Industry Insiders: Joao Daniel, Brazilian Export

UPDATE: Joao has actually moved on from Le Royale — see here for details on his new gig.

Upon his arrival in New York, Joao Daniel started working in restaurant kitchens hoping to become fluent in English, but he ended up picking up more Spanish than he anticipated. Like most newcomers, he eventually started hitting the club scene, and surprisingly, this was where he honed his language skills. His nightly activities quickly snowballed into a profession. Now the charming Brazilian has his weekly schedule consistently booked with hosting gigs on Monday nights at Le Royale,Wednesdays at 60 Thompson, Thursday through Saturday at Pink Elephant, and Sunday nights at The Eldridge. He’s also in on the Saturday and Sunday pool parties at Hotel Gansevoort. Joao gives us the scoop on where we should be going out.

How’d you end up in the big city? I’m Brazilian; I came here three and a half years ago and started working at Pink Elephant as a busboy. I didn’t speak English at all, and I had to work my way up.

And that led to … I did the door at The Box for awhile. I hosted at Mansion. I hosted at Cain. I host Pink Elephant at the moment, and I work there three nights a week. I’m really good at organizing these parties. I also used to do Monday nights at Stanton Social. I moved to Vegas and passed off the Monday night gig. When I came back, I wasn’t interested in getting involved with that again because it was a very different crowd. A mutual friend of mine and Terry’s told me about the Monday night at Le Royale. Not too many people in the city knew about the party, like they do now. I know a lot of people in the industry so, it’s really become well-known. I left Le Royale recently, and now my focus is the weekend pool party at The Gansevoort.

Why’d you move to Vegas? I went out there to work, but ended up back at Pink Elephant in the summer of last year. I worked at Tao in Vegas, because Rich Wolfe of Stanton Social is also an owner there. I got offered a job to work at Tryst at the Wynn, and Rich said, “No, you have to work for us.” But I finally got the offer to work as a host for Pink Elephant, and because I started there as a busboy, it was important to me to work as a host there. I especially missed New York.

What did you miss about New York specifically? New Yorkers don’t say things that they don’t mean. If they say that they like you, it’s because they like you. If they don’t like you, then they’ll show that they don’t like you. It’s very black and white, and I love the style. People like to dress up, and people like to be in fashion. It makes the city more alive.

Best thing about Le Royale? The place is completely music driven, and that’s why I love it so much. The music at Le Royale on Monday is a little of everything, but not the cheesy stuff we hear at other places in New York right now. Stuff you’ll hear at other clubs, you’ll hear at Le Royale six months before. They have the real hipsters there. I try to avoid promoting too much, because it’s industry night. We end up having promoters from other places that just come because they like the party.

Is there live music? Terry is so well connected with the music industry, so some Monday nights we have special events. We had Shiny Toy Guns play, and usually, when they play in New York, they play for 300,000 people. There is a cover, so we can have bands to open the night. We can have big DJ’s, and I think we’re one step ahead of every place in New York City in terms of music and a good crowd. Now, bottle service is in a big crisis because of the economy, and Le Royale wont die because it doesn’t depend on that. It depends on the music and people go because the music is amazing.

What’s the best night, for parties/nightlife in New York, in your opinion? I work on the weekends, and I’m having a lot of fun at Pink Elephant because I really love house music. My favorites are definitely Sundays and Mondays. On Sundays, I never miss going to brunch. Brunch parties are taking over the city. Via dei Mille and Sol are the best. People get drunk and dance their asses off until 9 o’clock at night. After brunch, I go to Felix, and then I hit up GoldBar.

What are your spots in the city? I love going places with amazing cocktails. I like the bar at 60 Thompson. It’s out of control. I like Employees Only. For restaurants, I go to Jewel Bako sushi in the East Village. I love Stanton Social, which is great if you have a big group and want to share food.

What are you doing tonight? Getting ready to go to Le Royale.

New York: Top 10 Sushi Spots

Bond St. (Noho) – Though it’s lost some mojo on the hotspot meter, the melt-in-your-mouth sushi and swank décor continue to attract sushi snobs and modelizers alike. ● Sushi Yasuda (Midtown East) – Friendly staff and minimalist looks keep focus on expertly crafted sushi. Dinner will set you back a geisha’s ransom. ● East Japanese (Kips Bay) – Though quality at this mini-chain may not be much better than Food Emporium, for kitschy fun, affordable conveyor-belt sushi spot takes the cake. Sushi discounts on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Yuka (Upper East Side) – Got you covered with their $19 all-you-can-eat deal that won’t have you feeling sick for the rest of the week (just enjoy spicy mayo in moderation).Don’t try and sneak some to your friends, as watchful staff keeps an eye on patrons. ● Blue Ribbon Sushi (Soho) – Loses points for not taking reservations, and the price to indulge in their raw eats will set you back dearly, but there’s no denying that this sushi-snob-approved spot delivers with everything from classic California rolls to more exotic options like the kaki fri made with fried oysters and lettuce. ● Sushi Seki (Upper East Side) – Despite sleepy location, serves stunningly transcendental sushi — in both quality and price – until 3 a.m. ● Morimoto (Chelsea) – In the battle of NYC’s mega-sushi temples — EN Japanese Brasserie, Megu, etc. — Iron Chef Morimoto’s spot comes out on top not only because of the eats, but also because of glossy white interior and not-to-be-missed high-tech bathrooms. ● Jewel Bako (East Village) – Sleek digs and unforgettable omakase dinner make this fittingly named spot a true find; be prepared for stratospherically high prices. ● Sushi of Gari (Upper East Side) – With creations that include salmon sushi with onion cream and roasted tomato, marinated tuna sushi with tofu mayo, and red snapper sushi with arugula salad and fried lotus root, Chef Gari-san is the Wylie Dufresne of sushi. ● Sushi Zen (Midtown West) – Masa and its $400 sushi gets most of the attention, and Nobu gets all the stars, but Sushi Zen trumps them both with fresher than fresh sushi artfully prepared and presented by Chef Suzuki, who is not only licensed to serve potentially deadly fugu, but is the chef often credited with first introducing Americans to sushi.