Ellie Goulding Enters a New Phase With Sophomore Album ‘Halcyon’

It’s a cool September evening in New York City, and the first thing Ellie Goulding sees when her van hits Manhattan’s Lower East Side is the Economy Candy shop on Rivington Street. She’s scheduled for an interview with ArjanWrites at the Hotel On Rivington as part of his HP series, but not before she stocks up on bags of candy. She promptly tweets about the experience and even adds the photo to Instagram. It’s that level of human interaction that makes Ellie Goulding such an accessible pop superstar. She’s also pretty damn talented.

The U.K. artist’s debut album Lights arrived in the U.S. in 2011, but its title track took a year and a half to circulate and make Billboard history as the longest climb to a top position on its Hot 100 chart. “Everything’s weird in my life. Honestly,” Goulding says, settling into the leather sofa in the hotel’s penthouse suite. “I can say that with absolute sincerity.” She’s clad in all black with the only hint of color being her pink-meets-flaxen hairdo. This past year she took a trip to southern Ireland to pen her follow-up opus to Lights, titled Halcyon. The greater whole of the project was crafted in the presence of water; makes sense considering a “halcyon” is a type of mythical bird that watches over the sea. She co-produced the album with Jim Eliot of Kish Mauve, and before deciding on the name Halcyon, the two went on a binge of the Orbital track “Halcyon and On and On.” The content reflected the name halcyon. “Like the bird, it represents peace and happiness, and I like the idea that even though the album is quite dark, it can still represent sort of some kind of hopefulness and truth,” Ellie explains of the project’s title. “So then I was like, fuck, I have to name the album Halcyon. A lot of the album is melancholy, but it shows glimpses of hope so, it just all kind of made sense.”

While writing Halcyon, Goulding had a few life-changing experiences. She parted ways with ex-boyfriend, Radio 1 DJ Greg James, at the close of 2011 and met current boyfriend Skrillex several months later. The two chatted over email before beginning a friendship that turned into a relationship. Halcyon reflects the despair of one love ending and the hope of a new one beginning. There’s still a certain degree of loneliness when two touring artists get together. “I still have this dark side, you know? I think even though I’m in a relationship, and a really good relationship it’s still lonely because we’re not always physically near each other. Also I’m still very confused over what happened with my last relationship,” she admits. “I think it’s just confusion, especially when you’re by yourself a lot. Things manifest, and it amplifies and gets more intense. When I’m by myself in a hotel at night, I have a million things running through my head. That’s how I end up with songs.”

Ellie is escorted into another section of the hotel, before reemerging in a blue leather jacket and white V-neck tee. As she heads to the HP main stage to begin her talk with Arjan, her Beats By Dre commercial is shown on computer screens. A tour with Katy Perry, performing at the royal wedding, spots on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Saturday Night Live were all sizable milestones in Ellie’s career thus far. That’s not including her early achievements of winning the coveted BBC Sound of 2010 award and the Critics’ Choice Award at the BRIT Awards that same year. All of that was pushed to the back of her mind though when creating this new album. “I really had to ground myself to stay away from that and stick with what I was doing,” she says later on of the album’s direction. While there’s a strong Pop influence on Halcyon—evidenced by the album’s torch single “Anything Could Happen” along with the Calvin Harris cut “I Need Your Love”—there’s still a level of sonic purity that hasn’t been diluted by the saccharined mainstream. “That was something that I was never really going to do,” Goulding says. “Like, I love pop music, but there’s different degrees, I guess, of pop music. I would say that this album is very pop—it’s very repetitive, it’s very simple. It’s very melodic and the choruses are big. In a lot of ways it is a pop record, but it’s also kind of…” She trails off. “It’s darker.”

While sitting in a big uncomfortable chair at the heart of the small stage, Goulding makes jokes about her pants being “noisy” and seals answers to Arjan’s questions with a giggle. She’s still not totally comfortable with being a celebrity. Her eyes change shape, though, when snippets of the album are being played. The versions are chopped in a weird way, and while still remaining polite, it’s obvious Ellie isn’t thrilled with the edits made to her work. It’s a clear indicator of her connection to this album. Lights was written eons ago, but Halcyon is still fresh in her mind. “The fact that I can even remember writing tracks and where I was—I feel a lot closer to it,” she says. “That last album was just like, damn, I wrote it so long ago, and I can remember writing it but, like, you change so much! Especially in the climate of what I do, especially, I feel like I’m in a different place every day and I’m meeting different people every day, and I’m having to grow up quickly and having to move on real quick. That means that Lights is just a lot further away to me than it is other people, I think.” While she had a hand in production on the last album, she’s listed as an actual producer on Halcyon, explaining that the subtle vocal nuances scattered throughout the work are the result of her being much more comfortable and familiar with her voice. “My voice requires so much attention to me. I’ll know if the slightest thing is out of tune or if something is a little bit weird. It’s so cool to know something so well,” she says. “I used to record demos with just my guitar and my voice and didn’t give a shit about how it sounded. Now I do.”

While this next phase in Ellie Goulding’s career is certainly not her last, she’s still accomplished a lot in music thus far. Her fan base has reached mass hysteria, but she’s still one with the people. That’s the battle cry of an everyday girl doing extraordinary things, while still having fun doing it. “I posted a picture of me [on Instagram] in these latex pants and everyone was just like, ‘White girl ass!’ Like, nearly every other comment,” she jokes. “I’m just like, I thought I had a pretty substantial ass.”

Ellie Goulding Drops By the Hotel on Rivington For a Chat

It was just two years ago that we watched a then-mostly-unknown Ellie Goulding take the stage at New York’s Hiro Ballroom, causing the hearts of so many young girls in the audience to flutter. She’s since taken this nation, and much of the world, by storm, winning the hearts of nearly everyone, regardless of age or gender. So it was a particular treat at The Hotel on Rivington on Friday evening to share an intimate moment with the charming young lass from Hereford (that’s in England, by the way), as ArjanWrites.com launched the new ARTIST#TALK series, sponsored by HP and Windows (who were also showing off some fancy HP Beats technology). 

Arjan Timmermans chatted her up about her strikingly lovely new album Halcyon, to be released this October on Interscope. Indicative of a palpable musical maturation, debut single “Anything Could Happen”, which was sampled for the assembled, is melancholy and uplifting in equal measure. Mlle. Goulding commented that she loves to write songs, “that give people hope, in the least cheesy way possible.” Having retreated to the isolation of Dingle, Ireland to conjour Halcyon, we can expect a finished album (produced by Jim Eliot) that draws just such hope out of the forced introspection of loneliness. Indeed, another track, “My Blood”, teased at the event, recalls that other most brilliant of English eccentrics, one Kate Bush. Ellie, it seems, has been growing up in public.

[Photo: Tracey Hawkins]

The NYPD Takes Action Against Increasing LES Noise Levels

There’s no doubt that the quality of life for residents of the Lower East Side has suffered due to neighborhood joints popping off on weekends, and because of the clientele who are doing all of the popping. The Ludlow, Orchard, and Rivington to Stanton Street corridors have become a mating ground for a particularly obnoxious horde that storm it each weekend. But with new, more luxurious housing popping up nearby, something has to give—I’m betting that it will be half a dozen or more particularly loud bars and spaces in the near future.

On my way to the How To Make It In America event at Hotel Chantelle last night, I noticed an increased police presence, on a comparable level to what inflicted the Outer Chelsea corridor a few years ago. This action, by New York’s Finest, eventually resulted—directly or through attrition—in the closing of that club mall. Joints like Mansion, Home, Guesthouse, Spirit, Bed, Cain, Bungalow 8, Quo, and Pink Elephant couldn’t survive their own demons combined with the demons provided by the NYPD in the form of harassing street units, mounted cops, warning signs, and Klieg lights. Perhaps the nail in the coffin for that formerly red-hot red light district was the cops’ decision to block off streets with squad cars, vans, and barricades to prevent taxis from picking up and dropping off club patrons. Monied types hate that, and high heels designed to dance on banquettes don’t often enjoy pavement.

This Saturday, I noticed the same tactics being employed on the LES. Cop cars with flashing lights blocked passage, and there was an increased presence on the street. I even saw a couple of cops searching a few dweeby frat boys. Whether the young studs had an open container, or were smoking a joint, or were just being hassled because of their ugly shirts, I don’t know, but man someone needed to knock that enfranchised, my-daddy’s-lawyer-will-be-on-your-case grin off their faces. The same police captain involved in the crusade against the West 27th Street nightlife industry is on board here. His name is Captain David Miller, and he is the new sheriff on the block. He means business and not of the nightlife variety.

He’s a get-what-he-wants-and-knows-how-to-get-it kind of guy. People who know him say he’s a really bright and fair man who finishes what he starts. And I must admit that the din from places lining the street as I walked by was unbelievably loud. Whereas the old tenants of the hood had gotten used to it, moved there specifically for it, or have never been able to do anything about it, I cannot say. But I do know that things are changing rapidly, and I suspect the type of places that will be left standing after all is said and done will be different than the ones operating now. I believe that places like Max Fish, Motor City, and what we affectionately call “dive bars” will have a hard time surviving. The always-closing and reopening Max Fish has more lives than a liter of kittens. The Hotel on Rivington has just been renovated with Alan Philips, bringing long legged and socially aware clientele to that spot. APL will bring adults for fine dining and libations. Beauty and Essex, just around the way, is a hit with a great crowd, while Stanton Social Club continues to be a go-to spot, and even The Meatball Shop is banging with a decent crew. All around, there are places now overrun by a 20-to-25 beer worshiping set that has pushed the hipsters south or to gulags like Williamsburg. Tammany Hall has Eddie Brady, a veteran operator who will play by the rules and bring in rockers to his new music venue. In this game of musical chairs, these joints will have chairs provided while the others are left standing in the street. Like a thousand revelers this past weekend they will then be told to move a long.

The warm weather will have open French doors and windows allowing the noise to travel down the street and up into apartments. Decibel readings will shut those windows and doors before city agencies use that information to shutter their doors for good. How much carnage will be inflicted on the downtown scene will soon be seen. If I lived there I might be inclined to say thank God, it’s about time, but if were an operator who invested thousands or millions of dollars and blood sweat and tears, I’d be extremely worried.

There are signs posted warning patrons to respect the neighbors and now every place has a security guard with an ID scanner. Still, the action continues to overflow into the streets where party animals will linger, smoke, chatter, laugh and scream while traveling from one room to another, in what has become a giant club with residents trying to sleep upstairs.

That never works, something has to give and I’m betting it will not be the city agencies representing and protecting the interests of these sleep-deprived voters. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence that this new activity is related to the new hotel slated for the 180 Orchard lot. With the Thompson, The Rivington and the projected Indigo Hotel nearby, all armed with their own bars and restaurants, the area has potential to be a “nice” or “pleasant” part of our great city. When I lived in Paris, I had a male model friend named Adam who modeled very little but always had the finest of things and the nicest gentleman friends. Well, Adam used to describe people who bored him to death as pleasant. If he particularly loathed someone he would say “he is such a pleasant fellow.’ Oh well… there goes the neighborhood.

With rooftops all the rage now, tomorrow night I will attend what is being billed as the opening of the Sky Terrace at Hudson Hotel. The event will feature Kanon Organic Vodka (what will they think of next?), The 88, and People’s Revolution with special guest host, Pamela Love. Music will be by my buddy Paul Sevigny. There is always so much going on at the Hudson, with so many rooms packed full of quality nightlife. I find myself at the place way too often. If it wasn’t heaven before, the roof certainly brings me closer to it.

Startup Social: Socialisting @ Tribeca Grand

“I want it to be like Friendster,” declares Socialisting founder Lawrence Lewitinn, then quickly clarifies: “The early days.” We’re at Socialisting’s launch party. I found out about this party because I spotted it on Facebook and recognized some attendees. I found Lawrence at the party through Peter Gaston, a SPIN editor my girlfriend met through work. Friends of friends! Theme!

Socialisting is like Craigslist, only centered around your friends and friends-of-friends. You only see listings of people up to two degrees of friendship from you. This doesn’t make too much sense to me when it’s applied to yard sales and free couches, but it does make sense for roommates, job offers, and free kittens. These things are best handled through contacts, where the social trust breeds better fits and better behavior.

“Everyone has a hookup story from Friendster,” Lawrence says. There’s been a lot of Friendster nostalgia in the tech and media crowds now that the site is deleting people’s old photos and blogs. Many of the people in this crowd (and at this party) were Friendster’s first users back when social networks, and the kinds of interactions people had on them, were novelties. And one of those interactions was finding new friends on the network.

The early days of a new social network are always heady for the owners. The first thousand users are more exciting than the tenth million users. Every data point on the site, every user interaction, can be seen in real time. (In the first year of Twitter, one page showed everyone’s tweets in a live feed. Impossible now.) The site could become anything. Everything could still happen. And there are parties.

This party is in the large lobby bar of the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Unlike most New York hotel bars that host startup parties — the Hotel on Rivington, the Delancey, Le Bain at the Standard — you can actually tell you’re in a hotel. On a Saturday night. there are plenty of non-party patrons. The party is chiller, less crowded with bold names, than most. I do catch Barbarian Group founder Rick Webb and Kevin Kearney of Hard Candy Shell, and upon arriving I immediately recognize the first three clusters of people.

Lawrence acknowledges the party’s laid-back nature. “No velvet ropes,” he says. There actually is a velvet rope separating the party from the rest of the lobby, but, you know, not a douchey rope, and it disappears at midnight when the free rum drinks end. No one’s checking a list here.

Lawrence’s sister Sarah is DJing. She plays some NIN, some radio pop and “Black Hole Sun”. Sarah emerged a decade ago as Ultragrrrl, a DJ, producer, manager, and blogger. She has a Wikipedia page. When I met her last year, she didn’t mention any of that, though she did say she managed Heinz’s Facebook page. The last song I hear her play is Modest Mouse’s “Float On.”

We leave a bit after the open bar ends, because while there are many people left, we just don’t know them. This sounds like a stupid sentence unless you know that media startup parties in New York mainly attract the same core crowd, called “the 250” by a certain group of critics. Rex Sorgatz, the 250’s club president, is busy with a birthday party (which swaps guests with Socialisting throughout the night). Lawrence has made his party open and apparently hasn’t concentrated on luring big names. These are friends and friends-of-friends.

So what does the launch party say about the startup? First it shows us who’s gonna join first: Lawrence’s friends. Very different from Facebook, which started with the founder losing all his friends. It also shows us how the competitive market will shake out. Socialisting has to fight old-school competitors like Craigslist and any innovations from Facebook, as well as all the other classifieds startups. Third, I have no analogy for free rum drinks.

Socialisting grew out of Lawrence’s List, a Facebook group for people to exchange job and gig leads. There seem to be a lot of these lists online. Lawrence’s friend Anthony De Rosa, a Reuters employee and popular blogger, launched the spinoff “Soup’s List” for some media friends. This spring, former AOL exec Jonathan Dube started a LinkedIn group called “You’ve Got Talent” for everyone he’d had to fire before getting fired himself. (Facebook has a Marketplace app for these functions, but nobody uses that.) Craigslist famously grew out of Craig Newmark’s events list, then lost a lot of its friend-of-friend advantages. When a general structure like Facebook groups keeps inspiring a specific use like job lists, there’s usually an opportunity for someone to replace it with a better structure.

The description for Lawrence’s List asks members to concentrate on listing jobs they’re involved with. “This list is effective when it’s my friends or their friends meeting/hiring/moving in with my friends or their friends, not if it turns into another Craigslist where crazies/kooks/stalkers can find/meet/harass/kill/cook each other.”

Aren’t strangers the worst?

Startup Social evaluates new tech and media startups based on their party-throwing prowess.

The Management Shuffle: The Darby, CV, People With Money

In an e-mail I received on Friday, my longtime friend Friday Patrick Robertson announced that he is “no longer working at The Darby.” Patrick, of course, was the long time GM at Marquee. He’s a nightclub manager who found himself manning the helm at The Darby, which is a restaurant, after leaving Marquee and traveling back to his native South Africa. I felt he left the country to diffuse discontent, as he did go from the powerhouse Strategic Group to the 1OAK/Butter crew.

In the e-mail he says that he’s off to Australia “for a short time before returning back to New York.” I am sure Patty will pop up again at a high-end establishment. He is a good friend, and a knowledgeable and hardworking manager. Veteran of a thousand gin joints and eateries, Francis X. McHugh will assume control. He is in-house and Darby will not lose a beat.

Upper management of restaurants and bars, especially those that cater to “the scene” are hard to come by. With new joints opening and all the old ones being revamped most people with knowledge of the “back of the house” elevate quickly to ownership. If you know how things are run, how to keep the ship afloat, and can also limit lawsuits, enforcement actions and liquor costs at the same time, you are no longer content with a manager title and a manager salary. You want a piece of the pie. The economy has brought a slew of novices with a lot of money (money that was not performing well in stocks, real estate, or their usual fields) who want to place it in an increasingly reliable hospitality business. The novice money needs the experience of those toiling below the glamor in hot spots around town, and will give points to those with knowledge.

Every promoter worth his free bottle of Grey Goose in the last 5 years has been inundated with offers of ownership. Many don’t go there, as flitting from one situation to another often pays more, but also lacks the entanglements and responsibilities of the slice. Door people and bottle hosts have been getting into the act as well. A person with considerable knowledge and experience must have some flaw or limitation to not get a share. Some are pursuing other careers and can’t commit to the hours, or accept that nightlife, and not stardom is their future. Some like the steady paycheck and the flexibility they have as a worker bee. Recently, a place looking for a GM was frustrated by the flawed candidates applying, and wound up with a former manager who had graduated to owner, but wasn’t making enough money after all. They had decided to work for a living once again.

A place can be severely hampered by lack of a good management team. In just a few days, Mathew Isaacs and his crew will leave CV, that “little joint that could” in the Rivington Hotel. CV had a cute crowd from day one, and made money. They succeeded despite the limitations of the hotel. The Rivington itself, in my opinion, has always been plagued by awful management and a worse managerial system. With just 1 exception, managers at the joint have proven their lack of value enough times over, that the place has been pushed to a mostly irrelevant status. Despite an incredible location and a fascinating Marcel Wanders design, the place attracted the lowest common denominator nightlife crowd in the neighborhood to it’s confines as soon as it’s newness wore off. The Lower East Side thrives with a hip and often monied crowd. With in-the-know, relevant foot traffic, the Rivington is ignored as if it were a tire shop. My dealings with the people with walkie talkies at the joint have rarely been intelligent. They seem to jockey for the affections of hotel owner Paul Stallings and his lovely wife, and do little else. The Matt Isaacs crew took over the flailing 105 space, just off the lobby, and launched it in November 2009. They have been successful. The space seemed like it was not part of the hotel, and therein was its chance to thrive. I am told it will now become a Tequilla Bar.

Video: BlackBook Celebrates the Launch of Midnight Mixologists, Presented by Stoli

Last week we threw a party to celebrate six of the raddest mixologists in the country, and this week, we’ve got the video to prove it. Our fearless videographer Kirk Larsen went deep into the trenches of the penthouse at the Hotel on Rivington to capture the action firsthand at our Midnight Mixologists fete. The results are after the jump.

Video above.

BlackBook Celebrates the Launch of Midnight Mixologists, Presented by Stoli

You’ve seen the videos. You’ve read the interviews—wait, what? You haven’t? Well then go here and check out BlackBook‘s Midnight Mixologists, presented by Stoli. It’s six of the country’s best drink slingers doing their thing on camera. The occasion is so special that we went ahead and tossed a big ol’ jam in the penthouse of the Hotel on Rivington (featured in this classic 30 Rock bit), because nothing beats sipping cocktails on a balmy night surrounded by panoramic views of the New York skyline.

In from out of town and mixing their specially designed Stoli drinks were some of the Midnight Mixologists themselves, including Camille Austin, Tommy Merolla, and John Lermayer. Another John, this one of the Leguizamo family, held court with a few of his pals on the first floor of the tri-level space. DJ Dexter Love, who you may remember from our last party, took care of the beats. Just for fun, we had a pop-up photo studio set up courtesy of Stoli. Guests were also given gift bags filled with goodies from Ginger + Liz Colour Collection, O’Cookies, OCC Cosmetics, Eboost, BioSupplments, and John Allens.

Photos courtesy of Zhanyi Jiang at Joonbug.com

NYC: All the Week’s Parties, New Year’s Eve Edition

It’s Wednesday! What are you doing just sitting there? You should be out! Running around, wheeling and dealing with the ‘in’ clubs and high traffic restaurants for a better deal on your prix fixe, four course, four hour premium open bar NYE pre-packaged evening, or at least working at the second job you picked up just to pay for the special night. That’s just the way it is, New Yorkers. Recession be damned, if you want to go anywhere even semi-hoppin’, you have to throw down major green just to step out your door. But alas, dear reveler, we have an easy to manage round-up of Thursday night’s festivities, with pricing included. To buy tickets for New Year’s Eve events in New York and elsewhere, check out Joonbug and NewYearsEve.com.

Boom Boom Room: New Years Eve at the Top of the Standard. Time: 9:00 pm – 4:00 am. Price: $250 for standing room. Details: The Studio 54 of 2009 will feature a performance by Courtney Love. This may be your only chance to buy your way in. Revel: Day & Night Winter Wonderland. Time: 9:00 pm – 1:00 am. Price: $125 for a premium open bar from 9pm to 1am. Details: The Koch brothers were pioneers of the day and night in the ’00s, now VIP dinner reservations (up to 10K for a group of 30) will more than mimic their epic brunch shit shows.

Avenue: New Year’s Eve. Time:10:00 pm – 2:00 am. Price: $175 for GA. Details: Getting past Wass, priceless.

Hotel on Rivington: New Years Eve Party. Time: 9:00 pm – 12:00 pm. Price: $150 for GA, with an open bar from 9:00pm to 2:00am. Details: Sure, the hot tub is tiny and a total gimmick, but the roof is gold on a night like NYE.

Juliet: Supperclub New Year’s Eve 2010. Time: 9:00 pm – 4:00 am. Price: Call for pricing information. Details: This is a great place to fist pump your way into the New Year.

Tenjune: New Years Eve. Time: 9pm- 4am. Price: $150 per person, including premium top shelf open bar starting at 9 PM, $200 a ticket includes your own table, complete with 1 bottle of vodka, 1 bottle of champagne & waitress service for the night. VIP tickets are priced at $250, and this includes 1 bottle of vodka, 1 bottle of champagne & waitress service for the night and premiere seating. A special guest performer will also be there to ring in the New Year! Details: Eugene’s hotspot inexplicably still packs some heat, and he wont disappoint. Southern Hospitality: New Years Eve. Time: 10pm- 4am. Price: Tickets start at $80 per person, which includes a top shelf open bar from 10pm-3am, passed hors d’oeuvres, and a champagne toast at midnight. VIP package is $120 per person and guests will be given top shelf open bar from 9pm-3am, stationary hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast at midnight and party favors. Additionally, VIPs will be treated to table seating for groups, two bottles of vodka, 1 bottle of champagne, and 2 buckets of beer! Ultra VIP Includes Prix Fixe Family Style Dinner including 3 courses for $140 per person. This includes top shelf open bar from 9pm-3am, champagne toast at midnight, party favors, 2 bottles of vodka, 1 bottle of champagne, and 2 buckets of beer. Details: Party starts at 10 PM and will feature live music by DJ Richie, party favors, and 14 HDTVs to watch the ball drop.

1OAK: New Years Eve. Time: 10pm- 4am. Price: $250 for a top shelf open bar from 10pm-2AM, champagne toast at midnight, live music by DJ Phresh. Tables are steep at a minimum $2K-$5K. Details: It’s price gouging at its finest, but it’s one of the finest clubs around. So it goes. Butter Restaurant: The Birchroom Soiree (downstairs). Time: 10pm-2am. Price: $125 per person, guests can enjoy an open bar from 10PM-2AM, stationary hors d’oeuvres, a live feed of ball drop in Times Square and a live DJ. Guests can also purchase a Large Table: $1500 minimum or a Small Table: $750 minimum. Details: A few weeks ago Leighton Meester sang here. A week later a Prince drove a Rolls Royce around the city and stopped in to hob knob here. None of this matters as much as actually being here on NYE. Guastavino’s: Kelly Killoren Bensimon Of The Real Housewives Of New York Hosts New Years Eve 2010. Time: 9pm-3am. Price: General Admission $125 for a 6 hour premium open bar. Details: Cuz it’s not a party unless there’s a housewife.

Tavern On The Green New Years at Tavern On The Green in New York City. Time: 9:30pm-4am 6 1/2 Hours Premium Top-Shelf Open Bar (930pm–4am), 4 1/2 Hours gourmet buffet dinner 9:30pm – 2am, Continental breakfast @ 3am. Price: General admission starts at $250. Details: Tavern’s “Farewell Party.” After 30 years, Tavern is closing it’s doors after this New Years event, so if you’ve yet to experience the awesome view and atmosphere, now’s your chance.

Webster Hall New Years. Time: 8pm-2am Price: $100 for general admission get’s you a 6 Hour Premium Open Bar with MSTRKRFT. Details: This is for the kids. For those who would prefer to be around sweaty, jumping, dancing drunkards and less around buttoned up, black tie, yuppie drunkards.

Roseland Ballroom New Years. Time: 9pm-4am. Price: $120 for general admission get’s you a within earshot of Paul van Dyk. Details: It’s unclear whether it is an open bar, but they do remind you to tip your waitress!

Lower East Side Reborn (as a Fat Baby)

At the beginning of the aughts, scenesters were already chattering that the Lower East Side was dead. After decades of hosting immigrant cultures and earning a reputation as the neighborhood most likely to relieve you of your wallet, Max Fish be damned, its moment as an urban frontier for artists and cool kids, off the radar of tourists and the tragically unhip, ended quickly. It rapidly swarmed with high-end boutiques and expensive lounges and out of town guests directed there by a knowing concierge, while staples like Luna Lounge, Tonic and Collective Unconscious were forced out of the ‘hood they helped create.

Because the new offerings were targeted to a bland, wealthy audience dependent on the ‘00s boom economy, and unlikely to move into apartments the size of tenements, whatever the counter-tops were made of, it was predicted that customer traffic would eventually trickle down and high-rents would topple the new neighborhood order. Blogs like Eater pulled no punches when reporting on venues like The Blue Seats, whose initial customer “deal” was to offer NFL game-day seat reservations for $50 a piece – excluding the cost of drinks. (Despite being “Deathwatched,” Blue Seats is still open for business.) Back in 2006, I had an assignment to write a piece about the rumored closing of Ludlow Street’s split-level club Libation and what that meant for the neighborhood. It, too, is still open.

In fact, despite the financial and real estate markets having soured, business is still booming on the LES. Clothing boutiques abound in even greater numbers than they did five years ago. The pricey and unremarkable restaurant at the Hotel On Rivington, now called Levant East, seems to be humming along after several misfires. The weekend lines outside the overpriced, widely-reviled, tightly-packed rock club Fat Baby are long, and brimming with a bridge and tunnel crowd. There’s no shortage of acclaimed restaurants or $6 draft beers within arm’s reach of the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington. It’s hard to get weekend seating at beer havens Spitzer’s Corner or the Marshall Stack and just about impossible to spend less than $20 on two beers and an appetizer in either venue.

And, there’s so much more to come. At least two dozen nightlife venues have opened, or are about to open, in the hood this year, despite the recession. Apparently, flavorless gentrification can go on and on and on, a lesson we should have learned from the Meat Packing District.

The LES’s new hangouts include, The Doghouse, a cavernous dive bar that serves free hot dogs; Meatball Shop, self-explanatory; T-Poutine, dishing up the newly trendy Canadian confection involving fries, gravy and cheesecurds; Los Feliz, a three-story upscale taco and tequila bar; Thompson LES, a trendy hotel with a poolside lounge and a zero-star restaurant (hello, alumni sorority mixer!); Bia Garden, a mostly-hidden Vietnamese beer garden; an upcoming piano bar AND an upcoming karaoke lounge; and yet another unnamed, unlisted speakeasy far from the subway. I don’t intend to label any of these concepts as dreadful (Los Feliz and Bia Lounge seem to be well-regarded), but none of them seem particularly inventive, with their well-studied, one concept hook. Would you brag about any of those things to your out-of-town friends to justify your four-figure rent?

Of course, if you’re forced to hang on the LES, which inevitably, you will be, many of the spots that opened in the aughts, and especially the later aughts, aren’t so bad. If you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well enjoy a Banh Mi and a good cocktail. So if you do find yourself wandering south of Houston, east of Bowery, here’s a game plan that works. The LES is dead, long live the LES.

Eat lunch at An Choi. The entire menu is superb, and it’s a particularly suitable place to grab a lunchtime banh mi and beer — and if daytime drinking is not your thing, the Roasting Plant serves exceptional coffee mere steps away. Grab first date drinks at Allen & Delancey, which still runs an impressive bar even if the kitchen is infamously volatile. Get your snack fix at Mikey’s Burger, imminently opening in the old Rush Hour space, where Michael Huynh promises to offer clever Asian spinoffs of the American classic. Browse leather jackets at Orchard Street on Sundays, when pedestrians reclaim the street from vehicles and the storefront’s move their racks to road’s center. Drink one of the last cheap PBRs around at Welcome To The Johnsons, which hasn’t changed since you were last there in 2004. Find one of the first respectable LES sushi restaurants at Uo (mostly unmarked, above longtime resident 151 Bar). Eat fresh liquid-nitrogen-made ice cream — indeed, they make it right in front of you with KitchenAid Artisan mixers — at Lulu And Mooky’s. Get your dance party fix at 200 Orchard, once the hottest new neighborhood nightclub in 2007, for just over a month until it had licensing issues — it recently reopened, finally. You know exactly what you’re getting at Stuffed Artisan Cannolis (as a self-respecting Italian I can tell you that the regular cannolis are good, but the cannolis with unusual fillings, PB&J, pumpkin spice, are better). Finally, if you are nightlife royalty and you must do one thing that is late-night, exclusive, luxurious and satisfying, stop at The Eldridge. You will find a buzzworthy hotspot that delivers the goods — if you can get past the doorman