My Labor Of Love: The Rosebud Speakeasy Opens In The Out NYC Hotel, Gala Tonight

I love publicists. They make everything sound so very nice. They specialize in wow’s and oh wow’s and are so crafty with words that sometimes they don’t have to even say anything. The truth lies between the lines, and the lies become truths if you say them often enough to the right people. "They make lemons taste like cherries," a wise lady told me. I have favorite publicists and I’ll name two. Tomorrow, all the rest will have you believing I named them. Brad Zeifman of Shadow P.R. is wonderful, and so is R. Couri Hay of the P.R. company with his name on the door. 

R.Couri and his crew are handling the P.R. for the opening of The Rosebud. This is honorable work, as the product is honest and may actually be wonderful. Rosebud opens tonight after a minute or two of delays. I designed the place alongside David Davis, who is always around projects I do but gets little attention. He is my Johnny Depp, not my Tonto, a reference that some P.R. companies will make clear to you any week now. On the invite I appear in bold letters described as "Designed By Nightlife Industry Leader Steve Lewis". OMG! Thanks, but I haven’t led the nightlife industry since the last century. I go so far back that a vodka on the rocks had real stones in there. Fred Flinstone was my…  well, you get the idea. You can read between the lines.

The biggest hurdle the P.R. company faced at the straight-friendly The Out NYC complex which also includes KTCHN restaurant and The Out NYC Hotel and The Out Spa and Gym, and all that is how to explain the sculpture I put up in the middle of the room. It was best left undefined, says all. I call it "Woody," and you’ll have to come by and find a name for yourself for it. The press release says:

"Nightlife veteran and acclaimed interior designer Steve Lewis was inspired by the ‘Good Ol’ Boys’ network, adding a warm, relaxed, and yet exclusive feel to THE ROSEBUD NYC. Incorporating elements like walnut, rosewood, leather, and bronze, Lewis transformed the 2,000 square-foot space to a traditional setting with a modern touch. Strategically placed lighting flatters and enhances the space, and comfortable banquets made of rosewood and velvet around the 350 foot center bar offer the perfect spot to see and be seen." 

I guess that’s all true, but Woody isn’t even mentioned and Woody does own that room. I wanted to make it all warm and comfy and really set it apart from XL, from which Rosebud was carved. I didn’t want the ceiling sculpture to distract or offend or define the room as a men’s club because the complex caters to all types. Then the-powers-that-be named the place Rosebud, which is not a Citizen Kane reference, and I got confused and figured they all said WTF and went with it. Woody speaks for itself. It also lights up and flashes and doesn’t just sit there limp by any means. 

The rest of the press release describes "signature cocktails" by "celebrity" mixologists (I do hear they’re swell at making swill taste great) . I’m gonna ask one to make some lemon thing taste like cherry. I bet they can.These cocktails and bottles will be served up by staff wearing "Prohibition-era" cocktail dresses and matching "1920s hairstyles." The guys will be wearing "classic white oxfords, black vests, and trousers." That’s catching the whole Gatsby wave I guess because some publicist somewhere got some people to say that that movie was actually good… but thats’s another column. 

Their will be memberships for sale at Rosebud. The P.R. release says:

"Privileges include a variety of exclusive perks including guaranteed entry and priority-table reservations at THE ROSEBUD NYC and XL Nightclub. Members will also receive special offers from THE OUT NYC including special rates at the straight-friendly urban gay resort, discounts at KTCHN Restaurant, complimentary access to THE OUT NYC’s spa and gym and invitations to private events throughout the year."

The Rosebud is located at 512 West 42nd St. I am very proud of it and will attend tonight’s gala. 

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This Week’s NY Happenings: Downtown Music Festival, SakaMai, KTCHN

FRIDAY: Rock & LoHo At Downtown Music Festival
The Lower East Side’s music cup runneth over as Downtown Records brings a second year of the Downtown Music Festival. The venues are a greatest-hits package of below-Houston spots. Mercury Lounge hosts Teengirl Fantasy, Cake Shop has Beach Fossils and Trash Talk, and nine different acts will take the stage at Tammany Hall. Even swank event space Capitale is in on the groove, hosting L.A.’s Black Hippy. The spaces are all intimate, so get your tickets quick.

The Downtown Music Festival runs Friday, May 10th and Saturday, May 11th, at venues like Cake Shop (152 Ludlow St., Lower East Side). To learn more about the bars, click on the listings in bold above.

NOW: Shuck It
The Lower East Side is your oyster tonight, as SakaMai lays on a “Shell & Sake” tasting. Take a guided tour through six sakes, expertly paired with a dozen bicoastal bivalves.

Shell and Sake starts at 6:30pm, tonight, May 6th, at SakaMai (157 Ludlow St., Lower East Side). Tickets are $75. To learn more about the sake bar, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

WEDNESDAY: Killer Instinct
The Out NYC’s house restaurant KTCHN kicks off a monthly dinner-and-a-movie series with a screening of Basic Instinct. They’re injecting some Rocky Horror, too—when Sharon Stone deploys her ice pick, you’ll find a Jack & Coke in front of you.  

Basic Instinct at KTCHN (510 W. 42nd St., Midtown West) starts at 7pm on Wednesday, May 8th. Prix fixe dinner is $49; wine pairings are an additional $25. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Know every inch of this city by checking out BlackBook’s NY City Guides

This Week’s Top NYC Happenings: Harlow, Pennsylvania 6, KTCHN

WEDNESDAY (tonight): Richie Notar’s Latest Parlor Harlow Opens 
Studio 54 and Nobu legend Richie Notar flies solo with Harlow, his glamorous new restaurant and parlor bar. Part of a 1926 gift from William Randolph Hearst to mistress Marion Davies, the space still has its original chandeliers and stained glass. Modern art (there’s a Warhol) updates the look, providing an elegant backdrop for a globe-trotting seafood menu. The raw bar nods back to Nobu with Japanese accents. For dinner, it’s creative combos like salmon with chorizo-Asian pear salsa, or Australian wagyu with fresh chimichurri.

Harlow (111 E. 56th St., Midtown East) opens Wednesday the 20th. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

WEDNESDAY: Mightier Penn
High ceilings and popping red seats highlight the comfy confines at Pennsylvania 6 (pictured), the newest pub in MSG’s hood. Check out the space Wednesday night while celebrating the launch of Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout season with the malt masters of Brooklyn Brewery.

Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout Launch Party at Pennsylvania 6 (132 W. 31st., Garment District) on 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday the 20th. Get the inside-info on the pub at the listing at BlackBook Guides.

SUNDAY: Oscar Admirer
KTCHN at The Out NYC knows that the Academy Awards are more fun with champagne, a big screen, and a lively crowd. You’ll find all that, along with dishes cribbed from the 1929 awards, prizes for the deftest ballot jockeys, and edible Oscars to take home.

The Academy Awards Viewing Party at KTCHN (510 W. 42nd St., Midtown West) starts Sunday the 24th at 7pm. No table minimum; reservations required. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Find out first about the latest openings and events in NYC by signing up for BlackBook Happenings, the email brought right to your inbox every Monday. And download the BlackBook City Guides app for iPhone and Android.

A “Straight-Friendly” Eatery Just in Time for Gay Pride

Sorry, but I am not buying the whole “gay urban resort” that THE OUT NYC has capitalized on. In fact, I am not even sure what it means.  I do know, however, that the Hell’s Kitchen hotel itself is a swank, well-run machine and place I would want to stay in despite the theme. Good thing, too, because now not only is it “straight-friendly” (what?) but tonight they are debuting their new eatery, KTCHN Restaurant.

Resulting from a partnership between the hotel and the owners of Eatery and Whym, KTCHN Restaurant is helmed by chef Dale Schnell, formally of the Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel, Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai, and Terrance Brennan’s Artisanal. Like the other two Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, KTCHN’s concept is New American, and Schnell plans to serve upscale comfort food with nibbles like smoked bacon with artichokes on polenta, various oysters, and marinated fluke with grapefruit. Aside from Schnell’s menu, THE OUT NYC has also brought Duane Fernandez Jr. onboard. Fernandez, who refers to himself as the “the only gay master mixologoist in New York,” is handling the cocktail menu, which includes low-calorie drinks, infused vodkas, and plenty of wine cocktails.

As for the hotel experience itself, I loved what Joel Stein wrote for Time magazine in May. He said, “It was also the only hotel room I’ve ever been in without a closet, which seemed a pretty big sacrifice just to make a metaphoric point.” Later, after noticing the hotel wasn’t all gay like he had hoped it would be, he wrote, “The problem is that being gay has become so acceptable that tourists think the gay theme is just fun New York Culture.”

Oh how things have changed, and Stein is spot on. So maybe “straight-friendly” doesn’t really need to be advertised since it appears the hotel is just welcoming in general. And now, with pride week and the parade this weekend, I am sure anyone is welcome to try out KTCHN—gay, straight, or whatever.