Industry Insiders: Sebastian Puga, Velvet Revolver

It all started simply enough for Sebastian Puga. The Miami-born promoter was asked to host a weekly party at the Shore Club when he was still in college, a plum gig that enabled him to “drink for free with friends.” This led to an indie rock party called Revolver in downtown Miami, which garnered more than its share of A-listers. “One night P. Diddy showed up, so I must have been doing something right,” he says.

Stints at Rokbar and a partnership at Coco de Ville in the Gansevoort followed, as well as the Lazy Sunday Brazilian BBQ at the Standard Miami Beach. Its success brought Puga to the attention of the bigwigs at the Standard New York, who relocated him up north to work as the promotions director for Le Bain, the hotel’s rooftop bar known for its pretty patrons splashing around in the indoor hot tub – and perhaps the best place in the city to relax with a Belvedere martini and gaze at the skyline.

To be sure, it’s a glamorous job, but Puga puts in plenty of time getting the vibe just right, and he always stays grounded. “It’s an around-the-clock career, so work gets in the way of a ‘regular’ lifestyle,” he says. “And you’ve always got to treat people with respect, because nobody wants to do business with a jerk.”

Making Moves: The Dream Downtown, Bunker, & Cayte Grieve

On Wednesday, anybody who is anybody will be dressing up and having fun at Dream Downtown. The Meatpacking District continues to evolve, and with three colossal hotels—Dream plus Standard plus Gansevoort—it’s flush with hospitality complexes. The lines defining day and night for the jet set/party set are obscuring rapidly. In fact, the lines between clubs, restaurants, and hotels are nearly completely blurred, and no amount of prescription bifocals will clear it up.

These hospitality giants strive to fulfill all one’s need on a 24/7/365 schedule. I may have to change my title from BlackBook “Nightlife Correspondent” to “Hospitality Correspondent,” seeing as things don’t only start at night anymore. There are pools, brunches, and daytime events equal to anything that hides under the cover of darkness. This is the future, as stand-alone clubs in residential neighborhoods will soon be difficult to sustain. I’ve seen Dream Downtown, told you it was a game changer — and it is.

Either before or after I hop, skip, and maybe jump to Dream to pay respects (and ogle the place when it’s full of people who aren’t the usual crowd of construction workers or training staff), I will be at 1920 Bunker Club. Do people actually call it that? I thought it was Bunker. Anyway, on Wednesday 1920 Bunker Club and some very nice people with hearts of gold will be raising money for unfortunate children in the Dominican Republic. The event, mtipforKids (Make the Impossible Possible for Kids) and Dream Project (a co-linked project/event), starts at 8pm and goes on until 11pm, thus answering the question of what to do when you’re all dressed up with both the Dream Downtown hotel soiree and the Bunker charity to go to. The event at 1920 Bunker will raise much-needed funding, “breaking the cycle of poverty through sustainable education programs that allow the opportunity for every child’s gifts and challenges to be met with your support.” Celebrities and industry leaders are slated to attend and you should as well. My pal, new mother Suki Sohn, told me about this group and how brilliant their efforts are. Help this dream before the Dream.

This week my favorite editor Cayte Grieve will move on from BlackBook to greener pastures (or maybe the same green pastures, just to a different green acre—we’re not 100% sure yet). Cayte has kept me in line, stopped me from crossing the line, and from doing lines again. She has held my hand, rewritten my inane ramblings, and made me look good for years now—not an easy task. She has put up with my breakdowns, tantrums, foibles, and freak-outs. She has done what no other women (except for Mom) has ever been able to do: she has soothed this savage beast and gotten me to print everyday. If you think that what I write is sometimes unfocused or insane, you should see it before she edits me. Cayte will be heard from again. She is brilliant, beautiful, and a dear friend. [Editor’s Note: Aw, thank you Uncle Steve. You weren’t as bad as you imagine].

4AM Tour Diary: DJ Sinatra Spends NYE 2011 in Miami

As a manager and partner at 4AM DJs, I’m constantly arranging performances, events, and photo shoots around the world. Every day, I get reports back from my DJs filled with the kind of wild adventures I rarely get to be a part of as a desk – rather than a disk – jockey. The people who flock to these stellar international events get to experience the end result of months of prep, but do they really know what a day in the life of a DJ is like? In this column, you’ll hear first-hand accounts of DJ war stories, with photos and videos from the world’s best to show for it. In this third 4AM DJ Tour Diary, you’ll read about DJ Sinatra‘s insane week leading up to New Year’s Eve in Miami. Yours truly, Adam Alpert.

Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010: My lovely girlfriend Vanessa and I left the great blizzard of 2010 in NYC and headed to sunny South Beach for our NYE 2011 celebration. The driver picked us up at 8am to drive us to the airport. There was 30 inches of snow and the roads were terrible. A lot of flights were delayed, so we weren’t sure if we would even get out. When we got there, our flight was delayed until 2pm. What to do at the airport at 9 in the morning? The answer: Drink bloody marys! We must have had 3 or 4 during breakfast, and I couldn’t wait to get down to South Beach to ring in the New Year with my 4AM DJ family.

We headed over to our gate and there was my homie, DJ MOS. We hung out until we boarded the flight. We were lucky to be flying. When we touched down in Miami, it was cold but better than New York, so no complaining from us. My first night in Miami, I deejayed the ill Tuesday party at The Wall nightclub at the W South Beach, called “Favela Beach.” I was amped because I was DJing with a good friend of mine, DJ Ross One. The party was hosted by Tatanka, Paolo, Flip, Sebastian, Roy, Los, Navin Chatani, Karim Masri, and of course, Nicola Siervo. It was insane, packed wall-to-wall. Nicola was on the mic going nuts, and called out DJ Vice to come spin with us. We had a surprise DJ cipher with Vice, Ross, and myself. The energy in the room was next level, as we kicked off NYE week in style.

Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010: I was exhausted from working and traveling. I really didn’t get much sleep, so I had to recharge my battery. That night, Vanessa and I hit up our favorite Mexican restaurant on Lincoln Road. After we ate, we met up with our buddy Jack Furious, who was down from New York. We rolled over to Coco de Ville were I DJed that night. We hung out with Sebastian, Jack, Iron Lyon, and Eric even came through – always a good venue, run by my buddies of OneFifty.

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Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010: One of my best friends, DJ Vitale, arrived, and we were ready to party. The weather was getting nice and we decided to go check out DJ Jacamino, who was spinning Derek & Daniel Koch of Dual Groupe’s “Day & Night” brunch party at Vita. We hung out for a little, had some laughs, and then went back to the hotel to get ready for another night of DJing! I was spinning at Louis at the Gansevoort South. I had never spun there before, so I was excited to go in. The room was packed and the energy was in the air. A few Patron’s later and the night was a blur. From what I remember, though, we had another great night.

Friday, Dec. 31, 2010: It was the night we all had been waiting for: The 4AM 2011 New Year’s Eve party at The Wall at the W South Beach with Drake performing. I was DJing the biggest stage of the year and couldn’t believe it. When Vanessa and I arrived, we were greeted by my manager at 4AM, Adam Alpert, and he walked us in straight to the red carpet. What seemed like a million photographers were shooting me from every angle. With flashing lights everywhere, I couldn’t have been more excited. Questions were being thrown at me, one after the other. It was amazing and fun and I just rolled with it. Vanessa was a pro and joined me for a few photos. We then headed to the 4AM DJs cabana and listened to my 4AM family member DJ Phresh, who was spinning by the pool. Fast forward to 10 minutes left in 2010, and Drake jumps on the table and drops “Runaway” and “B.M.F.” The place is going nuts. We saw so many people from New York and my Miami peeps, Mr. Mauricio and Raul. When the clock struck 12, I kissed my lady and we made a video to send to all our family and friends. We looked up, and Drake was performing right in front of us. Bottles were flowing. Then it was time for me to DJ. The place was going crazy and I jumped on the mic. I said something about 2011, I can’t remember, and the club erupted. The lighting was on point and the sound was great. The Wall is truly one of my favorite clubs. I will never forget this night.

Thanks to my 4AM team, Adam, and DJ Jus-Ske, who was spinning NYE in St. Barths and who we all missed. After my set was over, we went over to meet up with DJ Vitale, DJ Riz, DJ Reach, and Los. 2010 was over and the week was such a success. It was great to be able to share it with my 4AM family and all my other DJ brothers. This trip left me so inspired and I couldn’t wait to get back work.

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See other 4AM Tour Diaries here and here.

Art Basel’s 10 Most Prolific Art Flies

Art Flies are usually wannabes, socialites manqué who circle museum shows and gallery parties, networking in garish garb with the hope of getting noticed by Patrick McMullan. At Basel, however, the term means something entirely different, referring instead to art connoisseurs who make their presence known without seeming at all desperate or deplorable. Herewith, a list of the 10 most-seen personalities on the Miami scene, from an Oscar winner to the members of a fictional family.

image 1. Susan Sarandon The Academy Award winner, ping-pong enthusiast, and recent V cover “girl” was all over Basel this year, from the W magazine dinner hosted by Daphne Guinness at Soho Beach House, to the Pringle of Scotland and Serpentine Gallery dinner hosted by Tilda Swinton at The Webster. Her party blitzkrieg ended, appropriately, at the Delano, where Sarandon hosted the Art of Ping-Pong bash along with her New York venue, SPiN Galactic, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Pictures abound of her laughing with a faux-cop in spandex booty shorts and a matching sleeveless tank.

image 2. Brooke Geahan At the Standard Spa’s Playboy dinner and cocktail party on Saturday night, Geahan, the founder of the Accompanied Literary Society, worked the room in a red Marchesa pantsuit. Earlier that week, she was spotted throwing down at Assouline’s Art Game Book event, a screening of Marco Brambilla’s film, Evolution (also at the Standard), and the Interview, LVMH, and Fendi dinner at the Delano. It was hard to stay on topic while at the Playboy event, discussing with her the jam-packed week she’d had—we were surrounded by installations of naked models created by Terence Koh, Vanessa Beecroft, and Lola Schnabel, and the one word being thrown around most carelessly than “art” was “shrinkage.”

image 3. The Hilfigers In support of its new advertising blitz, Tommy Hilfiger sent its campaign family—“The Hilfigers”—to Miami in their all-American finery. They made appearances at the Standard Spa to celebrate 10 years of Bruce Weber’s All American book series (where the majority of guests looked like they’d been poached from Abercrombie catalogs), as well as the Paper magazine-hosted N.E.R.D performance, which was, yes, co-sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger.

image 4. Klaus Biesenbach Biesenbach is the current Director of MoMA PS1 and the Chief Curator at Large at MoMA, so it would do him a disservice to call him an art fly. Still, he buzzed through the fair like no one else. In addition to the Playboy party, Biesenbach touched down on the MoMA PS1 and Interview presentation at the Delano (where he cut a serious rug and drank directly from a bottle of Moet), the Interview, LVMH, and Fendi dinner, and the Maybach and MoCA-sponsored LCD Soundsystem performance at the Raleigh hotel (where civilized tippling quickly devolved into major Coyote Ugly-style table dancing).

image 5. Lorenzo Martone You couldn’t leave your hotel this year without running into Nycked swimwear designer and former (current?) Marc Jacobs arm candy, Lorenzo Martone. In addition to the Playboy, Bruce Weber, and Marco Brambilla parties, Martone was spotted at the Alchemist & Art Ruby Garage Party and the actual fair inside the Miami Convention Center. (He gets major art fly points for showing up in a tank top and warrior sandals.)

image 6. Lori Cheek I wasn’t previously familiar with Cheek, but I saw her everywhere—Bruce Weber, Assouline, and Andre Balazs-hosted unveiling of designer Marc Newson’s new Aquariva boat at the Standard Spa—and woke up one morning with a black business card in my pants that reminded me I’d been “Cheek’d.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, either, but it sounds fun.

image 7. Mia Moretti Of all the DJs on the Basel circuit—with, perhaps, the exception of the MisShapes, who were everywhere—Moretti was the most prolific. She provided the soundtrack to the Bruce Weber and Paper parties, and spun the Swarovski dinner—hell, I even saw her playing music at the Gansevoort’s Café Bustelo while en route to get my morning coffee.

image 8. Stefano Tonchi Since taking over W late last summer, Tonchi has made his presence very known to the worlds of film, fashion, and art. The editor stopped by the Swarovski dinner, the Marc Newson party, the main fair, the Vanity Fair-hosted dinner for Bruce Weber at MoCA, the Bruce Weber party at the Standard, and, yes, the W dinner—where, presumably, he finally found time to slow down and eat.

image 9. KAWS Brooklyn-based artist and designer Brian Donnelly, known professionally as KAWS, made cameos at every party, although in a subtle, baseball cap-wearing way so as to avoid getting shot on myriad step-and-repeats. Since he’s an actual artist, he can’t really be an art fly, but I saw him—not his works—everywhere, so he counts!

image 10. Aurel Schmidt The Purple-loved, New York-based, Waldo-bespectacled artist (whose name, from experience, is pronounced oh-rell, not oral) was never far from an open bar, as she made stops at the Interview, LVMH, and Fendi dinners, the Marco Brambilla screening, the Playboy party, and, naturally, Andre Saraiva’s Le Baron pop-up club at the Delano’s Florida Room, which is where most of Miami ended their nights, sweaty and bombed until well into the morning.

4AM DJ Tour Diary: DJ Price Spends Halloween in Miami

As a manager and partner at 4AM DJs, I’m constantly arranging performances, events, and photo shoots around the world. Every day, I get reports back from my DJs filled with the kind of wild adventures I rarely get to be a part of as a desk – rather than a disk – jockey. The people who flock to these stellar international events get to experience the end result of months of prep, but do they really know what a day in the life of a DJ is like? In this monthly column, you’ll hear first-hand accounts of DJ war stories, with photos and videos from the world’s best to show for it. In this second 4AM DJ Tour Diary, you’ll read about DJ Price’s insane Halloween weekend in Miami. Yours truly, Adam Alpert.

Miami has to be one of my favorite cities to play in. South Beach’s energy and excitement for music is among the best in the world. From the moment I walked off that plane and threw on my Ray Bans, I knew it was going to be a great weekend. I’ve been to Miami many times before, most recently this past year for the Winter Music Conference and the 4AM launch party at the Mondrian hotel. You can download our CD recorded live that night here. Also, I was excited to have just received my new indie house mix CD, Dynamics of Moving Bodies Volume 1, fresh of the press to bring with me to give out. I gave out over 500 copies in 4 nights. You can download it here.

This time around I had a full tour booked: 4 gigs in 4 nights. I landed Thursday, October 28th with my best friend and Reason business partner, Phil Bassis, and headed to our room at the Fontainebleau. I have nothing but good things to say about the Fontainebleau. My room was huge and the view was amazing. If you’re looking for a hotel in Miami that you won’t ever have to leave, this is the spot. I started the weekend off spinning at The Wall at the gorgeous W Hotel South Beach.

The club hasn’t even been open a year and they recently renovated it and re-arranged the layout. The new lay out is very conducive to dancing, and the new state-of-the-art DJ booth has been relocated front and center to have a great view of the room. One of my favorite design elements of the room was the custom designed crystal color changing disco ball in the center. That Thursday I was hired to DJ the after party for the launch of Lou La Vie’s Miami Premier Exotic cars. I played an open format set, ranging from hip-hop, rock, and house, and even sprinkled in some of my favorite indie, disco, and ‘80s tracks. The crowd was rocking way past 4am. Thanks to Navin Chatani for showing me a great time.

I headed back to the Fontainebleau for the next 24 hours. Spent the day by the beach, ran into the great hip-hop artist, Pitbull, went jet skiing, sorted through some new music, and had dinner at Chef Scott Conant’s Scarpetta inside the hotel. When we walked into LIV, we knew Halloween had officially started. They transformed the 30,000 square feet into an Alice in Wonderland-themed adult playground. Bartenders were dressed as Mad Hatters, and waitresses like Alice. Someone was running around in a giant rabbit costume. My manager/mentor DJ Jus-Ske had requested that I open and close for him, knowing that I would be in Miami.

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LIV is undoubtedly one of the largest rooms in the country, and was formally an ice skating rink in the Fontainebleau. It’s a nightclub that has the feeling of an arena. The DJ booth is massive, with two banquets on each side, and 2×4 turntables set up (2 mixers, 4 turntables). The club is busy by midnight and you’ve got to keep the energy up. I warmed the night up nicely with an assortment of hip-hop, rock, and house records. Some of my favorite’s of my set were Tinie Tempah’s “Pass Out,” Auburn’s “La La La,” “XXXO” from M.I.A., the new Ting Ting’s single “Hands,” Duck Sauce’s crossover hit “Barbara Streisand,” and I even threw in “Samba De Janeiro” and some Brazilian records to spice it up. The room was slammed, and dancers and performers were dressed in costumes, bouncing around throughout the night. I turned around at one point and Gumby & Pokey were jumping on the banquets behind me. Out in the middle of the room Marty McFly was holding a magnum bottle of Belvedere in the air.

Jus-Ske came on at around 1, and proceeded to tear it down flawlessly. Jus is one of my favorite DJs and crowds love him wherever he goes. In Miami, if you’re a good DJ, the clubs won’t close until 5 a.m. Jus let me finish them off with enough time to still play some high energy joints, check out this short video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OmoOj9LsLQ&feature=email

We woke up the next day and took it easy around the hotel. My manager, Adam Alpert from 4AM, arranged VIP tickets for us to go to the Miami Masquerade Motel featuring the Swedish House Mafia, billed as one of the largest Halloween parties in the country in a 55,000 square foot tent. The Masquerade Motel has been making waves over the summer at Pacha Ibiza as the go-to party every Monday night. They have been mixing talents with an assortment of costumed dancers and performers, and a mind-bending array of visual effects.

The party was amazing. I’ve never seen so many people in unison, jumping around and enjoying the music simultaneously. Some of the highlights of the night was when the trio played their hit “One,” and without a doubt Steve Angello’s “Knas.” After the show, I ran to my gig at Opium Group’s Louis nightclub inside the Gansevoort South hotel. We headed there around 12:30 a.m., as club-goers in costume were pilling in. Halloween in New York is always impressive, but I have to say the costumes in Miami were well-thought out and fun. Louis is a great nightclub experience. Designed like a royal Parisian palace on an acid trip, it’s one of the most exciting backdrops for a Halloween party I could imagine. One of the highlights of the night was when a little person dressed as Napoleon started dancing around on top of the bar and sprayed the crowd with a fire extinguisher. I couldn’t have asked for a better Halloween crowd.

Sunday’s weather was a bit overcast, so we headed to South Beach to check out some shops. We had lunch at La Sandwicherie, one of my favorite lunch spots in South Beach. I recommend the Pate sandwich on a croissant. We checked out the Versace mansion and even some retail, which has gotten better recently with shops including Barney’s and Polo Ralph Lauren within walking distance of each other. A trip to Miami wouldn’t be complete without paella, so we had to get that for dinner. Sunday was October 31st, and I was going to DJ at Coco de Ville, also at the Gansevoort South hotel. The crew at the Coco DeVille is great. Roy Alpert, Tatanka Guerrero, Paulo Cardoso, and Sebastian Puga run the best intimate, dance lounge in the city. I have to say Tatanka and friends had the best costumes I’d seen all weekend as Chilean Miners, including someone dressed as the actual mine hatch and a Spanish speaking reporter.

My set at Coco DeVille was great and included a lot of New York flare: ‘90s hip-hop, reggae, baile funk, rock, and house. Highlights of the night include Kanye West’s new hit “Runaway,” “Fancy” from Drake and Swizz Beatz, and one of my all time favorites, “Juicy,” by Notorious BIG. We crawled out of there around 5, which concluded a very successful Halloween 2010 Miami tour. We headed back to NYC the next day ready for another great week in the greatest city in the world.

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For more info on DJ Price go here.

A Night Out with ‘Miami Social’

The temperature is holding steady at chilly 32 F. Floridian farmers are predicting citrus doomsday. Still, any night, apocalyptic or not, is a good night to party in Miami. Inside STK, the long-awaited, newly opened steakhouse at the Gansevoort South, an animated ambiance, fueled by strawberry rhubarb concoctions and all flavors of eye candy, comes to a sudden halt. Heads turn and conversations dissipate, as Katrina Campins, Donald Trump’s would-be apprentice, and workaholic in residence on Bravo TV’s Miami Social, the show about clique of young professionals navigating the local scene and all the drama that surrounds it, sashays down the long glassed mezzanine. All legs and bouncy hair, she’s well aware of the gazes.

(‘DiggThis’)Recognized in Realtor Magazine as a “Top 30 under 30,” Katrina is a self-professed careerist, on a mission to use her TV projects to get her real estate deals done. How does shooting the breeze with her TV ‘friends’ on the Gansevoort Hotel’s rooftop help her sell luxury pads? It all comes down to image and Katrina has the Donald to thank for that lesson. “Trump always told me that your name is all you’ve got, so you have to brand it,” she replies texting away on her overused Blackberry.

image Of course I would do second season, Ariel confesses.

Ariel Stein, decked out in Marc Jacobs tux and bowtie, amens that with a snap. Ari’s a handsome man, with a semi-flamboyant attitude that seems at odds with how he remembers growing up, ridiculed as a, shall we say, plump young boy in an orthodox Jewish home. “Don’t get me wrong, I love where I came from, but that world doesn’t mix well with where I am today,” he says. Today, in addition to being the mastermind of something called the ‘Wearable Towel,’ a beachy cousin to a ‘Snuggie,’ Ariel is a model for party boys worldwide. “No one really believed in me. I went from a club kid to a model to a producer to an inventor. Soon I will head my own empire, with perfume, lighters, fashion line, you name it.” Well, no one’s ever said modesty was a key to empire building.

Ariel has his share of critics. Not due to his healthy ego or documented distaste for ugly, but because some doubt the integrity of his professional credentials. But he expects nothing more. “You could never become a star in your own village. There are too many haters, who are dying of jealousy,” Ariel says, delighted that his antics may have landed him a spin-off.

image Frequent center of attention Katrina Campins never misses a chance to network, as Ariel looks on.

When Katrina and Ariel’s arrive at Louis, a nightclub, also inside the Gansevoort, flashes and iPhone cameras go off. Two girls from Georgia, lurking at the bar, debate whether they should ask for autographs. We bump into Hardy Hill, a cast mate and reality TV veteran with soft porn to his credit, who despite proclamations of entrepreneurial acumen and enviable social skills is really a promoter, moonlighting as manager at the David Barton Gym.

image Step aside people. Katrina and Ariel enter Louis

At Living Room, W Hotel’s bar lounge, George French, the high-powered mortgage banker with case of Turret’s syndrome and a crazy Russian girlfriend with a knife fetish, does his best, entirely uncalled for Leonardo DiCaprio impression. Word on the beach is that in an ironic twist of fate, this mortgage expert lost his condo, along with his dignity, to foreclosure. Even the Gansevoort, the epicenter of all Miami Social activities, will soon be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Now that’s drama for real.

A brief walk from Living Room to the club Wall, and Katrina has had enough. She doesn’t do cold, and in her defense, it really is freezing. Even the almighty bouncers are hiding in the lobby. Still the business of natural selection must go on. In the manner of Moses parting the Red Sea, the doorman unhook a velvet rope and Katrina and Ariel are granted their mega entrance as the B crowd patiently waits its turn. Soon Ariel will board a plane to promote Season One overseas, and Katrina will try to get a namesake charity off the ground. But tonight they are big stars in a small pond, and the DJ is playing their favorite song.

All photography by Douglas Voisin.

Industry Insiders: Michael Satsky, Agent Provocateur

Michael Satsky, the former proprietor of Lily Pond in East Hampton and now-defunct Stereo nightclub, has been busy launching his venture, Provocateur at Hotel Gansevoort, a lounge sprinkled with feminine touches that will “cater to a woman’s every desire.” Now in the soft opening phase for private events and parties, the man behind the Meatpacking District’s hottest new haunt gives BlackBook a sneak peak after the jump.

Tell us about the Provocateur concept. It’s femme in every possible way from the front of the house to the back. It truly is going to back up what the description says it is. From the décor to the staff to the front of the house to the drinks in every way shape and form. It’s going to compare to walking into a Bendels rather than a Barneys, you’re going to know that you’re in a female department store.

How does that appeal to your male clientele? To be honest with you, it’s not something I’m concerned with. I think that women lead by example, and the men will follow.

And guys go wherever there are good-looking women, so… It’s going to be different for them. Guys are going to think it’s a little strange, but I’m cool with that.

Besides the retractable roof, what’s your favorite aspect of the venue? There’s a catwalk that overlooks the bar set about five feet above the bar, and that’s something that I really wanted to integrate into the design. Having interactive entertainment components to your venue is something that I don’t really see anywhere else I go.

How is prepping for this opening different from your other venues like Lily Pond or Stereo? It’s different in every single way, shape, and form. When you truly build something from nothing, it takes on a life that you can’t even imagine. It’s almost like building a building, which I’ve never done before. From the walls to the roof to the floor, everything is new. There was nothing usable from the previous tenants or the previous building. Hotel Gansevoort is my landlord, so it’s been a learning experience even though I’ve been in the business for such a long time and I’ve done so many projects like this. I gained a lot of knowledge from building this project.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve taken from the process? Honestly, there are so many. Everything that I’ve learned is valuable. I’d say I’ve received a degree in construction, so I know a lot of things that I should have never known, but maybe one day I’ll be able to use them. When you build things from scratch, you learn things that you never thought you were going to learn.

The Meatpacking District has been changing so much recently, especially after the opening of The Standard Hotel and the venues there. What’s the new clientele in this area that you’re hoping to attract? We’re trying to actually bring more clientele to this area than take from it. We’ll take something from it because there are a lot of great things around here. But I think the international traveler that we’re going to attract here is something that can’t be found anywhere because what we’re going to do is have a mixture of organic New York, and at the same time, I believe the organic Australia, or the organic Europe or the organic South America—this is going to be where they’ll come. So it’s all of these worlds clashing at once, and I think that’s going to create such a beautiful environment.

What do you mean by organic? Something that cannot be manufactured. You can’t manufacture your family, that’s something that comes with the territory. If you, yourself develop a certain clientele or a certain group of friends, I feel that that’s your organic circle, and I feel that the organic circles that are in other places just like mine in New York are going to gravitate here.

Will you have entry for hotel guests automatically? No. Even thought it’s inside the hotel, it’s completely separate. Although we want to be as courteous to the hotel as possible, they’ll have the same protocol as anyone else.

And what sort of door can we expect? I would expect something similar to a Fort Knox experience.

Are you doing anything special with bottle service? This is going to be a product that people are going to feel comfortable paying for. Even though we’re not going to have certain restrictions, I’d expect that we’d be able to receive the highest amount of sales per table compared to anywhere else in the city. People are going to want to spend money because they’re going to feel comfortable. Not because someone is asking them to or making them, they’re going to have the proper environment the proper entertainment and they’re going to have all the amenities that they need.

What are your go-to places? Il Mulino in New York City would be one of my top restaurants of course in the world because I grew up there and I still feel like it’s the best dining experience possible. Maya’s in St. Bart’s is one of the best restaurants. It’s such a great environment and authentic as well. I also like Morimoto.

Is the Greenhouse/Provocateur URL scandal resolved and behind you? Yeah, they returned it. It wasn’t a big deal. It got blown up to something. Its’ not something that crossed my mind or upset me at all.

What are the pros and cons of being in this neighborhood? There are so many legitimate businesses in this neighborhood that it’s a huge probe. The neighborhood isn’t going anywhere. This neighborhood has such a cutting edge fashion forward crowd that it’s such a plus being here. The pluses being in this neighborhood, I could go on and on.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Beluga Caviar.

How did you get into nightlife? When I was a youngster going out to Moomba or Spybar, Life, Club USA, those type of venues attracted me to the business. That’s where I met my first network of clientele.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone aspiring to get into nightlife right now? Make sure you do it for the right reasons, and make sure that if you get into nightlife your ultimate objective is to continue with it, stick with it, and do something that will going to make a change and impact people’s lives.

Who do you look up to? I think that Ian Schrager does it right.

What’s your favorite Ian Schrager hotel? I love the Delano.

Is that where you stay in Miami? No.

Where do you stay? Hotel Gansevoort.

Hotel Mini Bars Slashing Prices, Gettin’ Fancy

Bars are expensive. And people are broke. So it’s no wonder in-room service is on the rise these days, with nearly 77% of travelers taking advantage of in-room selections once during their stay. With that in mind, some forward-thinking hotels in cities around the US have amped up an oft-dismissed amenity to keep their guests from straying and spending shiny nickels elsewhere. To keep you and yours in-situ and in-ebriated, these sharp crash pads are offering beefed-up luxury versions of their mini bar. We’ll call it the not-so-mini bar. You’ll call it your little in-room drinking buddy. Check out a few examples of the haute mini bar done right.

Gansevoort South, Miami – Basket snacks under $3 and Dean & Deluca treats. 375mL bottles of Grey Goose, Bacardi, and Bombay paired with Red Bull, juices, and a variety of sodas in the appropriate glassware; rapid ice delivery comes in bottle service fashion from hotel staff. Bring the pool party back to your room.

The Liberty Hotel , Boston – 19th-century jail turned 300-room hotel with mini bar instructions for Stirrings’ mixers. Play amateur bartender with the “25th Hour.” A rousing 1.5 parts Belvedere vodka, ½ part Red Bull, and a splash of pomegranate. Mix together in a martini glass. Instructions say serve immediately, often, then proceed to place the hotel’s lampshade on your head.

The James Chicago – For the Sasha Petraske wannabe in all of us. A signature mixing glass, strainer, tongs, spoon, and corkscrew are standard amenities at the James, where 13 top-shelf liquors, an extensive list of mixers, and four types of eco-friendly water ensure the proper cocktail for drinkers and non-drinkers alike. Also available is an umbrella, mile high kit, and 16 midnight munchers. Handlebar mustache — de rigueur for any self-respecting neo-mixologist — not included, but can be crudely drawn on after consuming several self-muddled cocktails.

Miami Hotel Deals @ Gansevoort South

imageGansevoort South, the sexy southern version of Hotel Gansevoort in New York’s Meatpacking District, is breaking out some great package deals to entice you to come on down and hang by the (gorgeous) pool. There’s the “Naughty But Nice” package, which includes such niceties as a bottle of champagne with chocolate covered strawberries, two monogrammed bathrobes and a “mile high intimacy kit” — a feather tickler, a “personal massager,” and three condoms. Though I’m not sure what the “mile high” is in reference to, the “personal massager” sounds like a good deal.

Then there’s the “Night Owl” package, which includes a bottle of Svedka vodka, VIP access to one of the Opium clubs (either Mansion or Set), and a complimentary late check-out time of 2 p.m. Vodka and VIP access to hot dance clubs? Sounds good to me. Both of these packages are priced under $400 a night, which is a steal considering their regular prices clock in around $695 a night (sans intimacy kits and vodka). Check it out for yourself here, or become a fan on their Facebook page so you can enjoy all the eye candy in their photos.