EMM Group Opens The General, A Sure-Fire Hit

I’ve was invited to the friends and family opening of The Generalthe new restaurant from EMM Group at Bowery and Spring. EMM is Eugene Remm, Mark Birnbaum, and Michael Hirtenstein. They are the force behind Abe & Arthur’s, CATCH, CATCH Roof, CATCH Miami, Lexington Brass, SL, SL East, Tenjune, Chandelier Room, Revel Nightlife, FINALE, and Bow, and lots of other stuff. Bow and Finale are the other parts of the Spring and Bowery space that once housed Boulevard and Crash Mansion. Executive chef Hung Huynh of Top Chef fame offers up modern Asian cuisine in a red-chaired gilded wallpapered paradise. All the inside-info is here.

Opening up this time of year is interesting. Most operators look to open in the early or late stages of spring or fall, and with 300 seats, there will be a lot of kinks to be worked out. Groups like EMM have fewer kinks than most.  Opening now allows the place to hit its stride as the nice weather and affluent snowbirds return. They can do no wrong in my book. The General stretches the Bowery strip from its previous above-Houston Street border where joints like Daniel Boulud’s DBGB, Gemma, Peels and many others serve neighborhood residents and well-heeled visitors. This is not the Bowery of my youth. Little Steve Lewis trivia: my great uncle was one of the famed Bowery Boys.

Most clubs reported near-normal attendees for the week after New Year’s but much lower revenues. People went out but seemed to be tapped or burnt out.  For all except for the very top operators, New Year’s Eve is a loss when you account for the naturally slower nights preceding it and the after-effects. I’m still beat up from all the rushing around, and Christmas bills are still being paid. Getting me out requires special coaxing.

Many people obviously get terribly drunk on New Year’s Eve and try hard to slow it down for a couple of weeks. Then there are those resolutions which often include a step back from the boozing. My resolutions always end in a vow to break all my resolutions ASAP. We are still enjoying tourist dollars, but those will fade away as vacation bucks tend to fly to warmer climates this time of year. The cold keeps people in and, well, you get the idea.

EMM group is way ahead of this game. They have a built-in clientele that’s enamored with all their other joints. CATCH is still more than killing it, and the word "NEW" is always a sure draw. The General, a NEW offering from an established hospitality group enters as a sure thing. I’ll keep you posted.

Amber Heard’s Age of Dissent: ‘The Rum Diary’ Star Bares All

Amber Heard meets me on a sunny morning at Gemma, the copper-toned Italian brasserie next to Manhattan’s Bowery Hotel where she’s currently staying as she shoots Syrup, an indie drama set in the dog-eat-dog world of corporate advertising. The 25-year-old actor is tall and slender, her blonde hair slicked back and still wet from the shower, and, if she’s to be believed, there’s not a pinch of makeup on her face. “Can you tell that I just woke up?” she asks. Aside from the two soy lattes she guzzles in under an hour, I cannot. Heard is dressed in head-to-toe vintage—a black lace top exposing her sun-kissed shoulders, an eggshell-white, high-waisted skirt, and gold slip-ons—a style that not only suits her pinup physique, but also that of Maureen, the Bunny she plays on NBC’s new ’60s-era drama The Playboy Club.

To the average moviegoer, Heard might look familiar, if not quite recognizable. (Isn’t she the girl whose face decomposed at the beginning of Zombieland, right before treating Jesse Eisenberg’s brain like an amuse-bouche?) Her pinup good looks have served her well in roles that usually call for a slight twist on the all-American dream girl. I’ll admit that before this assignment, I’d considered Heard to be just another perfectly symmetrical actor clawing her way up the Hollywood employment ladder, mostly in thankless roles in genre movies—as Seth Rogen’s girlfriend in the hardcore stoner-art romp Pineapple Express, or as Nicolas Cage’s Daisy Dukes–wearing passenger in the equally hardcore action wig-out Drive Angry 3D. Somehow, these parts have led her to The Rum Diary, an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s long-lost novel about a journalist—played by Johnny Depp—in 1960s Puerto Rico, and Heard’s first film aimed at high-minded adults hungry for cinematic brain food.

Asked if The Rum Diary feels like her first film for grown-ups, Heard soaks her response in sarcasm: “Well, The Informers is certainly a kids’ movie,” she says, referring to one of her earlier projects, an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ coke-tome of the same name brought to excruciating life in 2009. But unlike that roundly panned film, The Rum Diary works. As Chenault, the striking and provocative object of Depp’s affections, Heard manages to breathe strength and vulnerability into a character that feels both out-of-reach and somehow obtainable. It’s a role she could play in her sleep. “Chenault is free-spirited and rebellious,” she says. “I can relate to that.” To get the part, Heard fought tooth-and-nail—a process that included four auditions and a handwritten letter to director Bruce Robinson—eventually beating out some of Hollywood’s alpha actresses. “I heard names of people who were going in, so I think part of me was resigned to not getting it,” Heard says, obliquely referring to Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley, whose auditions for the role were widely reported.

Heard talks about her Rum Diary experience like she still can’t wrap her head around it. She punctuates the story of her first audition for Depp with bursts of incredulous laughter. Was she intimidated meeting one of the world’s great silver-screen icons? “I guess I must have been,” she says. “I just don’t know if I thought about it that way. Luckily, we’re built so we don’t really remember that kind of pain.” Laughter. “I can just assume it was there.” More laughter. Regarding a steamy shower scene with Depp, Heard plays it cool, sort of. “I grew up watching his movies, so it was a little surreal, but I very much become my characters while I’m working. I’m not Amber Heard making out with Johnny Depp in the shower. I mean, that’s awesome, but I am Chenault, and he’s Paul Kemp, and we’re embroiled in a love story in Puerto Rico, and it’s easy to get lost in that. Love scenes are weird, but if they’re right for your character, I let go of the weirdness and jump into them.” image

She worked closely with Depp to develop the character of Chenault, who was based on Thompson’s first wife, Sandy Conklin (who later changed her name to Sondi Wright). “I’m playing somebody who still exists, who had a major role in the life of one of Johnny’s dear friends, and who is in more than one way important to him,” she says. “So there was a lot of pressure.” She need not worry. From her very first scene, in which she emerges from the sea like a siren, beckoning Depp’s character to plunge in and join her, Heard’s luminosity fills the frame. Despite the newfound respect that will surely accompany her Rum Diary role, Heard doesn’t see it as a career turning point. “Don’t get me wrong,” she says. “It feels great, but none of my films feel like they’re going to be my big break. I do the job, work really hard on the project, and go home and do the next one. They’re kind of all stepping stones built on one another.”

Last December, however, Heard’s on-screen work took a backseat to her private life, when, at The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s 25th anniversary celebration, news began circulating about her long-term relationship with photographer Tasya van Ree. Suddenly, her personal life, which Heard says she fiercely guards, was exposed, a choice with which she wrestled. For Heard, talking openly about her relationship with a woman wasn’t an attempt to grab media coverage, but instead, she says, an ethical and social responsibility. “I talked about my relationship because there’s a difference between being a private person and being part of the problem,” she says. “I knew that I had a responsibility to young people, who right now are without many role models, to kind of step out of my comfort zone and acknowledge that I have a girlfriend without being ambiguous about it.” Echoing what she’d said at the time, Heard adds, “At the end of the day, if you’re hiding something, then you are inadvertently saying it’s wrong, and I don’t feel like it’s wrong. Millions of people aren’t born wrong.”

Since that day, Heard has been disturbed by the way her sexuality has been reported. A headline on the Huffington Post, one of the first links that comes up on an Amber Heard Google search, reads, “Amber Heard Gay: Actress Comes Out as a Lesbian.” But, according to Heard, she never came out. “I’ve always been out,” she says. “Way before that event, there were pictures of me walking to press events holding my girlfriend’s hand. Those have been on the internet for years.”

Heard’s spirit of activism—her official website is as devoted to gay rights as it is to her magazine covers—is a by-product of coming of age in Austin, Texas, amidst a wave of what she calls religious hypocrisy. Heard, a proud atheist, left home at 17 for Hollywood after dropping out of high school. “I felt very alienated,” she says of that time in her life. “I was not a religious person, and I didn’t think the things around me were righteous, even though that’s what they claimed to be. I felt compelled to go against the grain, so I took my GED, took my SAT, and I got the hell out of there.” It’s partly what drew her to her character in The Playboy Club. “You don’t know where she’s come from, and in many ways I relate to that, that alienated person against the masses. I don’t know how my character is going to grow, but I have a feeling I want to be there for her when she does.”

More and more, Heard is becoming known as an actor willing to take risks. She’s neither shied away from nudity nor from Nic Cage movies, but she also speaks her mind. “My PR people should be on a steady supply of prescription medication,” she says with a subtle Texas twang, buried beneath years of Hollywood refinement. “It’s lonely to stand up for what’s right,” she says. “I am alone in Hollywood in many ways, and that’s scary. It’s better for my career if I stay quiet, but I’ve just never been that person. I didn’t get into this business so I could shut up.”

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AMBER LIKES, Gemma

Photography by Kate Orne. Styling by Christopher Campbell.

What We’re Drinking Right Now: Ruffino’s New Prosecco

Although our French friends might disagree, champagne isn’t the only sparkling wine you need to know about. Italy has been producing lots of great prosecco over the past few years, mounting a formidable assault on the austere French bubbly with a slew of affordable bottles that are just a little bit easier to pop open on, say, a Friday afternoon at the office. The Ruffino wine company, for example, recently launched its first foray into sparkling wine with a new prosecco that’s light, fun, and delicious. In the realm of effervescent tipples, I’m all for the extra competition, because the more bubbly in the world, the better.

Ruffino Prosecco is pleasure in the glass: smooth and medium dry, with notes of apples, pears, and citrus. At only $15 a bottle, it tastes much more expensive than it is. At that price, you can tuck a couple of bottles in your weekend tote and become the hero of the beach party.

Ruffino launched their prosecco with a little lunchtime party at Gemma at the Bowery Hotel a couple of weeks ago, and we got to learn a couple of neat facts about it. It’s made from 100% Prosecco grapes, for example, and undergoes a traditional white wine vinification process, followed by the “Charmat Method,” which involves natural refermentation in pressurized tanks that add the fun little bubbles.

Normally I would geek out on all the booze trivia, but at the moment, I’m just noticing how tasty it is, how easily it goes down, how the music on the office stereo suddenly sounds better, and how I’m glad it’s Friday. Weekends are made for, well, a lot of different drinks, but this prosecco seems particularly appropriate on Friday afternoons, and I heartily endorse it. Pick up a bottle and treat it like a beer. Open it, pour a couple of glasses, and declare the weekend officially open.

The Ballad of the Belvedere: John Hood Rides High with a Little Help from His Friends

The call went out early last week, after my beloved Buick Regal was murdered by an armed carjacker. Miamians go nowhere without wheels, of course, so while the fact that my ride had sacrificed itself to save my life may have been noble, it left me immobile. And I’d needed to buy a new vehicle. Believe it or not, the writing racket doesn’t pay quite as well as you’d expect, and I was a grand short of the purchase price. So I’d asked 50 of my friends to pony up 20 bucks each in order for me to re-wheel. Boy, did they come through.

Yep, you guessed it: that snap crowning today’s column is of my new 1956 Plymouth Belvedere. No, the extra grand wasn’t enough for me to buy the ride outright. But it did give me enough for a serious down payment. And Junior at Little Havana’s Pirata Motors was cool enough to finance the rest man-to-man. So I’m now not only back behind the wheel of a beautiful piece of Detroit history; I’m driving what Queen calls “the machine of a dream.” And I couldn’t have done it without a little help from my friends.

And what friends they are: former Bully editor Ken Wohlrob came through from the Big Bad Apple; so did the delightful Daphne Kaizer Lawrence, the ever-lively Leo Durant, and Jen Georges, who braved the Big Easy with me, while Trixie and Rip came through from L.A.

But it was my hometown Miamians who represented the bulk of my buddies. On the sound side there was Rhythm Foundation’s James and Laura Quinlan, house master DJ David Solano, and organicArma/Awarehouse man Dharma; while in venues there was The Vagabond‘s Carmel Ophir, Travis Carey and Jeannie Fernandez, as well as Gemma/Rosinella/Grano owner extraordinaire Tonino (no last name please). The visualist list began with Rakontur’s reeling Billy Corben and fab French transplant Alice Raymond, and went to a slew of better Butter Gallery ops, including owner Paco De La Torre, artist Rick Falcon, and the one and only Francesco Lo Castro, who, as you well know, just painted my portrait, which was already more than enough. Then there was Mr. Feathers (another class of Lo Castro alum), the Notorious Nastie (who, knowing his rep, undoubtedly will be), my brother Paul Jordan (who, with Giselle, has given me a nifty niece), and, most robustly, Green Family Foundation honcho Kimberly Green, who continues to be an unwavering friend and accomplice.

Without the above I’d still be walking, and as swingin’ as my swagger might be, it’s still not enough to get me around in high style. For that I needed a collective of fine and dandy friends. Thank Zeus I’ve got ’em.

And what of the ride? Well, Wiki tells me it’s one of the “Forward Looking” designs from famed automobile re-creator Virgil Exner, who must’ve been so thrilled with the success of the Belvedere, he actually had a heart attack the year it was produced. Fortunately, the high design mind didn’t die, and instead went on to put his mark on many a Chrysler classic, one of which is now owned by a cat called Hood.

When you catch me tooling around town though, please remember that I’m doing so solely because a gaggle of the grooviest people who’ve ever lived stepped up to keep me mobile. And when you see that smile of mine cracking even wider than usual, it’s not just for the ride; it’s for the folks who make the ride all the more worthwhile.

NYC Try Outs: Kristina Marino’s Downtown Diaries

Steve Lewis has it right: these are the good ol’ days. They’re good because there’s something for everyone, and you can change your something on any given night. Take Kristina Marino. Her blog, The Downtown Diaries, chronicles all things nocturnal in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn—her own weekly imbiberies are chameleon-like, but they’re also true to herself. She likes a nice local bar where everyone knows her name, she takes chances with new parties, and she doesn’t judge a restaurant by its dress code. Here, her weekly spots to be scene and be sceney.

Name: Kristina Marino Professional Resume: I’m a jack of all trades but am best known for my blog, The Downtown Diaries, and the parties I throw. In my spare time, I’m the Digital Engagement Manager at Mirrorball, aka I get paid to Facebook, Twitter, and blog, all day, every day—be jealous. One Word to Describe Nightlife in New York City: Sceney

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City Loves:Favorite lunch spot: Westville, Schillers, Miss Favela (Williamsburg). • Favorite dinner spot: Rye (Williamsburg), Fette Sau (Williamsburg), Gemma. • Favorite nightlife trend: Wearing whatever the F you want. • Drink of choice: Dark and Stormy’s. • Meal of choice: Any kind of seafood. I love the linguine and clams from Fiore—it’s cheap and delicious but more of a guilty pleasure. • Favorite group of people to bump into: Nicole Wasilewicz (Free Williamsburg), Katherine Kelly, Melissa Widhson, Caitlin Monahan (Darling Cait), Tommy Eichmann (Alexa Ray Joel), Mike Del Rio, Brittany Mendenhall (ChiChi212), Antwan Duncan (I Think You’re Swell), Victor Castro (Wet Paint Photography), Hannah Rad (Sheena Beaston, East Village Radio), the Finger on the Pulse twins, DJ MSB, and a bunch of people no one reading this has ever heard of.

City Gripes:Nightlife trend you loathe: Fake glasses, models, celebrity/socialite DJs, and Aalex Julian. Oh and ladies, if you are not wearing tights in the middle of winter, you need to get your act together. • Drink: Vodka Cranberry • Meal: Street Meat. Food Chains. Dos Caminos. Group of people to bump into: About 50% of the people I see out on a daily basis…New York City is one big incestuous small world.

Her Hotspots:  Honestly, as a blogger, it’s hard to have a hotspot—I am running around the city attending different events, shows, etc. The best part about living in NYC is the variety—it’s all about having options. Here are some basics. Monday: Jane Hotel Tuesday: Le Souk Harem is giving a solid effort. The Bowery, Avenue, Lit, Gallery Bar…I guess. Wednesday: FOTP BBQ Blowout at Good Co, RDV. Thursday: Il Bagatto, Goldbar. Friday: Above Allen, Dram. Saturday: Day & Night, Le Bain. Sunday: Thompson LES pool party, Jelly Pool Parties/ All Saints Pub, Goldbar.

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Every night: Le Bain, Kenmare, Godlbar, or anywhere local—I usually hang at The Commodore, Maracuja, or Spuyten Duyvil. Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Greenhouse, Marquee, SL, Kiss & Fly, Tenjune, Veranda, Above 14th St.

For special occasions: MILK Studios is a great event space.

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Brunch is usually: To eat, I like to stay local. There’s nothing better than brunch in Brooklyn. My friends and I wind up at Lodge more often than not. If I am going to “brunch” to dance on tables and get wasted, then Day & Night it is. 

Group Dinner Lottery

Organizers of big group dinners have it rough. The individual is subjected to the whims of 5 to 15 people or more, often on an email chain where the last suggestion paired with a witty retort or clever anecdote about the level of attractiveness of the staff at such-and-such restaurant wins. Well, screw it. If you volunteer to organize a group/birthday/going away/welcome home dinner, use this new fool-proof method and eliminate haggling amongst potential dinner-goers. It’s not complicated. It’s a lottery, but unlike the New York state variety or credit card roulette, in this game of chance everyone wins. Write down each restaurant on the list below on a separate piece of paper, shuffle ’em around, and pull from a hat. First restaurant wins. It’s not complicated, it’s just science. Bon chance!

Bacaro Sit in the cavernous basement wine cellar for a candle lit evening that’ll mask the group’s escalating inebriation. Make a private party reservation if you have a large group and get your own Phantom of the Opera-inspired room.

Abe & Arthurs Sure, it’s a little sceney, but the menu is pretty easy for everyone. They have Spinach & Artichoke dip, fish, pork, steak and pasta, and salads for girls who don’t eat. It’s also a one-stop shop in that you can take the crew directly downstairs to SL. Just remember, no physical activity for 30 min after eating.

Scuderia Let’s face it, Da Silvano is for your parent’s friends. But during the summer, the outdoor sidewalk seating just crushes it (in terms of awesome-ness). Scuderia has a younger vibe and your friends will thank you after a night of 6th Avenue people watching and catching up.

Gemma Easy to book a biggun’ as long as you plan ahead. They’ll forget the ‘no reservations’ policy if you have a group of 12 or more, and they prefer to arrange a prix fixe menu for you and the gang.

The Smith East Village American Brasserie with a photo booth in back! Just in case you get bored with the seating arrangement.

Barbuto Groups of ten or more can reserve the kitchen table and sample the chef’s tasting menu. Way cooler than the way the proletariat does it.

Freemans Reservations for 6 or more, and nothing says celebration like escaping the city rush up Freemans Alley and stepping into Narnia/Hogwarts/The Wardrobe/Whatever mythical realm you prefer.

Dumont For groups up to 15, the Williamsburg hotspot reserves the breathtaking terrace, and if you’re smart, you’ll request the ‘treehouse’, that rises above the garden and gives your party a little more privacy.

Los Feliz Tri-level taquería has plenty of room to accommodate your rowdy group, plus their lounge stays open until 4am, so the odds of getting kicked out early are nearly impossible. There are also 150 tequilas in stock here, in case you want to set some sort of record.

Alta The seasonal tapas menu is extensive, and there’s no food envy as everything’s share-able. If you’re feeling aggressive, order “the whole shebang” for $420. It is one of everything on the menu, and no one will go home hungry. Request the upstairs area through the kitchen for super secluded private dining.

A Primer on Gentlemen’s Grooming from Steven Rojas

Steven Rojas is usually so put together, people assume he’s gay. He explained his appeal when he was named one of New York’s Mr. Rights “Some girls see guys dressed in Thom Browne or some sort of amazing suit, and they’re like, ‘Wow, what’s that dude’s deal? Is he gay?'” Often described as a ‘Man About Town,” Rojas balances the late nights of a full social calendar with a demanding career as a fashion director at Archetype Showroom, always appearing dapper, fresh and awake. Here is how he does it (it’s a surprisingly simple routine).

When you wake up in the morning after a long night out, what do you usually do to save face? I always have a nice shave to make me feel a lot better and put on a nice outfit! Do you get ready differently for a night out, versus a day of work? Day outfit would consist of a combination of blazers, ties, bow ties, khakis and a button down shirt. I just got the ACL x Steven Alan white button down and I love it. I have a sick obsession with white button down shirts and white sneakers. I also wear a lot of denim (obsessed with my Surface to Air jeans) with a new pair of Converse or penny loafers, V-neck sweaters (I love my Oak deep-V sweaters and my J. Crew cashmere blend sweaters). For night I usually pick a LnA V-neck T-shirt in white or black, with a leather jacket (in love with my Surface to Air x Kings of Leon jacket) and jeans with a skinny fit. My sneakers are usually Converse x Comme.

Skin-care essential: Soap and water. I should probably take better care of my skin … I’m a total guy with this and bed stuff.

Exercise routine: Does walking to and from my office every day count?

Anti-aging tip: NO SMOKING.

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Must-have hair product: A tiny bit of Murrays! Biggest indulgence: Huh?

Hair Salon: Never been to one. I’ve cut my own hair since I was 16. Product line you’re obsessed with: I’m straight, so none.

Shower essentials: Water of course.

Your Scent: Burberry Brit. LOVE LOVE LOVE

Biggest Splurge: Myself.

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Favorite breakfast spot: Balthazar — it’s right by my office and always a good scene. That and Yuca Bar on Avenue A. Great steak and eggs there.

Great lunch spots: The Smile, Gemma, Kelley & Ping, Bite, Dean and Deluca.I also like takeout from Lovely Day, and Corner Shop Cafe.

Dinner spot: Frank’s in the East Village, Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Bouley Upstairs, Nobu, Tribeca Grand.

Can Small Clubs Make Real Bank?

On my trip to Vegas the power of the strategic group machine was evident. Tao Vegas and Lavo, on back to back nights, packed a formidable wallop. The same one felt every night in associated New York venues. Avenue is still there and so is doing it, doing it and doing it well Marquee. The ability to service clients, especially those that spend big bucks in both New York and sin city, sets strategic groups above the rest. Tao New York as well as Stanton Social Club and other properties provide multiple cross promotion possibilities. It is difficult to see how any stand-alone nightlife entity can compete in New York without this outside revenue and marketing boost.

The Andre Balazs properties operate differently, but it can be argued provide similar opportunities. As I mentioned the other day, while attending a party in my honor at the Chateau Marmont, I noticed Leonardo Dicaprio playing backgammon at a nearby table. I heard that he had recently been spotted at Andre’s ever booming 18th floor at the Standard. The ability to service a celebrity as they jet set between cities like New York and LA or Miami is an advantage the real players feel they must have. In the summer, the clubs will create Hamptons outposts to ensure that when the season is over VIPs return to the fold. You basically have 16 days to pay for a year’s rent, insurance, wear and tear and financing, not to mention day to day operating costs. That’s 16 real days out of 365 and that reality doesn’t consider cold spells or rain. You can’t really make money, but you can stay real close to those who butter your bread year round.

Going forward can a stand-alone club generate enough money or publicity or marketing momentum to compete with clubs located in hotels where rent, security and publicity? Electricity and other expenses are absorbed by the large chains. It’s becoming more and more important for food and beverage to drive hotels. Wouldn’t the Standard be just standard if not for the publicity and beautiful folk its restaurants and clubs attract?

Eric Goode and Sean Macpherson seem to understand and succeed in letting the f and b drive their properties. Would the Maritime be worth a mention if not for Hiro and Matsuri? Would the Bowery Hotel be more than a flop house without Gemma and the Lobby Bar? Would the Jane be anything but a youth hostel without the major hype of the Jane Ballroom? Would Ian Schrager’s Grammercy Park raise an eyebrow if not for Rose Bar? The small hipster lounges will somehow pay rent, salaries and other expenses by being “off the beaten path” or non-corporate alternatives, but will these operators actually make loot without the hotel connection or a viable franchise in sister markets? How will they pay their bills, let alone thrive?

Places like Lit or Beatrice will always bring home some bacon and will generate volumes of press, but the big clubs with Vegas, Miami and LA partners will have much larger revenue streams. My home will always be in the smaller, hipper places where advanced forms of music and alternative ideas can flourish outside the mentality of the hotel chain, but I spend about 11 dollars a year going out. The pools, outdoor terraces and decks of the hotels turn summer, which traditionally melted club’s bottom lines, into a season of prosperity. Rumor has it that the roof of the Ganesvoort grossed close to 200k on weekend afternoons during the hot months. With the publicity generating Provocateur now open on the lower level, the hotel is a home run.

The future of clubs will be in hotels. Hotels receive an almost automatic liquor license. This has been challenged of late, as seen in the problem Todd English ran into at his community board hearing for the new hotel on Bond street. In most cases, obtaining licensing will be easier at hotel properties. Their political lobby is stronger than the nightclub industry and the tradition is to grant them permits. Police and government inspections will surely be more lax. Considerations to hotel guests will ensure soundproofing and controlled sound systems. As a by-product, this will lessen the impact of the joints on the lives of neighbors. Hip little bars in hip little inns may become all the rage. Boutique bars will excite boutique hotels. My trip to Vegas showed me XS. It is the deathstar of all nightclubs. It is a place where a million dollar night may well be feasible. Some may find it a bit cheesy, but that’s a lot of cheddar being generated. XS is setting the bar for the new decade.

[Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article reported inaccurate information about Thompson Hotels. BlackBook apologizes for any misrepresentation or inconveniences caused as a result.]

New York: Top 10 Places to Spot Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson was here in New York for a while, where, like a mirage of tousled sex, he dodged fans while flitting from hotel to bar to hotel. If the young gentleman can ever again summon the courage to return to Manhattan — and its chorus of “OHMYGAWD ITSEDWARDILOVEEDWARD ICOULDJUSTDIEEEEEEEE” — here is a list of his favorite places to hide. Stalk away!

Pearl Street Diner (West Village) – According to this man’s Twitter account and this blogger’s mobile photos, the no-fuss West Village eatery was closed on July 15 when it became a filming location for Pattinson’s new movie. When asked for comment, Pearl’s cooks said, “We’ll never wash our hands again.”

Gemma (East Village) – Late last month, Pattinson was spotted dining at the Bowery Hotel restaurant with his blonde Remember Me co-star Emilie de Ravin — which makes sense, because the place is dark, sexy, and features “Late Night Bites.” ● B Bar & Grill (East Village) – Pattinson was once spotted exiting the East Village eatery and mega-patio at 1:30 in the morning after a night of pizza and Peroni with a crew of friends that included Calvin Klein firebrand Eva Mendes. ● The Cabin Down Below (East Village) – In celebration of a friend’s birthday, Pattinson reportedly spent a night holed up in this small model-and-rock star hang in the East Village. At the very least, even if he’s not here, you’re guaranteed to lock eyes with a Stroke or Agyness Deyn. ● Don Hill’s (Soho) – This one doesn’t exactly count, because the 23-year-old actor was on site filming a scene with Remember Me co-star Tate Ellington. Still, in its sweaty Squeezebox heyday — and its subsequent rebirth as the home of the MisShapes’ weekly debacle — this would have been a can’t-miss for Pattinson. ● Il Cantinori (Greenwich Village) – Pattinson was seen noshing on a Caprese salad and veal entrée in this dimly lit Greenwich Village hotspot. (His merry band of masticators added a modest $50 tip to their $350 bill.) ● Black & White (East Village) – Pattinson was instantly noticed by an anonymous fan when he walked into this oft-packed East Village bar. Allegedly, after three beers, he was overheard saying, “I need to stay away from women born after 1988 … ” ● Lure Fishbar (SoHo) – Not surprisingly, this SoHo seafood abattoir is an underground affair, and rumored to have hosted Pattinson during his New York retreat. ● The Stanton Social (Lower East Side) – For its “A Night Out With …” column, The New York Times brought director Catherine Hardwicke and her vegetarian cash cow to this tri-level Lower East Side restaurant, where the group sampled Chef Chris Santos’ macaroni-and-cheese and fish tacos. Later, they headed over to the nearby Death & Co, of which BlackBook said, mistakenly, it’s “vampire-free, at least as far as we can tell — it’s dark in here.” ● Cafe Gitane (Nolita) – The breakfast offerings here are unparalleled, the people-watching perches impressive and close friends say they saw Pattinson here. But they also swear that I look cool in hats.