Suit over Derek and Daniel Koch’s MPD Rages, Statement and Scoop From the Brothers Inside

In an industry with so many moving parts, lawsuits are not that common. Most serious players have someone who handles the minor stuff that could easily turn more major, like a trip and fall on a wet floor or a promise that was less than kept. With literally thousands of people getting wasted every night or week, actual litigation is rare. On the business deal side of things court room drama is also not the norm. Despite the enormous investments, convoluted partnerships, and massive egos, most disputes are settled around a dinner table rather than in court. Publicity of such actions and subsequent exposure of well-kept secrets keep it simple. Nightlife is a great deal of smoke and mirrors and most of the players are like the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz…not all that much when they come out from behind the self-created curtain. That curtain hides the trysts, the binges, the unusual predilections, shady business, and sometimes bad habits of the creatures of the night. A lawsuit can shatter the image and the brand that a player has spent years establishing.

I was shocked and awed by an email I received from the Dual Groupe that had my pals Derek and Daniel Koch announcing a lawsuit over MPD, their restaurant that I enjoyed so much. I guess the word "their" in the last sentence is at the heart of the matter. Here is the email, followed by a little Q & A with Derek Koch. I must put in my very biased two cents: I have found Derek and Daniel to be men of their words, something I hold in high regard. It is inconceivable to me that anyone could find fault in their actions. I went to MPD sometimes and was involved in an event there, but only because they were the people I was dealing with. What is Rick’s Cafè Amèricain in Casablanca without Rick, The Electric Room without Nur, Avenue without Noah, The Darby without Scott and Richie. Clubs , restaurants, and bars are usually ex-warehouses, garages, or even slaughterhouses. It is the personalities of the operators that animates these spaces into fabulousness. MPD, for
 me, was Derek and Daniel Koch. They were the reason to be cheerful there.
 
The email:
To Our Beloved MPD Family and Clients:
It is with great sorrow that we announce that on February 6th, 2012, we found it necessary to file two (2) New York Supreme Court Lawsuits, (Supreme Court of the City of New York, New York County: Index Number 150169/12 and 150170/12) and on February 9, 2012, a United States District Court Lawsuit (for the Southern District of New York: Index Number 12 Civ 1031), for past monies due and owing, and to prevent the wrongful parties from continuing to use the “MPD” name and likeness, a Trademark that is owned by Dual Groupe, LLC (“Dual”).
 
We have worked diligently and with great pride in developing and building the name and brand “MPD” for more than 2 years, and were very successful.  The wrongful parties, Gans-Mex, LLC (“Gans”), and Ginza Project, LLC (“Ginza”), have refused to comply with our “cease and desist” letter dated February 3, 2012, in which we asked them to stop using our Trademarked name “MPD”, and they have unilaterally caused Dual Groupe and the “MPD” name and brand to be irrevocably harmed. We tried to resolve these most serious issues without going to court, but Gans and Ginza have refused and neglected to have any meaningful conversations.
 
Dual worked hard at developing MPD into an enormous success, and subsequently was awarded a recommendation from Michelin, the oldest and best-known European hotel and restaurant guide. Ginza Project, the current leaseholders of 73 Gansevoort, has illegally and unlawfully operated the restaurant under the Trademark MPD, which we created, developed, and built over the past 2 years. We have sought the court’s assistance to right this terrible wrong that was thrust upon us by Gans and Ginza, but it is unlikely that they will comply with the terms and conditions of our contract and our federally filed and registered Trademark.
 
Building the MPD name, brand, and Trademark has been a labor of love for us and we will fight diligently to retain same.  While we have enjoyed our time at 73 Gansevoort, Gans-Mex, LLC and Ginza Project, LLC have made it impossible for us to operate our restaurant, MPD, at that location at this time.  We will announce in the near future a new venue, where we hope to continue the laughs and make new memories together with our family, you.
To be the very first to hear about MPD at its new location, write us at: info@dualgroupe.com
 
Ciao for now and we are certain to see you soon!
The MPD Family and Dual Groupe
Q & A with Derek Koch
 
I know you are in the middle of a suit over MPD and can only say so much. Tell my readers what you can.
We sent the defendants a cease-and-desist letter to prevent them from using our legally trademarked name “MPD." MPD is a brand and concept that Dual Groupe conceived and developed without any input or support from the defendants, and the defendants are now trying to capitalize and “steal” our brand and trademark. We filed suit in New York federal court to stop the defendants from illegally using our trademarked name. We estimate our damages to be in excess of $1,000,000. Additionally, we have commenced actions to recover the monies we invested in opening the venue, as well as the monies they owe us under our management agreement.
 
What are you working on ? How is Day and Night doing?
We are currently working to open a new restaurant, garden, and wine bar concept in Chelsea. This will be a repositioning of an iconic property. We are excited about the location and will officially announce it this week or next. D&N is stronger than ever.  The brunch is presently held every Saturday afternoon at the former Buddha Bar spot. We are fortunate to have solid partners involved. We are looking forward to celebrating our 30th birthdays there on March 31st – should be a good one!
 
Most promoters/owners would love to expand their brands but tell me they can’t without cloning themselves. You have a twin (Daniel) and therefore should be ahead of the pack. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with your twin?
The biggest advantage is trust. We look after each other’s best interest. There is usually no tit-for-tat. We both pick up the slack wherever and whenever it’s needed.   The disadvantage are our brotherly office disagreements… they can be a little disruptive – hehe. One of the smarter things we did is partner with a non-family member. He not only serves as a partner, mentor, and dear friend, but his involvement truly helps to balance out our sibling rivalry by serving to be a great tie-breaker.
 
Is your crowd immune to swings in the economy?
I believe our clients are no different than many in America who are affected by swings in the economy. Sometimes it is a true economic change in our client’s financial situation and sometimes it is their sensitivity to being compassionate to those that have less, and in that capacity they choose to not flaunt their wealth. We know firsthand that they always feel the ups and down one way or another.
 
A couple of years ago I declared that you and Daniel were "the next big things," even though I thought that was old news at the time. What have you done to prove me right and who do you see as the next big thing?
We appreciate the compliment; thank you, Steve. We continue to strive and work toward keeping your prophecy true. One thing we hope we have shown you is staying power in brand creation. Day & Night is in its fourth year of business… outlasting many a skeptic and is stronger than ever. In this business, we both would agree it is a marathon, not a sprint, and therefore we work hard every day, hone our skills, and make the client experience the best it can be. We were fortunate to have partnered with someone who believes in us completely. Day & Night was a spring board toward changing the way people perceived brunch and, together with a few others, revolutionized the day club business. We were fortunate to have started out with a bang and have kept the momentum going ever since. We have to keep up the energy with new trends and concepts to keep it fresh and exciting for our current and future clients and partners. We also have an amazing team at the
office to whom we are eternally grateful who also help generate the excitement around our brands.
 
Who do you see as the next big thing?
Cristina Civetta (Events), David Berrie (DJ), Oli Evans (Promoter), Romain Pavee (Nightclub Host), Pavan Pardasani (Marketing), Adam Alpert (Talent Agent), Micha Jesse (TV Host), Jon Neidich (Restaurant Owner), Philippe Bondon (Maitre ‘D), Eric Marx (Operator), The Chainsmokers (DJ’s), Nima Yamini (Artist Management), Mick Boogie (DJ), Jonny Lennon (Entertainer), Tim Sheldon (Door), Roberto Buchelli (Operator).

The First Time I Heard and Saw Donna Summer

The news of Donna Summer’s death from cancer at the age of 63 shocked me out of my un-routine routine. I went to iTunes and downloaded half a dozen of her hits for use last night while DJing at Hotel Chantelle. Although it is the rockiest of rock nights, with a high probability that everybody in attendance had at one time owned a "Disco Sucks" T-shirt, it felt important to pay respect. At 3am I started mixing disco hits – and every other song was a winner from Donna. The crowd responded. It was "Love to Love You Baby," "Love Hangover", “Bad Girls,” and then Gloria Gaynor’s, "I Will Survive". Diva after diva… and the crowd went wild. The sound of well-produced dance music over a solid club sound system is one of the unique attractions of nightlife. “McArthur Park” was a near-religious experience. They ooo’d and ahhh’d and understood the loss as her voice rang clear.

I first heard “Love to Love You Baby” on my third date with a stewardess back in the mid ‘70s. We were hanging with her stewardess friends at their stewardess apartment when the record was put on. It was put on to turn me on, as I had been missing the hints that my world-weary stewardess was tossing tired of waiting for me to make my move. I caught the eye contact between her and her co-conspirators and understood my job. The 17 minutes of moans in “Love to Love You Baby” was worth a thousand words. After that affair, I retreated to my rock world, aware of Donna Summers’ hit factory but not very interested. Although “Bad Girls,” “Hot Stuff,” and her other mega-hits dominated disco – the most fun era in club history – I was a rock and roller and remain so. I was grunge before there was a name for it. I was a punk with ripped jeans and Ramones T’s. Disco was for the bad cologne, the polyester set.

Over the decades, her anthems were heard at parties and disco nights. She was unmistakable, undeniable. Her voice held even the disinterested in awe. Around 1989 I had the Red Zone, a popular club in the West 50s.

We had booked a Donna Summer event where she was to openly apologize for something she had denied even saying. She was quoted as saying "AIDS was a punishment from God for the immoral lifestyles of homosexuals.” She wanted her gay family to rejoin her, rejoice in her. In 1989 we were all losing scores of friends to AIDS-related illnesses. The hideous statement from a diva whose fan base was the gay community was beyond dumb …if it were true. Few believed her denials, and the event was being held to clear the air. ACT-UP disagreed and picketed the event. Donna never left her limo and that was that. Her protestations and lawsuits did little to regain her lost fans.

Over the years, I would hear a track on the radio or at a club and was awed by her talent…her way of hanging every impossible note and underlining every lyric. It was mid-last decade and I was asked if I wanted to see her perform at some corporate affair at Exit, another club in the far west 50s. Owner David Marvisi figured I might want to see her, but no one I called cared, no one wanted to go. I went alone. I stood in the sound booth, 15 feet above and in front of the stage, and waited. I had no expectations. I had no idea what I was going to see.

She came out in complete darkness, singing the intro to “McArthur Park” and I got goose bumps. It was beyond amazing. When the beat came on so did the lights and she was a DIVA, DIVA, DIVA. The corporate suits flocked the stage to see what all their money had paid for. Donna delivered. I welled up with tears. She was an overlooked star playing to an un-hip corporate card-crowd. The crowd should have been queens, hipsters, club kids, and the wonderful instead of the mundane. She gave them her hits and smiled that show-biz smile, but all I could feel was what could have been.

Donna Summer’s death is a stop-the-presses event. I was to tell you about a bunch of things today in detail, but a few lines will now have to do. On May 18th through the 20th, Roseland Ballroom hosts the New York Tattoo Convention. Clayton Paterson, a friend and organizer, was hooking me up with a photo of man-about-town Steve Bonde for a story, but… in short, he was the Stray Cats photographer back in the day and started this tattoo convention stuff in 1998. He wrote a couple of books: Tattoo with an Attitude and Marked for Life. Everybody in the ink community is going – and so am I.

I was also to discuss the end-of-season run of Daniel and Derek Kochs’ unstoppable hit brunch “Day and Night” at Ajna Bar, 25 Little W.12th St. I would also have talked about the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Center on May 19-22 where you can see all the furniture and fixtures of next year’s clubs in advance.

Lastly, I would have mentioned the piece in yesterday’s NY Times about Justin Ross Lee, international man of controversy. In that, the Times referred to me as "an authority on nightlife.” Now that I am official, I’m going to put down the pen, grab a diet Ginger Ale, and sit back and listen to "Last Dance."

Daniel & Derek Koch on Their New ‘Day & Night’ Party at Ajna Bar

I’m in Washington D.C. on a business trip, filing this from a suburban home with a strange pooch on my lap. As I type, I find myself terrified by the cacophony of crickets, frogs, and other unfamiliar creatures of the night. The environment is foreign to me but I would think even more so for the brothers Koch, who spent their summer in St. Tropez, Cannes, and the Hamptons. This Saturday, Derek and Daniel Koch will unveil their latest brunchclub extravaganza, Day & Night at Ajna Bar (formerly Buddha Bar).

Awhile back I knighted these two sirs as the next big thing in nightlife, and they have done nothing to prove me wrong. From where I sit and type, they almost single-handedly brought nightlife into the day and changed the way many of our major players write their business plans. I chatted with them about their world.

Tell me about this new party… Daniel Koch: The opening party will take place at 12:00PM on Saturday featuring music by international house DJ David Berrie and French-American cuisine by executive chef Seth Levine of Georgica Restaurant. After a very successful summer we’re ready to introduce innovative ideas not previously seen in New York. We introduced New York to the “brunchclub” concept four years ago. A new theme will be introduced each week and instead of simply bringing Vegas to New York, we remain committed to keeping the environment classy, elegant, and sexy. Every Saturday, clients are transported from New York to St. Tropez for an experience that can only be had at Day & Night.

What do European summers do for you, to keep you on top? Derek Koch: In order to cement our place as the leaders of the pack, we spent this past summer in the South of France to develop a full picture of what is missing in New York and what needs to be introduced this season. The amount of knowledge we left with is endless and will allow us to consistently exceed the expectations of their loyal client base who continues to come back each week. We think of ourselves as the leaders so we make the rules.

Are you developing seconds to help you expand the brand and service your crowd? Daniel: We rely on a team of industry leaders and nightlife veterans to implement and improve upon the concept. This year’s venue (Ajna Bar in the old Buddha Bar space) is massive and will allow us to spread our wings and live up to our full potential.

Are you excited? Derek: The possibilities are endless this season. We always try to be on the cutting edge and make Day & Night the only place to be each Saturday.

Photo via Guest of a Guest

Party Overload: BlackBook’s 15th Anniversary, Charity:Water & NYFW Kick-Off

BlackBook will celebrate 15 years of fantastic relevance at the Dream Downtown hotel tonight. There will be “special appearances” by Das Racist and Neon Indian, and Don Julio will offer up its wonderful Tequila, while Heineken will provide the beer. I was still running joints when BlackBook first burst onto the scene, and I would book issue launch parties with them, which always attracted a hip, downtown crowd. I never suspected back then that I would end up writing for them years later. I’ll be there early before I pop over to Patrick McMullan and Patrick Fahey’s birthday bash to DJ.

Tonight is one of those nights when there are too many things to do, plus Fashion Week is just kicking off. Now, if I wasn’t doing the Dream/BlackBook thing and then the DJ thing, you would find me at the Fashion Night’s Out Debbie Harry Vintage Party and Sale at Post Script Couture. A 30-piece collection that spans Debbie’s journey will include vintage ’30s and ‘40s dresses. A Patrick Kelly chartreuse suit by Stephen Spouse, a Dolce & Gabbana, a Marc Jacobs…well, you get the idea. The collection will be up for a week, so I’ll stop by later. The collection will go on sale on September 14th at 1stdibs. A portion of the proceeds will go to Debbie’s charity, Riverkeeper.org.

If I actually made that event and air-kissed and glad-handed all of those fabulous folks from days of lore, I would then cab it over to the Dorian Grey Gallery for the Robert Carrithers curated Club 57 and Friends Exhibition. Everyone from the Debbie thing will rush over as well to see works from the likes of Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, Clayton Patterson, Robert Hawkins, and Robert Carrithers. There will be many “Shadow” paintings by Richard Hambelton, one of my favorite artists. The shadow paintings were exactly that. Painted dark figures lurking in the shadows gave you a scare as you hopped, skipped, and jumped from one joint to another back in New York’s more treacherous 1980s.

Now, if I wasn’t doing the Dream/BlackBook thing and the DJ thing, I would rush off after the art things to the Last Magazine affair over at Madame Wong’s. Madame Wong’s, on the advice of many, tightened up its’ door and went from being super exclusive to being uber, ridiculously exclusive. This is a can’t-miss soiree that I will surely miss.

And if that wasn’t enough and if I was hypothetically not doing the Dream/BlackBook thing, then the DJ thing at Macao, I would absolutely, positively, without hesitation have attended the 5th Anniversary Party for Charity:Water at The Park. Daniel M. Koch invited me and in my eyes he can do no wrong. Daniel and Katie Gall posted this about the event:

Dear friends,

As many of you know we’ve been supporting a nonprofit organization called charity: water over the past years. They’re on a mission to bring clean drinking water to the world’s billion people living without it, and they’ve funded more than 4,000 water projects in 19 countries that will help over two million of those people get life’s most basic need.

On Wednesday, September 7th, they turn five years old, and will be hosting their 5th anniversary party at The Park on 10th and 18th Street. Their founder and ceo Scott Harrison is also turning 36 that night, and it should be an amazing event with more than 1,200 people. The event starts at 10 p.m., and they’re offering complimentary cocktails from 10 – 11 p.m. It’s only a $20 donation to attend, and you can get tickets and more info here. If you’re free, we’d love to see you there to support a great cause.

Before it all began, I would have tried to catch Diane Sweet at Le Pescadeux at 6pm. Her jazzy vocals would calm me before venturing out into the Fashion Week maelstrom. Fashion Week is not for the weak, so remember; wear comfortable shoes, drink responsibly and consume three or less 5-Hour Energy drinks…no matter what.

Nice Guys & Womanizers: Nightlife Morals

The twins Derek and Daniel Koch of meatpacking’s MPD just celebrated their birthdays. I can’t remember which one is older, but when I talked to the Baskin twins the other day they told me that the twin with the bigger head is usually the eldest. You figure it out. A little while back, I highlighted the Koch dynamic duo as “the next big thing” in clubland, and I’m still thinking it’s true. Some disagreed, but it’s easy to talk about people doing it well in the present, and quite another to recognize the tools that will mean success down the road.

I was talking to a major hotel player yesterday, who said, “That’s what we do,” when talking about hiring or recognizing budding talent. The Koch twins aren’t exactly new to the scene, and are doing quite well right now, but I see them owning this town in just a short while. My track record on this sort of “predicting success in nightlife” thing is pretty good. Quite a few of the major players in this town were brought up through my joints. Some have forgotten where they came from, but I haven’t.

For many, working in nightlife was the best way to get away from where they came. Some were selling buttons and some were tending bar or picking up a few extra bucks at night as promoters. Some were just chasing skirts before they realized they could make a good living. Most were simply trying to be something else, have a good bar rap, or were just throwing a birthday party for a friend before I lured them into the evil empire. If I’m going to get blamed for so many things, I’ll take some credit too.

Micah Jesse, who I also anointed in that article, will be celebrating the 4th anniversary of his celebrity-centric blog, MicahJesse.com, at The Box next Tuesday. The Box bash will have Hennessy Black as a sponsor with Marla Joy performing. Micah, of course, invited his friends and those who have helped his career. He thanked the helpful in his mass invite: “In some way, you have helped me grow over the last four years. You either offered up your invaluable insight/advice, or gave me a good spot on the carpet, or believed in me when I was just getting started, or helped spread my message of positivity—and for all that (and more!)—I am thankful.” It’s a super nice gesture, and shows the kind of thought that will take him to the next level. He added “When I started MicahJesse.com in April ’07 as a college sophomore, I had no idea that it would (or even could!) lead to all of this…” Jordon Fox was the third predicted winner. He is killing it over at B.E.S. and is being courted all over town. All four are nice guys destined to finish first.

Arty Dozortsev, hot off another diner success, is pushing his Sant Arturo wines—this time at the Darby. He is inviting his pals to Capitale for a birthday private dinner for Seth Greenberg this Thursday. The gala will be in the Peter Tunney room of the brilliant hall. Capitale was designed by the great architect Sanford White, who was whacked by a jealous husband back in 1906. (Recently, a mansion he designed was sentenced to be whacked to make room for a half dozen less fabulous places.) It was all in the news, as you recall, because it supposedly was the inspiration for The Great Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann is readying a new movie inspired by the tome.

Like Capitale, the mansion was the location for innumerable celebrity-packed parties. Sanford White’s work helps define our city. He did the Main Post Office building on 8th avenue, the Arch in Washington Square Park, and many others. His death should be a lesson of some sort. Not sure what that lesson is. Maybe it’s to make a lot of money, be famous and have fun, die young and beautiful—or at least desired—or don’t do any of that ’cause you’ll get in trouble. He used to lure young women to a circular mirrored room with a single swing hanging in the middle. They would disrobe and then carry on. One day, a young model (yes they had them back then) who had a swing/fling with the architect got married to a rich and powerful man. That man couldn’t live with the thought that Sanford White had exploited his bride, and decided that Sanford shouldn’t live. He shot him in the face, and a jury didn’t convict him. They thought Sanford got what he deserved. Promoters and designers beware.

I’ve known Seth Greenberg, the birthday boy and owner of Capitale, since his Boston days when he had M-80 and 10 other places—including the super chic restaurant Mistral. Seth is a living testament to that “nice guys finishing first” theory. I will attend his birthday bash, and while I’m there, I will look up at Sanford White’s deliriously magnificent ceiling of ornate moldings and stained glass, and cross my fingers and count my blessings.

On another note, I am saddened by the spectacle surrounding Lawrence Taylor. His fall from great heights is a lesson as well. Convicted of sleeping with an underage prostitute, it underscores the problems of successful men following their dick to their doom. Clubland is so full of these types. Lawrence loved the nightlife, and was frequently seen at hot spots around town where all were happy to see his big smile, and of course big bankroll. When I saw the news my mind flashed back to a night when he arrived at my joint, the Palace de Beaute, where the PetCo now sits in Union Square. He was with O.J. Simpson, and the two hit the bar upstairs hard. They were surrounded by admirers, including the dames. After getting them situated I went back to the door to tighten things up, as it was real good inside, and I didn’t want to blow the vibe with too many more people, and wanted only A-listers to get past the velvet rope. Three girls showed up asking for the football greats. They were hot, but decidedly suburban. I told them to wait as “I didn’t know if the guys were still here.” I walked up to the great players, who were now surrounded by female greatness, and asked if they wanted the suburban girls to be let in. They looked at the girls surrounding them, looked at each other and said “Nah’ at the same time and laughed. The suburban girls never got in, and the football giants eventually met their demise via other girls. I’ll let you write your own moral to my little story .

Courvoisier & Jason Littrell’s Holiday Mixology at MPD

Nearly every spot in town was fêting one thing or another last night, and Derek and Daniel Koch’s new boîte, MPD, was not left out. The reason for the seasonal imbibing: Courvoisier’s casual evening of delicious fare, cocktails, and a chance to sample the newest offerings from Courvoisier: The Connoisseur Collection and L ‘Essence. More so, for me at least, it was a chance to get schooled in festive cognac mixology. I’ve never really figured out “the right way” to drink Courvoisier, so it was interesting to see how Courvoisier could be used as not only a major mixology component, with master cocktail crafter Jason Littrell serving up detailed cognac drinks, but also as a cognac aficionado’s best friend. That is, straight up—specifically with the release of L’Essence, a limited edition blend of 100 eaux-de-vies aged 60 to 70 years (priced at a cool $3,000 per Baccarat-designed decanter), as well as the release of two aged bottles, Courvoisier 12 and Courvoisier 21.

Jason Littrell is a rockstar in bar culture, earning the Star Chef Rising Star Award this year after working under the likes of Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey, White Star, and Little Branch fame before joining the cocktail dream team at Death & Co., his current post. Aside from sipping on a $3K cognac, Littrell offered up creative and festive cocktails, paired with out-of-the-box ingredients. His favorite below:

image

Edith Piaf Served over ice. Courvoisier VSOP Pear Brandy Vanilla Syrup Lime Juice Angostura Bitters

Koch Fight: Derek & Daniel Brawl

No, it really isn’t pronounced that way — but nonetheless, there will be a fight between those dynamic twins Derek and Daniel Koch. Its all for a good cause: the 3rd Annual Fight Night & Poker Tournament benefit for Sunflower Children. The event is co-hosted by Russell Simmons, World Series of Poker winner Jamie Gold, supermodels Paulina Porizkova, Helena Houdova, and Lane Carlson, and gala sponsor, environmentalist, and Wall Street honcho Tim Kelly. This year, the black-tie gala will honor music legend Quincy Jones; it will be held this Friday, November 6, at the Hammerstein Ballroom from 6pm until late. The late-night after-party will be hosted by the twins themselves. Proceeds will support Sunflower Children’s SaveABaby initiative. Derek, Daniel, and I had a quick snack and chat yesterday at Cafe Gitane.

Who’s older, and by how much? Derek: I am, by one minute.

How did you get involved with this event? Daniel: Our friend Tim Kelly asked us to host the after party, and Derek said let’s do more, let’s fight — that’s something we can sell. Derek: We’ve always been competitive with each other and with everyone else as well, and we made a deal with Tim. He put us in with a couple of pros to train us for the fight, and we gave up drinking for 60 days. We stopped drinking on September 6.

What’s that like? You have a weekly party — how does not drinking affect that? Derek: It’s hard. People expect you to stop at their table and have a drink. Daniel: It’s almost insulting, and we hope people understand, but we stuck to our guns and trained hard. It’s for a great cause.

Have you guys fought competitively before? Daniel: Well, we’ve always been at each other’s throats, since we were kids. Derek: We wrestled in college back in Ohio. We’ve been training hard. Tim got us Regilio Tuur and Angel Rivera to train with, and I can’t praise these two guys enough. They’re the consummate pros.

Are you guys really going to go at it and try to win? Derek: I dare him to try to win . That’s not possible. It’s going to be full on — two rounds, three minutes each, six minutes.

But Daniel seems a bit bigger — maybe 8 to 10 pounds — and he’s younger. Daniel: That’s right! This is going to be a great event for a great charity. It’s great to raise awareness and help raise money for these children. Derek: Tim Kelly’s our boy, and we thank him for including us.

You guys are responsible for taking the night out of nightlife. Your Saturday brunches — first at Merkato 55, now at the garden at Revel — have people partying from noon to 6. Is Revel all you do? Derek: Thank you. Our brand, day and night, also includes our summer party at the Capri hotel in Southampton. Daniel: We also host a table for our friends on Thursdays at 1Oak.

Who’s going to win the fight? Derek, Daniel: I will! Derek: You will just have to show up at the Hammerstein this Friday to find out, won’t you, Steve.

From the press release:

The evening will feature a Vegas style Texas hold ’em poker tournament, boxing and martial arts contest, a fashion show sponsored by Ford Models, produced by Victoria’s Secret and Fashion week producers DMFASHIONSTUDIO and Obo. A live auction, announced by Patrick Tully, will highlight the evening. Auction items include: a luxury getaway to Richard Branson’s private and exclusive Necker Island; a Cannes Film Festival experience package with an exclusive villa, lunch at Hotel du Cap and tickets to red carpet film premieres; an opportunity to be a judge in a models casting for the 2010 fashion week and a private dinner with 15 top models. In addition, Wall Street Broker Tim Kelly has brought together some of Wall Street’s most respected businessmen, to compete with one another to help raise funds for Sunflower Children. The tournament will feature six consecutive fights including the disciplines of Western Boxing and Muay Thai. Among the fighters are trader Mike Bloom of DRW Commodities; Broker Dane Carillo of Chatham Energy; Mike Dixon of Chicago Trading Company; Dan Harrington of DRW Commodities; and professional Muay Thai fighters Sean Hinds and Alex Ricci. Poker players will compete for valuable prizes that include custom jewelry, exclusive getaways and The Ultimate Poker Experience — a never before offered prize with an estimated value of $100,000 to non-poker players and priceless to any poker enthusiast. The winner of this prize will receive a seat in the next World Series of Poker, remote and on-site coaching from Gold, round trip airfare, accommodations and a five days stay in Las Vegas. A lavish dinner, created by chef Nicolas Cantrel from the French-inspired restaurant Bagatelle, will be served to premium guests. All guests will be invited to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres until 12:30 a.m.”

Derek and Daniel will take everyone later. Each day, approximately 1,800 children become infected with the HIV virus. The SaveABaby initiative is dedicated to preventing the transmission of the disease from mother to child:

The program enables HIV positive expectant mothers to deliver healthy, HIV-FREE babies. in some of the world’s poorest countries. Patients are provided medical, nutritional, and educational care throughout their entire pregnancy and delivery and are offered free transportation to and from the organization’s clinics. Expectant mothers are able to learn how to control their own HIV and how to prevent passing it on to their children after birth. Please purchase tickets@ www.dualgroupe.com. For tables it’s {encode=”events@dualgrouope.com” title=”events@dualgrouope.com”} or call 212 755 1222 x 14

Oh, and for a record, I’m betting a buck on the old dude.

Speaking of old dudes, I will bring my ancient case logic of CDs to Aspen Social tonight to spin at Greg Brier’s birthday. I don’t know how old Greg is; after a certain age, some people stop telling. He is starting to look pretty awful, and I guess I believe his left hand, Kevin Crawford, who says “He’s got to be like 66, right?” I will be DJing with the legendary Tommy James. We will be ping-pong-ing — that’s when one dude puts on a song, then the next guy tries to out-do him. Over the years Tommy has stolen my entire set, so it will be like playing with myself. Since I’ve been married twice, I’m used to that. Greg is the owner of such properties as Amalia, Highbar, Aspen, Aspen Social, and D’or. He’s actually a really nice person — when he isn’t drinking, and I hear he is going to stop sometime next year. As avid readers know, I only drink two or three times a year (whenever I have sex), but I guess I’ll have to enjoy one tonight in honor of Greg and those incredible Yankees.

The Top 10 Industry Insiders of 2008

Our Industry Insiders series has covered the personalities that drive nightlife, dining, hotels, and related scenes throughout the world. We’ll continue targeting more movers and shakers throughout 2009, but from the past year, here are the ten people who generated the most fervent reader reaction (both love and — the other thing).

10. Amy Sacco – She may no longer rule New York nightlife with an iron guestlist, but she still has plenty of admirers. 9. Richie Notar – A hometown boy made good, from shirtless busboy at Studio 54 to white-tie hotelier to the stars. 8. Michael Achenbaum – The man behind the Hotel Gansevoort has been known to draw the attention of a hater or two.

7. Lionel Ohayon – His design firm is responsible for the look of many cutting-edge venues. 6. Remi Laba – The Meatpacking District maestro On boring models, the grub at Pastis, and bringing down the house (music). 5. Jeffrey Chodorow – The owner of China Grill, Asia de Cuba, Kobe Club, Ono, and other esteemed global eateries dishes on Ian Schrager, disses on Rocco DiSpirito, 4. Derek & Daniel Koch – The day-party twins build an unlikely empire. 3. Ivanka Trump – Donald’s diamond daughter describes her new hotel ventures. 2. Rachel Uchitel – From losing her fiancée in the 9/11 attacks to running VIPs at some of the hottest joints in New York and elsewhere. 1. Aalex Julian – The infamous Tenjune doorman trashed his foes and became the poster boy for anti-doorman malice.

Industry Insiders: Derek & Daniel Koch, Day Party Entreprenueurs

Derek and Daniel Koch are 26-year-old brothers and purveyors of one of New York’s hottest day parties: Saturday brunches at Merkato 55. They explain the logic behind a day party, the transition from college wrestling to nightlife artistry, and the ubiquitous nature of French toast.

Point of Origin: We were born in West Virginia and raised in the Ohio Valley area, about sixty miles west of Pittsburgh. There were a couple thousand people, it was a very small town. It was a village. We were at Ohio State University for two years, we were on the wrestling team, and we didn’t want to wrestle anymore. We wanted to move to a bigger city, try to reposition ourselves.

It was really weird transitioning — we were two athletes, but we were very artistic guys who wanted to search for a better life without having to go to school for something. We didn’t know what we wanted at that moment. We were 20 years old. Like everybody else, we needed job(s) to pay the bills. At the time, we were living in Brooklyn, and (Daniel) happened to be in the right place, at the right time finding a job via Craigslist at this little bistro on the Upper East Side — 69th and Madison, it’s still there, called Le Charlot — Derek walked in and asked for anything they had open, and (the manager there) told him to come back. Derek was put on the schedule, and I was waiting tables for, I don’t know, a good year. And the first week, he was waiting on Robert DeNiro.

The History of the (Day and Night) Day Party: We worked a few years separately — one at Le Bilboquet, one of us at Le Charlot — then we said, you know, we want to have more fun. Bilboquet looked like the place to make more money, have a little bit more freedom. We wanted to work together. (Daniel) left Le Charlot and went back to Bilboquet for about a year. The idea was for Aymeric (Clemente) to get Daniel back so we could do our Saturday brunch, which, Aymeric was the maître d’/manager of, who taught my brother and I everything we know, but Daniel and I were the servers. There were two waiters (us) and we’d be serving a crowd of about 200 people, (so, we did the Saturday brunch party) when the place only fit fifty.

How do your day parties work? We start the party at noon. It’s a brunch, it’s food, it’s a restaurant. At about 3 p.m., the music picks up, the crowd starts demanding more drinks, the lights are going up and down. By four, when it’s high-time, people are dancing on the tables, the music gets loud, and the weather outside is beautiful, it’s still light outside. By 5 p.m., well, the hours just turned back. So, 5 p.m., it’ll be dark, but it’ll still be daylight in the restaurant. It’ll still be like, okay, it just went from day to night, and ultimately before the clocks change, we take the party to Bijoux at 5 p.m. The party doesn’t stop until 10 on Saturday, but that’s all word of mouth. We don’t market that, we don’t send emails. At 6 p.m., most of these people don’t want to go; you have to kick them out because the restaurant’s open (at Merkato 55) for dinner service. So, you have to reset everything. When you’re there and you’re hanging out, you get on the mic, like, “okay, it’s 5:30 …” We turn the music down, you start hearing the music down on the ground, and everybody starts running downstairs. So, it starts in the day, it finishes at 8.

Who goes to day parties? This is a European market — for example, the Bagatelle clientele is about 90% European, and their DJs are great. We offer something a little different. We have mostly house music but, for a while, we’re playing everything. We have a 55% European, 45% American clientele. The American friends of ours are all starting to catch on to this St. Tropez-like vibe.

Industry Icons: Philippe Delgrange (of Le Bilboquet), who’s a huge part of this interview, by the way. He would definitely be our industry icon. Philippe Delgrange took us under, he’s like a second father, he would sign for our leases, we went to his house upstate; he’d be the guy, like the family man, that we’d eventually want to be some day — he’s our mentor. Just: everything. Other people: Frederick Lesort, Rich Thomas, Robert Montwaid, Aymeric Clemente, Patrick Cabido, Nicolas Barthelemy, Javier Vivas, Jordan Wheat, KyKy & Unik.

You guys work out of an office eight hours a day — what gives? Well, we’re licensors. We’re marketing, we talk to our clients, send them emails thanking them, we do tracking reports…anything. To produce a party at this stature, at this level — people are coming into your place and spending top dollars — you have to put forth the time to make it really work and to execute it and to make sure they had the ultimate experience. It doesn’t just come down to marketing. Also, you have to offer promotions, you have to make sure the music’s right, the lighting’s right, there’s things that you have to keep in order: the tuna’s not right, the ballroom is too small, et cetra.You can’t stretch yourself in this business. You really have to take a party, focus on it, and make it the best party of the week. We want to give that experience. That’s where you can grow, and your company can expand. You can be notable for that experience.

Give us the hard sell on Saturday brunch with the Koch brothers at Merkato 55. We’re mixing the music. It’s more friendly. There’re no egos. We have seating outside; our menu’s completely different from (the competition, and Merkato 55’s typical menu). We have American, we have burgers on the men; we actually have brunch items, too. We have French toast.

French toast at an African restaurant? We consolidated with our chef and said, “listen, we need to take some items from your dinner menu, from your brunch, and from your lunch, and combine them.” Yeah, French toast. French toast, everywhere.

How is it to work with your brother … all the time? We’re partners. We do everything, we don’t miss a beat, you know? We get each other’s emails, we’re constantly working together. If you had two people like you who had to do the same thing two times as hard as anyone else, it’s almost — the trust is there. The hardest part of being in business is finding a partner, and we found a niche. We like what we do, and right now, we’re having more fun with what we’re doing than we ever have.

What’re you guys doing tonight? There’s a little an industry party on Mondays at La Zarza. That’s our only other gig. We don’t email, text mail market, we just show up and have a good time. It’s fun for us. It’s an industry night. Something for people who’re in the business. La Zarza on Monday nights. Hands down. Saturday night was an all-nighter; Monday comes around and before you know it …

Is there ever a night where you guys don’t go out? Yeah. There’re six nights a week (laughing). The whole idea was to not get back into the restaurant business so fast and furious because, we actually enjoy our nights. (Derek) has a girlfriend, we’re office guys. We get things done during the day. We like going to events, to charities, stuff like that — stuff that we could never do before. To tell you the truth, you won’t find us in a club Tuesday, Wednesday … You’ll find us maybe Rose Bar on Tuesday, maybe Gold Bar on Wednesday, but if it’s got a club name on it, you’re not gonna see us in there. There’s a lot more to life than going out and getting shitty. You know, if you’re in the office the next day busting it out until four and you know that everything’s ready to go come Saturday because you put your time in … Put it like this: you can get a lot done going out before midnight.