Summer Fridays. Ahhhh. We get out of work earlier, we take more Fridays off, and we drink and dine outside until we’re kicked off the curb. In preparation for the season, and in celebration of spring, Kingswood has introduced the monster of all brunches: the THREE-DAY BRUNCH.
Little Next Door – "The quintessential casual French restaurant. My friends and I have brunch here at least once a week. Charming setting, an all-French waitstaff, and the same chef as Little Door. The almond croissant, Parisian omelet, and quiche lorraine are MUSTS!"
Commissary – "Hands down the best coffee in LA; I’d even say better than Intelligentsia, and that’s pretty bold. Hot young crowd, with, yes, slightly pretentious baristas, but the coffee is unrivaled! Living in the building does make it slightly convenient; I often come down here to write."
Figaro Bistrot – "Hipster Los Feliz cafe that’s always great for a casual meeting, happy hour, or just people-watching in general."
Eveleigh – "If you’re a fan of Kingswood in New York, you will love this place. It has that New York neighborhood feel hidden amidst the insanity of the Sunset Strip. Ecclectic menu — “bubble & squeak?” — and a great bar atmosphere if you’re just looking to hang out and grab a drink with friends."
NOT SO MUCH
The Identity Festival arrives just as a friend said to me, “There are no good festivals in New York this year.” Don’t you just love it when that happens? This is a good one. Talent lined up includes DJ Kaskade, Steve Aoki, DJ Shadow, Booka Shade, and DJ Chuckie. The shin-dig will be at the Nikon Theater at Jones Beach this coming Sunday, August 21. There are 3 stages; the Skullcandy Main Stage, The Rockstar Energy Drink x Dim Mak Stage and the Beatport Stage.
One of the headlining DJs is my old pal Steve Aoki. Back in the day I befriend Steve Aoki’s brother Kevin who was promoting events at my clubs. We became friends and through Kevin met Devon his wonderful actress/model sister (now a mother) and his famous father Rocky Aoki. I was amazed at the level that they all worked. I consider myself quite the dynamo, with 5 careers taking me from 7am every day until late at night. But I am tortoise to these hares. We always run into each other. I designed the WESC store on Lafayette and Steve is friends with owner of the brand Gregor Hagelin. Steve designs some of the brand’s DJ headphones, in fact the ones I use. Our mutual friends have mutual friends who are friends with us. He is DJing at all the hotspots but is doing something new for the Identity Fest. I caught up with Steve Aoki as he headed to NYC for this incredible Identity Festival gig.
First of all, great to connect again and congrats on everything you’ve been doing. Tell me about the clothing line. Steve Akoi: The clothing line’s doing great. We started a new branch of the line called D1 and we’re going to be showing it in January 2012, to sell in fall/winter. The full range includes outwear, knits, and our tees. It’s more of high-end men’s range. And we still have our Dim Mak T-shirt line with that.
Where’s that? It’s also in LA, in the Sunset Plaza area. I co-own it with these Australian guys that have amazing restaurants like Kingswood in New York. They have restaurants in Australia and New York.
You come from a restaurant background. Your dad, Rocky, was a food guy, opening all those Benihana restaurants. Is your brother Kevin still running Benihana? Kevin’s focusing on Sushi Doraku which is his restaurant and that’s his main focus. Benihana is run by a publicly traded company, so there’s a board of directors. There’s like two arms of Benihana, there’s BI that handles all the domestic operations and then there’s Benihana Tokyo that handles all the international rights.
Are you still managing DJs with Deckstar? Yeah, in the beginning when DJ AM wanted to start a management company with his manager, Paul, I got involved then and me and Matt, my manager, formed a sub-management underneath the management, which is now pretty active. We’ve gone from being a DJ-driven open format club organization to artist management, and now we have bands like Blink 182, Rancid, Travis Barker’s work, other rock and indie bands, and obviously DJs.
And you’re working on Aoki Magazine as well, while touring as a DJ? The touring is about 250 gigs a year now, so my main projects are producing music and finishing my album, which is coming out the end of the year. That’s been a three-year project for me, in addition to touring and running my record label. With the clothing line, since we partnered with an amazing company that’s going to help develop and finance the line, I leave a lot of the day-to-day stuff with them. My main business right now is the label Dim Mak Records and I’m on the Identity Festival tour right now.
The Identity Festival is billed as an electronic musical festival, bringing a club type atmosphere to an outdoor setting. How do you guys coordinate with each other so you don’t have the same vibe? With Identity Fest, there’s so many different kinds of artists including Rusko and Kaskade on the Dim Mak Stage, which is the stage I was involved in curating. The idea is to make a very diverse, eclectic array of artists on that stage. We have Holy Ghost, which is more disco and funky and then DJ Shadow who’s the one probably the one that stands out the most, because he’s more break beats and hip-hop, mixing his own music and sampling. Then you have Nero, who’s a dubstep artist from the UK and Crystal Method who’s been around for ages, with platinum albums and then I’ll be headlining. I’m doing a live show for the first time across 20 dates and that’s been a really big deal for me. I have a trailer entirely full of technicians, people that are in the structure of the rig of the live show doing the visuals and the lights. It’s an elaborate process to put the whole show together.
How is your set different from a club set? I’m doing an hour and a half of entirely Dim Mak music and my own records, in exception to two unreleased tracks that aren’t on the label. Because they are unreleased tracks, I can get away with putting it in the set, and they go so well with the set. For the most part it’s Dim Mak music, all records from the record label and all my own music, probably 70% my own music.
How many days a year do you wake up and not know what city you’re in? Actually, on that last question, if you go to TheCobraSnake.com and click on a couple links, you’ll get a picture of what my live show looks like. There are also live videos at YouTube’s Dim Mark Records page; they’re putting up videos online everyday and you can get an idea of the crowd, the action, as you see the show live.
It sounds exciting as can be, but how many days a year do you wake up and not know what city you’re in? Today. I woke up and was like, where the hell are we?
Here at BlackBook, we pay a lot of attention to where cool customers go out — bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, you name it. So why not flip the frame and let you see where we go out? Here’s a periodically updated, exhaustive list of hotspots currently favored by everyone at BlackBook, from the mighty bosses down to the humble interns, from the charming local lounges around the corner to the jet-setting temples of luxe living.
EDITORIAL ● Editorial Director/Editor-in-Chief – Ray Rogers, Café Mogador (NYC) – Hummus, crack-caliber coffee, and outdoor patio for primo people-judging and “novel writing.” ● Creative Director – Jason Daniels, Babettes (East Hampton) – Don’t let the word “organic” turn you off . ● Executive Editor – Chris Mohney, Pegu Club (NYC) – OCD cocktail heaven. Pith helmet and ivory cane optional. ● Senior Editor – Nick Haramis, The Jane Hotel and Ballroom (NYC) – Latest smash from Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode gets all Edwardian on the WVill.
● Editor-at-Large – James Servin, The Raleigh (Miami) – The local equivalent of LA’s Chateau Marmont. ● Staff Writer – Ryan Adams, Republic (NYC) – Minimalist fave and only vaguely communist, which is more fun than the full-bore thing. ● Writer-at-Large – Alison Powell, Wurstküche (LA) – Hey, sausages! Downtown hipsters with a secret inner-manly-man are pleased. ● West Coast Editor – Matt Diehl, Cole’s (LA) – The 100-year-old buffet-style cafeteria comes back as something new (but the French dip stays). ● Nightlife Correspondent – Steve Lewis, La Esquina (NYC) – Day and night, eating, meeting and playing. ● Paris Correspondent – Dana Thomas, Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Hotel (Paris) – Posh sips & historic ambiance at the Ritz. ● Assistant Editors – Ben Barna, Tokyo (Montreal) – Buy one for the buff bartender while you’re at it—he’s a starving actor. Cayte Grieve – Café Asean (NYC) Foster Ethan Kamer – La Superior (NYC) – Quite possibly the best little taqueria this side of town. ● Editorial Assistant – Eiseley Tauginas, Alta (NYC) – Alta, as in “high,” as in “haute,” at this sexy Village tapas spot. ● Copy Editor – Michèle Filon, Sripraphai (NYC) ● Editorial Interns – Annie Clinton Moto (NYC) – High-flavor food with dungeon loos. Sure, Moto’s for metros, but it’s hot anyway. Delia Paunescu Schiller’s Liquor Bar (NYC) – McNally’s successful entrée into the LES mess. Desiree Pais, Lit (NYC) – Rock bar du jour for hos and bros of the ain’t we the shit? set. Alexandra Vickers, Colette (Paris) – Art, style, music, sex and water.
ART ● Art Director – Amy Steinhauser, Five Leaves (NYC) – Café posthumously funded by Heath Ledger does justice to the work and hype put into it. ● Photography Assistant – Stephanie Swanicke, Brandy Library (NYC) – Highbrow mixology, let us know when it’s time to dust off the antique bottles on the upper shelf. ● Design/Photo Interns – Angela Chen, Dinosaur BBQ (NYC) – Roadhouse bringing southerners to Northern Manhattan. Krista Quick – Ottobar (Baltimore) – What can we say, this place rocks.Jeremy Jones – Tokyo Bar, (NYC) – Schizo décor and food, but decently done all the same.
FASHION & BEAUTY ● Fashion Director-at-Large – Elizabeth Sulcer, China Grill (NYC) -Heaping plates of Asian fusion amid fashionable environs. ● Market Editor – Bryan Levandowski, Bondi Road (NYC) – Wizards of Aus in NYC, we like your style. ● Fashion Assistant – Wilson Mathews III, Per Se (NYC) – Advanced gastronomy at the Time Warner Center. Thomas Keller pulls out all the stops. ● Fashion Interns – Samantha Shaw, Chez Janou (Paris) – Boisterous southern bistro near the Place des Vosges. Julien Blanc, La Esquina (NYC) – Fairly authentic Mexican and one of the city’s best-known “secret” bars. Laura Watters, Café Habana (NYC) – Scarfing roast pork is so much better when Mary-Kate is watching, longingly. Lindsay Abrams, Sketch: Gallery (London) – Quirky soho hot spot. BlackBook magazine Founder – Evanly Schindler, The Smile (NYC) – Earnest Sewn owners take over abandoned Double Crown space for Med-inspired cafe/boutique.
BLACKBOOK MEDIA CORP ● Chairman – Bob Hoff, Guys & Dolls (LA) – Sophisticated sexy in West Hollywood. 7 nights a week. ● CEO – Ari Horowitz, L’Ecole (NYC) – Get schooled in fine French cuisine at this tasty training center. ● Associate Publisher – Brett Wagner, Café Select (NYC) – SoHo café marries Swiss Alpine to downtown design, garners Next Brunch Place status. ● Director of Finance and Operations – Joe Friedman, Lucky Strike Lanes (NYC) – Scenester bowling from the dudes behind Marquee and Tao. ● Corporate Counsel – Drew Patrick of Drew Patrick Law, Dutch Kills (NYC) – Modern-day antique saloon from New York’s cocktail kings. ● Executive Assistant – Bridgette Bek, Motorino (NYC) – Belgian-bred Mathieu Palombino’s Billyburg pizza joint serves up personal pan-sized genius, one pie at a time.
ADVERTISING ● Senior Account Executive – Dina Matar, Gascogne (NYC) – Southern French cooking without the Southern French ‘tude. ● Account Executive – Brian Kantor, Botanica (NYC) – Dive that must be working some kind of Santeria to keep prices down in this excessive nabe. ● Executive Director, BlackBook Access – Gregg Berger, La Piaggia (Miami) – Keep your feet in the sand and your hand on the rosé glass at this waterfront café francaise. ● Detroit Account Executives – Jeff Hannigan, Blind Tiger Ale House (NYC) – Beer bar institution finds new home, devoted crowd. Kristen von Bernthal, Pure Food and Wine (NYC) – Say goodbye to a future of pacemakers and a gut the shape of China. Raw food is real food. ● Midwest Account Executives – Susan Welter, Perennial (Chicago) – This could easily become Chicago’s summer hotspot for years to come. ● Andrea Forrester, Mirai (Chicago) – Thumpin’ music and bumpin’ elbows don’t deter crowds from gathering for some of the city’s finest sushi. ● Southwest Account Executive – Molly Ballantine, Gjelina (LA) – New Venice, new American hotspot takes on Hollywood posturing and tude. ● Northwest Account Executives – Catherine Hurley, 15 Romolo (San Francisco) – Bourbon & Branch without the passwords and financial types. Shawn O’Meara, Suppenküche (San Francisco) – Fun place, hearty food. Check the diet at the door. Sales Coordinator – Claire Pujol, Fat Baby (NYC) – Dank in a clean way. Do not enter without skinny jeans.
MARKETING ● Marketing Manager – Julie Fabricant, Kingswood (NYC) – Creative Aussie eats. Feel like king of the W. Vill woods. ● Partnerships & Promotions Manager – Andrew Berman, Bozu (NYC) – Sunken Japanese paradise. Delectable sushi, incredible drinks. ● Interns – Rebecca Hill, Chicago Brauhaus (Chicago) – One of the last of Chicago’s great German restaurants with live oompah bands and an Oktoberfest menu year-round. Delna Joshi, Hudson Terrace (NYC) – Rooftop pleaser for drunk summer afternoons. Brianne Murphy, Beauty Bar (NYC) – Kitschy theme bar serving up mani/drink combos under a row of hair dryers. Elizabeth Pirozzi, Pink Elephant (NYC) – Gangsters, models, and house. Where one goes, the others must follow. Monica Dybuncio, Cha Cha Cha (San Francisco) – The Haight’s never-ending Caribbean party where Santerias and sangria rule. Emily Pflug Presidio, Delfina (San Francisco) – Overly moussed males, technophiles, and high-class hipsters collide in this local fine dining favorite. Lea Abeyta, The Annex (NYC) – Grown-up newcomer from Dark Room boys. Tiswas Saturday, Interpol’s Paul B holding down Wednesday. Joanna Rubinstein, Bar Breton (NYC) – Fleur de Sel’s tastes of Brittany now available in brasserie form. Marie Baginski, East Andrews Cafe & Bar (Atlanta) – Label toters run amok at Buckhead restaurant-bar and pack the place on Thursdays and Fridays. Megan Kunecki, Blender Theater at Gramercy (NYC) -New indie rocker hosting artists you put on your iPod for show while you’re really listening to “Since U Been Gone” again. Jay Kassirer, The Smile (NYC) – Earnest Sewn owners take over abandoned Double Crown space for Med-inspired cafe/boutique. Suhee Eom, Momofuku Ssäm Bar (NYC) – Chef-of-the-minute David Chang fancies up Korean burritos and gets avant-garde after 6pm. Jaime Marie, Sueños (NYC) – Sweet dreams of organic tequila and make-your-own-tacos really can come true! Rana Razavi, Sanctuary (Miami) – Swank rooftop bar and the promise of hanky panky in the pool.
DIGITAL ● Director of Development – Daniel Murphy, Yerba Buena (NYC) – Petite hot zone with wide range of Pan-Latino small plates. ● Lead Architect – Matt Hackett, Beast (Brooklyn) – Small plates and top brunch, come get lost in Prospect Heights. Developer – Bastian Kuberek, Motor City Bar (NYC) – Front like you remember how to drive and these 8 Milers might let you hang. ● Developer – Dan Simon, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (NYC) ● Designer – Matt Strmiska, Manuel’s (Austin) – Immaculate cleanliness, smart design, and Wine Spectator-designated mole don’t come cheap even for the downtown lunch crowd. ● Developer – Sam Withrow, Pacific Standard (NYC) – Mellow, big-hearted Slope pub keepin’ it pacific. ● Quality Assurance Engineer – Sunde Johnson, Stone Park Café (NYC) – White on white, Williams-Sonoma, Maclarens, fish sandwiches, and burgers. ● Mobile Developer – Otto Toth, Centolire (NYC) – Mangia, mangia, and then ride up and down in the funny glass elevator until the hostess kicks you out.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS ● Bob Hoff, Guys & Dolls (LA) – Sophisticated sexy in West Hollywood. 7 nights a week. ● Ari Horowitz, L’Ecole (NYC) – Get schooled in fine French cuisine at this tasty training center. ● Eric Gertler, SoHo House (NYC) – Members-only decadent den where you may find scruffy English rockers or snaggle-toothed English bankers. Guess which is more likely. ● Joe Landry, Local (LA) – Anything goes, as long as it’s not beef. ● Irwin Lieber, Fishtail by David Burke (NYC) – Fresh seafood in the UES by celeb chef David Burke. ● Dan Pelson, Marea (NYC) – Hopes for a high tide abound at Michael White’s temple to Italian seafood. ● Barry Rubenstein, Shun Lee Café (NYC) – Haute Chinese and dim sum on a glossy, ’80s-fabulous set. ● Jack Sullivan, Blue Ribbon (NYC) – Bromberg bros brasserie takes care of Soho’s after-midnight crowd.
Brian Wilson Tickets Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury Tickets Westbury Tickets
“This seems like one big Republican party,” an unnamed guest with a distinct southern accent noted last night at The Gates. “Either that or it’s a Yale reunion.” Amid all of this week’s summery soirees, I was most happy to find myself at UNICEF’s Next Generation Launch Event. With Jenna Bush Hager as a committee chair, Grey Goose-sponsored cocktails, and Josh Madden playing DJ, this one particularly disinterested party guest could not sour the bunch — regardless if the bunch was made up of Republican Yalies or not. The event was hosted by the members of UNICEF’s Next Generation Steering Committee, a group composed 30 thirty young scenesters, including Barbara Bush, Lauren Bush, Maggie Betts, and David Lauren, who banded together to party for their very first initiative: Project Sprinkles, as they pledged to raise $175,000 for the program. Not to worry — the program isn’t raising awareness for your Crumbs habit, though the delicious cupcakes were passed at the event. These sprinkles are sugar-free and save lives.
UNICEF’s “Sprinkles” is a nutritional supplement in the form of a powder designed to be sprinkled over food, instantly fortifying the meal with iron, vitamin A, zinc, vitamin C, and folic acid. About 25,000 children die every day from preventable causes such as malnutrition. Though this number is worldwide, the group chose to set their sights on Guatemala, where rising food prices are compounding the problem, and the number of daily deaths is on the rise. The packets are known as “Chispitas” in Guatemala, and look much like small sugar packets — though, as one passionate UNICEF member admitted to me, they are tasteless.
The goal of the Next Generation Committee is to not only raise money for these Chispitas but also to engage younger generations in supporting the world’s children. They hope to reduce the number of daily preventable child deaths to zero through charitable donations, education, engagement, and advocacy. The young group certainly made headway last night, selling raffle tickets for ritzy dinner packages to the Waverly Inn, Hotel Griffou, and Kingswood. Ultimately, between cupcake bites and vodka sips, they were able to raise $45,000.
Nick Mathers’ lounge Baddies, under Kingswood, is a step up from his ultra-small restaurant Ruby’s. I live in Nolita, surrounded by some pretty great places to catch a meal. Ruby’s is one of those joints that keeps me coming. In the winter it’s often so cold you have to wear your coat and sit by the pipe. I’ve seen my breath more than a few times. Yet there’s something about the place that makes me endure and indeed celebrate its smallness. Ruby’s seats about 25 people, and that’s practically sitting on your neighbor’s lap. Neighbor is the key word; you’re made to feel like you belong, that it’s your neighbors and friends that you’re eating with. Celebrities are a regular sight. I go for the best burger in town, the Whaley’s, or maybe the pasta or pear and walnut salad. I don’t’ think I’ve tried anything else, and I’ve been there a hundred times. Baddies and Kingswood bring that same casual friendliness. Everyone in town awaits the return of Beatrice and every hipster joint is declared its heir apparent. Baddies will do until the return of the baddest boy in town, my dear friend Paul Sevigny. Until then I’ll be hanging with Nick Mathers and his mates.
I’m in a bar called Baddies, which is one of my favorite names so far. Where did the name come from? Nick Mathers: A few of my boys, which means mates or friends.
You’re both Australians, but I live in Nolita, so I eat and drink at Eight Mile Creek and I eat at Ruby’s. I’m used to Australians. But many of my readers will not understand. So you and your mates … NM: So me and my mates, we were down here and we didn’t have a name. We never have names for anything until things really start to come together because the whole interior, the feeling, the vibe you get creates the name … it’s not the name creating the space.
It’s like a dog … you don’t name a dog in advance. NM: You pick a couple names right, and then … I had picked a lot of names, and we were down here, we were having a big night, everyone was just throwing stuff around and someone just goes “it’s Baddies, this place is Baddies.” And it just sort of stuck. It’s just such a cute name, and we love it. It’s kind of fun. We’re taking a lighter version on this whole thing, you know, it’s hard to say a different name would be kind of cool, but it’s good to take the piss out of yourself and take a lighter stance, and with Baddies, it’s all a bit of a pun.
I think the word is “whimsical.” It’s a whimsical name, and I think it really does set a tone that makes you feel comfortable. Any place that’s too stuck up, it can’t be really any fun. I think that’s the reason the name “Beatrice” worked because it was just such a put your feet up kind of place that you had a good time. NM:Yeah it’s like being in a friend’s living room, and that’s why Lit works…
You’re a polished version of Lit and Beatrice, but what about the design? Nick, are you a part of the design? NM: Yeah, it’s me and another guy, Scott. What’s Scotty’s last name? Scooter? I don’t know anyone’s last name. Scotty’s sort of a surfer dude; he’s a Cali boy, he’s not Australian.
Let’s talk about the cabinets. They’re a cross between Morticia Adams and the woman from The Incredibles, sort of like strange figurines. So, we have two words: whimsical and figurines. So these whimsical figurines, tell me why they’re in here. NM: Around the corner there is also another man, and he’s kind of spooky and fits the whole theme. Tim Burton, that’s my theme. Even when you see our logo for Baddies, it’s all very Edward Scissorhands sort of stuff. When I was speaking to Scott, I told him, we’ve got to do these marionettes, and I want you to run with it, and he was like yeah, let’s make this cabinet. We like to change everything in the cabinets, and we also like to change the art, use different artists and keep it really fresh.
You also have crystals and apothecary type old-school stuff here. NM: And we have coral, and it’s a mix, and it sort of comes together, funnily enough.
Tell me about the cherries. NM: The cherries I can’t tell you — Scott said, “We’ve got to have cherries in there.” You’ll have to ask him. I said we needed a little bit of color.
This place is bad. It’s just fun. You have big oversize ostrich-skin couches. Is it real ostrich? NM: It comes from cattle but then that’s the style. All our furniture is … well, we have zebra, and then we have pony hair and real leather, there’s no vinyl. Everything is done to the nines. I’ve got a really good guy that I work with, and we sit down and draw up the couches, and we go through the colors, and he makes them for us, and he’s amazing.
I’m looking at hot chicks in strange underwater shots, and you put the drawers underneath, which we invented in Marquee. When I was designing Marquee, Jason Strauss and I both ate at Craft the day before we did the couches, and I dropped my fork on the floor, and the waiter opened the drawer of the table, and that’s where the idea came. The same thing happened to Jason, and we both had the same idea at the same time. It’s a great idea for many reasons, for people keep their bags in. NM: The picture were taken in Indonesia. They’re my mates who went down and shot everything underwater. They made up these whole scenes that were all done underwater, and they were done with tanks. Even the photographer had a tank on; they spent days underwater coming up with these scenes.
What’s the name of the French designer who inspired you with the strong colors and sharp angles? NM: There was Philippe Boisselier, and then I brought out Verner Panton. I just think he just has a way with the colors, and it’s that 70s thing that works well. It’s a really bad era, but I love his whole thing. You’ll see that he’s going to give even more of a drive to the red. The floor is the highest gloss, it’s like a fiberglass red floor, and then you’re going to get these cabinets in red, and it’s just going to pop. So you’re going to feel like you’re in a brothel.
So Baddies, am I a Baddy? People coming here, are they Baddies? The staff, are they Baddies? Who’s a Baddy? NM: No one is a baddy, it’s just a concept. You come down, it’s bad, it’s fun, it’s not about who’s bad and who’s not.
How much of your crowd is Australian? Is that your core crowd? NM: Down here, I’d think like five percent. Maybe ten percent maximum.
Let’s talk about this location. NM: It’s killer.
Are you the alternative Beatrice now? The new Beatrice? It’s got to cross your mind. NM: I mean, we have similar promoters and DJs, and our doorman, Simonenz, you had to realize that he is going to attract that crowd. Beatrice closed and we’re a viable alternative, but it’s big shoes to fill.
But this place is much more buttoned up. It’s cleaner. And the cocktail menu is really spectacular. Beatrice had their cucumber mint drink, and Rose Bar has their Rose Bar drink. What’s the Baddies drink? Dylan Hales: We’re doing a recreation of classic 70s cocktails, so we’re doing a white Russian, a Martini Rossi dry vermouth cocktail, a tequila sunrise. We’re all along that theme. We’re going to expand our cocktail list, so we’re going to get into some more classics. Like I was saying about the artwork, we’re going to switch out the cocktail list as well. There were so many amazing cocktails in the 70s, and so we’re going to start bringing a lot of those back.
So who is your crowd? Is it the Beatrice crowd? NM: Well of course we get the Beatrice crowd … we do get the hipsters. But it’s not too heavily hipster, it’s a nice mix, because it’s more like a 25-30 crowd. We want a casual, cheap version of the bottle, but you can come down and we sell bottles. So we’ve got three places where you can buy bottles, and it’s been popular to come down and buy bottles, and then of course we always have the promoters run tables.
What kind of music? NM: In general, I’d say we’ve been mixing up a lot, but I’d say like more disco-house, not rock. Not rock, more fun, it’s disco.
You guys are having routine DJs who are all very hip, and in tune to what’s happening on the scene. NM: Yeah, so it’s not rock at all, its not Rolling Stones, it’s not Sting. But we’re doing a rock ‘n’ roll night on Mondays.
You having Lizzy Truly DJ? NM: Yeah Lizzy Truly is DJing here, and we’ve got Franco.
What are your restaurants? NM: There’s Ruby’s little café, then there’s upstairs and we have one with Ralph Lauren in Georgetown.
Do you feel that the restaurant is going to drive the lounge? Or does it just happen to be under it? NM: It just happens to under it. Separate entities. It was really nice to be able to go into the restaurant, but from a design point of view, it’s just an extremely different feeling to what you get when you come in here.
Do you spend a lot of time down here? NM:Yeah, Dylan spends most nights here. I come about every three nights. DH: Yeah, luckily for me, I’m a very high-energy person.
The hours of the restaurant, the stresses are different. At a nightclub, or a lounge, you have to worry about people being drunk, acting crazy, doing drugs, people breaking up with their girlfriends publicly. There’s a whole new set of rules that you’ve got to learn. How do you prepare for that? Do you watch movies, or do you just hang out in clubs? NM: We didn’t prepare … there’s no point in preparing. You’ve got to just throw yourself in there, and find out for yourself. You know what you do, you touch the iron and it’s hot, and you’ve got to find out how to touch it with a cold mitt.
Why the restaurant business? You’re a bright boy, why aren’t you a lawyer? NM: I’ve got ADD for starters, so lawyer is no good for me. I worked in restaurants here and there in Australia while I was going through school, university, and then I came out here, and I wanted to get a visa. I love New York. When I got here, I had a girlfriend I was going to meet in Europe, and I called her up and said I just signed a 10-year lease on a restaurant on Mulberry Street, and she was like “what!?”. And then I rang my mom as well.
Ruby’s is yours right? Yeah, Ruby’s is mine. I traveled a lot when I was a kid, and I wondered why I hadn’t been to New York until I was 25. It was always the place I wanted to go and I know why now, because when I got there, I was never going to leave. Someone told me, “Ya know, get a bike in New York and you’ll never leave.” So the first week I got here, I got a bike and I rode around the city all day, and I was just like, “I’m never going to leave this city.”
Ruby’s is the most impossible restaurant in the world. It’s insanely small but everyone goes. Yeah, Kingswood is great, but Ruby’s is where my heart is. I was in LA, and I said oh we have this restaurant Kingswood and someone said, “Oh, he also has this restaurant Ruby’s,” and they said, “Oh! I know Ruby’s.” Everyone knows that place. I had someone calling me, talking about doing the franchise in the Middle East, and I was like “What the fuck?” It’s insane. It’s the size of a bathroom, and I’ve had — Can we get it in Sweden? Can we get it in Paris? Can we get it in Tokyo? Can we get it in Dubai, and can we get it in Sydney? I mean that’s six different countries of very different natures approaching me saying “We love this place.” Kingswood came out of Ruby’s. But what makes Ruby’s is people like Dylan who started there, and James, and it’s the different characters that come through.
There’s this whole Australian expat group that goes there, but also the food is good and I revel at the efficiency of it. What I’m getting at is that you have this incredibly small space but yet you’ve got a great menu, the crowd is cool as hell, and now you’re taking it to the next level. Now I’m realizing that Kingswood is totally the next level. NM: Yeah, and now we’re doing now 60-200 covers a night, and we’ve got the bar, so maybe 60 people walk through Ruby’s on a night, and maybe 300 or 400 walk through a night here. It’s a big jump.
You got a bar upstairs? NM: Yeah we’ve got an island bar upstairs. It was voted best bar to eat at by New York magazine last year.
It seems like slim pickings for a Tuesday party prowl. Perhaps many are in hangover recovery courtesy of their Friday to Monday weekend. Most are waiting it out for humpday. But as we anticipate a heatwave, these hot spots emerge. Break out of your comfort zone, put off buying that AC unit, and join the rest of the denizens of the anti-day scene.
● Happy Ending (Lower East Side) – If you’re still mourning the loss of pre-Giuliani New York, get a quick whiff here courtesy of the Tuesday night “Six Six Sick” party. Interesting fashion ensembles keep the nightlife photographers clicking; booze-drenched girls falling out of their interesting ensembles keep the nightlife photographers clicking in the tile-shower stalls. Things are a neon-bright messy in this massage parlor-cum-bar-cum-literary-hang-cum-on-your-blue dress. ● Home Sweet Home (Lower East Side) – The speakeasy vibe is peppered with middle-school nostalgia thanks to the Tuesday night “4 Page Letter – The Aaliyah Tribute Party.” Feels like a locals-only event or a junior high gathering, except everyone is friends thanks to DJs Nicholas Kratochvil, Florencia Galarza, and Scott Meriam pumping 90s throwbacks and R&B tracks. And there’s no running out because Sarah decided to dance with your crush when KC & JoJo started playing. We’re all grown-ups here.
● Black & White (Greenwich Village) – “East Side Social Club” has been keeping the Tuesday-night rock star off-duty thing going strong for almost three years now. The leather jacket/skinny jean average is broken up with multiples of swingy skirts, fedoras, and costume jewels, recalling the days of sock hops and jive talk — or just the golden Beatrice days. DJs look as good as they sound and will put your Doris Day get-up to shame. Go late to save yourself from the early game of trivia. ● Angels & Kings (East Village) – The kids call it “Trainwreck Tuesdays,” but it’s also the epicenter of guyliner, flat-ironed bangs, and hoodies thanks to Pete Wentz, the demi-god of such who also happens to own the joint. The crowd looks like pop-star minis; Pink sipping PBR in the corner is actually that chick from your bio class. Ashlee Simpson leaning against the blood-red wall is actually, oh wait, it is Ashlee Simpson. ● Marquee (Chelsea) – Maybe it’s all of those commercials Wass has been in lately. Perhaps it’s the heightened entertainment brought about by watching PYTs fall down those stairs. For whatever reason, Jason and Noah’s “Tuesdays, Baby Tuesday” is still packing in six-foot Slavic princesses and the suckers who love them. It’s a Harvard fact. Though the gene pool is dwindling, the classic Tuesday vibe still abounds. Though this time around, you and your hard-headed pals wont have to bribe a bouncer. ● Kingswood (West Village) – This basement bar has nothing to do with the Aussie eats upstairs. Not as packed as the “Baddies” Thursday-night to-do, this Tuesday night is hyped to be chill. A pleasant stop-off for some West Village wandering — if not for the mixology, at least for the people-watching. Pretty girls and prettier boys sprawl on the banquettes, smoking. Literally and figuratively speaking. ● Griffin (Meatpacking District) – Former PM relaunched as a new hotspot fueled by NYC nostalgia, and on Tuesday nights, fueled by “Lust.” This party was meant to indulge your fantasies, and the ladies in lingerie and masks seem to confirm that. Seems to be bringing new zest to the Meatpacking, hit or miss. ● Lulu (Nolita) – If you’re hesitant to dive into midweek partying, the “Dinner Party” may be just the thing to ease you in. By no means is it a party with training wheels — Nicky Digital tells it like it is. “Why should dinner and partying be exclusive when you can combine the two?” A booze-drenched dinner amongst your favorite skinny-jean sightings. People-watching, ceviche, and Nolita at its finest, not to mention Nicky on hand to capture all of those memories you might want to forget. ● Hudson Terrace (Midtown West) – The view alone is enough to take your mind off of the 9-5, and the post-work cocktails will let your mind slip even further. “Sunset on the Terrace Tuesdays” bring in weekly mixologists and cocktail tastings which last all summer from 5-10pm, with the classic after-work 2-for-1 special from 5-7pm. ● Rose Bar (Gramercy) – Tuesday nights are fun, indeed, but Ian Schrager’s model filled, cozy hall seems to be every Manhattanite’s favorite place- whether they’ve been there or not. And with the tight door, family like atmosphere, and devastatingly good looking crowd; why wouldn’t it be? Never the less, Tuesdays are particularly chummy, slide into a sexy booth and make eyes at your model girlfriend to-be under the big art (Basquiat, Twombly, and…Schnabel). For updated party information, check out this weekly curated list on where to go and what to do all week long.
Got more ideas for Tuesday or other weekly parties? Let us know.
I am deeply honored to be nominated by PAPER magazine for best nightlife blog. However, having already been honored as best nightlife blog by the Village Voice for 2008, I think it’s best that I withdraw and throw my support to another candidate. I have noticed the other bloggers nominated are campaigning, and feel I must spend my own energies campaigning for Barack Obama. I think the problems facing America far outweigh our little scene. I urge all my loyal readers to vote for Barack for President and Rachelle of Guest of a Guest for best blog. I would also like to nominate Brittany Mendenhall of Chichi212.com for Vice-Blogger. Thank you, and enjoy Part 2 of the conversation between myself, my editor Fernando Gil, and the Southside boys Anthony Martignetti and James Willis. (See Part 1 here.)
I’m very much enthralled by the design for Southside; I went downstairs, and we talked about how you wanted to make it fun and airy; not so dark. Anthony Martignetti: There’s a huge resurgence in the past five years in New York of speakeasy looks, where everything is hidden and quiet and dark, and a lot of them go down very well. A lot of them had done less well over the years, when a lot of people have started ripping off a lot of the small speakeasies. But then there’s the big New York City nightclub, and I just don’t think there’s anything in between, that I’ve seen.
There’s nothing in between the size of Marquee or a Milk and Honey or Beatrice Inn; something very small, dimly lit, and not a lot of money put into it. I didn’t have $5 million to build a building and do massive staircases.
You’ve done very well; you’ve played games with wallpaper. AM: Yeah, and these are all cheap things.
Yeah, smoke and mirrors, but the art of it is taking a warehouse or a former stable or some sort of factory and making it the hottest place around. And right now … AM: Yeah, this basement was a cold storage.
Amazing. Well, right now this is one of the hottest places around. AM: [Laughing] Wait, wait, “one of”?
How about the name Southside? To me it sounds like Chicago. “Southside” to me is Al Capone from the Southside — where does the name Southside come from? You’re certainly not on the Southside, you’re on the Westside. AM: It’s technically a drink, but it didn’t really come from that. James Willis: We just liked Southside, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s like, “Come to the Southside.” AM: We didn’t want to have a name where you said it and it meant something. We didn’t want to have a name that had a connotation of fancy or hidden. We just wanted the name to just …
I like the fact that you removed the booths from the Southside of the place and it was a cleansing. I like to think of it that way. AM: We definitely had a bit of a cleansing down there. JW: How we did the rooms downstairs — the last time, the booths were in the back, so if you bought a bottle you couldn’t see anyone, and they weren’t a part of the dance floor. How all the banquets are now, they’re all facing each other, so the DJ booth is there and everyone surrounds it, so everyone can see each other.
I think finding the center of a room in design is one of the most important things. JW: It’s nice and light, we’ve got the two disco balls, great sound system, the parties we’ve had have been hands in the air. Fernando Gil: Do a lot of people still think Southside is kind of like the old place that was here, Bella’s? AM: A lot of people still say they’re showing up to Bella’s, or they’re looking for Bar Martignetti.
Is it hard to get rid of that boarding school connotation? AM: We’ve been turning down a lot of our regulars who actually spend a lot of money here, for the common benefit of the space. We want to let some of them in, because they add to the group, but we can’t have 30 guys who live on the Upper East Side in their parent’s places still. FG: So it’s not the Gossip Girl crowd? JW: Yeah, but the kids who worked here previously … we know who the cooler ones are, the crew who would necessarily spend money but … AM: Nick Cohen DJs Thursday and Saturday.
You made this transition from Ruby’s, which is this really boutique little hole-in-the-wall Aussie place on Mulberry Street. And you’ve been talking about this for a long time: You wanna do a club, you wanna do a club. How does it feel now? Is it a dream or is it a nightmare? JW: I feel awesome. I love ringing Anthony in the morning and going, “What’s our plan for the day?” or “We’ve got this party tonight,” or “We’re getting interviewed.” I love doing events, I love throwing parties, I love hosting. I didn’t come to New York wanting to own a nightclub, I was still going to do fashion, but after I left Ruby’s we went to Kingswood … and it just didn’t work out with what I wanted … and me getting older. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and I wasn’t enjoying the restaurant business anymore. And fortunately I came to the Martignetti brothers to ask them to teach me the whole business side to running a nightclub. And I went downstairs, it was like boot camp. I didn’t like the crowd, but his brother showed me how a lot of stuff, how to run the business, how to run a nightclub.
Well, you have qualities that can’t be taught. I’ve been in the business for well, too long, and basically your charisma, your honesty, and your ability to make people feel like they know you are things that many people don’t bring to the table. There’s nothing aloof about you, James, or you, Anthony. I met you guys, and you made me feel like you wanted to be my friend, and that’s something that can’t be taught. A lot of this business in the last ten years has been hijacked by suits with no personalities who really shouldn’t be in the business, and I think the recession is going to bring a natural correction. AM: Nightlife needs to be corrected; promoters have gone way overboard.
You said the “P” word again. FG: What spots do you like and what spots don’t you like downtown? AM: Right now, I go to mostly restaurants. I could live at Indochine.
Anything else you guys want to put in? AM: No hip hop, no promoters.
Promoters is a very weird term now because promoters can be like James said, that he became a promoter by default. You got hijacked. You were bringing your friends in, and you didn’t even know you were a promoter — but you were. As for hip hop, the lines of music are getting blurred. I’m DJing on Sunday nights, and somebody said to me, “You put on a hip hop record,” and I didn’t even know it’s hip hop. So are you sure — none? AM: We’ll sneak it in once in a while. JW: Yeah, we’ll sneak some old school hip hop, we just don’t want like the “Gold Digger” kind of rap music — that same shit we hear at 1Oak and Marquee. I hear the same set every single night. AM: We want to surprise people. We’re small enough that we can do that. JW: Saturday night, downstairs, everyone had their hands in the air. I haven’t been to a club in New York where everyone … AM: We had that much dancing! JW: Everyone was just yelling, screaming, whistling — they loved it. It was amazing. Everyone had a smile on their faces and was just dancing their asses off.
I live in Nolita but seldom hang in the neighborhood joints — Southside may change that. Around the corner from neighborhood staple La Esquina, Southside is a smallish basement boite catering to a crowd that is mixed and mature. The vibe is just right; you walk in and feel a cool that comes from operators who aren’t forcing it. A well-dressed but casual Nolita crowd with fun music and a lack of pretentiousness sets this place apart from so many others. Owners Anthony Martignetti andF James Willis took a few moments to give me the full story on the joint, so here’s Part 1 of the conversation; check back tomorrow for Part 2.
You’ve opened up Southside, which I attended the other night and had a great time. I think the place is beautiful. Anthony, I think you had a secret ambition to be a designer at one point, is that about right? Anthony Martignetti: Yeah, I started a design company when I graduated school, and basically that’s why I moved to New York, to design places and build furniture. Then I found out that you couldn’t make any money doing that, so I decided to start bartending at night.
We’ve had a different path. I started off running nightclubs and bars and decided I couldn’t make any money at that anymore, and then I got into design making a pretty decent living. AM: I’m actually learning now that once you start designing for other people, you make money; when you design for yourself, you only save a lot. You don’t see the money, but it’s actually there.
Now, one of my favorite restaurants, especially in Nolita, is a place called Ruby’s. James, I know you from Ruby’s, a place where I’ll have my pasta with hot Italian sausage and that pear salad I’ve been eating for years. When I read the post from Rachelle from Guest of a Guest, I saw there were Aussies everywhere, and I couldn’t figure out where they came from, and then I saw you. Tell me about the Aussie Nolita crew. James Willis: Well, basically when I first moved to New York, when I was in Australia, my friends hooked me up with the Ruby’s boys, and on Mulberry Street, you have Eight Mile Creek as well, the Aussie pub, which is where we go and watch the rugby games. It was such a small community of Aussies then. I think everyone just drew themselves to Ruby’s to go and maybe hang out with an Aussie or get some burgers, some food.
You don’t have ugly Aussies; everybody in your crew is like model material. It’s a really beautiful Aussie crowd, is that a rule? Is there a height requirement? JW: Well, if you worked at Ruby’s if you’re a male, you had to be an Aussie. Because the Aussie’s wouldn’t get along with one Swedish, or one American guy, because they would cop so much shit all day that they couldn’t handle the sense of humor. But the girls.
The girls are hot. JW: Yeah, but it was great working for them. I came to New York knowing two people, and I actually came here to do a fashion interview and didn’t take the job. And so I met the boys and started working with them and just created a friendship with the people that used to come in. Dudes who lived in Nolita and Soho, and that’s how I met Anthony.
There was a club downstairs before Southside, and it was a pretty raucous club. Sometimes I didn’t walk down the street because I would go to La Esquina and I’d peek around the corner, and there was a crowd that wasn’t my scene. How did you guys come to take it over? AM: Basically, James had moved over to Kingswood; we’d known each other and partied with each other for a bunch of years, and we just started saying if we put our two crews [together] … I can get all the socialite babes, for some reason, I don’t know why. I’ve known them because I used to bartend at Dorian’s and Suite 16. I don’t like to admit it, but I used to be a promoter back in the day.
You said the “P” word. AM: Yeah, I know … maybe you don’t want to use that. So we just wanted to make a place that was just an awesome nightclub for an older crew. Downstairs used to be really young, 20, 21, not your crowd.
But with Bar Martignetti, I was always amazed at the balance of it. Just enough yuppies to make money, and yet it’s still hip, which is a very rare balance. You just usually don’t get those crews mixing; it’s either the yuppies or the hipsters. But this place has a mix. JW: Yeah, we’ve got a strong mix of that, especially with the new club.
I think that’s really, really difficult thing to do, and I’m sure its conscious, so tell me the steps you took to balance that. AM: If you can put together groups of people where the room is heterogeneous, and you’ve got a hairstylist next to … I just wanted different. I want to see James’ Aussie surfer buddies sitting next to … I just, I want to see a mix of people. Those are the places that are going to last, and not like I was around in the 70s and 80s for nightclubs, but I imagine that that’s what they had as a mix. When you see old pictures, you see a politician who’s 45 years old sitting next to a young hustler, next to a gorgeous model, and you’ve got a mix of people that I think will make the place more interesting.
I ran the Palladium on 14th street back in the day. Back then without email or text messaging, you had to have a mailing list. I had 160,000-plus names on my mailing list, and when we promoted a party, what we would do, as it was all in zip code order, we could say we want a thousand artists crowd from this zip code, and we want 3,000 of this, 500 of that, and we’d mix it. We literally engineered the crowd, and that’s why we were successful. Then at the door, we’d adjust it; if you’re getting too many yuppies, let more of these in, just to keep that balance. And the door would be instructed as to what we were trying to achieve … 2% this, 10% that. AM: This is exactly what we’re doing every night, because Thursday night is the party that me and James host together, and we go through our phone on Thursday. He comes up with a list of people he wants to have from all different backgrounds, because I don’t want to invite ten of my friends that I went to school with. If I know ten best friends that I went to college with, I want to have one of them, but then I want to have one guy that I used to weld in Brooklyn with. And then one guy who’s a friend of a friend who’s a hairstylist. And James will bring one guy that he knows who is a surfer dude, and one guy he knows that always hangs out with a couple models, and then one guys he knows that’s just an Aussie hedge fund guy.
That’s what I hear is happening, that’s what I see is happening. I think it’s what’s necessary in this neighborhood. Because I think that’s what this neighborhood is about.
Come back Thursday for Part 2 of this interview.