Kenmare & Travertine Changing, Ludlow Manor Loses Floors

This week finds me too busy to completely vet your rumors, so you will get a lot of "we hears." For example, I heard the Kenmare closed up "temporarily" while they get their restaurant situation together. We hear the Travertine is getting their kitchen together with a familiar face. It’s an out-of-the-frying-pan into a red-hot-as-a-fire situation. And I was told that Ludlow Manor has been chopped down to size.

For Ludlow, the community board got miffed at the operators, citing all sorts of misrepresentations and misdirections. My source told me (as if he knew everything about it) that they only had one liquor license for iall three floors and were playing some catering license/"private party" type of game. The powers that be put the kibosh on that and closed down two floors. On Saturday night, I walked by and saw the roof without its trademark blue lights on, and the ground floor dark. The side door — which takes VIP types to Luc Carl’s private lair "Casino" — was admitting patrons. The problem with that is my source and published reports say it’s only the ground level that is actually licensed. You can’t take a state-issued liquor license and move it around from floor to floor. I’m afraid that the authorities are going to deal with this continued game of night moves harshly. It’s possible they got some sort of permission to use the paper on a different floor, but I’ve never heard of that. More on that perhaps later.

These closings put a whole lot of people out of work at the worst possible time. I’m not saying it could have been prevented. Kenmare will be great when it returns to the living, and eventually Luc and Georgie Seville will get organized, but the impact in the "right now" is tremendous. Scores of people, including DJs and bartenders and waitrons and security and busers and promoters etc., will have a lot less loot in their pockets to ring in the New Year. It does seem to me that community boards are becoming more aware of the need for joints and therefore jobs. Closing places on technicalities must stop because all of us need to — technically speaking — pay rent and eat and buy things.


Ludlow Manor In Trouble With New York State Liquor Authority, Selling PB & J Sandwiches

A special friend has relayed the information that Ludlow Manor, that ambitious club/lounge/(restaurant?) had an awful time with the New York State Liquor Authority at the full Board Meeting Wednesday. Nobody got hung or shot, but they did get buried with being forced to turn in the liquor license for safekeeping the end result. My ex-wife took my cat Violet for "safekeeping" 20 years ago and I haven’t seen either since. Ludlow Manor is fronted by Georgie Seville and GaGa’s ex Luc Carl, something the board took note of. The Times reported that Luc called himself an owner and, by SLA rules, that isn’t strictly true. It is merely a harmless exaggeration club-runners use to describe themselves when they often own nothing more than their wardrobe. I wont reveal the names of the real owners here.

His and his attorney’s attempt to calm the savage beast of the board bordered on comical. The board wanted to know why they weren’t serving food, a basic condition of their license.They pointed a finger at universally-hated Con-Ed, which hadn’t gotten around to giving them gas. The board asked if they currently served any food at all while waiting for power. They answered cold sandwiches. When pressed about what kind of delicious and nutricious sandwiches they were offering, they replied peanut butter and jelly… and also turkey. My man on the scene did all he could to contain his laughter, but the scene was sober and guffaws would have been inappropriate and dealt with severly. When asked about why the upper two unlicensed floors were operating, fingers were pointed at a no-longer-employed bad, bad publicist. The club’s lawyer was less than dynamic. The board was less than sympathetic. A $10,000 fine was assessed and the license grabbed until a  fully-functioning kitchen appeared, at which time another hearing would be held.
Last night, they were closed. I visited Georgie at Ludlow last week to get the story, but I didn’t really need to ask him any questions. He was slumped on a bar stool and looked worried and beaten. Usually an upbeat gent with a million-dollar smile, he looked shaken and stirred, with little spark in his famously bright eyes. He talked about bills piling up and employees out of work. I wished him luck, knowing that luck would have nothing to do with it.
Kenmare was in front of the same board. They were found guilty of serving a minor booze. Liquor lawyer legend Warren Pesetsky pointed out a discrepency in the bust. An undercover purchased two beers for $16, but expensed $38. When cross- examined at a preliminary hearing, the undercover explained he was good tipper. Kenmare is currently closed, awaiting a knight in shining armor to revitalize the space as a restaurant. Banter between the owner and SLA board was about the chef quitting. The board queried about it being strange that he couldnt find a chef in NYC . The owner wanted to get one form his other restaurants and none seemed enthusiastic about getting involved. Here, too, the real owner did the talking as the former "front owners" Paul Sevigny and Nur Khan were someplace else being "owners."
This is not a put-down of those two guys or any of the other "owners" that are merely the handsome faces put out front to generate buzz and get things working. In reality, the marketing  people or operators who aren’t on the license define a joint way more than the squeaky clean fellow who invests the cash and gets to get a license.  A new concept is coming at Kenmare. The place was shut on advice from lawyers who understood that a wrath from above would surely come as the kitchen got closed, leaving only the lounge to cause trouble. The license was surrendered voluntarily while violations and concept are defined. The voluntary surrender of the license was the right way to handle it .. the police raid and subsequent taking of the license at Ludlow…not the right way. Sources tell me the peanut butter and jelly defense was never considered by Kenmare’s attorney.

Nur Khan Confirms Kenmare Lounge Is Not Closed

Last night, nightlife people behaved like rubber-necking suburban commuters staring at some twisted wreck (a phrase often used to describe me). Tired of their own tragedies, they gained a moment of exhilaration over the misfortune of others. Thus was the scene as word spread that Kenmare was closing. It was a hundred “did you hears” as bon vivants put in their two cents. Most comments and opinions weren’t worth even one Abe Lincoln copper. Of course everything was exaggerated. Kenmare isn’t closing, at least not the part that waters these players. The restaurant, however, is going to need to change. I called up Nur Khan, always a friend to me when I need one, and asked him what was up.

The main thing he needed to make clear was that it’s business as usual for the still-hot basement boite, and that the bar upstairs will remain open. He told me that everyone has the story wrong, and we talked about this step and the next few. “The lounge has always been majorly profitable,” he began. “The restaurant had a good start, and was profitable for a long while. Michael [Montalto, the manager] broke his back trying to make it work. It was a true labor of love for me. I didn’t miss one night when I was in town. I hired a talented people manager from Batali’s, and Joey [chef Joey Companaro] was great until he left to do Philly and a couple of places on the West side.”

I talked to him about the “other” stuff he’s been working on. His Electric Room project at the Dream Downtown is off the hook. He also added that he “just got back from L.A., where I opened Writers Room.” Nur continued to lament the talented people he had in charge while he was involved in these exciting new projects. “Kenmare is one of the top neighborhood hangs,” he said. We talked about the delicate geography of the ever-developing Nolita/Bowery hood, and how suddenly there’s activity elsewhere, leaving Kenmare Street relatively quiet. Serge Becker and Nur had chatted — landlords these days are rarely renewing leases on traditional stores and joints, as they see dollar signs in the form of high-end boutiques and the like. The hood I moved out of in favor of Williamsburg is developing as fast as leases run out.

I asked him for an official statement: “The lounge is staying open while we may partner up with someone strictly in the restaurant area. It is not closed. Lounge is business as usual. We’re talking to a few potential partners for the restaurant portion. Everyone loves the downstairs.” We talked about how, as the busy season approaches, it might be nice to run the door outside and let the packed downstairs crowd spread out and chill upstairs. I asked Nur the hard question, too: Does the chill between him and Paul Sevigny have anything to do with what’s happening? “Maybe Paul and I are better friends than business partners,” he responded.

The bottom line is the bottom line, and the restaurant was a drag on it. To the rubberneckers happy to see defeat, I offer them no reward. This kind of thing happens. Some things work and other things need to be adjusted. This is an adjustment. Even with all the right ingredients — chef, management, location, superstar owners — the dish came out not as expected. Or at least it wasn’t received well. The balance of operating the restaurant upstairs and the playground downstairs is very difficult. It looks easy at Darby and Lavo, but the execution requires diligence and experience and luck. Maybe this is just some bad luck. The thing about players like Paul Sevigny and Nur Khan is that they make their own luck, and they have the resources, the experience, and the cajones to turn it around. I ran into Kenmare DJ Todd Smolar last week. Todd told me that the place was better than ever; it’s evolved into a place where regulars and locals treat it like home. Maybe that’s all they need: a little comfortable home cooking and a fresh start. I’ll be there all week.

Although i always try to ignore it, CMJ, that music festival thingy, refuses to be ignored, like a baby in a crib screaming at me to get up and pay attention. Tonight the party seems to be at the ever-glamourous Mondrian Soho, where the Pearl Jam movie’s afterparty will…jam. I hear Eddie Veder and Cameron Crowe will be there. Tomorrow it’s the Ministry and Killing Bono afterparty with Ministry’s Paul Barker doing a DJ set. Thursday it’s the Tribe Called Quest after party with Dj Questlove and a crowd of the fabulous and famous who love this mix. So basically I’m going to shuttle bus myself between the Mondrian and Kenmare all week. Oh, and I have that Studio 54 thing tonight…. What to wear?

A Private Tour of the Electric Room With Nur Khan

It was my first real adventure at the Dream Downtown complex. It began with a stroll down Marble Lane, the lobby restaurant. It was all serious steaks, with a staff that makes few mistakes. I was joined by young interior designer and old friend Christian Zavala, who marveled at the well-heeled crowd. The lobby was unlike any hotel lobby I had ever seen. It was a scene. Everybody was mingling with cocktails and intentions.

We scooted up to the roof in an elevator with one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen and, of course, all we could talk about was her beautiful and architecturally amazing Alexander McQueen shoes. (Christian had a legitimate excuse and I guess I’m developing into a gentleman as I move farther away from puberty.) The roof was slammed and noticeably more intimate, with new curtains making the skyline a peek-a-boo affair. The DJ and the big-brained and well-mannered Matt Strauss, the hotel’s F & B guy, wanted to show us Nur Khan’s dream come true, Electric Room.

We hop, skipped, and jumped down the Haculla (artist Harif Guzman)-imprinted garage ramp to the hidden gem. There we hung with new friends Adam and Adam as we waited for Nur to give us the tour. He was texting me to stay where he was as he cabbed it from Kenmare. As we waited, I noticed some familiar sights like the Sante D’Orazio photo hiding sweetly behind the DJ booth. His neon from Don Hill’s was there as well. Nur came, he saw us, and showed us what he had conquered. He was particularly proud of his own art decorating the main wall. He has a right too. The beautiful and successful poured in as if some gilded spigot was whooshing them from some fabulous event over there, somewhere. The bold face names that have reportedly splayed themselves on the sumptuous chesterfields are mind boggling. Mick Jagger was mentioned—It’s like that. The intimate room is everything Nur could ask for. It’s a perfect combination of Don Hill’s and Wax and Rose Bar; a place to hang his hat and hang with his rock star friends after Kenmare. If he can give us a show in some ballroom somewhere he will surely reach “Nurvana.”

We rushed back into the night. The streets were jammed with the hoi polloi all pumped up after the big fight. Apparently Floyd Mayweather sucker punched Victor Ortiz and then picked a macho argument with 0ctogenarian announcer Larry Merchant. I gathered bits and pieces as wannabe tough guys relived the affair in both pantomime and loud voices. I dodged more lefts than Mr. Ortiz. The story was relived a thousand times as we wandered the city streets and would be relived again at Kellogg’s Diner when the day beat down the night. I was exhausted after three weeks of non-stop action. Hurricanes, Labor Days and nights and then NYFW left me looking for an early knock out. We hit The Darby, Snap and a few others but I was supposed to be at a thousand can’t-miss events, but, but, but…Brooklyn and its relative calm was tugging at me. I missed the set by that lover not fighter DJ MC Slutbag. It was at Volstead yet another new, hot spot on my nightlife bucket list. I’ll catch them both next time when I’ve had time to recover. I feel like Mr. Ortiz and a little like Mr. Merchant.

Celebrating My Lady’s Birthday at La Esquina, Kenmare & APL

It was the love of my life, Amanda Noa’s, birthday last night and due to circumstances beyond my control we were unable to consider dining until almost 11pm. But late night fare in this town is getting swankier, if not better, so I did have some choices. I wasn’t going to get away with our usual afterhours spots Veselka or Kellogg’s Diner. It came down to the recently opened Marble Lane at the Dream Hotel or La Esquina. She opted out on the steak-centric Marble and we scooted off to La Esquina.

A couple months ago Noah asked me to suggest a name for his new steak house, and I suggested one based on a tattoo on my lady’s back. In honor of our relationship, she has a couple of tats that sum things up. One is a set of teeth with a string tied to them because dealing with me is like pulling teeth. Another is a rib-eye with a pretty bow on top, which is supposed to be “miss steak” or mistake. My gal won’t settle for just a spat – she permanently marks herself with her misgivings about me. Anyway, I suggested the gal-friendly name Miss Steak for Noah’s new spot. Apparently cooler heads prevailed… Marble Lane seems better. I’ll be out late tonight and will pop in. La Esquina remains my favorite haunt. Everything about the place is cool, cool, cool and the food is constantly terrific. We had a blast. For people in the club world, having a relationship is often problematic. We’re surrounded by distractions, many of our own devices. I’m lucky to have someone who puts up with me.

We stopped by Kenmare to say hey to Paul and Nur and found Nur in the back with some other birthday boy. Megan escorted us to see my man and we enjoyed small and big talk before scooting off to APL to wish co-owner Joey Verdone a happy birthday as well. As I hopped, skipped, and jumped to the nearby restaurant, I tried to figure out what date it was 9 months ago. My fingers told me October. After APL we headed to St. Jerome’s, a good place to end a night. It was a going away party for Hotel Chantelle barkeep/manager Dave Coleman, who’s off to Panama to find fame and fortune. He says he’ll be back in no time but I’ve got a $2 bet he’ll be a little late. A coke and a Bud in this legendary LES dive bar came in at the cheap Williamsburg price of $6. We listened to rock staples and laughed and had fun. No attitude here, just good music, a friendly atmosphere and inexpensive solid drinks. Sometimes the business is as easy as that.

Tonight I will DJ rock ‘n roll hootchie coo as Gunbar launches its Wednesday night party. The affair is hosted by BlackBook, thus me getting the gig. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. Saturday I will go to another birthday bash at the newly opened Mother’s Ruin, next to Bread. Dana Dynamite, my favorite PR and marketing flack, will show us how she got her name. I’m sure client Sailor Jerry Rum will lend a hand. I had a few sips of that cheap beer so I’m a little out of it today – I’ll cut things short. As regular readers know, I only have a drink two or three times a year…whenever I have sex. So I guess the second half of 2011 will be…exciting

The Legend of Don Hill & The Final Word

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” So goes the famous line from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. And that’s the way we roll when a legend passes, and such is the legend of Don Hill. We hardly ever dig too deep to find faults, flaws, or the things that define him—up or down—as human. However, recent rumors imply that the joint bearing his name is possibly opening again under “new” management. The implication is that the old management drove the place into dire financial circumstances so that the club was no longer able to continue. This requires a look, as reputations are on the line.

When Don Hills took Paul Sevigny and Nur Khan on as partners last September, it seemed like a second coming—a marriage of heaven and earth. Immediately, mega acts like Iggy and Courtney were banging in the intimate room, and it was déjà vu all over and over again. It was a real rock and roll joint, where true believers could hang their fabulous hats. When it began Don didn’t just go away and let them do it their way. He was there smiling, telling stories, reveling in the renewed fame and possible fortune. He had new life—until he didn’t.

His sudden death shocked us and penetrated our beings on a level unlike most others. Don was the “greatest guy in the world”—a saint who’s sins were amusing and fun, and a big part of the party. I paraphrased another Liberty Valance quote once to describe Don Hill. I said he was “founder, owner, operator, answered the phones, and he also sweeps out the place.” Don was the perfect club owner, everybody loved him.

A bit of time has passed, and the joint has since closed. When I talked to Paul Sevigny, who has created big success out in LA which is now taking up his time, he told me it didn’t feel right without Don. They had had a great run. They had made a statement. I postulated that without Don things would be different with the community, and the landlord and local enforcement. I was told that Martin from the Ear Inn was actually on the license, while Don had the relationship with the landlord covered. I was also told that Don owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back rent, and to scores of vendors. I asked Nur to comment.

“You will see another live music venue from me. It’s my passion. Don was riddled with debts that kept popping up out of nowhere. I loved the guy but Don’s creditors back from like 2000 who started taking money out of the bank account. When he died we tried to get the lease changed which was being negotiated together while he was alive but were only offered a 1 ½ year lease with a 6 month demo clause. Would have had to pay all Don’s back debts that were way too extensive for such a short-term lease. That, coupled with the fact that we had no idea who was going to come out of the woodwork at any given moment and take money out of the company account, made no business sense to continue. I loved Don and the venue. Yes I’ve had some of the best times in NYC in that room, but I will build another live music/dance room.”

The Nur/Paul/Don Don Hills was a home-run for those into this scene. Nur is right to walk away and to clarify that it was old debt and a changing situation as well as the loss of his old friend that meant the end of this era. Rumors abound of a temporary operator until the landlord is ready to put up hamster habitats in the air space above. I guess going up will bring them closer to the heaven Don dwells in. There is a rumor of a Taco Bell. I think that would be perfect. The city continues to shed it’s nightlife culture to service the high-risers at the expense of the low riders. That’s why Brooklyn was invented, anyway. The Nur/Paul/Don show is over, and the light it shone was a bright, and has left us a little blinded, wandering lost and wondering what can replace it. There’s still places to go and I’ll just pop into Kenmare a bit more to taste the magic until these guys bring it again—together or separately.

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.

Clubbing in Cambodia, XIX, & Jessica Rabbit Sings

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a rock star with the greatest moniker ever, Jello Biafra, crooned a tune called “Holiday In Cambodia.” At that time in Cambodia, the people in power were whacking teachers, doctors—anyone with an education or slight western tilt. A holiday in Cambodia was a bad idea. Nowadays things are different. The bad men, for the most part, have been exiled far away from Main Street, and people I know can actually go there. With the weather here driving me bonkers, I checked in with a pal living in the oblivion of Southeast Asia, and asked for a club report. I mean, if I’m gonna go somewhere to duck the cold, they had better have a good club, or I better be prepared to make one. The words may not be that accurate as this Droid translator—a Cambodian to English thing—is way too hard for me to handle. But I’ll give it a try.

It’s real cold here and I’m looking for an exotic escape. Is there nightlife in Cambodia? They are behind here, but it is hip compared to Vietnam.

What are Cambodian clubs like? Most are smoky and have sleazy girls in cheap plastic heels with lots of expats watching soccer. Bangkok has much more of a scene. They have some clubs that can afford international DJs. They do Tokyo to Bangkok, so it’s not like they fly them in from London. Singapore used to have really famous DJs, and the decor in the clubs is so classy, so up-market, that they sometimes had one great DJ a week. Singapore has real night life, but they are American in so many ways — except that ladies doing a “trade” are legal. Why not? It’s the safest city in the world. Is there a little Steve Lewis yet? I hope you are happy and NY isn’t so cold and your apt is warm.

No, no kids. And could you define happy? I’m freezing and want to go somewhere hot. I went to two really nice Cambodian clubs, one called Heart of Darkness with great decor but only so-so music. It did have amazing security. The other one was called Riverside. It has a fantastic sound system, hot women that are not sleazy, so far. Those are the nicest I have seen. Heart of Darkness is also nicknamed “Heart of Business.” It had a gay element, and had tough guys and foreign people living and visiting. It was packed. The decor mixed Ankgor and modern perfectly. It was hot.

I’m looking into flights!

Last night, after BINGO, we headed over to Travertine to check out what my man Ruben was doing with the downstairs space XIX. XIX didn’t impress me at first. I almost went in on a couple of occasions, but stalled at the door, chatting with door folk. The crowds I observed going in were not going to lure me off the street. It seemed to be trying to do the same ‘ol same ‘ol, and didn’t have the players to pull it off. It was, at least for me, a must to avoid. Ruben called me and told me he changed things up, and to pop by.

I never say “no” to some people, and yes, that has gotten me in trouble, but this time I was pleased. Everything was working. The crowd was enthusiastic, with enough beauty to legitimize it with a sharp crowd, and plenty of hip and artistic types to keep it from being a bore. DJ Kid Mess was just killing it with sounds not normally offered at joints trying to sway similar gatherings. I was very impressed. With it’s proximity to Kenmare, La Esquina, Goldbar, and a neighborhood packed with interested parties and restaurants to feed it—including its own upstairs—this small spot looms big. All they need is a little patience to see their plan through, and this joint will get serious. Ruben is just what they needed, and XIX is what I need. I’ll be back.

There are many people I can’t say “no” to besides Ruben. One is Heather Litteer, who is sometimes called “Jessica Rabbit” or just “Rabbit.” She’s an extraordinary performer/artist, often seen around this town wherever the hipper-than-hip, smart set evolve to. Tonight she will sing at The Gershwin Hotel, 7 East 27th Street, which, as she points out, is right next to the Sex Museum (but we all knew that). The shin-dig starts at 8pm, and will include “special performances” by Nath Ann Carrera and Nicholas Gorham. It is promised that Heather “will sway you with the sultry sounds of her smoky vocals, while accompanied by Zecca Esquibel on the ivories.” She says to “Pucker up darlings!” She will conquer you. She can’t help it: She was just drawn that way.

My Top 11 Clubs of the Moment

In his decades-old column in last Wednesday’s Village Voice, Michael Musto, the greatest nightlife writer ever, listed his “10 Best NYC Clubs of All Time.” His list was Studio 54, Mudd Club, Area, Danceteria, Jackie 60, Happy Valley, CBGB, The Roxy, The Palladium, and Limelight. He is as right as anybody, as each of us has our own perspective. The list doesn’t go back to joints pre-Michael’s viewpoint, like El Morocco or The Cotton Club, and it discounts anything recent with the exception of Happy Valley, which maybe had a moment 5 years ago. My list is pretty close. I would swap out Happy Valley (which was mostly awful), CBGB, and The Roxy in favor of The World, Max’s Kansas City, and Paradise Garage. The others I heartily agree with.

The Roxy would certainly make honorable mention, but it was a bit one dimensional. Then again, so was Paradise. The Paradise Garage was a temple to a generation that was previously dismissed. This crowd, and those who passed through to worship, luxuriated in their newly realized numbers of like-minded souls. It also had a god in DJ Larry Levan. I believe you can’t talk House Music without Larry as the leader. It can be argued that the Chelsea boys found a home, each other, and a lot more pride in their Mecca, the Roxy. Although it was never really more than a Saturday night, it was always quite a night. Lets just say, since it’s 2011, it’s the top 11 list.

A list of the 10 (11) best NYC clubs of today is even harder, as the jury is still out on so many, and the term “club” has a different meaning in this era. There’s no easy way to do this, but as the great Carmello Anthony said after being booed in his own arena, the boos don’t bother him or effect his game — he’ll always have his haters one way or the other. Some will always hate on me and my opinions, but I can take it. I welcome feedback.

My list is only Manhattan. My list includes lounges and bars, and even the Darby, which takes great pains to call itself a restaurant—which it is, but when you throw parties for Beyonce, Andre Harrell, and Prince, and I can walk by and see Leonardo DiCaprio hanging outside with Lucas Haas, like I did last night, it’s a little more than a restaurant, and it makes my list. I looked at this list as if friends from out of town had asked me where to go at night. Where would I send them? I would ask what they are in to and send them to the relevant places. Some people will find the Boom Boom Room a dud, while others will think Pacha is music to their ears—it depends on the individual. Here are the 10 (11) most relevant joints in Manhattan today, in no particular order.

Provocateur: Although I spend 40 minutes or less each time I go, it isn’t a criticism of this beautiful space with a crowd to match. They said it couldn’t be done, but Mike and Brian did it. Undeniable Nirvana for those who like this sort of thing.

Kenmare: “It’s not Beatrice, it’s Kenmare,” a witty beauty said yesterday when chatting about her nightly visitation of the place. She possibly unwittingly quoted Marilyn Monroe from Some Like It Hot: “And always the same 500.” That crowd goes there, and nothing else quite scratches their itch.

The Boom Boom Room: Or whatever they call it. I dress for it. It’s wonderful, it’s beautiful, it’s fabulous, and it’s becoming more fun. Andy Warhol once told me that any place that’s too neat or too clean can’t be any fun. Maybe Boom Boom was/is a little too clean and neat to reach its potential. Time will cure that. The whole Standard complex is finding its feet. It’s amazing.

Avenue: This model/bottle monument turns off so many, but it’s the epicenter of the jetset culture it continues to define. Beaucoup bucks makes it relevant, and its celebrity clientele are unparalleled. Even the hipsters can come a couple of nights a week.

1OAK: The hipper, more street version of its neighbor Avenue still brings all the girls to the bar, and they have to charge (large) all the boys that follow. The music is always good for the mash-up crews

Pacha: Nobody does big DJs better. To the outside world Pacha is the only game in town. I have to admit that I am there more than once in a while for the monster trucks (international circuit DJs). Sometimes at 6AM it feels like nothing has changed.

Darby: A restaurant with a stage and live acts, the Darby, as I mentioned above, is not a club but a little bit more than an eatery. It’s certainly a place that scenesters includes in nightlife plans, and therefore makes this list. The downstairs lounge will open soon enough, propelling this space to a different level. I must repeat their mantra: Its a restaurant.

Lavo: Word on the street is “Lavo is killing it.” The euros and uptowners are people too. Grace Jones once said, “I’m not perfect but I’m perfect for you.” Lavo is perfect for the perfect people it caters too. With big DJs routing on their way to Vegas, food, tables, bottles, and a dressed up crowd, Lavo overflows its niche and makes the list. More napkins thrown in the air and bottles popped than anywhere. Somebody told me that Noah, just after investing in Artichoke Pizza, is now considering buying a sparkler factory. Smart guy.

St Jerome: I’ll put it here to represent all the dive bars and hole-in-the-walls that cater to a crowd too hip and cool to even think about the list above. I could of said Lit, which still has its moments, or even Max Fish with its new lease on life, but St Jerome, with its Gaga moments, crosses it over to top 10 (11) territory.

Webster Hall: Webster has never made any list I have ever made. However, solid bookings on its main stage, coupled with those in the newish Studio, have made it a contender. Its door policies are too democratic for my palate, but to the thousands upon thousands that visit it each week, it is home. The room has over a hundred years under its belt, and is the best room in town. I gave it a makeover a while back. When I visited it the other day I felt proud.

Other venues that are easily recommendable are Rose Bar, The Bowery Poetry Club, The Box, SubMercer, and your own fill in the blank. These are all 11’s or higher, depending on what YOU like. All are worthy. This list doesn’t include a gay venue, and therefore is completely irrelevant to me and so many of my friends. I’ll go there another day. It doesn’t consider White Noise, which might make a big noise, Hotel Chantelle, which is gearing up for it’s future, The Bunker, which may prove to be the real deal, or Goldbar, which still has its moments. There are some goings on at the Mondrian, and Stuart Braunstein may awaken the collective conscience in the bowels of Greenhouse. Rumors say that the turmoil within that organization will see a new beginning, or a new ending. I’m sure I forgot someplace fabulous, and I implore you to tell me.

Last night, club entrepreneur Matt Isaacs was subjected to a surprise party over at his Snap. The saying is nice guys finish last. When I left at 4am, nice guy Matt was the last guy standing, and I can’t quite figure out how he was doing that. Don’t call him today.