Fashion Week Brings Alacran Mezcal, a Willyburg band, and the Cocktail Bodega

With every Tom, Dick, and Harry meeting up with every Betty, Veronica, and Sally to attend Fashion Week events in every club, bar, lounge, restaurant, or alley – the city is in a frenzy. Cabs are impossible to get, and fashion victims seeking out lattes have overrun my favorite coffee shops. I tried watching the Democratic convention for escapist purposes, as I decided long ago who I was voting for. My friend DJ Cassidy is DJing it. Now that’s a big gig. I saw him just a minute ago at Noah Tepperberg’s birthday bash and noticed that somehow his head can still fit into his trademark, seasonal boater (that’s a hat). The Democratic convention is some gig. I can’t complain, as my agency 4AM has me all over the place spewing out my brand of rock and roll. Tomorrow I will DJ at Empire Hotel Rooftop and next week at door-God/actor Wass Steven’s birthday at Avenue, and lots more. It’s so much fun.

They had me out at The Montauk Beach House for the Labor Day Weekend Monday pool party. I played classic surf music and end-of-summer fare while my friends sunbathed by the glorious pool. TMBH is wonderful. We stayed over and the rooms were luscious. I want back.

I attended the super hush-hush private performance by Gary Clark Jr. at The Electric Room. Nur Khan always delivers superb surprises for Fashion Week. Gary is a big deal and Nur was gushing all about him. I love The Electric Room and will attend again real soon for the super, hush-hush performance by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club which is coming up but I can’t tell you about. The Electric Room holds a couple hundred people, and seeing this kind of talent in such an intimate setting is amazing.

Obligations took me far away from the opening of Lil Charlie’s, the sweet spot underneath Ken & Cook. Artan and Karim gave me the $2-dollar tour last week and I was so impressed. They made the place more comfortable than its Travertine incarnation. It looks great and seems to be larger somehow than before. Little Charlie’s Clam Bar was for years the home of the locals of Little Italy. The gentrified neighborhood has lost its charms and has been replaced with high-end boutiques, salons, and restaurants. The use of the name in this context raised my eyebrow, but there isn’t anybody around anymore to understand why. So be it. I think the place is going to be a big hit and I’m going back next week.

I also missed the opening/friends and family of Cocktail Bodega on the corner of Stanton and Chrystie. This opening needs a lot of ink and I’m running out of room today, so I will revisit. I’ll just say it adds considerable light and charm to what was a very dark corner. That little area is becoming hot with The Box sill going strong, and Bantam and other venues developing their brands; I think we all will be spending more time nearby.

I will be at the Alacran Mezcal launch party at the Hotel Americano tonight. Alacran is all over Fashion Week and behind the events at The Out. In a very short time, Arty Dozortov and his team has established the Alacran brand. As avid readers know, I don’t drink…well, I do drink about twice a year, whenever I have sex, and nowadays I’ve forsaken the jamo for Alacran. It’s delicious.

Sunday I will check out Chris Anthony’s shindig at The Grand Victory. Chris was prominent in the nightlife world before he grew up. He has formed a small record label, Jump Ramp Records, and his first project is The Boogie Rock Boy’s, a Willyburg rock/blues/funk act. He has just wrapped their debut LP, a three-track album coming out in vinyl and digital, and this Sunday, in  live audio. The album release will be celebrated along with a couple of other noted local sounds…Delano Groove, Jawaad and Kiva, and DJ Prince Polo.  There’s going to be a BBQ and I’m going to be there. 

This Week’s Line-Up: Andrew Goldberg’s Birthday, “Wildchild” Party, and “Broke House”

It feels like spring and I’m lazy and just want to lay out in McCarren Park with the puppy but, alas, there are too many things that need to be done. Writing this leads the list, then it’s coffee at House of Small Wonder which, if I was smart, I wouldn’t tell you about. On Wednesday I celebrated Octavia McKinney’s birthday party at Chinatown Brasserie on 4th Avenue. We had a small room all to ourselves as we all took in Octavia’s undying beauty. She has been a club fixture, employee, and general menace to society for nearly 20 years. After a great dinner at this underrated restaurant we headed to The Boom Boom Room – yes, I insist on calling it that. It’s still the best room in the city.

We listened to old classmate, DJ Fanny Chan, offer up a lounge house-sound to a beautiful crowd. She will be DJing again tonight for Vida at the Hotel Americano from 7 to 10pm. Fanny is living the New York Dream. Formerly one of the most sought-after bartenders in New York, she has moved on to DJing to support herself while pursuing her fashion design career. She is one of a million people who have made it here by working in nightlife on the way up. A vibrant nightlife supports creatives: the people that make this city a cheerful place. As we left The Standard and headed into the night, we passed a threesome who were dejected – obviously told "no" by the Boom Boom door gal. The female of the three tearfully and forcefully told her male companions in a thick southern drawl,"I don’t really care if we get in. Their Hogs and Heifers looks like a perfectly nice place!"…and it is.

Tonight, I am trying to get to the Abrons Art Center where Heather Litteer known as Jessica Rabbit AKA Rabbit will strut the stuff that dreams are made of in Broke House. You only have a few days to catch this act which, according to The New York Times, is an undeniable hit.

Tomorrow I am continuing my rock and roll adventures with a visit to Candice Fortin and Pam Glam’s “Wildchild : Down and Dirty Dance Rock” party. It will feature a live performance by Jogyo and will be at 107 Stanton Street. I have never been to this spot but I hear it’s an old theater foyer or something like that. I also hear it’s dirty and decidedly undone. Sounds like a perfect place for imperfect people to gather and let loose.

Next Wednesday I will attend Tao Strategic Group honcho Andrew Goldberg’s birthday bash at Avenue. Andrew is one of the great people in this business and I expect hordes of scenesters and no meansters at this jungle-themed event. I’ll be talking about this again but figure I will spend the next few days scoping out an outfit. Tarzan won’t work for me anymore.

Winter’s Coming: Cold-Themed Hotel Bar Openings

The Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a frostier than usual winter in New York City, with plenty of snow. After getting a free pass last year, it’s time to re-learn the cozy side of cold. New York hotels are dropping winter wonderlands in bar spaces that not so many weeks ago were all about mini dresses and mojitos. Hot winter nights. Now available independent of global warming.

Manhattan may be short on chairlifts, but that’s no reason you can’t enjoy an après-ski scene. The Hudson Hotel has converted its second-floor Private Park into a rustic pocket of Vermont. Taxidermy, Christmas lights, and mismatched chairs provide northern accents inside the Hudson Lodge’s leafy oasis. “Eat” in lights directs you to the bar, where snacks are divided into savory and sweet. Fondue is primed for a comeback, joined here by fellow cold weather bites like s’more grilled cheeses and chipotle chili. Drinks are standing by for Arctic blasts, with adulterated hot chocolates joined by hot toddies and a classic Irish coffee. If you’re missing snow they’ve got that, too, as artificial white stuff falls through happy hours. Just not enough to cut any powder tracks.

Over at Brandon Freid‘s sweet Sanctuary Hotel, rooftop spot HAVEN is also going for the ski chalet gold. A newly installed tent keeps things warm, and makes the scale more intimate than the longer vistas of summer. Crimson accents and stellar light fixtures add to the holiday spirit. The rebooted menu features fondue (of course), with the kitchen working hearty/savory angles. The cocktail augmentations approximate what they might be drinking at the North Pole come December 26th—candy cane martinis, Irish coffees, and Bailey’s Peppermint hot cocoas are among the highlights.

Hôtel Americano’s rooftop bar turns up the cozy with its new Patagonia-inspired aerie Conôsur. The space in summertime hosts the pool scene of La Piscine, but winter sees the same waters warmed up for hot tubbing. The solarium dining room has been made Viking-friendly, with tall white candles and sheepskin on the seats. The kitchen picks up the Patagonia theme with a South American-style parilla grill. Flank and strip steaks pair up nice with bone marrow and chimichurri. There’s fondue, too, leaning on beer in the Suisse, white wine in the Savoyarde. Signature winter cocktails split neatly into hot and cold. On the former, don’t miss the Danny el Fuego, fired with amaretto, apple brandy, butter, and ginger juice.

Coming later this winter is the Hilton New York’s entry for winter-themed boozing. New Zealand by way of Las Vegas export Minus5° Ice Bar (pictured) prides itself on the art of frozen water. The –5 refers to the ambient temperature, which stays on the south side of zero Celsius to ensure the surroundings don’t start to melt. Everything is made of ice. Walls, seats, bar, even the glasses. To stave off frostbite, they’ll gear you up first with protective jackets and north country hats. Vodka rules the roost, served in glasses made of frozen New Zealand artesian water. Souvenir photos will be available, should you want to work up a pose with the ever-changing collection of ice sculptures. (If my study of Green Bay Packers home games is relevant, expect a lot of men taking shirts off for the camera.)

[Related: BlackBook New York Guide]

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Go French! A Bastille Day to Celebrate

America had its birthday, now it’s the French expats’ turn to celebrate the storming of the Bastille, which took place on July 14, 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution.Whether or not you like the French lifestyle, French food, or the French people in general, it’s a good excuse to continue the summer party and get your escargot quota in for the year with a week of French-themed events.

First up, get classic and classy with Michael Arenella & His Hot Eight band playing July 12 from 2 to 6pm in front of owner Georges Forgeois’ Cercle Rouge Brasserie in Tribeca. They will be offering games of petanque (which involves circles and balls), can-can dancing by The Love Show, and pommes frittes galore. Forgeois’ other bistro, Bar Tabac in Brooklyn, will also be celebrating on Sunday, July 15 starting at 11am with Pastis-laden drinks and croque monsieur. Of course, that’s not all for Cobble Hill, the whole block by Bar Tabac will be celebrating with music and the nation’s largest live petanque tournament.

Naturally, Beaumarchais in the Meatpacking will also be reveling in French independence on Saturday, July 14 by playing petanque to the beats of DJ Marco Peruzzi. For a mellower Saturday celebration on the Upper East Side, Brasserie Julien features dinner and jazz with Myriam Phiro from 7pm to 12am. Also on Saturday, Hotel Americano hosts a Bastille Day dinner by chef Thomas Boullault, which features his Presse de Homard appetizer, organic chicken with chanterelles, and his stripped bass dish, Bar de Ligne–all paired all paired with various bubbles by Billecart.

Of course, you can hit up the annual Bastille Day on 60th Street on Sunday, July 15 from 12 to 5pm. There not only will French goods being peddled, but you can fill up on crepes from Yorkville Creperie and other nibbles by Brasserie Cognac, Bel Ami Café, Rouge Tomate, and many others. Finally, if settling down for a French celebration on your own time is more your speed, make merry by heading to Astor Wines and Spirits and pick up a bottle of sparkling Cremant d’Alsace ($17.99) or change things up and try the Armagnac from Tariquet ($28.99). Grab some creamy Camembert or blue du Bocage and a baguette at Murray’s Cheese, it’s what the French would do.

Drink and Get High at New York’s Newest Rooftop Bars

Instead of grassy eco-roofs, the latest crop of new hotels is planting bars up top. Maybe they’re there to evade air rights litigation. More likely it’s that bars are more fun—and more profitable—than plants. Either way, it’s that time of year again. The namesake pool at La Piscine, the bar and grill atop Chelsea’s Americano, is purportedly for guests only, but why swim when you can eat and drink? A special elevator carries patrons up ten floors. The Mexico D.F.-based management likes the crowd to lean Latin, so work on your mezcalito and caipirinha pronunciations.

Down at Battery Park’s new Conrad Hotel (as in Conrad Hilton, of Mad Men season three cameo fame), the rooftop bar Loopy Doopy is already a draw for financial fellows and the rest of the fun percent. The bar takes its name from one of Sol LeWitt’s massive gouache murals hanging inside the hotel. Atop the sixteenth floor you’ve got views of the city’s glass behemoths, and across the Hudson, there’s New Jersey.

Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel joins the rooftop bar club with The Ides Bar, run by the same duo behind the hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant Reynards. Six stories up, the furnishings are minimal, but the craft beer and specialty cocktail list is extensive. Out-of-towners staying on the Brooklyn side of the river should make for a crew worth mingling with. What are hotel bars for, if not chatting up new faces? If nothing else, prime views of the Financial District will keep you occupied. So get up on a roof and drink. And bring sunscreen and shades, because you’re that much closer to the sun.

New York Opening: Hotel Americano

Hotel Americano, the latest from those ceaseless purveyors of fabulosity at Mexico’s Grupo Habita, brings a decidedly civilized edge to a stretch of 27th Street that once served as nightlife’s depravity row.

A truly internationalist affair, Mexican architect Enrique Norten’s metal mesh facade nods to the area’s industrial heritage, while French designer Arnaud Montigny (noted for his work on Paris’ Colette boutique) has given the rooms an almost rustic Japanese feel, complete with platform beds. For romantics, some even feature fireplaces and soaking tubs. But Carlos Couturier and the Micha brothers don’t want you to get too much sleep: Americano flaunts the La Piscine rooftop restaurant, with pool and cabanas, an eponymous French brasserie, and a sexy basement lounge, El Privado.