBar designer Robert Mckinley. For my money, it’s the most well-designed joint in town. A super-hot crowd was on hand including former Joonbug honcho and founder of my blogging career Shane Neman (now you know who to throw rocks at). I stopped by La Esquina to visit friends and ran into Riz and a table of other amazing DJs, including DJ AM. La Esquina is my favorite restaurant, and after all these years the quality of the food, the service, and the relevance of the crowd keep me coming back.

I returned home at midnight with nothing at all to write about, since tomorrow’s scheduled story is percolating and I’m trying to give it a few more days. I opened my email only to see a band’s business card going back to 1976 Max’s Kansas City Records for The Brats. My old friend Keith West and Joe “TV” Guido contacted me through the Blackbook office, and it seems that The Brats will be performing at my boy Eddie Brady’s club Crash Mansion next Thursday, February 26. The Brats were the Bloody Social of their time, a can’t-miss act with a huge following that sold out every night. Every hot girl in town was in attendance, so needless to say, I caught every show — but then tragedy struck.

At a gig at the Great Gildersleeves, the actually hip music venue up the street from CBGB’s, a fire broke out and (if memory serves me correctly) nine people were in critical condition and many others were badly hurt. I was in attendance that night, and I watched the bands’ manager fill flash pots, and then watched a cigarette fall into the pot. The band would always emerge with guitars blaring through a fiery pyrotechnic stage-filling flash, but this time, the premature flash ignited the room. After fires, people always say, “It happened so fast,” so there is no way to describe everything. I was safe behind a dividing low wall next to a column, but in an instant the flames shot through the crowded room, igniting patrons, tablecloths, and everything in its way. People were running around screaming with their hair on fire; I was 25 feet away, and my eyebrows and lashes were singed. The crowd all charged to the front door, falling over each other in panic, so I grabbed my cousin and pushed him towards the unused side door and called the fire department. Biker bartenders leapt over the bar to put out the flames, but one male patron sat in a chair, unmoving, burnt from head to toe. Only about three minutes had passed when the bikers put out the flames and the fire department had finally arrived.

When debate occurs in clubland about the need for a cabaret license, I always remember the flames and the dude in the chair. The great Gildersleeves had no fire control panel that automatically calls the FDNY, and instead the public panicked and crushed each other. It all happened too fast — in a club where people are dancing or a band is playing, a fire could spread in seconds without people realizing what is happening. That fire in Rhode Island killed so many people because they were distracted and didn’t realize until too late that there was danger. I’ve heard the lamentation “no more dancing police” because bars and lounges without proper fire control and safety features feel that they too should have the right to have dancing. But at a bar or lounge, it is theoretically easier for a patron sitting and talking to realize that a fire is happening. This poses a huge threat to public safety. I feel that cabaret licenses should be easier to get than they currently are, but also that fire control systems and all public safety features must be a part of the deal. I will be attending The Brats at Crash Mansion, and I will do what I’ve done upon entering every club since that night: I’ll check to see where the fire exits are.

The Top 10 Acts to See at CMJ

Ah, the modern institution of the Indie Rock Music Festival. If there’s a better way for western youths to stay drunk for a week, I haven’t found it. And while drinking alcohol on its own may be a wonderful way to spend one’s time, it’s always better in the presence of live music. And unless you’re Usain Bolt and can sprint across avenues and bridges in record time, there’s no way you’ll get to see even a fraction of the bands playing at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. So here are our picks for the top 10 shows to see at the fest. For a list of the top 10 liquors to get plastered on quickest, please consult your local bar wench.

1. Jay Reatard – at Maxwells on October 23 at 11 p.m. , because, while a little predictable, he’s the best rock star out there at the moment, and it’s always great to hear an artist that cites The Ramones and the Clean as major influences, rather than The Beatles and The Beach Boys.

2.Duchess Says – Mysterious as always, there’s no venue or date listing — because they are already legendary in their hometown of Montreal for truly brain-busting shows and kickass, balls to the wall, “take no prisoners and burn down the village” electro-rock.

3. Janelle Monae – At the Bowery Ballroom on October 23 at 8 p.m. Full disclosure: Just putting this one down because I think she’s unbelievably beautiful and has one of the wackiest music videos out there at the moment, “Many Moons.” Android Auction? Are you serious?

4. Land of Talk – At the Brooklyn Masonic Temple on October 24 at 8:30 p.m. Because these Montreal natives know how to get your ass shaking while still seducing.

5. Oakley Hall – At 92Y Tribeca on October 23 at 10:10 p.m. This Brooklyn six-piece does more than just rehash the southern-rock playbook. They tear it to shreds, set it to flames, and dance around its ashes.

6. Chris Bathgate – At Union Pool on October 22, 9:15 p.m. This Ann Arbor, Michigan, singer/songwriter is responsible for some of the most hauntingly dark country and folk out there at the moment.

7. The Del McCoury Band – At the Highline Ballroom on October 21, 10 p.m. It’s an old fashioned bluegrass jam, and their album with Steve Earle from 2001 (The Mountain) is on constant rotation on my stereo.

8. Crystal Castles — At Webster Hall on October 23 at 9:45 p.m. These Toronto glitch-freaks come as close to thrash metal as you’re going to get with MIDI samples and a drum machine.

9. HR (Bad Brains) – AtCrash Mansion upstairs at BLVD, on October 21, 11:45 p.m., because whether he’s with his legendary Washington hardcore band Bad Brains or a man alone, he is the real deal and a force of nature to be witnessed.

10. Apache Beat – At The Annex on October 21, 8 p.m. This Brooklyn-based band knows how to make powerful indie rock that sounds truly epic.