Industry Insiders: Dagny Mendelsohn, Mademoiselle Macao

Dagny Mendelsohn is the front woman representing the 11 total owners at Macao Trading Company. She hails from the other serious foodie city, San Francisco, once she set foot in New York, she learned the heart of the restaurant business from one of the best, Keith McNally. She embraced the underground hipster scene from being part of APT, as well as gaining an education from the fashionistas (a.k.a. Richie Rich). At Macau, she brings it all together under one roof with dinners for people like Perry Farrell, Mick Rock and Morimoto.

Was San Francisco an influence in your career choices? My parents are very involved in the art and food scene in San Francisco. One of their best friends is the chef, Alice Waters and also Patricia Unterman who is a restaurant critic and owner. San Francisco is dedicated to amazing meals with fresh produce from the garden. It was always in my blood, but I didn’t know I would go forward with it. My family also has a vineyard a hour out of San Francisco, and I grew up surrounded by artists and chefs.

Anyone in particular? When I was growing up, Richie Rich baby sat me. My mom and Richie were really good friends. So I went to all the gay parties. I was at the Beige Party every Tuesday. I also worked on his first Heatherette show.

How’d you break into the New York scene? I decided to start promoting at a place on Avenue A called Opalene while I was at NYU. It was a good party because I brought the fashion crowd from my internships — at Betsy Johnson, ELLE and VH1 — and older New Yorkers that I met through my family and the men I dated. When I finished NYU, I started modeling. I had a rock ‘n roll look that was starting to be popular, and I signed a 3 year contract with Elite. The whole experience turned me off to fashion.

How’d you meet Keith McNally? I finally called Alice Waters and she set up an interview with Keith McNally. He hired me at the interview and I started working at Pastis. I learned so much from Keith. He is one of the most intelligent businessmen I’ve ever met. We’re still friends. After work, the staff would all go to APT. I became friends with the manager, Ray Percal, and he eventually said, “Since you’re here every night, you should just work here and get paid for it.” But then, Keith called me and offered me to open Schiller’s with him from scratch.

Where’d you go from there? I was the general manager at Bar 11. It was a rock n roll and fashion bar. Then the boys from Employees Only called me. Billy had been the bar manager at Schiller’s. Igor I knew from Pastis days. Dushan, Jay and Akiva had all been bartenders at Schiller’s. We’re all McNally people.

Did you get back into throwing parties? Yes, everywhere. At Hiro for three years. I worked with GBH. I started a Saturday night party at Movida and 205 on Tuesdays. Then I got exhausted. I decided I didn’t want to stay out all night anymore. So I quit all the promoting. Then all the same guys who pulled me for Employees Only asked me to be part of the next project, Macao. This space came from meeting with Patrick Fahey. He was part of this space.

What exactly is your involvement at Macao? I’m a managing owner.

Where do you go when you’re not at work? Commerce, Employees Only, Takahachi, the movies.

Who do you admire in the business? There’s a list of people in the industry who I admire and who have influenced me over the years. Alice Waters, Patricia Unterman, Ray Pirkle, Serge Becker, Riad Nasr, Keith McNally, Stanley Morris and the team behind Employees Only.

What’s something people would be surprised to find out about you? I’m a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do. I’ve always wanted to be a private investigator.

Who’s your favorite artist? Cindy Sherman, Eric Mendelsohn’s sketches…no relation, Eric Orr, John Register.

What’s your favorite city? San Francisco because it will always be home and the most beautiful place in the world. I miss it for the farmer’s markets and the freshest produce, for the restaurants, the gardens, the parks, the art, the music, my family. I could go on forever.

Industry Insiders: Joao Daniel, Brazilian Export

UPDATE: Joao has actually moved on from Le Royale — see here for details on his new gig.

Upon his arrival in New York, Joao Daniel started working in restaurant kitchens hoping to become fluent in English, but he ended up picking up more Spanish than he anticipated. Like most newcomers, he eventually started hitting the club scene, and surprisingly, this was where he honed his language skills. His nightly activities quickly snowballed into a profession. Now the charming Brazilian has his weekly schedule consistently booked with hosting gigs on Monday nights at Le Royale,Wednesdays at 60 Thompson, Thursday through Saturday at Pink Elephant, and Sunday nights at The Eldridge. He’s also in on the Saturday and Sunday pool parties at Hotel Gansevoort. Joao gives us the scoop on where we should be going out.

How’d you end up in the big city? I’m Brazilian; I came here three and a half years ago and started working at Pink Elephant as a busboy. I didn’t speak English at all, and I had to work my way up.

And that led to … I did the door at The Box for awhile. I hosted at Mansion. I hosted at Cain. I host Pink Elephant at the moment, and I work there three nights a week. I’m really good at organizing these parties. I also used to do Monday nights at Stanton Social. I moved to Vegas and passed off the Monday night gig. When I came back, I wasn’t interested in getting involved with that again because it was a very different crowd. A mutual friend of mine and Terry’s told me about the Monday night at Le Royale. Not too many people in the city knew about the party, like they do now. I know a lot of people in the industry so, it’s really become well-known. I left Le Royale recently, and now my focus is the weekend pool party at The Gansevoort.

Why’d you move to Vegas? I went out there to work, but ended up back at Pink Elephant in the summer of last year. I worked at Tao in Vegas, because Rich Wolfe of Stanton Social is also an owner there. I got offered a job to work at Tryst at the Wynn, and Rich said, “No, you have to work for us.” But I finally got the offer to work as a host for Pink Elephant, and because I started there as a busboy, it was important to me to work as a host there. I especially missed New York.

What did you miss about New York specifically? New Yorkers don’t say things that they don’t mean. If they say that they like you, it’s because they like you. If they don’t like you, then they’ll show that they don’t like you. It’s very black and white, and I love the style. People like to dress up, and people like to be in fashion. It makes the city more alive.

Best thing about Le Royale? The place is completely music driven, and that’s why I love it so much. The music at Le Royale on Monday is a little of everything, but not the cheesy stuff we hear at other places in New York right now. Stuff you’ll hear at other clubs, you’ll hear at Le Royale six months before. They have the real hipsters there. I try to avoid promoting too much, because it’s industry night. We end up having promoters from other places that just come because they like the party.

Is there live music? Terry is so well connected with the music industry, so some Monday nights we have special events. We had Shiny Toy Guns play, and usually, when they play in New York, they play for 300,000 people. There is a cover, so we can have bands to open the night. We can have big DJ’s, and I think we’re one step ahead of every place in New York City in terms of music and a good crowd. Now, bottle service is in a big crisis because of the economy, and Le Royale wont die because it doesn’t depend on that. It depends on the music and people go because the music is amazing.

What’s the best night, for parties/nightlife in New York, in your opinion? I work on the weekends, and I’m having a lot of fun at Pink Elephant because I really love house music. My favorites are definitely Sundays and Mondays. On Sundays, I never miss going to brunch. Brunch parties are taking over the city. Via dei Mille and Sol are the best. People get drunk and dance their asses off until 9 o’clock at night. After brunch, I go to Felix, and then I hit up GoldBar.

What are your spots in the city? I love going places with amazing cocktails. I like the bar at 60 Thompson. It’s out of control. I like Employees Only. For restaurants, I go to Jewel Bako sushi in the East Village. I love Stanton Social, which is great if you have a big group and want to share food.

What are you doing tonight? Getting ready to go to Le Royale.

Straight Up! Paula Froelich Takes America’s Unlikely Idols to Task

Few writers strike as much fear in the hearts of wayward starlets and errant politicians as Paula Froelich, who has been bludgeoning boldfaced names with her “Page Six” pen for almost nine years. But, when she arrives at Employees Only in Manhattan’s West Village one rainy morning in late April, the New York Post gossip columnist immediately dispels any concerns that the devil might, in fact, wear YSL. “I didn’t know if I should get too dressed up,” she says, smiling as she steps into her designer heels. A born storyteller, Froelich pouts and laughs for the camera while sharing anecdotes about celebrities and their silly scandals — a culture she has immersed herself in since quitting her job at Dow Jones to work under “Page Six” editor Richard Johnson nearly a decade ago. This June, Simon & Schuster will release Mercury in Retrograde, Froelich’s debut novel about three women from very different backgrounds who share the same address. With wit and charm — and at least one reference to real-life tabloid fodder — Froelich taps into Candace Bushnell territory, creating a world where women love their Blahniks as much as the next Bradshaw. A few days after the photo shoot, we caught up with convivial social-vault to discuss the rag trade, the sweetest revenge, and the wrath of wronged front-page personalities.

Has this novel been in the works for a while? It took about a year to write. At “Page Six,” you get used to writing one paragraph at a time, so it’s always nice to do something longer. [Film producer] Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas once said to me, “You’re a great writer, but here’s the problem: You’ve got a lot of great furniture, but you need a house to put it in.”

When reviewing the book, [novelist] Gigi Levangie Grazer compared you to Dorothy Parker, which is pretty great company to keep. Were there any specific writers you hoped to emulate? This is going to sound silly, but I was just trying to write the way I talk, the way I tell stories.

Your friend Lizzie Grubman told New York that she wasn’t exactly pleased with your fictional account of her SUV accident in the book. [In the summer of 2001, the publicist crashed her car, while under the influence of alcohol, into a group of people outside a Hamptons nightclub, injuring 16 of them. She served 38 days of her 60-day jail sentence, and was released early for good behavior.] The characters in the novel are from three different backgrounds and three different social strata, and, at one point, hers was the only story that could connect them all together — something that they could all talk about because it was on the front page of the paper for so long. You have to write about what you know; otherwise it won’t be truthful. But no one is going to read the book and be like, “Oh, shiznazz!” I think that Lizzie’s is the only blatantly obvious one.

Has it affected your friendship? We’re very good friends and we talk all the time. She’s fine. She even wrote on her Facebook page: “I’m reading the book and loving it.”

As someone who was raised in Ohio, and worked at Dow Jones before ever considering a career in celebrity gossip, I’d imagine your first few days at “Page Six” presented a major learning curve. Oh my god, there was totally a learning curve. But I went out every night for two-and-a-half years straight, so that I could meet people. And then I became part of it, you know? I’ve definitely had some of those moments, though, where you’re sitting on a yacht in Saint-Tropez, thinking, “How did I get here? What is going on?”

And, “What would my parents think?” After two years at BlackBook, my mom still swears I work at Redbook. [Laughs] I remember walking into a green room and seeing the head of a huge media company — I’m not going to tell you who — and a bunch of people who worked for him eating ’shrooms.

In what ways has the industry changed since you first started? It has become easier for everyone to be famous, so you suddenly have all of these people who want to get into this business, not because it’s a rewarding job, but because they can be famous. And then you can’t do your job, by the way. [Former New York Daily News “Gatecrasher” columnist] Shallon Lester, for example, recently sold a show to MTV, and said the first day she signed up, “I just want to be famous,” which is probably why she was never very good at her job to begin with. Good luck to her — if that’s what she wants, that’s what she wants. I think a lot of journalists get to that point, where they want to become the people that they are covering.

You’ve never been tempted? Right now, I’m promoting my book, so, ironically, I’m in the press. Otherwise, no, I haven’t. I’ve seen what fame does to people, and know that there’s a downside to everything. I remember hanging out with Sean Stewart [Rod Stewart’s son, a regular on the short-lived series Sons of Hollywood, as well as season two of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew], and we were talking about his career. I was like, What career? And he said, “Reality shows!” I didn’t realize that was a career, and it’s never been something I’ve aspired to. But good luck to you, Shallon. Good luck to you, Sean. And good luck to you, Kim Kardashian.

Have you ever regretted a story you’ve written? No, but Edie Falco once accosted me. She came up to me two years ago and said, “I swore if I ever saw you, I would give you a piece of my mind. I’m absolutely furious. You wrote about my cancer!” I said, I absolutely did. I listened to her for about 10 minutes, and when she had run out of steam, I said, “Are you done? Would you like to hear my side? A: I have job to do. B: The National Enquirer would have come out big with it. So we worked with your people — over exact writing and verbiage — to be as sympathetic and as nice as possible, and we made it a very small item and nipped it in the bud. You lost your hair and everyone knew it wasn’t for a role. We kind of did you a favor.”

I’d imagine you run into that sort of vehemence all the time. A lot of people freak out: “How dare you write that I was dancing on tables and flashing the crowd with no underwear on. How dare you!” [Writer] Michael Wolff wigged out because I wrote that he was getting divorced after he was found cheating on his wife with a woman who was the age of his daughter. So I said, “You don’t think that’s newsworthy, Michael?” He got very paranoid, screaming that Rupert Murdoch and Col Allen [Chairman and CEO of News Corp., which owns the New York Post, and its Editor-in-Chief, respectively] told me to write this story — which was absolutely not true. I was like, “Dude, I write about boldfaced names — that’s my job — and you are a boldfaced name.” And he was like, “I wasn’t one until I wrote Murdoch’s book!” He’s been on TV for 10 years, he tried to buy New York magazine, he used the press when he wanted it to get high-profile jobs at Vanity Fair, and now he’s saying he’s just a humble writer? And, yes, it is news when a New York newsmaker leaves his wife of many, many years — and, by the way, he also happens to be trying to kick his wife’s mother out of the apartment he told her she could live in for the rest of her life — for a 28-year-old, social-climbing blonde.

What about the longstanding rumors that you have a hit list? Let me make this clear: There is no hit list. Let me also make this clear: If you really don’t like somebody, the worst thing you can do is not write about them. If you give them any ink, it propels them forward.

It must get so tiresome writing about the same deadbeat celebrities. You can see a train wreck coming ten depot stations away. And it’s kind of sad because you also see the pile-on happen. And then it’s also sad because there are some publications that just make things up. When Britney Spears went after US Weekly a few years ago because they had written a story about an alleged sex tape, she tried to sue them for libel based on the idea that they had damaged her reputation. Well, it got thrown out of court at the end of the day, because the judge ruled that she had no reputation to defend. That same thing can be applied to a lot of those girls: Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Kim Kardashian. If you are a publication that is dependent on numbers — by the way, “Page Six” is not dependent on numbers and we have the same standards as The New York Times — you can write any scandalous headline you want.

Have you ever killed a story, not because you were concerned about its authenticity, but because you thought it might hurt someone? I kill my stories all the time. I only print 10 percent of what I know, and I only repeat 20 percent.

I’ve heard that you don’t like dressing up and going to events. It’s been nine-and-a half years! Still, no one’s going to be like, “Where’s Paula, the homeless woman on the corner?” But do I really want to go to a black-tie gala, and sit around in five-inch heels while watching everyone parade around like it’s prom night? There are some things that are interesting — the Time 100 gala was interesting. I got to meet [economist and the author of Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way For Africa] Dambisa Moyo, [French Vogue Editor] Carine Roitfeld, and [former member of the Dutch House of Representatives and outspoken critic of Islam] Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote Infidel. Those people are interesting to me. What’s not interesting to me is walking into a place filled with people who are not that educated.

When you aren’t obligated to attend a fancy event, where do you like to spend your nights out? I like to go to Raoul’s. I like anything with an outdoor section. I love the Bowery Hotel. I love Employees Only. There are places that I like but have to leave in, like, a second, like subMercer, because I’m claustrophobic.

You don’t strike me as someone who is easily intimidated, but you must have been in that situation before — maybe in an interview? You know, it’s weird, but I don’t really do interviews. I go out to dinner or for drinks, and everyone has a story. What’s not interesting to me is, “What’s your next project?” There are so few people willing to answer actual questions who haven’t been PR’d to death. At this point in time, everyone is so celeb-friendly. Nobody wants to be mean to anyone, but the problem is that there’s no gray area. Calling somebody out on their lies, or on their antics … is that mean? A year ago, Paula Abdul went around everywhere saying, “I am not addicted to drugs. I’m just loopy.” And everyone gave her one hundred percent coverage, but they knew she was lying. So, a year later, it came out: “Oops, turns out I am addicted to drugs.” Same with Paris Hilton: “I didn’t do [fill in the blank],” because she’s a sociopathic liar. And she gets all the press in the world. There has to be a point where someone says, “You know what? I’m not interested in repeating your lies.”

Photo by Victoria Will.

Rose Byrne Tries to Remember Her Favorite NYC Bar

Damages star Rose Byrne claims to be more of a foodie than a bar-hopper, but when I asked her what her favorite New York restaurant is, she names Barrio Chino, the Lower East Side tequila bar. Why? “Fantastic margaritas … and guacamole and chips,” said the Australian native, in town to promote her upcoming role alongside Nicolas Cage in the apocalyptic thriller Knowing. “Also Freemans, but it’s really hard to get a table.”

Byrne currently lives in Los Angeles, but spent two years in New York, doing most of her time downtown. As for her aversion to New York’s notorious nightlife scene, the actress realized she’s denying her own heritage. “I know, it’s pretty boring and very un-Australian of me. You need to ask my man. He’s the one who gets home at six in the morning. I’ve got to work.” But there was one watering hole Byrne is particularly fond of, if only she could remember its name. “It’s called … fuck! It’s like the only remaining dive bar in the Village. It’s low-key, and you don’t have to line up. You can just walk into the bar and have a beer. It’s like 1322 Hudson, maybe Hudson and 10th? It’s right near Employees Only, like north of there.” Could she be talking about Automatic Slim’s? Suggestions welcome.

New York: Top 10 Absinthe Dens

imageOver a year ago, the first legal absinthe since before Prohibition made its way to New York. Now, its omnipresence — whether of the variety that’s true to the original or not — has inspired plenty of noteworthy concoctions. As to the supposed hallucinogenic properties of the liquor, those remain a hotly debated topic, but head to any of these spots and, at the very least, you can try and blame any unruly behavior on your legal drug use.

10. Bookmarks in the Library Hotel (Midtown East) – An absinthe cocktail named after famed author and absinthe-lover Oscar Wilde is great. Blitzes of Midtowners looking for their after-work alcohol fix? Not so much. With that in mind, head to Bookmarks on the later side for some cozy digs and a fireside Oscar Wilde. 9. Employees Only (West Village) – Party like it’s 1920 as you sip on your Martinez — made with gin, maraschino liqueur, bianco vermouth, and dashes of absinthe bitters — at the perpetually packed Prohibition era-inspired spot. 8. The Eldridge (Lower East Side) – Who needs Rose Armand de Brignac Champagne when you can have tableside absinthe service? All you need now is a way in and someone to foot the exorbitant bill.

7. Death & Co (East Village) – Not for nothing will you face a pain-in-the-ass wait to get into this diminutive no-reservation spot. Intricately prepared, Death & Co’s absinthe-based cocktails even have perfectly sized ice cubes. 6. Vintage Irving (Union Square) – For a laid-back spot with a neighborhood feel, the absinthe bar at Vintage Irving delivers. Plus, what could be better than Death in the Afternoon (Lucid, sugar cube, and champagne), on a lazy Sunday? 5. Sweetiepie (West Village) – Best for the uber-girly or those looking to punish a misbehaving boyfriend, you can pair your absinthe with milk & cookies at this Alice in Wonderland-esque spot. 4. Tailor (Soho) – Because while traditional Gummy Bears are good, absinthe ones are better. 3. PDT (East Village) – Sure, the gimmicky twist of going through Crif Dogs’ phone booth gets old, but there’s no denying that the folks at this faux-speakeasy take their absinthe — served in small pours or in absinthe-based cocktails — very seriously. 2. White Star (Lower East Side) – Until recently, this popular LES spot was devoid of fancy cocktails. But they definitely concentrate fully on absinthe. Watch as mixologist extraordinaire Sasha Petraske prepares it the old fashion way — from experience. And when speaking with the master, it’s best not to bring up preparing absinthe using fire. 1. Apothéke (Chinatown) – You’ll feel like you landed on some sketchy movie set when you approach the oddball stretch Apothéke is located on, but make your way past the crank façade and marvel at the 19th-century-inspired spot where apothéker Albert Trummer serves up his own homemade absinthe.

Industry Insiders: Dushan Zaric, Keeper of the Trade

Dushan Zaric, partner to Jason Kosmas in Employees Only and Macao Trading Company, on his interplanetary aspirations, love of some quality futbol, and the bad kind of mixology.

How would you describe yourself? I like to believe that I am a fully developed, grown-up professional bartender, keeper of the trade.

Where do you go out? I like Blue Ribbon on Sullivan Street in SoHo for cooking and serving with the heart for all these years. I visit Ali’s Kebab Cafe in Astoria, because Ali is a genius and a true culinary giant. I eat anything he puts in front of me. Smith & Mills in TriBeCa for a humble reminder about what authentic New York places should be about.

Who do you admire in your industry? Dale DeGroff, for passing on the trade to me and inspiring me to think outside of the box. And Keith McNally, for teaching me how a successful restaurant operation should be run.

Name one positive trend that you see in the hospitality industry. Great chefs recognizing the importance of a serious bar and beverage program that can stand up to their cuisine and fulfill the experience of their guests.

Negative trend? Molecular mixology.

What is something that people might not know about you? I dream of being the first bartender in space. I just need to solve the physics of mixing and serving cocktails in zero G.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of the office? Watch a live soccer match with 100,000 other screaming lunatics.

What are you doing tonight? Working behind the bar at Employees Only.

Industry Insiders: Heather Tierney, Mixology Mistress

Heather Tierney, apothecary-at-large for Chinatown destination Apothéke on comparisons to Amy Sacco, being the bad twin, and dealing with Chinese landlords.

Have people compared you to Amy Sacco? Admittedly yes, and I am honored. She is giant in this business. I might know 1% of the people she knows, so it is flattering for someone to say I am like her.

Where have you been going out? I like small places that have an identity. I like La Esquina … I think that place is brilliant. It’s completely original, and it still holds up. It will be there a long time and the food is excellent. I like this place in Williamsburg called Moto. It’s in this old check-cashing shop. It’s a random location in the middle of nowhere. They made a great Parisian bistro/bar with great details. It’s just so charming. Sometimes they have a band, and you have to walk through the band to enter.

How’d you get involved in this business? Really the way I got into the business was finding this street. I passed this street with friends one night after a concert because we decided to walk to the Brooklyn Bridge to watch the sunrise, and I felt the street was so magical and wondered why no one had ever done anything on it. I started looking around and talking to brokers. I thought it would make a good cocktail bar destination. I hadn’t even met Albert Trummer yet. I quickly realized there was a huge barrier to entry into the Chinese community as an outsider. They don’t do leases here. People pay month to month. You want a lease if you are going to renovate a space and put a lot of money into it. Meeting with a landlord is hard because they are not interested … they pass it down into the family. Everything on the street has been owned by families over the years. I just kept the idea. I met Albert a couple of years ago through a friend who worked with him at Town and had read about him and admired him. I was moved by his humbleness when I met him. I felt that what he was doing with his mixology, no one else was doing. Albert had worked at Town and Bouley, and I thought it would be cool to bring him into an edgier environment.

Who do you admire? Keith McNally. First because he has not sold out, meaning I am sure he has been approached by everyone under the sun to put a Balthazar in Las Vegas or a Pastis wherever. He keeps his brand very strong … he doesn’t dilute them. Each restaurant is a unique concept and its own brand, and he doesn’t open more than one of them. He nails it on the head. He has great staff. He has great vision. He also gives back a lot. Every year he brings an orphanage into Balthazar and feeds them. The do magic shows for them, and the cards get stuck to the ceiling. You will see them still on the ceiling. He is also very humble and down to earth. Danny Meyer is next because he really understands service. He is a warm person and has built an empire, and none of them have a cold, corporate feeling. He wrote a book about hospitality and says it’s the small details that get you to the big place. Everyone in the industry says you have to read his book. People live by it. He gives back a lot too. He is also really down to earth.

What trends are you seeing in your industry? I hope attention to detail is a trend in the city. That’s what interests me. Places need to make a statement and be memorable, which I think is from substance. It can’t just be I am so-and-so and I am opening this, ’cause no one will care in six months.

What is something that people don’t know about you? That I am from Indiana. That I have a twin sister, not identical. We are yin and yang. She supports me in all my crazy ideas. She is the good one, Katie. Also that I don’t care about the “scene.” I don’t need to constantly network. I like to be alone and lay in the sun

Burger Shoppe, Apothéke. What’s next? I have another business too. It’s a concierge service called Sorted. It is a membership. I am not even taking on new members. I have even more I want to do. I want a personal life too. Also opening places, you get a bug to open more. I am even hoping to expand into the basement and upstairs of this space.

What are you doing tonight? I am going to dinner at Macao, owned by the same people who own Employees Only, with a friend who is a restaurant critic. Then I am coming back to Apothéke.

Drinking That Might Not Kill You in the Medium to Long Run

Or kill you slightly less. Yesterday, our hard-charging reporter Canadian and blogger Ben Barna interviewed Connecticut’s finest musical force/self-proclaimed raging alcoholic Moby, in which the chrome-domed DJ laments the inherent unhealthiness of hitting the sauce (and the blow). While we agree with Moby’s assertion that drinking is, uh, bad for you, we’d like to present our readers with a list of bars and respective drinks that might not result in a (pictured) Dylan Thomas-esque booze-induced fatality (for the record, not that we endorse drinking until you die — unless you balance it out by writing timeless poetry — but he did kick the bucket outside of the White Horse Tavern).

Milk and Honey: Fresh-squeezed fruit (oranges, lemons, limes, and apples) get pressed by hand every day for maximum Mentos-like freshness and enhance the nutritional value, which we’re told is a good thing. For those using the “I’m under the weather and can’t go out” excuse, get over it with a Penicillin Scotch, infused with honey, lemon, and ginger, which is known to assist in better digestion.

Employees Only: Beefeater Wet and Berentzen apple liquer go into Employees Only’s Ginger Smash, as well as muddled ginger root and fresh cranberries — apparently, adding booze to cranberries increases their antioxidant capacity. Lavender, a long-heralded headache remedy, when paired with other herbs, creates a tonic that strengthens the nervous system, done justice here in the Provençale (herbs de provence-infused vermouth, Cointreau, and lavender-infused Plymouth gin).

Counter: The vegan-oriented Counter serves up what they call an R-Rated Rootbeer Float, with wintergreen and vanilla-infused vodka. Wintergreen has sarsaparilla, which is known to fight both liver disease and syphilis — pronounced effects of hitting the bottle too much.

Finally, according to its press release, specialty sauce Veev promises a “better way to drink” (double-fisting? Funneling?) via a vodka-like mix of “wheat spirit” and the magical, Oprah-endorsed acai berry. Says Veev: “The dark purple berry has catapulted from the Brazilian Rainforest to the glasses of L.A.’s most influential tastemakers.” Like Gisele, but less German. While the website assures consumers that the product in no way promises to deliver health benefits, it can help deliver on the subconscious ideal and/or justification that what you’re doing is okay, which, when it comes to alcoholism, is pretty priceless to us.

New York: Dogmatic Dogs Opens

imageA “Gourmet Sausage System” that started out as a downtown street cart, Dogmatic has moved into the brick-and-mortar game. Andrew Deitchman and Heather Baltz got the idea for a Stateside incarnation on encountering the variant of street sausage in Europe — i.e. sticking the sausage into a baguette that had been toasted by spearing it on a grill spike. Thus, one’s dog-like hand food is safely contained in its bread-jacket, making it much less messy than traditional dog-roll. Chef Jeremy Spector of Employees Only helped out with the menu; former Burger King CEO Brad Blum helped out with the moolah. Several varieties of animal to choose from, or asparagus if you’re not into flesh; rich sauces complement the meat nicely. Not yet discovered by Union Square lunch hordes, but likely a matter of days at most.