Hipmunk’s Hotel Heat Map

Every one has needs, and the good thing about New York City is that the majority of those needs can be met. Travelers come to town to satisfy their shopping addiction, or to eat at the best restaurants in the world. Some come to see the Statue of Liberty, and some travel to stay up all night. You want to stay close to the things you’re into, whether that’s Broadway or Burlesque, and Himunk’s Hotel Locator is an awesome tool that helps you choose the perfect hotel by showing its proximity to your needs via a heat mapping guide.

Hipmunk, created by MIT-grad Adam Goldstein and Reddit Co-founder Steve Huffman, started off as a super-simplified flight locator with great visual design. Seeking to further simplify the travel industry, they’ve recently launched this helpful Heat Map tool as a component of their hotel search. The tool maps areas of interest in a city based on needs like Vice, Nightlife, Shopping, Tourism and Food, aggregating tourist information from Wikipedia and Yelp. Here are a few of BlackBook’s top hotel picks for each of Hipmunks categories.

Vice: Factors in Bars, Casinos, and Adult Establishments Staybridge Suites Times Square: Sweet suites with real kitchens convenient for extended Javits Center duty and other midtown business obligations. Like Scores. Distrikt Hotel: Near the seedy Port Authority, where XXX video stores line the streets, and XXX entertainment fliers blow in the wind like tumbleweeds, this New York-themed boutique hotel goes name brand, with Frette linens, LG flatscreens, and Ecru soaps. Four Seasons Hotel: It’s the Four Seasons, ’nuff said? Accepts all manner of currency, and in Midtown East, can find all manners of debauchery.

Next: Hotels Near Shopping and Nightlife

Shopping Trump SoHo: Midtown master infiltrates the western fringe of Soho with lux condo-hotel living. Bryant Park Hotel: Straight up, the hottest stay in town. Cellar Bar, Fashion Week runway shows, and plush, plush rooms. Ace Hotel: Garment District hotspot with enough amenities to keep you from ever leaving.

Nightlife The Jane Hotel and Ballroom: Latest smash from Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode gets all Edwardian on the WVill. The Standard: Smack dab in the middle of the Mepa—like a glass and steel tree growing up and around the High Line. The Bowery Hotel: Sayonara to SROs on the new bobo Bowery in this boutique Bowery/Nolita playground with a hot restaurant and lounge scene.

Next: Hotels Near Food and Tourism

Food Abingdon Guest House: As close to the West Village townhouse experience one can get without buying a shih tzu and an Equinox pass. Hotel Mela: Luxe boutique newcomer aiming to be the “apple” of your eye, near The Lambs Club, and classics like Dallas BBQ Chelsea and Jimmy’s Corner. Crosby Street Hotel: La Esquina just around the corner—near Kenmare, too—this spendy Brit import lands on quaint Crosby Street.

Tourism Andaz Wall Street: Hyatt gets haute on the Financial District, otherwise known as the district that has everything on a tourist’s checklist: The Bull, Lady Liberty sightlines, the Stock Exchange (Wall Street is in the hotel’s name). The Plaza: Eloise’s Central Park home, Home Alone, Midwestern tourists, Donald Trump, rich permanent dwellers and you. Hilton Times Square: Location, location, location. If you’re truly looking to stay smack-dab in the center of New York City, the Hilton Times Square is your hotel. Steps from pretty much everything, from Broadway theaters and midtown skyscrapers to museums, restaurants, and nightclubs.

The Truth About Charlie Sheen

Nightclubs and bars are rarely given their due for what they do best. They bring truth to a society enthralled with lies. Licensed premises are places where we can get away from the news, the politicians, and the commercials that at best mislead us and more often lead us astray. Truth, according to so many great philosophers, can be found at the bottom of the wine bottle. While exploring the rumor that Charlie Sheen is taking over at Dior, I took time out to look into this truth-in-liquor thing.

The old Romans who conquered half the world had the saying “In vino veritas,” which my droid translator tells me means “In wine there is truth.” The old Chinese who conquered the other half said, “After wine blurts truthful speech.” The ancient Babylonians offered, “In came wine, out went a secret.” They were great gardeners. Charlie, who is under attack from everyone, is only trying to find out his truth. He is digging deep and exploring what makes him who he is. I read that he said, “I’m 45 with 5 kids,” and it was time to “explore some different realities,” when he was asked about his alleged alcohol and other substance-caused problems. He is also saying things like “I have tiger blood and Adonis DNA,” I don’t follow gossip much, so I’m wondering if he means Tiger, the golfers, blood? When asked if he intends to stay clean for the long term, Charlie reportedly said, “I don’t know. We’re not there yet, I’m just right here, right now. Yeah, I have no interest in it.”

I guess he has been paying attention to that other Tiger, whose career went kerplooey when he gave up the hookers and tried to go straight and narrow. Charlie is just standing up for himself, for his truth, his right to party. He reportedly offered, “You have the right to kill me, but you do not have the right to judge me. Boom. That’s the whole movie. That’s Life. Winning!” The same source also claims he said, “I got magic and I’ve got poetry in my fingertips, you know, most of the time, and this includes naps. I’m an F-18 bro.”

Who are we peasants to judge Charlie? He has done alright, by his standards. He was getting 2 mil an episode — now going for 3 — porn star girlfriends, and celebrity wives. “62 movies and a ton of success. I mean c’mon bro. I won best picture at 20. I wasn’t even trying. I wasn’t even warm.” Why shouldn’t he be “tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars.” Who are we mere mortals to judge him? Here’s hoping his home rehab programs don’t ruin his career. A report said that he had freed himself from the “troll hole” of Alcoholics Anonymous. I know many members of what my friends call “the cult,” and I think many of them might agree with his label, but they go anyway. Without Charlie’s assets, talent, brains, good looks, vim and vigor, and that tried and true tiger blood, they need it to survive. Most have found too much truth at places like the ones I used to run. I don’t drink very often, as maybe the old Romans are right and I don’t want to face my realities or see the truths that define me. It takes tremendous courage for Charlie to show me the right way to handle things. A dear mutual friend has always told me that “Charles is alright,” and so I’m a believer. Why are we believing what we see on TV and the internet about him, anyway? Unless the reporters are plastered, how can we trust them? We should all be out in bars right now drinking and finding the truth in the bottoms of high ball glasses. I, of course, don’t really know if Mr. Sheen is actually drinking, but the thought that he is saying this shit sober scares the crap out of me.

I went on eBay to see how John Galliano was selling. eBay showed brisk bids on the wonder-boys stuff. I called Prince Street boutique Ina, a place where big label stuff is consigned, and talked to a sales associate who told me that “No one has asked about Dior.”

Against impossible odds, Mr. Galliano has succeeded in stealing some of Mr. Sheen’s thunder and press with impossible-to-misconstrue statements. Mr. Galliano doesn’t seem to like Jewish people and seems to wish that Adolf, yes that Adolf, had been more successful at limiting their involvement in his affairs. Alas, I think there might be a few Jews in the fashion business. Will Charlize Theron and all those other PC celebrities continue to feature his wears on the red carpet? There’s a few Jews in Hollywood, and I can’t see how this will play out well for him. I read on Wikipedia, a place of infinite wisdom and truth, that “The Roman historian Tacitus described how the Germanic peoples always drank wine while holding councils, as they believed nobody could lie effectively when drunk.” The British Mr. Galliano seems to be channeling eons of German philosophy.

When asked by a Nazi his “nationality” in the film Casablanca, Bogie answered “I’m a drunkard.” That’s the wonderful thing about bars: They unite people from all over the world, from all walks of life. A great club or bar can gather all types of people. The gays and the straights and people of all races and political leanings can hang with each other, as long as there are cocktails being served. The great joints are melting pots uniting so many in the honorable pursuit of the truth. I’ll be going to Jane Ballroom tonight seeking truth in sticky elixirs and the tunes offered by my man M.S.B. Truth be told, I forgot what that stands for.

Donald Glover Takes Us Around His New York

We’re driving down Broadway on our way to Opening Ceremony when Donald Glover spots a Gap. “I just did one of those,” he says, pointing to a window-size ad of Anja Rubik in jeans and a pair of black heels. “We shot it outside on the hottest day of the summer, and we had to pretend like it was cold. I was literally fucking boiling, wearing all of these different layers.”

Although hyperbole is part of Glover’s charm, things are in fact heating up for the Los Angeles-based, 27-year-old star of NBC’s Community, who graduated with a degree in dramatic writing from NYU before becoming a staff writer for 30 Rock. On Community, Glover, who also records rap albums as Childish Gambino, plays Troy Barnes, a jock who says things like, “Girls are supposed to dance. That’s why god gave them parts that jiggle.” Even if Troy isn’t the sharpest knife in a drawer filled with takeout cutlery, Glover’s show continues to be recognized as one of the smartest on television.

Like Arrested Development and Freaks and Geeks before it, Community has a devout if modest following. “I think the network believes it’s a DVD show,” Glover says. “They’re also banking on it doing well in syndication, because, honestly, it’s not the kind of show that people rush home to watch at 8 o’clock on a Thursday. We appeal to a younger, busy demographic. There’s a ‘Save Community’ group on Facebook, which is kind of dope but also kind of unnecessary. It’s not like the studio guys at NBC will say, ‘Isn’t that sweet? At least 2,000 people really want Community to stay on the air!”

Glover’s phone rings. “Oh, look, it’s Joel McHale,” he says before answering his series costar’s call. “Did you catch the shit he pulled with Hoda and Kathie Lee on the fourth hour of Today?” A few hours earlier, on live television, the morning show hosts asked McHale why they’re so often the objects of his derision on The Soup, McHale’s own show, to which the comedian, drinking scotch from the bottle, replied, “Have you seen your show?” Later this evening, Glover and McHale will perform a sold-out stand-up comedy show at Carnegie Hall, but first Glover—or “Darnell,” as Tina Fey referred to him on a recent live episode of 30 Rock—spends some time exploring a community of his own.


Ace Hotel – 20 West 29th Street, 212-679-2222 The Ace is my favorite hotel in New York. I like how snooty the writings on the walls are. They’re funny, as if a teenager did them, like, “You think you’re so fucking hot because you’re in a hotel.” I like the bar, and I like that the Breslin is attached to it. Basically, it’s a one-stop shop. When I want to be alone, I stay at the Greenwich Hotel (377 Greenwich Street, thegreenwichhotel.com). Ace is where I stay when I want to party. I’ve gone to SNL after-parties here, where everyone gets sloshed, although it’s definitely not the ’70s anymore. Kenan [Thompson] is always the highest, but most of the cast have kids and families. We don’t have a Farley or anything. The most fun I’ve ever had at one of those things was the night that Kanye was on the show last year. Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Chris Rock were all there, and I almost cried when I saw Jay-Z. I’ve never felt that way before in my life. It was too much.


The Jane113 Jane Street, 212-924-6700 I’ve only been here once, pretty inebriated, with Jessica Conrad, a friend of mine who writes for SNL. It definitely has a weird, The Shining vibe to it. Many prostitutes have been strangled here. [Glover’s phone beeps. He checks his Twitter account.] I get about 50 messages an hour, mostly from middle-aged gay men and Filipinos. I remember a lot of the faces of the people who tweet at me. I was at a bar recently, and I went up to a girl and said, You’re on Twitter. You said you had a dream about me. What happened in that dream? Last night I was really drunk in the Lower East Side, and so I got a bunch of messages, like, “Just saw Donald stumbling out of a bar.” If I weren’t a comedian, I’d probably be worried about what people think of me, but I don’t really give a shit. I’m always drunk-tweeting. I’m always doing something stupid in public. [I ask if he follows the Twitter ramblings of Courtney Love.] I didn’t even know she tweeted! I saw her perform earlier this year at the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle, and I was expecting her show to be a fucking fuck dumpster. But she really blew me away. Her voice sounds like a trashcan hitting all the right notes.


Minetta Tavern – 113 MacDougal Street 212-475-3850 I came here the last time I visited New York. I got the invite from somebody really famous, but I can’t remember who. I used that celebrity’s reservation—they can apparently always go in here—to get a meal and it was great. I remember sitting next to this buff, blond, white polo shirt-wearing Aryan guy who had a woman on either side of him, and they all sat in their booth talking about business. It was like something straight from a Lacoste ad.


A.P.C.131 Mercer Street 212-966-5851 Gillian [Jacobs, from Community] and I go shopping together at the A.P.C. store just off Melrose in Los Angeles. I help her out by convincing her to buy stuff. She doesn’t like to spend a lot of money, and so she needs someone there to tell her she looks good in the clothing. I prefer shopping at this one, though, because it’s bigger and has more stuff.

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Opening Ceremony 35 Howard Street, 212-219-2688 I’m really into this Comme des Garçons cardigan, even if it is for women. I love clothes, and I always think it sucks that I can’t wear the same thing on different talk shows. I’ve got a really nice Marc Jacobs suit, which I wore on Leno, but when it was time to go on Ferguson, everyone told me I couldn’t wear it. I always end up talking about girls who I think are hot—Mila Kunis, Rihanna—on talk shows. I have a whole section on my website devoted to sex. I try to keep up with it, but I’m really picky because I want nice pictures, like hi-resolution shit.

Photography by Alexander Wagner.

NYC: The Best Bars to Entertain Holiday Visitors

The holiday season means higher-than-usual tourist density in New York City, and naturally, that spike in traffic is due in no small part to your own eager friends and family, who descend on the city for an authentic, fairy-lighted experience of the Big Apple in winter. But after a day at Macy’s, an evening at Rockefeller Center, and a dinner somewhere “New York-y,” as per their request, where do you, their trusty tour guide by default, take them for a night on the town? Here are a few crowd-pleasers that will still earn you some street cred, whether that crowd involves your boyfriend’s distant Uncle Larry, Mom and Dad, long-lost friends who’ve emerged from the woodwork, hard-to-impress rubberneckers, or your old high school mates. A comprehensive list of the best yuletide boîtes to celebrate the new year – and the best of NYC.

Bars with Games Good For: Who doesn’t like to indulge in the nostalgia of old-school games, especially this time of year? Whether you’re with a raucous bunch of old friends, have a score to settle with your Mom over ping pong, or need to take the focus off a conversation with relatives you barely know, these bars offer distractions and can make for a festive time. Bar 675: Basement rec room goes for casual chic with Jenga, cards, and board games. Earn extra points from sceney friends, who will be thrilled to tell the folks back home that they hung out in the Meatpacking. The Diamond: Brooklyn bound? Beer makes shuffleboard so much more fun at this Greenpoint joint. SPiN: Table tennis for mom, and the fact that it’s owned by Susan Sarandon will appease cousin Name Drop as well. Barcade: Are your friends from the Midwest looking for “authentic Brooklyn?” Watch their wide-eyed wonder as they take in skinny-jean gangs playing thumb-cramping faves like Frogger and Tetris for an authentic 25¢ a pop. Ace Bar: Skee-Ball bar pleases the kiddies and anyone else who likes bare-bones décor sprinkled with bits of pop-trinket nostalgia from your childhood. V Bar: Siding with the gaming snobs of the world, this spot is best for your Princeton-alum brother (who happens to be a chess genius). Café and wine bar stocked with NYU grad students, chess and Scrabble battles, and a nice selection of beer and wine.

Next: Cozy Fireplaces

Cozy Fireplaces Good For: Catch up time with people who came to really enjoy holiday spirit in the city. Rose Bar: Have friends or family more interested in being around artists than actual art? For example: I once took someone here who fawned over what he thought was a Warhol (he read about it in a city guide) loud enough so that he was sure Neve Campbell, seated a table away, could hear. It was a Haring. Rubber-necking friends aside, the velvety banquettes and giant fireplace are a cozy departure from the winter weather courtesy of Ian Schrager and Julian Schnabel. The Lobby Bar at the Bowery Hotel: Wood paneling, stuffed animal trophies, and twin oils of hunting hounds give off an English-manor-library vibe. Can be a headache to get a good spot, which are usually reserved for “hotel guests,” monied travelers, and pretty hipsters. Try eating at Gemma first and brown nose your server for a spot by the fireplace. The Back Room: Semi-secret spot for those wishing it was still Prohibition. They’ll get a kick out of drinking their $11 cocktail from a mug. Employees Only: High-class weirdness, with a gypsy psychic at the door and stellar mixologists to determine your fate. The smell of the fireplace and the sight of all the handle bar mustaches will really transport your visitors. Highlands: Décor is pub-meets-hunter’s-lodge, with stuffed deer on brick walls and salvaged woods. Cozy, and it exacerbates that whole “New York Melting Pot” idea. Savoy: A townhouse in the middle of Soho with a fireplace as the festive cherry on top. Shoolbred’s: Scottish pub parlor warmed by actual fireplace. Ten brews on tap. Scotch, natch. It’s Highlands for the East Side set, with a low key (NYU students) crowd.

Next: The Oldest Bars in New York

The Oldest Bars in New York Good For: Skip these precious spots if you’re with a crew that couldn’t care less about anywhere that doesn’t have a VIP list. Otherwise, impress friends and family with the storied, often quirky backgrounds of some of New York’s oldest watering holes. Bridge Café: Opened in 1794, old but not musty. Looks like the site of a nautical murder mystery and is rumored to be haunted by ghosts of sailors and whores, like your parents’ bedroom. Ear Inn: Classic New York-on-the-waterfront feel, minus Marlon Brando, but with plenty of coulda-been contenders. I’ve seen a Soprano in here. McSorley’s: Born in 1854, and perhaps the most renown bar amongst the younger members of the Historical Society, this beer-chugging joint sees tanked fratboys, the cirrhosis crowd, and, after a court order, a few ladies (in other words: no women were allowed until 1970). Sawdusted floors, dust-encrusted wishbones, and loads of cats make this a very special place, indeed. Delmonico’s: Quenching your bloodthirst since ’37 -1837, that is – your parents will appreciate the air of refinement this joint still exudes, not to mention the supposed hauntings. Mahogany wood dining room with glowing chandeliers is the ideal noir-glam setting for steakhouse staples and a bustling bar separate from the dining room.

Next: Mixology Bars

Mixology Bars Good For: The mixology trend is widely known across all towns and townships, so let your slightly underage cousin Timmy learn firsthand just how delightful muddling, zesting, and spicing can be. Just about anyone who doesn’t limit themselves to wine coolers will appreciate the craftsmanship and ambiance. Apotheke: For those who want the back alley as much as they want the absinthe, welcome to Albert Trumer’s quirky school of cocktail science – this former opium den has been transformed into a medieval apothecary by the Austrian mixologist. Bonus: it’s in Chinatown. The interior is antique-sexy, with warm lighting and super-friendly bartenders. PDT: Oh, this is good. Through a hot dog joint you’ll go, and then through a phone booth, where you’ll have to say some secret something-or-other (though they’ve grown lenient in their older age) before you take your dumbfounded guests back to a room with a diagonal slat ceiling, de rigueur taxidermy, and a glowing bar. Note: Make a reservation earlier to get a good seat and smooth entry. Little Branch: By far the most talked-about speakeasy, this West Village spot boasts no signage unless you count the line out the door during peak hours. Retro cocktails served with cool swizzle sticks by tall drinks of water. Go on the early side of a Sunday night to chat up the mixologists and catch some jazz. Mayahuel: The cocktail connoisseurs at Death & Co. built an agave altar. Intimate confessionals, stained glass, and communal pews evoke a Mexican mission. All tequila, all the time, with all the bells and whistles to render previous tequila blow-outs null and void. Death & Co: Dark and polished, this cocktail den packs in a lively crowd. Bartenders in suspenders and vests serve up expert cocktails, and clearly love what they do (they don’t take of their vests when they get home). Great spot for just about anyone who can appreciate such a scene. Cienfuegos: Cuban rum bar from Mayahuel/Death & Co vet seduces with pink couches and sugarcane.

Next: Impressive Hotel Bars

Impressive Hotel Bars Good For: If your guests really “wanna see stuff,” like mine usually do, guiding them to impressively-designed hotel bars around NYC—usually the crown jewels of the hotels themselves—will go over well. Here are a few that leave a lasting impression. Bemelmans Bar: It’s classic New Yawk! Located inside the Carlyle, this timeless upscale New York City bar near Central Park draws bold-faced names, many of whom your out-of-towners could care less about. They will enjoy the classic cocktails and gilded ambiance. Hudson Bar at Hudson Hotel: If your guests approach things like rock music, sushi, and democrats with trepidation, this bar on acid may not be the place for them. Shrek-green lights illuminate the escalator, there’s a chandelier the size of a Volkswagen, the floors glow, the chairs seem to float—except for the tree stumps—and the whole thing makes you feel like you’re living in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s that cool. The Waldorf Astoria: Ah, the sprawling impressiveness of the Waldorf – the stuff salads are named after! Three bars, four restaurants, and Jazz Age overindulgence. A certain spirit abides, especially during the holidays. Jane Hotel and Ballroom: This place is for your visiting sorority sisters – leave the parents at home. Dual bar spaces decked out with Edwardian charm, as befits the hotel’s 1908 origins. Posh couches, leafy palms, tortoise shell ceilings, and an ancient disco bar all made better by the creatively-dressed PYTs. Plunge Rooftop Bar + Lounge at the Gansevoort Park: This hotel bar sort of looks like the New York in the Sex and the City movies. It’s slick and arty, with shinning angles and scrumptious views of the Empire State Building. Stoke your vertigo with windows in the terrace floors that look straight down on distant midtown traffic. Your guests will feel so very modern. The Standard Hotel: So this is the place with all the naked people? Depending who you’re with, I’d say a stroll around the grounds with a stop at the bar in the hotel’s Standard Grill will be enough. Unless you’ve got some young model/socialite family members, why waste family time on rubbernecking at Boom Boom? The Ace Hotel: It has a curious cheeky quality to it without being a tourist magnet. The Lobby Bar is reminiscent of an all-American library, with Ivy League reading-room tables, a bar serving up Old Fashioneds and the cult favorite Porkslap Pale Ale, a vintage-style photobooth, and a massive, tattered American flag on the wall. Bring people—not sheeple.

Next: Editor’s Picks

Editor’s Picks Our editors are often tasked with selecting the perfect place for their cousin Sarah’s college roommate’s mother, who’s coming to the city for the first time. Here’s where they like to bring their special holiday guests this time of year. Chris Mohney: Pegu Club. Great place to take any out-of-towner who likes a good drink. Still some of the finest cocktails in the city, and now that it’s been around a while, almost always chill enough to easily find a spot without worrying about crowds. Ben Barna: Fatty Cue. It’s good for anyone, really. Except maybe vegetarians. It’s got the kind of vibe you can only find in Brooklyn, and the kind of unique cuisine you’ll only find in New York. Also, it’s a restaurant meant for sharing, so that’s fun. And the drinks are as good as the food. I’d like to just bring my bros, but it’s expensive, so I take my parents as well. Megan Conway: The Good Fork in Red Hook. I’d like to take my parents to visit this historic, less-trodden waterfront neighborhood. This cozy restaurant offers inspired grub in one of the more unique pockets of the city. Nadeska Alexis: The Dove. It’s a well rounded place that’s chill enough for friends, and I’ve been there with adults and have not been embarrassed. Fun cocktails too. Victor Ozols: Rudy’s. It’s a really lasting, authentic experience that stays with someone. Cayte Grieve: Oyster Bar at Grand Central. For New York newbies and friends and family who haven’t spent a lot of time in the city, the Oyster Bar is one of those bars-slash-attractions that sort of kills two birds with one stone. Grand Central? Check. Getting Grandma drunk? Check. All done with old-style glamour.

Next: Around Rockefeller

Around Rockefeller Good For: Sometimes you just gotta give the people what they want: A Disney-fied version of the most wonderfully commercial time of the year! While your skating, shopping, and taking photos around The Tree, you might as well ease your sensory-overloaded nerves with some family vodka time. Rock Center Café: Tourist magnet, priced accordingly, and you will wait accordingly—yes, even the early birds. Perhaps it’s best to skip the food and opt for a toast instead. Perfect before, during, or after a spin around the rink. Watching wipe-outs with the fam never felt so corporate. The Modern: Danny Meyer’s unabashed flamboyance for air-kissing culture whores. It’s at the MoMa, kids, so take only those who desire such a scene. If you’ve got yourself a crew outfitted in suits and ties longing for a culture cocktail, here’s your promised land. 21 Club: It’s so famous! Free parking if you show up before 6:30pm, if that tells you something about the demographic, but only the locals and culture snobs will take note. Skip the steaks and head for the scotch with the people who’ve read about the place or heard about it in hip-hop songs. Morrell Wine Bar & Cafe: Here’s a cozy place to get warm after running with the masses around Rockefeller. Please remember that other people longing for a night cap will also be directed to this wine bar, which boasts over fifty well-chosen wines by the glass and 2,000 bottle choices on the menu.

Industry Insiders: Amber Doyle, Nature vs. Nurture

To walk into Against Nature Atelier, a boutique on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, is to travel back to the gaslit, wunderkammer-strewn Victorian era. It’s the kind of place a dandy might go for a fitting, though co-founder Amber Doyle says most customers tend to be “lawyers and Wall Street types, but also a lot of young people, musicians, and artists.” Doyle—along with fellow tailor Jake Mueser, accessories designer Ryan Matthew, and custom denim specialist Simon Jacobs—crafts one-off suits starting at $3,200 a pop. “We do suits in six to eight weeks, and in about three to, four fittings,” Doyle says. “The rule is that you can’t leave until it fits perfectly.”

On the backstory: Jake and I design all the shoes and clothing together. We met through friends and started on working on pieces together and it just snowballed. We did a couple suits for friends who happened to be in bands. It started to get a lot of recognition. We had our first pop-up shop in the East Village which is where Ryan comes into play. Ryan does all the accessories and jewelry for the store. We stayed at that location for a while, but found it was too small for what we were trying to do. So, we found the location where we are now at 159 Chrystie Street, and we thought it would be great to do not only custom suits, custom accessories, but also custom jeans. That’s where Simon comes about.

On the group coming together: Jake and I met through friends and also while I was finishing my degree at FIT. Jake and Ryan have known each other through friends and we’ve all known Simon for a while. We’re just four creative, driven people, all coming together.

On the design aesthetic: The store itself is built on the fact that we offer everything bespoke. Not only bespoke clothing – whether suits, shorts, vests, trousers, but also custom offerings – accessories, belts, rings, cuff links that can be adjusted right on the spot. So, you can buy something from the store or Ryan can make basically anything for you. Nowhere in New York do I know that there is bespoke denim. That makes us very unique. When it comes to clothing, Jake and I tend to go for a very fitted silhouette. A little bit more towards the English cut. It’s almost like a 1960’s dandy. Its fun, very fitted, still very classic, but modern.

On classic dressing coming into style again: They’re all jumping on our style, man! I think after such a long slew of having the trend be drapey and cut-up things falling apart, to see and to be part of that well-dressed, put-together scene where you still look well-dressed, put-together, sharp and edgy, but you’re wearing something very nice but to the point of timeless instead of trendy.

On making custom suits: We do them in about six to eight weeks and that’s with three to four fittings. The rule is, you can’t leave until it fits perfectly. So, we make sure everything’s just right and you’re buying just right. They start at $3,200. Then, we also offer suits in the store that are off the rack, but will be adjusted for you and those begin at $2,700.

On the clientele: It’s so hard to pinpoint, because we’ve made pieces for such a different array of people. We’ve done lawyers and Wall Street types and business men. We’ve had a lot of wedding suits. We’ve done tuxedoes. We’ve done dinner jackets. We’ve made a tail coat for an opera director. Then, also we get a lot of young people who are coming in and designing suits for us who are musicians or artists. We’ve done some for restaurateurs. We’ve done almost everything. Then, we also have the women clients who are in that same range of categories. So, it’s really hard for us to pinpoint one single person because when it’s custom, we like to have fun and play with the idea that this is for you. This is what your needs are.

Challenging requests: The opera coat was a tricky thing that we’re still finishing up the final touches on. For each client, it’s different because they all want something very specific. Every person is a very fun challenge.

Favorite designers: We’re all really big fans of Tom Ford. I think his work is beautiful. I love what Prada is doing for menswear. I love what Gucci is doing for menswear. Paul Smith is great

Go-to’s: I like Café Gitane and the Jane Hotel. I would say they’re both great places. And I love the bar at the Hudson Hotel.

Industry Insiders: Farryn Weiner, Fly Girl

Farryn Weiner really loves her job. As the associate editor of Jetsetter, the flash-sales travel site allied with Gilt Groupe, the Miami native gets to peak around the four corners of the world in search of premier hotels, properties, and adventures for members of the site. Launched in September ’09 by Drew Patterson, formerly of Kayak, Jetsetter makes the decision to travel easy with incredible steals on hotel stays and members-only experiences. More after the jump on Farryn’s must-have travel tips and the story behind Jetsetter.

On catching the travel bug: I was an NYU undergrad and went on a semester at sea. We circumnavigated from Puerto Rico and ended up in San Diego. It really opened my eyes to all these amazing stories that you can tell through travel and the art of storytelling that was happening through my photography and my writing. I came back and totally changed my career path and started working as an assistant for Zac Posen. I ended up back in grad school doing a masters degree in travel content. I started freelancing and worked for National Geographic and Daily Candy.

On fitting in at Jetsetter: The moment I heard about Jetsetter, I was like, that has to be my job. When I came in to interview, we all just clicked. They’ve built a team of people who are passionate about what we do. We sit around and talk travel, we breathe travel. That’s what I was doing on my own, so I finally found a place where I wasn’t the odd man out. It was the norm to die over a new hotel or a new article.

What is Jetsetter, exactly? Our CEO, Drew Patterson, has two questions: where do I want to go next and where do I want to stay when I get there? He’d met with the founders of Gilt and thought that their flash sale model would be really well-suited to travel. We ended up working with them to develop Jetsetter, which is an online private sale site for people to come and find the world’s best experiences, best hotels, and even things like safaris and luxury cruises for a really great value.

On securing good deals: We have a really wonderful marketing model and the places that we pick are places that we’d actually go. We work with the properties to find a way to offer something exclusive to our members. The sales normally last 5-7 days, and gives members the opportunity to get in and get a great value that they can’t get anywhere else. People want to know how we pick our places, but it’s really just places we love. We want to send our members to places that they’re going to come home and brag about to their friends.

On loving the gig: When I’m in a bar and someone asks me what I do, I’m like, You do not want to ask me this right now. I might go on for an hour. It’s really exciting to be somewhere that’s growing and where people are passionate and really just love what we do. We’re crazy.

A typical day: On a normal day, I’m working with the writers. I’m working with the correspondents. I’m finding new properties. I have a writer right now in China who is just hearing about this new property that she thinks is perfect for us. I spent yesterday speaking with the people from that property, trying to see if they were interested, and developing these relationships. We want to work with people for the long run. If we put our stamp of approval on you, you’re a part of the family. A lot of what I do is putting together the bits and pieces of the writing, the photography, and, of course, the property. When I’m not in the office and I’m out in the field, I’m shooting for Jetsetter and I’m covering events. I was at Coachella and did a whole big spread. People were in Palm Springs for the first time. “Where do I go? What do I do? Where do I eat?” A perk of the job is being able to have those kinds of experiences and share those with our members.

Favorite destinations: I think everyone should go to Tokyo. It’s like New York in 20 years, or at least what you hope New York will be like in 20 years. I was just in Barcelona and then Turks and Caicos visiting Zanzibar Hotel which is such a perfect escape, especially for city goers, who really will feel comfortable hopping on flight and relaxing for a weekend. I’m dying to go to Napa Valley.

On the concierge aspect of Jetsetter: All of us are travelers and we want to share that information. Sometimes Drew will answer an e-mail at midnight because he wants to make sure that our member who’s out in St. Lucia knows exactly where to go. We all race to be the first person to answer! We also get tons of feedback and we listen to all of it. We’re very hands on.

Summer travel trends: The dollar’s getting stronger, the recession is subsiding slightly: people are starting to realize that they can do things that maybe in the last two years they haven’t been able to do. People are really looking for value. When they have one week off in the summer to take or they’re going to go on one big trip in the year, they want to get the best value. We’re seeing a lot of interesting bucket list trips like visiting the pyramids in Egypt. We sold an amazing Experience Galapagos cruise and we’ve seen such a peaked interest in things like this. We sold safaris in Africa and we did a trek up Kilimanjaro. They’re more than adventure trips, they’re those once-in-a -lifetime opportunities things that haven’t been all that financially accessible the last few years.

Tips on packing light: Pack half of what you think you should pack, and pack a duffle bag. On the way back, you can always take it out. You’re going to buy things. You’re going to have dirty laundry. Go there with a carry on. Don’t worry about coming back. I’m a big fan of versatile clothing—anything you can wear twice. If you can’t wear something out at night and during the day, then you probably don’t want to bring it.

Travel as a learning experience: You really need to be open to new experiences and you need to be ready for everything. Being prepared and cautious is important, but it’s more about being open-minded. For me, traveling with the right group of people is so important. It really can make or break a trip. When I was younger, I’d travel with friends. When I got older and started to have a really good sense of what I wanted to see and do, it became even more important to pick the right group of people that are on the same level .

Other favorite travel websites: TripIt is an amazing tool! It’s an online itinerary builder. You can forward them your flight information and they put that right into your itinerary. They give you a map of your itinerary. They give you the weather. They tell you when your flights are delayed. I get a TripIt update on my flight delays before I find out from the airline. You can import articles you find directly into your itinerary. You can also connect to other people. So, when I’m away, my friends, my sisters, and my parents can look online and see exactly where I am and where I’m staying and the phone number of the hotel. Kayak is great to book flights. I’m a fan of this woman who writes this blog called Eating Asia.

Go-to’s: Locanda Verde. One of the best meals I ever eaten. I couldn’t speak. Café Habana is one of my favorite restaurants. I love SL. Abe & Arthurs is a wonderful restaurant and it’s really fun to hang out downstairs. They always have really good music. The Jane Hotel. Morandi is the best lunch. Balthazar is a staple. I think Balthazar at 8 a.m. is secretly one of the best things to do in the city.

The Jane Ballroom Reopens Amid Peace and Quiet

The Jane Ballroom is reopen, everyone, and this time, they’re determined not to get shut down. Eater was the new, more demure bar last night, and pointed out several measures operators Matt Kliegman and Carlos Quirarte are taking to avoid the wrath of their prissy neighbors this time around. Take not everyone. They’re not fucking around.

For starters, the club has a “new and improved door staff” who are stationed inside the building this time. Brilliant! Furthermore, “all guest decisions will be made inside the building and not on the street,” which means you’ll at least have the sensation of being let in before getting turned away. Painful, but necessary. Inside, the scene was “laid back and festive, with a small crowd on hand for the re-openng.” That probably has less to do with their new low-key MO than with the fact that everyone was at the Boom Boom Room for last night’s Met Gala after party. Everyone but us (we were, um, sick?). They also took away some speakers and played classic rock at “at a comfortable level.” The final impression of the new Jane was that it was “tranquil and quaint.” See you at the Jane, everyone!

Brooklyn: The Borough That Never Sleeps

On any given Friday night, South Williamsburg, with its stately brownstones, vinyl-sided walk-ups, endless apartment complexes and sagging warehouses, is a virtual ghost town. The only people on the corner of Rutledge Street and Bedford Avenue are two Hasidic men in mid-discussion, dressed in black overcoats. Tonight is Shabbat, and so this neighborhood, heavily populated by Orthodox Jews, sleeps.

Further down Rutledge, toward the East River and the imposing Manhattan skyline, a group of scruffy friends loiters outside of a nondescript warehouse, smoking cigarettes, talking about nothing in particular—their very presence the only tip-off that something unusual is underway upstairs. A rickety staircase leads to an architectural mishmash of smaller, incongruous rooms haphazardly stitched together and packed with strangers, artists, freaks, slummers and revelers. In the main room, tropical plants and Christmas lights line the walls and ceilings. A group of burly stoners wearing sunglasses are plopped on a couch watching a distorted video of what looks like a nightmare about ballroom dancing, as imagined by Chuck Close. The light prances, refracted through clouds of cigarette and marijuana smoke.

This is the Newsonic loft, a sweaty hideaway of progressive music, video art and altered states, which houses a monthly blowout thrown by the glam-rock outfit Dynasty Electric. Initially a showcase for that band’s psychedelic sound, the party has evolved into a popular, unauthorized venue for a litany of emerging Brooklyn acts and their devotees—a house party open to the public.

The crowd in the back room undulates to the sounds of experimental Latin band Navegante, who are in the midst of thrashing through a potent, bongo-infused cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” The walls rumble, and in any other neighborhood, or on any other night, the noise would warrant a hundred complaints. But there will be no police interference. It’s Friday, and on the holiest of nights in this community, phones are off limits. “Plus, our neighbors support us,” says Dynasty Electric’s lead singer Jenny Electrik, one of the loft’s four tenants. “They are a mystical people and they see us as mystical, too.”

Every weekend, parties like this are thrown across Brooklyn’s sprawling urban expanse. The supra-neighborhood that encompasses Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint has become the epicenter of a certain boho-hipster lifestyle and aesthetic, attracting young people from across the globe. The Manhattan transplants who move to Brooklyn, in search of cheaper rents and the creative freedoms they provide, have brought with them some of the more established borough’s recreational habits. The result is an endless network of parties that borrow from traditional nightlife practices (cover charges, doormen), but ignore the rules imposed by law and economics (smoking bans, last calls) and go down in irregular locations (an auto-parts store, a stranger’s loft).


New York has always had a culture of hush-hush social milieus. “You can read Malcolm X’s biography, where he talks about the sort of underground spaces that were up in Harlem when he was a kid,” says Jeff Stark, the founder of Nonsense New York, a nightlife website that sends out weekly e-newsletters and bills itself as a “discriminating resource for independent art, weird events, strange happenings, unique parties and senseless culture in New York City.” Stark says, “An unbelievable amount of underground nightlife goes on in New York. The police and the city government have made it so hard to play by the rules.”

Nowhere are these rules more deeply felt than in Manhattan. In 2009, Beatrice Inn—a West Village speakeasy that was the city’s unquestionable “it” spot since opening in 2006—closed after the city burdened it with repeated crowd and smoking violations. Shortly after, the Jane Hotel and Ballroom, which looked to be the Beatrice’s successor, was derailed after neighbors tirelessly leveled noise complaints. This past February, the Department of Health cracked down on five nightspots over violations of the city’s smoking ban, forcing them to appear for hearings that could result in heavy fines or closure. In March, when Beatrice owner Paul Sevigny opened his latest venture, Kenmare, in NoLIta, the State Liquor Authority required assurances that it would only be a restaurant—not Beatrice redux—before granting him a liquor license.

As Manhattan becomes more and more affluent, a trend that even the current recession has not reversed, homeowners feel entitled to get what they pay for: a quiet street, a good night’s rest. In the city that never sleeps, it’s always someone’s bedtime, and if that someone happens to have a cell phone and deep pockets, rest assured the party will be over as soon as they can dial 911.

For all of these reasons, many nightlife lovers have skipped across the Williamsburg Bridge. DJ Justin Carter did this very thing when he moved his Mister Saturday Night parties from Manhattan’s Santos Party House to the Market Hotel, an underground loft in Brooklyn. He believed that a non-traditional venue, where money was not the bottom line, better reflected his values. Besides, in Brooklyn, the neighbors, twentysomethings hustling to make it in the city, are more likely to join the party than shut it down.


Roughly every second Friday, a warehouse on the fringes of Bedford-Stuyvesant opens its doors to hundreds of people. The space is home to a party we’ll call “R.” (One of the conditions of being able to publish photos from inside the space was that we wouldn’t mention the party’s name or address.) It looks like the devout followers of Burning Man ditched the desert for an industrial warehouse. The place is a night terror of sneakers, roses, dolls, stars, flamingos, disco balls, baubles, Chinese lanterns, giant candy canes, bras and countless other identifiable and unidentifiable objects. It’s as if Daniel Johnston sawed open his head and the contents floated to the ceiling.

The rooms—it’s impossible to count how many—overflow with costumed performance artists: A topless transsexual sings to an admiring audience; grungy musicians tinker with homemade rubber band harps, creating dystopian rhythms in front of a papier-mâché mosaic; an Andy Warhol lookalike pulsates on the dance floor to bursts of drum ‘n’ bass; a man screens black-and-white silent films to a half-rapt, half-disinterested audience. The collective din is R’s only soundtrack.

A mysterious girl who looks lost in a ’90s rave tells me to lick my pinky finger and dip it into a plastic bag filled with white powder. “Now put it on your tongue,” she says. It tastes like chemicals. “You just did pure MDMA,” she says, smiling.

Later, a thin, bearded man—his hairy shoulders exposed in the strapless white dress he’s wearing—offers me his plate of mac-n-cheese, which was for sale that night, along with hefty servings of $5 pot brownies. It’s this kindness-to-strangers mentality that defines most off-the-beaten-path events. Brassy Puerto Rican girls, Leary-like neo-hippies, goth and punk kids, Williamsburg hipsters, New Yorkers and brave high school students all dance, writhing en masse—a collective waving of freak flags.

R has been going strong since 1994. How it has managed to avoid mainstream attention in a media-saturated city like New York—where secrets are not only hard to keep, but actively hunted down and exposed—is miraculous. It’s scarcely covered online and has no Wikipedia page. When our photographer showed up at its doorstep in early March, vigilant employees immediately tried to turn him away. “We don’t do any press,” they said.

Not all Brooklyn parties dealing in the illicit, “underground” scene are as secretive as R. Williamsburg’s Monster Island Basement is only blocks away from Bedford Avenue, the neighborhood’s busiest street. The Market Hotel is right off the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Broadway, steps from the nearest subway station. These places skirt the line between licensed venues and basement parties.


Instead of official websites, they advertise through online social networks like MySpace and Facebook, and also have listings on popular nightlife directories. What distinguishes them from traditional spaces—aside from dinginess and billows of cigarette smoke—is the attitude. “You set out to do something that’s about the music, the audience and the culture,” says Eamon Harkin, who, along with Justin Carter, runs the Mister Saturday Night parties. “It’s about the ‘why.’ The ‘where’ is a byproduct of that.”

That “why” isn’t necessarily beholden to any particular party. The Brooklyn underground is not immune to the fickle tastes and high turnover rates that afflict Manhattan nightlife. The Shank was a shortlived but legendary after-hours party on Bayard Street in Greenpoint. Its popularity peaked in January of 2009, and it imploded shortly thereafter. In July of last year, The New York Press ran a cover story detailing the Shank’s spectacular downfall. After becoming notorious for its all-night parties, it started attracting drug dealers, underage kids and thugs. According to the Press article, the original crowd of “rock-band dudes and vintage-store employees,” stopped coming.

In recent months, a new Williamsburg after-hours party has emerged that DJ Jonathan Toubin, a Bayard Street regular, calls the new Shank. “Everyone involved in the Shank, except for the owner of the building, got back together and started the Saturday party at Badlands,” Toubin says, referring to the dusty, graffiti-marred garage a few blocks from the NYPD’s 90th Precinct. Its door reads “Whore House.”

On a recent Saturday at Badlands, an aggressively hip crowd lined up inside, waiting to pay the $5 cover and get past the monolithic bouncer. (At unauthorized parties, nothing happens on the sidewalk, including lines and smoking.) Last call was hours ago, and for this carefree group of partygoers, sleep is an afterthought. “If you dropped a bomb on the space, you would knock off half of the city’s bar staff and DJs,” says Toubin, who also manned the decks that night. “The rest are people who heard about it secondhand and are looking for something to do.”

Loose wires dangle from the ceiling, and tags like “I Love Jew York” are scrawled on the walls. Beer and cheap, migraine-inducing liquor is for sale, but most people have brought their own. Toubin is perched above the crowd in a makeshift DJ booth spinning 45s, and people in leather jackets and hooded sweatshirts use the wires to pull themselves up a narrow staircase to an alcove of couches. Rumor has it that rapper Cam’ron is there. The crowd is noticeably amped about this possibility—a surprise given how aloof they hope to look. But then, they’re young and healthy, drunk and fucked up, here to dance and play, scream and have a good time. Outside, the sun is shining.

Photography by Robert Whitman, Maia Wojcik, and Dana Decoursey.

Where Celebs Go Out: Marc Jacobs, Amanda Lepore, Adrian Grenier, Emma Snowdon-Jones

At David Barton Gym annual toy drive: ● MARC JACOBS – “In Paris, there’s a small club called Montana, and there’s a restaurant called Thiou. Bars I really don’t hang out in. Oh, there’s this great club that happens once a month in Paris called Club Sandwich. And it’s at the Espace Cardin. And everyone gets super dressed-up, so it’s really, really fun. I try to go whenever I’m in Paris, if it’s going on. And we stay out all night and just dance like crazy. And in New York, my favorite restaurants have always been the same. I love to eat at Pastis. I love the Standard. I love Da Silvano. I eat in the lobby of the Mercer a lot, the hotel. I usually go to Pastis for lunch, and there’s a sandwich that was on the menu, but they don’t make it anymore, but I always insist that they make it for me. And it’s really fattening, so I shouldn’t eat it, but it’s chicken paillard and gruyere cheese and bacon. And it’s so delicious. It’s really good. And it’s my weakness. It’s just like the most perfect sandwich.”

● DAVID BARTON – “Oh, I can’t think where I like to hang out in Seattle except my new gym! There’s a great place that just opened up in New York, up on 51st, called the East Side Social Club. Patrick McMullan is one of the partners there. He’s co-hosting with me tonight. Great place; really cool. It’s very old world, kind of like going to Elaine’s, kind of little cozy; sit at a booth; very cool. Love a little place called Il Bagatto, over on 7th between A & B — little tiny Italian place, East Village, kind of a neighborhood place that I go to. What else? I don’t know restaurants. I’m very casual. I’m so not that into food. I mean, I could eat cardboard — I’m just not into food! I like people. I like atmosphere, but I’m just not that into food.” ● AMANDA LEPORE – “I definitely like Bowery Bar and I like Hiro. Boom Boom Room. Just anywhere where everybody is, I guess! [laughs] Novita, I like, my friend Giuseppe. Any favorite dishes? I try not to eat too much! ● PATRICK MCDONALD – “My favorite restaurant in New York is Indochine. It’s been around for 25 years. Jean-Marc, I adore. I love the bar at the Carlyle. I don’t drink, but I like to go there for tea in the afternoon. And I love Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon on Gramercy Park. I love Pastis, Odeon, and everywhere. I like the French fries at Pastis.” ● PATRICK MCMULLAN – “I love going to Waverly Inn downtown. Boom Boom Room is fabulous. That’s really a new, great place. SL, on 409 W. 14th Street, down below is nice. Of course, I have the East Side Social Club that I’m involved with, and that’s great for hanging out in, for eating. Favorite dishes anywhere? Oh, I don’t know, just anything that people recommend. I usually go with what people recommend ’cause most people know what’s good — the waiters know, so I think that’s the best thing. Red wine is good to have to drink sometimes. They have a drink called the Eastsider at the East Side Social Club that’s really good; any of their pastas; their ravioli is great there. What else do I like? That new place that’s open, the English place, on 60th in the Pierre — Le Caprice, that’s a nice place. At the Waverly Inn, I like the macaroni and cheese. It was funny because the macaroni and cheese is about two dollars less than a room at the Pod Hotel, which is where the East Side Social Club is! The Monkey Bar is fun. There are so many cool places in New York. I just go where people tell me to go.”

At elf party for Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe:

● JENNY MCCARTHY – “In Chicago, I would have to say Gibsons Steakhouse still; in Los Angeles, Katsuya, still love that sushi; I’m addicted to it. And in New York, Koi. I’m very trendy and boring, but, hey, that’s where the good food is, so …” ● PERI GILPIN – “In L.A., we like BLT a lot. We have five-year-old twins, so we’re like in bed by nine o’clock — pretty boring. Corner Bakery for soup.” ● CANDACE CAMERON BURE – “L.A., hands down, our favorite restaurant is Gjelina, which is in Venice. And we love Craft; love Michael’s in Santa Monica. Here, in New York, my favorite restaurant is Lupa, which is a Mario Batali restaurant; love it here. And I don’t go to clubs anymore, nightclubs; I don’t ever! At Gjelina, they have a burrata with prosciutto and, usually, a warm pear or a warm peach. I love that! I really love tapas. I enjoy getting a lot of appetizers, more than just a main dish. We, actually, have had our own wine label, Bure Family Wines, for two years, which is at several restaurants, so matching the food and the wine is a big part for us. We’re big foodies” ● DEAN MCDERMOTT – “There is a great bar, Ye Coach & Horses in L.A., on Sunset. I’m so bad at this stuff! Oh, Katsuya, in the Valley, awesome sushi. It’s our favorite place. We go there like three times a week.” ● KEN BAUMANN – “In New York, my favorite restaurant is Il Cortile. It’s in Little Italy, and it’s run by this guy named Stefano, and it’s incredible, phenomenal food. In Los Angeles, my favorite restaurant’s gotta be Cut, which is in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.” ● SHAILENE WOODLEY – “Honestly, I’m not really a club kinda girl. I’d rather go to a local bar with some friends and hang out there. Or just go back to my house and have people come over. I’m more of the congregate-at-my-house kind of chick. I’m 18, so I don’t drink, so I don’t go to bars. There’s a place called the Alamo, which has karaoke and it’s a bar, but we go and karaoke there probably once a week.” ● FRANCIA RAISA – “I’m not a big club person. I really like bars and lounges. In L.A., I like to hang out at Buffalo Wild Wings, watching sports and drinking beer with my friends. I really don’t go out that much. I hang out at home and have my own glass of wine, watching Grey’s Anatomy. Oh, I just tried this restaurant yesterday at Gramercy Park Hotel. It’s a new, Italian place — Maialino. It was amazing. And again, I’m very simple, so I like pizza, and John’s Pizza out here is amazing to me, too. And hot wings I like at Planet Hollywood. I’m obsessed with them!”

At Zeno “Hot Spot” launch party @ MTV Studios:

● SKY NELLOR – “I am a huge sushi fanatic, so I just had Katsuya three times in two days in L.A. What is it about Katsuya? It’s the baked-crab hand roll in a soy-paper wrap. It’s just so yummy. I want one now! In New York, I have a fixation with Bagatelle. I just love the fish and the veggies. Nightclubs, nightlife, oh, my God! Apparently, I’m a really good bowler, so I hang out at Lucky Strike everywhere — Miami, L.A., Kansas! We just had a bowling party, and I won, so … Oh, they didn’t let me see my score. I just kept getting strikes to the point where they were, like, ‘Give her more shots! We have to stop this girl!’ And the drunker I got, the better I got. Clubs — if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out to dance. And I’m going to go where the DJ is playing. I don’t care what club it is. I went to a dive in L.A., at a party called Afex, just because some of the best DJs were playing that night. Like, I don’t care about the crowd. I don’t care about the scene. I care about the music. I don’t think the venue has a name. I think it’s called No Space. They just move the party around.” ● SUCHIN PAK – “I have a great place. It’s called Broadway East, and it’s on East Broadway. And I love it because it’s a beautiful space, but also it’s literally across the street from my house. That always helps. And then there’s a really fantastic place called Bacaro. Oh, it’s amazing! It’s downstairs. It’s almost a dungeon-like place. The people that used to do Peasant, the wine bar there, moved to this place. I like to say the Lower East Side on East Broadway is where the grown-up hipsters go. For a true Lower East Sider, it may not be true Lower East Side, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved more south than east, and I keep trickling that way.”

At charity:ball for charity:water:

● ADRIAN GRENIER – “Brooklyn. Fort Greene. Habana Outpost — it’s run mostly on solar power, and it’s a sustainable business.” MARK BIRNBAUM “Well, if I do say so myself, Abe & Arthur’s on 14th Street; SL, the new club underneath it. I still love Tenjune. And I like hanging out at home other than that. What about places other than your own? So I shouldn’t say the Chandelier Room, in Hoboken? I really like going to Bar and Books in the West Village — that’s our spot. You know where else I like to go? Miami — the new W South Beach is unbelievable, by far the best hotel down there. The design is incredible; the pool area is very nice; they have good restaurants there — there’s a Mr. Chow’s and the other one is good; the rooms are really nice; it’s very well done; it’s just very fresh, the entire thing; and the artwork is incredible. You don’t feel like you’re in South Beach — not that there’s anything wrong with it — but it’s really, really, really, well done.” ● NICOLE TRUNFIO – “I just found this really cool jazz club in Paris where they still dance to old, rock-and-roll music in partners. It’s a location undisclosed. I don’t remember what it’s called. It’s in the Saint-Michel — it’s just off it. You can jump into a taxi, ‘cause we went to a jazz bar called the Library, but that was closed. So we asked the taxi driver, and he took us to this place. So, I’m sure lots of local French taxi-drivers would know the place.” ● LAUREN BUSH – “Oh, gosh, I’m like so uncool! It’s such an obvious question, it’s so hard … I’m a vegetarian, so I love Blossom restaurant. They have a good, quinoa-tofu dish. It’s like gingery. It’s really good. ● EMMA SNOWDON-JONES – “I love Le Bilboquet because it’s consistent, and mainly wherever your friends are it makes the place. It’s on 63rd, between Park and Madison. I’ve gone there since I was in boarding school. I’d come into the city on the weekends, and I’d go there. I think anyone that’s been in New York as long as I have knows it. That’s a really, bloody long time, sadly. As good as my Botox is, it’s too long!” ● KRISTIN CHENOWETH – “I am an old-fashioned girl, and I still love Joe Allen’s. I go there all the time. And right next-door above, is a place called Bar Centrale, and I go there, too. I was just there last night for three hours. I like the manicotti at Joe Allen’s. It’s excellent!” ● JULIAN LENNON – “Probably the Jane bar and the Rose Bar in New York.”

At launch of S.T. Dupont in-store boutique @ Davidoff on Madison Avenue:

● RON WHITE – “I love the bars in Glasgow, Scotland. You could go sit in a bar by yourself and in five minutes, you’d be talkin’ to 10 people because they’re so curious about anybody that walks in that’s not normally in there. They just want to go talk to ’em and find out what they’re about. They’re just as friendly as they can be. I was there for the British Open, or the Open Championship, as it’s called. And if you go to a bar in New York City, you can sit there for the rest of your life and not meet another person because they’re not really gonna come up to you and go, ‘Hey, what’s up? What are you doing in town?’ That just doesn’t happen here.”