There were a few times this winter when the summer seemed as impossibly distant as an Oscar for Tom Cruise. I still look for patches of tough snow when I walk the puppies through McCarren Park, and yet here we are, less than 2 weeks away from the summer season. The big news on the Hamptons party circuit is the redux of the Tavern space in Southampton as South Pointe. Leading the charge at South Pointe is Jonathan Schwartz, a one time promoter who has often been associated with Noah Tepperberg, Jason Strauss, and The Strategic Group.
I (and many others), simply assumed that Jonathan was just fronting for the big guys, but I am told that is not the case at all. I asked Noah about it and he told me, “I love John and think he will be one of the future players in the Hamptons scene, but because of his sometimes affiliation with me, my partners, and our venues, we have already been linked to his venture, which I’m sure you can understand bothers us since we have nothing to do with it.”
Noah continued, saying, “After 15 years, me, Jason, Strategic Group, Lavo, Avenue, and Marquee are finally not doing anything nightlife related in the Hamptons this summer.” Noah and crew had been doing the Steve Lewis-designed space, Dune, for four years with Matt Shendell but have dissolved that partnership. Matt decided to keep the name and that has led to rumor and speculation. Noah tells me that they are “concentrating on our Vegas and NYC hotel venture.” The Dream Downtown is getting close and I am promised a tour soon, so I’ll keep you posted. Noah emphasized how much he loves and respects Jonathan and wishes him the best with this venture.
After sorting that out, I caught up with Jonathan Schwartz and asked him about South Pointe.
Tell me about South Pointe and how you become involved. I’ve spent the past four summer seasons overseeing marketing and hospitality at Dune nightclub, also in Southampton, so my experience and knowledge of Southampton nightlife is of the highest level. However, towards the end of last season at Dune, I noticed that my friends, clients, and industry peers seemed to be looking for something new, so in January when Gordon and Erik von Broock, along with Stephen Tedeschi approached me about coming on board as a partner/owner to steer the ship for South Pointe , it was time to take the next step, ownership. Can you explain the transition from being in promotions and marketing to owning a slice? It’s 1am on a Tuesday night and I’m sitting in the office gearing up for South Pointe’s Hamptons debut on Memorial Day Weekend and for my birthday party in just 2 days (to be celebrated at Lavo NYC with two of my favorite DJ’s, Steve Aoki and Jesse Marco, where I expect 1,200 to 1,500 to show up). As I sit, going through staffing, sound & lighting, graphic design, contracts, budgets, DJ line ups, celebrity calendars, and special events for South Pointe, I realize that in just ten days I will be opening the “go-to” spot in the Hamptons for summer 2011 party goers.
You seem confident. Why? The team we have developed is a “Dream Team.” With nightlife veterans Randy Scott and Jamie Hatchett running VIP operations—the top image hosts on the East Coast—and my partners the Von Broocks, Ben Greiff, David Marino, Stephen Tedeschi, this will be the freshest Hamptons experience offered in years. This is a music-driven venue, boasting the best DJs from around the world and New York City. If the DJ is king these days, then South Pointe is home, boasting the world famous DJ talents of Avicii, Calvin Harris, Max Vangeli, Funkagenda and many more while also keeping the New York State of mind with local staples such as David Berrie, Jesse Marco, Ruckus, Jus Ske, and The Chainsmokers.
How did you get involved in the hospitality business? Prior to the South Pointe venture, I spent many years coming through the ranks of the nightlife hierarchy—so to speak—to get to the Pointe where I am today (pun intended, ha). Growing up in New York and Alpine , New Jersey, I always had an interest in hospitality such as fine restaurants, nightclubs, and concerts.In college, I would do holiday parties through out the year such as Thanksgiving Eve at Serefina and Lobby. Then in the summertime, I would take over venues and throw weekly events, which my friends would attend while home over the summer months. When I graduated from college in 2005, I began working full-time on my events, taking pride in breaking sales records in different venues across the city, leaving owners impressed and wondering who this new, young entrepreneur was.I caught my first break when I was hired at Aer by Eli Jafari to help run promotions at the Meatpacking hotspot. Following our run at Aer, I also ran Manor in Meatpacking, which is where I met many of my peers. After a year, I left Manor to take on the promotional directing role at Arena in Midtown, which was new territory. The venue was a huge success, and to date, one of my fondest moments in nightlife was when we had Kanye West perform his new single at the time (“Stronger”) before it was released. People went nuts, the venue was packed, and I was responsible on that evening for the best party in New York. I realized at this moment that I was on to something special.
What was your role within The Strategic Group? My promotions had grown from my closest ten friends, to one thousand people following me per night. Arena went on to be sold which is when I found my new home where I have spent the last three years as Director of Marketing and Promotions For Noah Tepperberg, partner/owner of Hospitality power house Strategic Group, Tao Group, Lavo Group, Avenue NYC, Marquee LV and Marquee NYC. Working day in and day out with the likes of Noah has shaped me into a business man, rather than just a promoter with a work ethic extending 20 hours per day. Now, I look to take these years of experience, work, and drive back out to Southampton and create a brand in South Pointe that can hopefully be rolled out as part of a bigger picture plan.
South Pointe exterior