Last Night: Rosewood Was Slamming, Spotted Leo DiCaprio & Amanda Bynes

So last night I had a blast. It was a bit of a pleasant surprise how great the opening of Rosewood, 5 E. 19th St., turned out to be. The space Rosewood occupied was once many clubs run by many operators. In my opinion, none of those joints were any good. Dorsia, some people said, had its moments, but none while I was there, which I admit was rare. The redux of the space into Rosewood seems to be on the cheap but that often doesn’t matter as long as it’s comfortable, the flow is good ,and the overall feeling is positive. I had heard that Leo…yeah “that” Leo, was there at the "friends and family" event a few days before, and that last night other boldface names were expected. From my perspective in the DJ booth, I saw beautiful people committed to a good time, and one semi-celeb: the much-talked-about Amanda Bynes. As far as I could tell, she was behaving marvelously. Noah Tepperberg once introduced me to her at Marquee many years ago, and she was all smiles and sweetness. I like to think of her that way and try to dispel reports of her "Lohanisms.”

The rock-themed den had Kelle Calco following me. His following is so hot that I was left shocked and awed and honored to make them sway. They seemed to enjoy my rock and roll tip. Upstairs, DJ Danny Rockz put the well-heeled crowd into a frenzy. He was like a rockstar with most of the crowd, dancing while facing the DJ booth as he put on a show. The room was illuminated by the requisite sparklers announcing the presence of the sweet set. Rosewood was slamming last night and I congratulate all involved.
After my DJ set, I headed to Hotel Chantelle to congratulate the wonderful Luc Carl at his birthday party. Luc is the real deal. He was humble about the event which also had a rock theme, with DJ Ian El Dorado offering rock anthems and crowd pleasers. Tommy London, one of the night’s hosts, handed me a flier for his Bowery Ballroom Dirty Pearls gig on January 4th, 2013. That is the first event in the next year that I have been invited to. It’s kind of eerie. The Pearls are heading off on their first-ever national tour and it couldn’t happen to nicer guys. We scooted off to The Famous Cozy Soup ‘n’ Burger on Broadway off Astor for a late-night burger and coffee malted. OMG I shouldn’t have; it was amazing and I want more but must maintain my figure. Cozy was slammed with familiar faces and eclectic strangers. It reminds me of Kiev, back in the day. Great food and a New York downtown crowd winding down after all the bells and whistles of the infinite night.

Sunday is Funday again at the re-tooled GoldbarJonny Lennon, a rocker from Queens, is at the helm of this weekly must-visit. Jonny and I are getting bro tattoos soon. It’s like that.

Sleep-Deprived & Heading To The Love Show’s Send-Off Gala Tonight

I’m sooo tired, my phone number should be 1-800-Mattress. I’m so tired, if I go to an airport they’ll make me check the bags under my eyes. I’ll try to tell you where I’m at but don’t expect too much of me today.

Last night I went to the celebration of Mark Kamins’ life at Santos Party House and saw people I haven’t seen in decades and might never see again. I had the honor to introduce Konk, a band of note that hadn’t performed since 1986. All around me were familiar faces from an era that I enjoyed so much. The late, great Mark Kamins would have been happy. It felt right. The music was wonderful and the love in the hearts of attendees was anchored by his memory.

While "working the room," I was continuously reminded of nights and people lost in time and space. Tall tales were told. Some stories that were horrible at the time were comical when told of again. It was 30 years ago when we all danced together, made love, and knew we were oh-so-cool. We all felt so immortal.

Mark’s passing has seemed to define our mortality as never before. The arc of our lives took us to an alternative universe where we could play with others who also felt the call to the corners. From these corners, world-renowned artists, musicians, and personalities arose and all moved on. The creatures of the night went their separate ways as misspent youths adapted to a world of adult responsibilities. It took Mark Kamins’ passing to bring us back together.

If I wasn’t so exhausted, I’d head off to see the legendary Robin Byrd, who is doing a Q&A thing tonight at 7pm at The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. I personally have a thousand questions I’d love to ask her although I suspect not all of them have answers. I must stumble over to The DL for George Wayne’s Downtown 100 List party.

If I could muster up the energy, I might check out Goldbar, where” Live Flamenco” night is happening for the early birds from 9pm to 11pm, after which DJs Jonny "The Lover" Lennon, Louie XIV, and Chino are entertaining. “Future-themed Thursdays” include doo-wop, jazz, and karaoke. As the evening progresses, rock and hip hop will prevail. They seem to be trying to have fun over at Goldbar. A concept lost on so many operators.

Although I am too burnt out to tell you all about it, I must mention that The Love Show is on its way to Tokyo to shock and awe. Tonight they will have a send-off gala at Triskelion Arts, 118 N. 11th St., 3rd floor, between Berry and Wythe in Williamsburg. Due to its proximity to my apartment, this I can attend and after sleepwalk my way to my nearby bed. Please everyone say: Goodnight Mr. Lewis.

Matt De Matt’s Birthday Party, a Michael Jackson Remembrance, and a Far-Flung DJ

The birthday gala for man about town Matt DeMatt (pictured, with Eddie Murphy) will bring all the boys and girls to the bar. That bar is of course G2 Lounge, 39 Ninth Avenue at 14th Street. G2 is the extension of Gaslight right next door. I’ll host along with Village People cow poke Randy Jones, and Steven Zee, Peter Collins, Jay Sardo and Michael Feulner. I think G2/Gaslight are basically the best location in town. Matt is the owner/operator and has big plans.I’ll tell you all about it soon enough. The soiree is tomorrow night and I’ll be there early if you want to yell at me about something. I have to cut out to spin over at Hotel Chantelle‘s Thursday Rock ‘n’ Roll weekly.

Last night I missed the Fifth Annual Remember the Time Michael Jackson Tribute at 1OAK. 1OAK owner Richie Akiva hosted the event which featured the amazing DJ Cassidy. Of course I remember the time when Michael Jackson suddenly passed. I wound up at 1OAK in a state of shock and aww, gee wiz. DJ Cassidy played every MJ song imaginable and the crowd became fully aware of his legacy. The loss still haunts us.

Aaron James, a DJ of note and old friend, has returned to NYC. His Facebook page says he lives in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. I’ll buy that, although he seems to be everywhere. It’s a great bar rap anyway. He is being welcomed back by fellow DJ’s Kris Graham and Terry Casey at a party tomorrow night, Thursday, at Goldbar, 389 Broome Street. He’s been gone for 6 months. I asked him to tell me what he’s been up to and what he is doing and he sent me this.

I adore airports, train terminals, bus depots, hotels, and anything that embodies transition. I have longed for this nomadic wandering and endless adventure, all of my life. This last 6 months in India has been like all the rest of the time I’ve spent there over the years, eye-opening and intense, both challenging and rewarding … and always transformative. Every time I go and come back, I feel slightly larger in some way, more learned. Besides DJing in nearly every major Indian metro and breaking back into the Southeast Asia market, I did what I came to do, and that is to plant seeds and open up all the major markets in Asia.

In a few months when I go back I’ll be christening the next phase with events in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bali, and hopefully Hong Kong and more, before settling back into India and all the momentum I have built there. I’ve also been able to get myself into a position there where I can start to bring over some DJ’s for one-offs and shows, which is an exciting new prospect.

Essentially I came now for a very short time and for a few very specific reasons. I am here to collaborate with my friend and one of my all time favorite musicians – Vanessa Daou – who is getting set to release her new album ‘Light Sweet Crude’ in the coming weeks. She asked me before I left the country if I would join her on tour and collaborate with her and the visual artist on the shows. I’ve been such a big fan of hers for at least the last 15 years, so I’m feeling like such a big dream is coming true.

I’m also here to assist my dear friends Robert LaForce and Bella Saona (of The Fire and Reason) on getting their new TV project called ‘Little Wicked’ off the ground. One of the most meaningful aspects of my life thus far has been bringing like-minded people together with a common purpose and goals, and to witness the magic that they can create. I just knew Bella and Robert would hit it off, and am in awe of how well this has worked out, and with what they’ve come up with.

We will be working together on the screening party in early July for the pilot episode, and I’m helping to rope in a co-host for the event, preferably an edgy magazine that combines music, film, and nightlife. Hmmmm, any come to mind?

Steve, you have been a amazingly supportive over the years … and I really appreciate the interest you have taken in my development as a performer. I’ve known you since my very first residency in New York City–and perhaps the very best one–the Sullivan Room at Life. It feels like lifetimes ago, but I will never forget or take for granted my roots. Here’s hoping you can stop by tomorrow night (Thursday) for my Welcome Back Party at Goldbar along with fellow friends and DJ heavyweights Kris Graham and Terry Casey. They’ve been heading up the Deep House Thursdays for the last few weeks and evidently it’s been off the damn chain. I’m very grateful to them for bringing me in and providing such a perfect backdrop for what is to me a very meaningful occasion.

I truly miss all my family and friends in the Big Apple in a big way, and am eager to see all their friendly and familiar faces. For me, this return trip is like a refueling, a grand pitstop. New York has always been that way. It keeps me grounded, centered, focused, and fills me with all of its vibrating, bountiful, kaleidoscopic, and phantasmagorical energy for me to go out and see the world. New York, I truly love you.

Related: Steve Lewis on Twitter; BlackBook New York Guide; Listings for G2, Gaslight, Hotel Chantelle, 1 Oak, GoldBar

Recovering From New Year’s With Bingo at Bowery Poetry Club

I’m still hurting. This holiday season has beaten me down. It feels like I spent most of it in the car driving from one bogus hamlet to another smiling at people who think I personally killed Jesus. Yeah…it was like that. New Year’s Eve had me at Goldbar where I witnessed what has to be the most pathetic couple out that night — or any night. I am pretty sure I found them but am willing to hear about others. So, I’m outside enjoying the beautiful, although a bit apocalyptic Mayan, weather, waiting to DJ, when this heavily accented pair stumbled up to the ropes. It was an 11pm stumble, not the 2- or 4ams that would dominate later. They asked for entry and pulled out an 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper that would supposedly open up the velvets for them.

"We’re here for the open bar," they declared in a heavy but unfortunately understandable accent. The doorman was confused. "We’re not doing anything like that here!" "This is Goldbar!?!" they demanded, shoving forward their paper. "Yes. Let me see that," the helpful door dude queried. He and a couple of the security guys looked at the dream sheet. The door dude explained, "Er…this is for Goldbar in Australia". After an unbelievable long exchange of "that’s impossibles" and "look, it says it right heres," the conversation digressed into them angrily explaining that it "i’sn’t their fault" and they "should be let in" These two couldn’t be let in and would continue this argument well into the night. I eventually stepped in and steered them to the Lower East Side where standards are always a bit lower.

Sunday was a headache and a stomach ache and cloudy eyes and a pillow that wouldn’t let go. I only had one drink…but it might have been a big one. I thanked the stars and moon and Jupiter (which is, by the way, that bright thing hanging next to it these nights) that I and most of my world had the day off — and on Monday, too. Monday was spent driving and walking around waiting for an evening planned at the Bowery Poetry Club. At 6:30 we caught Warhol legend-in-resident Taylor Meade who was in rare form. The octogenarian poet had a packed house reeling with laughter as he recited his poems, showed us his art, and told us stories about a life spent with Andy and that crew. A story of an embarrassing encounter with Jackie O. underscored the depth of this genius’s life. Taylor is unpredictable. He literally takes random paper out of an old bag and reads what comes. Sometimes he is a bit lost or uninterested, but more than not he is enlightening. He just celebrated his 87th birthday, and although the body is frail the mind and wit is still intact. We were mesmerized and enchanted.

We kept our seats for what the local yokels call "Tranny Bingo." It’s so much more than that. The wonderful Linda Simpson and Mr. Showbiz himself Murray Hill run with this BINGO ball thing every Monday, and we go as often as possible. They don’t need this plug as it’s packed out the door on most weeks. It is the best game in town. I won the big jackpot round this week as I had the hottest card in the room. I needed one number on nine different occasions on that very card, and felt going into the final round I couldn’t fail. I shared the grand prize with two others and went into the night to have breakfast at IHOP on 14th and 2nd where I am a regular. It was a predictable Monday night for me and my crew. We needed predictable after a season that seemed to start months ago… well maybe it did. I’m going to be a little weak this week and I do ask for forgiveness.

Oh… my New Year’s resolution??? IHOP and it’s lucious omelettes have me bound to breaking eggs. So my resolution is "NO MORE MR. NICE GUY." Stay tuned — tomorrow I’m gonna rip someone an asshole which means there will be two of them in one silly place.

The New Marquee: Believe The Hype

While the folks in Washington DC struggle to raise the debt ceiling, the good folks of Strategic Group have literally raised the roof on the redone Marquee which opened last night. The roof is now 30 feet high, which is unheard of. The front wall is dominated by a 24-foot LED screen which flashes and pops and keeps the energy up. Costumed go-go dancers did their thing on elevated catwalks while EDM banged on. I said it before and I’ll say it again (probably a few more times): Marquee in New York City dispels the adage, “What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas.” It also knocks down another common saying: “Don’t believe the hype.” Believe the hype people; Marquee NYC is built for speed, sound, and sight lines.

Literally everyone in clubland was there to see what has been hyped as the next big thing in clubland. It seems bigger than before, as volume will do that, though the capacity hasn’t changed. I spent my time chatting up club royalty like Jamie Mulholland, who has had great success with Caine, GoldBar, Surf Lodge, and all sorts of excellent etceteras. Noah Tepperberg tore away from his table of gorgeous jet setters to give me the $5 tour. We posed for pictures on the way.

For the most part, they stuck with the floor plan I helped devise around a year ago. There was some furniture that wasn’t on the plan but Noah told me that’s going since it will be a big room for dancing. shows, and events – with considerably less seating than the Marquee design that was so successful before this latest incarnation. Noah thanked me for my minimal effort, recognizing that I have always had a special attachment to the venue which I helped design a long time ago, in what feels like a galaxy far, far away.

Alacran Tequila honcho Artie Dozortsev chatted me up about his White Mezcal Tequila bottle and the pink bottle he’s hyping for Valentine’s Day. A percentage of sales of Artie’s hot product will go to a variety of breast cancer awareness charities, thus defying another old adage… nice guys can finish first. I hung with Bill Spector and Richie Romero and Paul Seres and Pascal and and and…. I stopped to congrats co-owner Jason Strauss who was herding a bevy of beauties past the door bureaucracy. The staff was brilliant and helpful. Some dude once said, "you can’t go home again.” Baloney! I went to Marquee last night and It felt like home. 

Being the nightlife veteran that I am, (for those that don’t know, I used to be Steve Lewis), I went to Strategic’s other hot property Avenue to see how it was faring on a night when everyone was at their new elsewhere. Avenue was packed with an eclectic crowd. Sam Valentine, a big-haired rocker, hosted a table that wasn’t aware of the hoopla 10 blocks up 10th Avenue. The programming of those who wouldn’t know about Marquee or who dance to the beat of a different drummer…er DJ… was an act of professionalism that should be noted.

Avenue was doing business, maybe not as usual, but busy. Let’s just say it was doing business as unusual. Strategic’s great minds brought in folks to pack the place while most of their efforts and their a-team were occupied with the Marquee opening. To a visitor unaware, it seemed like a great club night. I did a walk through 1OAK, which was gathering steam and ready to embrace the late-night crowd that it always gets. Marquee’s revelers would surely be packing booths in an hour or so. 

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Saying Good Night to 2011


2011 rushes into history taking some notable strangers, a few friends, and some cherished concepts with it. I can’t complain about the way it treated me because it seemed to have treated a whole world of people worse. The world seems harder and more dangerous and less forgiving than in years past. Every minor conflict that we were worried about seems to have been worth the worry. The news is rarely good news and we seem to be accepting mediocrity as a nation. A recent trip to Virginia took me past town after town of similar malls and cookie cutter architecture. My New Year’s resolution is simply to still give a damn.

Nightlife has become more of a means to escape for most. There are still wonderfully creative and ambitious people pushing the envelope — celebrating creativity, but a solid decade of reality TV has unfortunately exposed us to our reality. "Boob tube" used to describe the instrument, when now it clearly describes those who find escape or answers or life watching it. I will be out and about tomorrow night popping in here and there, seeing the sights, kissing cheeks and telling bad jokes. I will DJ the last desperate hour of 2011 and a few moments of the virginal 2012 at Goldbar before heading into the streets where I always find comfort.

My first stop will be Stash, my wonderful creation on 14th and 8th. It is now ready for prime time players, and I will gather with a few friends and owner Matthew Isaacs for a toast to what was and what could be. It’s intimate, colorful confines will do the trick. I will miss GaGa at Times Square for the ball drop and probably Debby Harry at The Boom Boom Room (yes I still call it that). Nur Khan’s soiree at Casa Le Femme might catch me passing through for a second as I believe that the celebrators there will be gorgeous and fabulous. These terms are often mutually exclusive. That is a concept sometimes misunderstood in nightlife. W.I.P. seems to be a place to be with legendary producer Scram Jones Djing. If I am still awake I will head to Pacha for the tomorrow it always delivers. Pacha always is fantastic on New Years Eve. Webster Hall as well. If size actually matters (and I do thank God everyday that it does), these two joints are answers to your what-to-do? questions.

If you still don’t know where to go to find your place in the universe maybe it is best not to do it. The desperation of New Year’s Eve is sometimes a downer. Get some sleep and gather with friends for breakfast. If you must hit the streets realize that most places have been rented out until 2am with four-, five- and six-hour open bars as part of the package. By 2am there will be millions of not-so-hot messes walking and driving. Subways are reliable, packed and therefore safe at all hours. I tell everyone to hire a car and driver from your local car service for your peak hours. They charge 40 to 50 bucks but will wait for you anywhere and whisk you around and take you home safely. Split this with a few friends and it’s very affordable. Taxis will not be an answer. Places like Lit and White Noise, which are essentially mom and pop operations — saloons run by saloon keepers with panache — will often be the best place to enjoy the ride. They will be affordable and usually controllable. Anything goes in the big clubs, and if you don’t believe me ask any experienced security worker or company operator. They dread NYE.

Be careful, have fun and most of all don’t try to pack a whole years worth of partying into a single evening. Carry hand warmers and power bars and a small bottle of water. Stash some extra cash and only use it for an emergency. I worry about you.

Ruben Rivera & Mark Baker Separately Address Their Recent Bust Up

Nightlife is sometimes a game of musical chairs. Sometimes those chairs move around, go up and down, disappear two at a time, or even come back. As my 8- year-old-niece might say, "It gets wonky." That Travertine, XIX space is being redefined once again. As reported here earlier, Mark Baker and Artan Gjoni came on to finally get the restaurant working right, but now we learn that main man Ruben Rivera has quit and moved over to W.i.P., which just gets better and better. Ruben will man the door and add his flair to the totally hip spot. He is the real deal, one of the most talented people in the business. I adore Mark Baker and Artan, but am leery about them going forward without Ruben.

Ruben took Traverine/XIX from the throes of defeat into the winners circle. It was a great place to hang. The crowd, music, and ambiance were exactly right—hot, cool, forward, new, and yet real old school New York nightlife. It was all Ruben. The new investors brought into to invigorate the space proved to be less than cool. I met one of these dudes in the kitchen space for a little meeting a couple weeks back. His language was "Jew" this and "Jew" that about some problem he was having paying off a debt that affected his credit with a liquor distributor. It was quite surreal. I looked at my watch to see what year it was, and pondered if I was in NYC or a lot south of the Jersey Shore. Suddenly, he realized I might be Jewish. I saw the revelation hit his addled brain and made it easy on him. I looked him in the eye with a wry smile attached and said, "Oh don’t worry, I’m not Jewish." I let a pause get ripe, and then stared into his eyes hard and said, "But my mother was." This dude may prove to be a problem, as Mr. Baker and Artan bring their brand of sophistication into the space. Ruben had to leave. The atmosphere was a little too weird for me, and I can handle most weird. I’d ask for an apology but then I’d have to communicate with this fellow again and anyway, I’m pretty thick-skinned. I wasn’t surprised yesterday when I heard Ruben had enough. I caught up with everyone except that Jew-spew guy. I understand his point of view already. First Ruben, then Baker.

You left XIX. Why?
I simply felt like I created a brand that had legs and value, and the new investors/partners had a different plan that did not coincide with my vision, or the vision and reputation XIX stood for. In other words, XIX represented me. Yt represented what NYC nightlife used to be when it was free and live. Their new vision had nothing to do with that. My feeling was, why fix something that ain’t broke? But you can’t win ‘em all.

It was a tough haul, but you really did well there. What were your greatest  accomplishments?
It was rough at first, but thanks to the help of Jonny Lennon, 4AM, and DJ Sinatra, we pulled it off. I sat in that empty room and thought of all the amazing parties I’ve been to in NYC over the years, and what they all had in common was the energy. I feel like if you let people feel free, they have less frustrations. The purpose of a nightclub is to leave your worries at the door and have a great time celebrating life. Why not do it in a welcoming environment instead of the normal oppressed setting? I feel like I proved to myself that I can do something different in NYC. I didn’t have to do what everybody else was doing. The response has been amazing. Bespoke group Cody, Doug and Brooks Rand believed in the venue and pushes it hard. Not many people involved, but always the right people. That’s what counts.

Is that hood viable? Kenmare goes, now this—although Jonny over at Goldbar is still good.
The hood is great, but it’s a lot different from any other hood in NYC that offers nightlife. It’s a real community. People know each other in the east side of town. They support each other. A great percentage of XIX’s success last year was the fact that I catered to the people in the community. I didn’t flood the place with out-of-towners. Bottom line is Jonny Lennon was there first he worked out the kinks established himself at Goldbar and allowed me to eat there with him. I’m forever grateful to that man.

How would you describe the nightlife brass ring you are looking for?
I will own my own venue outright, with no other opinions on how to do it but mine and my team’s. There’s no better gift in life then to be able to afford to be free creatively. Oppression is the enemy for people like us, Steve, but you already know that. A very important lesson learned is never partner up with people that are not on your level. It creates jealousy, and be careful who you throw a bone too—it’s a business filled with opportunists. Most people are trying to use people to get what they want. Me, I always thought it was about the love and music.

I caught up with Mark Baker, who is in Indonesia doing Mark Baker things. It must be noted that both Mark and Ruben and I are close friends and I hate to see this kind of stuff happening.

Tell me about this power move. You and Artan at XIX/Travertine. Ruben is out. What’s up with that?
I wouldn’t call it a power move. It’s quite simple. Artan and I have always loved the Travertine space. It was beautifully built and the food was good, but way too fussy and with expensive ingredients. A less than perfect marketing/PR plan and some plain bad luck, and it was destined to close. There was no way it could have survived in that hood—the lounge was always an afterthought for them and didn’t have any synergy with upstairs, so all in all, the whole thing didn’t gel and the restaurant closed. Ruben put his heart and soul into managing and promoting XIX, and had some great nights going, but in the bigger picture of creating a profitable biz without the restaurant, it just wasn’t realizing its full potential. An investor was brought in to redo the space, take out the current owners, and the plan is to renovate, bring a great chef in to make a tastier, simpler, and less expensive menu, make the restaurant accessible to both locals, late-nighters, and  a cool, chic clientele that can enjoy the lounge too. A great cocktail menu, parties, events, and a fashion week launch will bring this venue to where it should be. Ruben was asked if he would like to be a partner, but I think his history with the previous owner was so strained that he just didn’t want to deal anymore. It’s a shame. I love Ruben and his efforts at carrying XIX were immense. I think he just burnt out on the whole thing, so he quit. Life goes on.

Is it going to be renamed?
It will be renamed, redesigned, exorcised (to get rid of the bad energy, lol) and relaunched with a fresh new look and some exciting stuff. All will be revealed closer to fashion week when we relaunch. It’s a diamond of a venue, intimate, sexy, cool and the right size and layout.

Any players besides you guys?
I don’t really want to name names right now, but all the usual suspects are inquiring. We will be putting a fresh new team together with a couple of surprises. I think the space needs a break from the attention its been getting. It’s cold and it’s January. Spring will bring a fresh new outlook. 

Now this sounds really cozy, but it actually is kind of not. My sources say Ruben was doing great in the XIX lounge space, but the upstairs restaurant needed some real players. He solicited Mr. Baker and Artan. Now he’s out, and that doesn’t sit right. Somebody convinced management or management convinced Baker and Artan that life could go on without Ruben. It was clearly Ruben who made the connections. He’s too much of a stand-up guy to complain.

A few years ago, I was brought to Vegas by a major NY club player to design a restaurant at a famous casino. A few weeks in, my boy was out, but he didn’t know it. The casino went behind his back and asked me if I would go on when they booted him. I replied with only a strange story:

"A man walks into a bar and sees a hot girl and sits next to her. After a few minutes, he asks her, Would you sleep with me for a million dollars? She stares down her swizzle stick and replies, For a million dollars I would. He turns away, and a few minutes later, he turns to her again and asks, Hey, would you sleep with me for a hundred dollars? She gets agitated, and asks, What type of girl do you think I am? He calmly replied, We already established that, now we’re just negotiating price"

They understood that it was a no go for me. I wouldn’t betray my friend for a fee, hefty as it was. The story said I was willing to sell my soul and be a whore if the money was undeniable because then a friend would understand. I’m not sure what went down behind the scenes, and Ruben’s back. I do know that he is out and they are in. Maybe Baker’s and Artan’s price was met and Ruben will understand. I’m weird though with shit like this. Sometimes people refer to me as a stand-up guy. The thing about being a stand-up guy is sometimes you got to stand up and walk away when a stranger is trying to separate you from a friend for a few bucks. Be careful, Mr. Baker and Mr Artan. If it was done to Ruben it can be done to you. Mark, what happens when they come for Artan? Hey, no worries as you said—life goes on.

Talking New Year’s Eve with Goldbar’s Jonny Lennon

New Year’s Eve is a holiday when every joint in town will be sold out. The question is: does every place have to be a sell-out to mediocrity. Can there be more to the end-of-the-year celebration than a rush to numbness and a confused hangover? For decades I have sought reflection and refuge and found answers in Times Square. In the olden years, it was chaos with fist fights, brown bags of swill, and all sorts of other bad behavior. These days the ball drop experience is like the neighborhood is year-round: Disneyfied, sanitized, and safe. There are children everywhere, and politeness and camaraderie abound. In the hours prior to the moment of truth, a year and maybe a life can be assessed and resolutions are defined. Then it’s off to the races…places and people we love. 

In years past, "everyone" went out of town and were replaced by millions of "no-ones." The places we always found chic were newly inhabited by people who went out a couple times of year and didn’t know what they’re doing when seated at our cherished tables. Joints sell out to these people figuring if the tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it then it doesn’t matter. In other words, with all their customers enjoying fun in the sun or on ski slopes, there will be no rush to judgements of this suburban invasion. With the economy being the way it is, many real deal, bonafied, experienced nightcrawlers are stuck in town and are asking themselves, "is there anything to do that isn’t cheesy?"

I will be at Goldbar, where Jonny Lennon will gather those he knows into his beautiful den of beautiful women and worthwhile men. The intent is to party like it’s not 1999. I will be DJing that last hour of 2011 and have spent a couple of days and nights trying to come up with the last track of 2011 and the the first for 2012. I’m taking this seriously and would love your input. Some preliminary concepts are "Gloria" by Patty Smith to close the year and Peaches” "Fuck The Pain Away" to open 2012 right. I’m also considering leaving with The Hives’ "Tick Tick Boom" and entering with "Tomorrow" by Ladytron. You get the idea. If you are determined to watch the shebang on TV and leave the party hats and hangovers to the rest of us, you can catch my set tonight at Hotel Chantelle with Miss Guy and Lilly of the Valley in the room below.

I caught up with Jonny Lennon and asked him about New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve is traditionally an amateur night out, but you seemed determined to do it cool. Tell me what’s going on at Goldbar.
We have prided ourselves at Goldbar for not using promoters, not selling out, and not compromising our vision and integrity for quick money. New Year’s Eve is historically novice so we wanted to make it a home base for our family, staff, regulars, and good clients this year. We are using legendary Damon, who is one of two hosts that work at Goldbar. The second is Julian Cavin, our in-house DJ and host who will be spinning a guest set with you and Jimmy the Gent. We used elements of our week and put it together for one fun, family-driven NYE. We are running our door like a normal night except we will charge walk-ups. We have sold all our tables already and are just looking to start the New Year off right with family and friends. I’m extra excited to spend New Year’s with you Steve — my uncle, good friend, and mentor.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?
My New Year’s resolution is to take better care of my health, spirituality, and business. I’m looking to move into the fullest expression of myself.

One way a person described you is a "rolling stone," yet you have been at Goldbar forever and indeed seem to have stabilized so many aspects of your life. What are you thankful for as 2012 is upon us? Regrets? Goals?
I have been in nightlife for 18 yrs. You know my history, so you know I have had very high highs and very low lows. I have had such huge extremes in my life that I am enjoying the consistency of having a home like Goldbar. I use Goldbar as my home base — it is one of the best designed rooms in NYC, huge diversity of clientele, and what I consider the best staff I ever worked with. I go to work for my staff/friends — I don’t leave because it’s my house. I believe that when you commit to a space, it is your duty to make that space successful, no excuses. In reference to being a rolling stone — I have many other things in my life such as 4am, DJing, and my music. I am constantly on the move but I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Goldbar has been good to me. I am a small business type of guy and I believe if you open a place you should keep it open! If you can’t do that — UPS is hiring!

Talking To Jonny “The Lover” Lennon About The Newest Incarnation Of Goldbar

I slept through the Mayan thing and this doesn’t feel like heaven. So I’ll offer you something short and sweet and I wish you all a Merry Christmas: I don’t believe that spaces get old. They get tired, maybe even sleepy. I think operators get lazy. I think operators often do not evolve. The revamping of Marquee—which will revealed soon enough—will result in a new day, err night, for a joint that totally dominated it’s niche for seven or eight years. Goldbar had a six-year run for four of those; at least it had a dominant role in its scene. For many reasons, it fell off the radar only to be resurrected again by the good efforts of new owners Shaun Rose, Jonny Lennon, and Udi Vaknin. Jonny "The Lover" Lennon was there before and was a big reason why I, and so many others, embraced the place.

Jonny and I are "bros." In fact, we’re getting "bro" tattoos to solidify it. Okay, I’ll tell you what it will be: cufflinks and cuffs with the words "shoot the cuffs." Goldbar will feature a new sound system, an updated design, a bigger DJ booth, an expanded VIP area, and an art installation featuring Curtis Kulig and Mirf. Tim Cooper designed the cocktails. They tore that platform by the bar down making it comfortable for people that are not Hobbit-sized. I asked Jonny "The Lover" Lennon all about it.

What’s difference and why were those changes made?
We made a couple of changes just to enhance the sound, make more space for guests, focus on our cocktails, and provide better service. I brought in local artists to help support the neighborhood that has supported me for five years. We built a bigger, updated, more functional DJ booth with better equipment, and a new VIP room that represents the maturation of our many clients that grew up here.

Is this a funkier incarnation?
I wouldn’t say funkier. Goldbar has always been funky, but it was also super diverse. We wanted to take the strong points about the music and diversity of the crowd, and focus and enhance them.

Has the neighborhood changed? Is it still developing?
The neighborhood has changed but it still has its core of locals and internationals that call Goldbar home. There are a ton of places opening, which only helps bring out the people.

Were there discussions to change the name? How did it stay Goldbar?
I didn’t have any discussion about changing the name but I wouldn’t have done it under any other name. I always believed in the Goldbar concept.

What is the legacy of the old Goldbar and its six year run? What are the aspirations of the new Goldbar?
I believe the legacy was the music, the design, the hospitality, the staff, and the overall energy. There are kids that grew up in Goldbar, DJs that started at Goldbar and blew up, and international parties that grew here. It’s an internationally recognized brand and if there were any other aspirations, it would be to bring it to more people and inspire more creativity in nightlife.