How The Club Handled The Chris Brown-Drake Brawl

Everyone is asking me about the Chris Brown/Drake thing at W.i.P. I’ve taken enough pot shots at the changing scene over there. I won’t further the gossip about how the seating was done, despite warnings to management not to do it like that. The ensuing brawl, I am told, was "inevitable.” Multiple sources told of the seating "roped off the way it was resembled a boxing ring.” I won’t talk about the report of a young gal needing and getting multiple stitches but reportedly not being helped by club security. My source said "she got 16 of them.” A couple of people talked of art by photog Scott Alger valued at 10K+ being destroyed. One employee texted me that "it was late on a good night and that Mary J. had left and it was all good"…until it wasn’t. They added: "it isn’t nearly as rough as Sunday". Since the NY Post and the big news organizations are all talking about this, and me and those W.i.P./Greenhouse guys are getting along after a bit of a rough spell… there is no need for me to even mention it.

Man-about-town Terry Casey will be celebrating his gazillionth birthday at La Zarza, that wonderful little spot on First Avenue and 10th Street. This is turning out to be a big deal, not because it’s Terry’s birthday – God knows he’s had lots of those – but because of the talented DJs who will be on hand. Stephen Luke the LIV Miami resident will join Xander Phoenix and innovative DJ Kris Graham. Kris was one of the originators of the now-everywhere House Music brunches. Back in 2002 Kris was doing Diva on West Broadway and joined forces with Roberto Burchielli who helped bring the European programming to Provocateur

The Rick’s Cabaret Guide to New York

Where do the dancing girls of publicly traded flesh palace Rick’s Cabaret like to hang when they aren’t putting themselves through school? Sure, you saw the stripper interviews yesterday, but wouldn’t you rather get intimate with the source material? After the jump, the Rick’s lovelies page throuh our “notes” regarding where the ladies kick it when they’re not working the pole. Can you get a Pulitzer for blue balls?

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Jennifer’s Picks:, Son Cubano, Little Branch, Bourgeois Pig, Boss Tweeds, Le Souk


Becky’s picks: Dos Caminos, Blue Water Grill, La Zarza, Lil’ Frankie’s, Rick’s, Kum Gang San, Wildwood, Ace Bar, Mason Dixon, Boss Tweeds, Little Branch, PDT, Lucky Cheng’s


Jazz’s picks: Cielo, Pink Elephant, Esperanto, Cafe Mogador Suzy’s Picks: 7B, Niagara, The Box, Apothéke, Big Wong King, Rick’s


Where Strippers Go for Fun in New York

Everyone’s got an office. For Mario Batali, it’s the kitchen; for LeBron James, the court. And for BlackBook staffers, it’s an actual office. But for the girls who work at Rick’s Cabaret and Steakhouse, the office is something entirely different. It’s the stage-to-ceiling brass pole, or the giddy lap of an Asian salaryman. But when daily tasks include gyrating your hips to a T-Pain banger or sipping bubbly with VIPs in the champagne room, what space does that leave for a regular nightlife? Last week, after a long day at our office (be sure to check out the raw source material), we decided to visit theirs to fulfill our journalistic duty by asking them the essential question: Where do you like to go out in New York?

Ashton, age unknown Where are you from? Moscow. Where do you like to go out in New York? Usually I like to go to Pacha. How long have you been in New York? Two years. And do you and the girls go out after work? No, after work I’m so tired. I just want to sleep. Do any of your customers ever invite you to go out with them after work? Never. It’s like my rule. I never give my number.

Suzy, age unknown Where do you go out in New York? I like to go downtown a lot. If I’m just chilling out, I usually go down on the Lower East Side. Like, to Niagara and 7B. Or, if I want to go out — I know a bunch of, like, promoter friends — I go to The Box. Or, I live really close to Apothéke. Do you and the other girls from work ever go out after a shift? I’ve gone out with some of the girls. After a shift, there’s not that much open — like, as far as alcohol. So, we’ll go out to like, the next block and do karaoke. Or we’ll go to like, Noribong, or go out to eat. And what restaurants do you like to go to? I don’t know. I like to go to a whole bunch of restaurants. I love eating. Everywhere. Have you ever given a lap dance to anyone famous? Not in the sense like, in the media. Because they always like to bring them to someplace private, and so they usually bring girls who are like, you know, typical stripper, with huge implants. You know, like, in your face. And me, I’m not like that. I’m like the pseudo-stripper. Can we take a picture of you? No.

Becky, 24 And how long have you been working at Rick’s? Two years. Do you like to get drunk? Ha ha, I love to get drunk! Okay. And you love to get drunk? Yes, I love to get drunk. How many nights a week would you say you drink? Probably 6 days, or 7? I drink too much. Do you drink at work? Yes, all the time. For free? Yea, most of the time. And do you go out afterwards? No, I usually go right home. I’m not big on going out after work. Sometime I go to Niagara or Ace Bar. It’s an amazing place. You’ve got the Skee-Ball. You’ve got all kind of games. It’s a real laid-back, chill kind of place, you know? Do you ever stay in? Hardly anymore, no. What restaurants do you like? I love Stanton Social. I like La Zarza. What about clubs? I’m not a club girl. I’ll go to like, Buddha Bar. But I’m not into the club thing. Everybody’s all coked up. You can’t talk, you know what I mean? I’m kind of more like, Little Branch, PDT, Mason Dixon. What’s your favorite cocktail? Stoli O, on the rocks. No hangover. I take it all night.

Shaleen, 19 Where do you go out? I don’t. Why not? Because I’m a hard-working mother. I work and I go home. Do you ever go out to restaurants? I went about 2 weeks ago to Asia de Cuba. I heard it was really good food, and it was. It was wonderful. How long have you been living in New York? I’ve been living in New York my whole life. So where did you go out before you were a hard-working mother? Well, that was when I was a teenager. I was just going to teen parties. And how many nights a week do you work at Rick’s? Usually 3-4 days a week. And do you drink when you work? I do not. Not at all. Have you been out in the last month? I went out once to the Cellar Bar in the Bryant Park Hotel. And do you ever pay for your own drinks? It’s rare. Do you get hit on a lot? I mean, I get hit on. It’s to the point where most men that are with their girlfriends look like they want to be with me.

Dior, 20 How long have you been working at Rick’s? Only like, 2 months. How long have you been living in New York? I was here about a year and half ago, before I left for Miami. And now I’m back for good. Where do you like to party in New York? I’m boring. I Like loungey spots. So, I haven’t found anything in New York, yet. I’ve been to Mansion once (now called M2). Mansion is fun. Like, when you want to just get all the party out of your system — go to Mansion. And I go to a lot of restaurants like Wolfgang’s Steakhouse up the street. Do you ever have to pay for your own drinks? I don’t ever pay for my own drinks. I refuse. How many nights a week do you go out after work with the other girls? Being at work is kind of like going out. Plus I’m new here, and I keep my co-workers at a certain boundary. So all the friends I have are all quote unquote “normal.” Do your parents know you’re a stripper? Technically, no. What do they think you do? They just think I work in a bar. They probably know I’m a stripper … it’s just a conversation we choose not to have. .

Saki, 25 Where do you go out in New York? Besides here, I love going to the Meatpacking District. Spice Market, Hotel Gansevoort. I’m not that exclusive, so I don’t really go anywhere that’s secretive. I’m not that VIP. Do you want to be? Yes, I do. Why do you like Hotel Gansevoort? Because it’s relaxing. There’s places to sit. It’s more like a lounge, and not so much a discotheque. I can’t stand clubs. Why not? Because it’s a huge exercise in futility. There’s a lot of sweat, and there’ s a lot of people who just get drunk, or get stoned. And it’s not that interesting to me. Do you ever go out after work? Oh, I’m here until 4 in the morning. I told you, I’m not that exclusive, so I don’t go to any after-hours hang-out spots. When you go out, do guys pay for everything? Not really. I have to buy everything. I’d rather not be bothered. If I got out and a guy tries to talk to me, and if I’m really not interested — I don’t want anything to do with him, like not even free drinks. Because I just don’t want him to follow me around. Are you friends with any of the strippers here? I’m friends with Suzy. I think you talked to her, earlier? How long have you been at Rick’s? Oh, since the day I started. Like, 6 months ago. Do you get drunk at work? Not really. You develop a huge alcohol tolerance here.

Gaby, 20< Where do you go out in New York? I don’t go out, especially when it is too cold. And I use my computer a lot. I play poker and Facebook all the time. So I’m more of a house person. All of my friends are promoters. They’re always inviting me to Marquee, Johnny Utah’s, 49 Grove, Tenjune. So why don’t you go? Because when it’s a promoter, it’s like a bunch of girls, and maybe 1 or 2 guys. Because they’re promoting tables. If there were more guys, I would go. But I mean, come on. Do you like to get drunk? I have never been drunk in my life. I have had like one or two drinks, and they got me. But not like, drunk. I’m always sober. I just go to flirt. And dance with the guys How long have you been working at Rick’s? Like, a year. How long have you been in New York? 6 years. Do you ever tell guys you meet that you’re a stripper? No … unless they are my boyfriend, I don’t have to say shit.

Patricia, 27 Where do you go out in New York? Just here. You don’t go out anywhere else? Just at Rick’s. You don’t go out to clubs? Or bars? Restaurants? Nope. How many nights a week do you work here? Five. 5 nights a week. So the other 2 nights you stay home? Well, no. These nights I’m in the spa. I stay all day long in the spa. Sometimes I go out with my friend to eat some Brazilian food. Are you Brazilian? Yes. How long have you been in New York? One year and one month. How long have you been at Rick’s? One year. Do you like to drink? Nope. I like to bring very hot men in the champagne room. I like champagne, I like strawberries. But he would have to be very hot. What do you do in the champagne room? It depends. If the guy’s very hot, I’ll have some champagne and some strawberries and cream. So, if they’re hot, you’ll bring them into the champagne room? Yes. Very hot and fun. And rich? That’s necessary. But if they are hot, and they are fun — But there’s no sex in the champagne room, right? No sex. But we have a great time.

Industry Insiders: Derek & Daniel Koch, Day Party Entreprenueurs

Derek and Daniel Koch are 26-year-old brothers and purveyors of one of New York’s hottest day parties: Saturday brunches at Merkato 55. They explain the logic behind a day party, the transition from college wrestling to nightlife artistry, and the ubiquitous nature of French toast.

Point of Origin: We were born in West Virginia and raised in the Ohio Valley area, about sixty miles west of Pittsburgh. There were a couple thousand people, it was a very small town. It was a village. We were at Ohio State University for two years, we were on the wrestling team, and we didn’t want to wrestle anymore. We wanted to move to a bigger city, try to reposition ourselves.

It was really weird transitioning — we were two athletes, but we were very artistic guys who wanted to search for a better life without having to go to school for something. We didn’t know what we wanted at that moment. We were 20 years old. Like everybody else, we needed job(s) to pay the bills. At the time, we were living in Brooklyn, and (Daniel) happened to be in the right place, at the right time finding a job via Craigslist at this little bistro on the Upper East Side — 69th and Madison, it’s still there, called Le Charlot — Derek walked in and asked for anything they had open, and (the manager there) told him to come back. Derek was put on the schedule, and I was waiting tables for, I don’t know, a good year. And the first week, he was waiting on Robert DeNiro.

The History of the (Day and Night) Day Party: We worked a few years separately — one at Le Bilboquet, one of us at Le Charlot — then we said, you know, we want to have more fun. Bilboquet looked like the place to make more money, have a little bit more freedom. We wanted to work together. (Daniel) left Le Charlot and went back to Bilboquet for about a year. The idea was for Aymeric (Clemente) to get Daniel back so we could do our Saturday brunch, which, Aymeric was the maître d’/manager of, who taught my brother and I everything we know, but Daniel and I were the servers. There were two waiters (us) and we’d be serving a crowd of about 200 people, (so, we did the Saturday brunch party) when the place only fit fifty.

How do your day parties work? We start the party at noon. It’s a brunch, it’s food, it’s a restaurant. At about 3 p.m., the music picks up, the crowd starts demanding more drinks, the lights are going up and down. By four, when it’s high-time, people are dancing on the tables, the music gets loud, and the weather outside is beautiful, it’s still light outside. By 5 p.m., well, the hours just turned back. So, 5 p.m., it’ll be dark, but it’ll still be daylight in the restaurant. It’ll still be like, okay, it just went from day to night, and ultimately before the clocks change, we take the party to Bijoux at 5 p.m. The party doesn’t stop until 10 on Saturday, but that’s all word of mouth. We don’t market that, we don’t send emails. At 6 p.m., most of these people don’t want to go; you have to kick them out because the restaurant’s open (at Merkato 55) for dinner service. So, you have to reset everything. When you’re there and you’re hanging out, you get on the mic, like, “okay, it’s 5:30 …” We turn the music down, you start hearing the music down on the ground, and everybody starts running downstairs. So, it starts in the day, it finishes at 8.

Who goes to day parties? This is a European market — for example, the Bagatelle clientele is about 90% European, and their DJs are great. We offer something a little different. We have mostly house music but, for a while, we’re playing everything. We have a 55% European, 45% American clientele. The American friends of ours are all starting to catch on to this St. Tropez-like vibe.

Industry Icons: Philippe Delgrange (of Le Bilboquet), who’s a huge part of this interview, by the way. He would definitely be our industry icon. Philippe Delgrange took us under, he’s like a second father, he would sign for our leases, we went to his house upstate; he’d be the guy, like the family man, that we’d eventually want to be some day — he’s our mentor. Just: everything. Other people: Frederick Lesort, Rich Thomas, Robert Montwaid, Aymeric Clemente, Patrick Cabido, Nicolas Barthelemy, Javier Vivas, Jordan Wheat, KyKy & Unik.

You guys work out of an office eight hours a day — what gives? Well, we’re licensors. We’re marketing, we talk to our clients, send them emails thanking them, we do tracking reports…anything. To produce a party at this stature, at this level — people are coming into your place and spending top dollars — you have to put forth the time to make it really work and to execute it and to make sure they had the ultimate experience. It doesn’t just come down to marketing. Also, you have to offer promotions, you have to make sure the music’s right, the lighting’s right, there’s things that you have to keep in order: the tuna’s not right, the ballroom is too small, et cetra.You can’t stretch yourself in this business. You really have to take a party, focus on it, and make it the best party of the week. We want to give that experience. That’s where you can grow, and your company can expand. You can be notable for that experience.

Give us the hard sell on Saturday brunch with the Koch brothers at Merkato 55. We’re mixing the music. It’s more friendly. There’re no egos. We have seating outside; our menu’s completely different from (the competition, and Merkato 55’s typical menu). We have American, we have burgers on the men; we actually have brunch items, too. We have French toast.

French toast at an African restaurant? We consolidated with our chef and said, “listen, we need to take some items from your dinner menu, from your brunch, and from your lunch, and combine them.” Yeah, French toast. French toast, everywhere.

How is it to work with your brother … all the time? We’re partners. We do everything, we don’t miss a beat, you know? We get each other’s emails, we’re constantly working together. If you had two people like you who had to do the same thing two times as hard as anyone else, it’s almost — the trust is there. The hardest part of being in business is finding a partner, and we found a niche. We like what we do, and right now, we’re having more fun with what we’re doing than we ever have.

What’re you guys doing tonight? There’s a little an industry party on Mondays at La Zarza. That’s our only other gig. We don’t email, text mail market, we just show up and have a good time. It’s fun for us. It’s an industry night. Something for people who’re in the business. La Zarza on Monday nights. Hands down. Saturday night was an all-nighter; Monday comes around and before you know it …

Is there ever a night where you guys don’t go out? Yeah. There’re six nights a week (laughing). The whole idea was to not get back into the restaurant business so fast and furious because, we actually enjoy our nights. (Derek) has a girlfriend, we’re office guys. We get things done during the day. We like going to events, to charities, stuff like that — stuff that we could never do before. To tell you the truth, you won’t find us in a club Tuesday, Wednesday … You’ll find us maybe Rose Bar on Tuesday, maybe Gold Bar on Wednesday, but if it’s got a club name on it, you’re not gonna see us in there. There’s a lot more to life than going out and getting shitty. You know, if you’re in the office the next day busting it out until four and you know that everything’s ready to go come Saturday because you put your time in … Put it like this: you can get a lot done going out before midnight.

Good Night Mr. Lewis: Shuffling the Deck

imageThe world’s worst DJ — yours truly — hit the turntables Sunday night at La Zarza. The place was packed with a beautiful crowd who surprisingly didn’t leave. Usually I’m terrible, but I think I might have only been awful. With Mondays easily the best night out around town, it makes sense that the ultimate off night, Sunday, would attract A-listers searching for a place far from the maddening bridge & tunnel crowds that rule the weekends. Jamie Burke, the Calvin Klein model and Bloody Social lead singer, was pitching platters downstairs. My boy Chris Willard came on after me on the main floor. They want me back next week. They’re either desperate, or deaf, or desperate and deaf.

Greenhouse is possibly three weeks away from a long, long, long-anticipated opening. Originally scheduled to be in the old Opera/Aria space on West 21st Street, it has since found a home at Varrick and Vandam streets in the old Flow/Shelter space. Two floors, high ceilings, and a cabaret license in SoHo seem like a winning formula. Despite dire economic predictions and continuous police harassment, joints continue to open. The shuttered Eugene’s space, purged of its demons (the worst operators in history), is going to get a new look after a quick fix. Cain is closed and getting a 30-day makeover. Ella just opened and seems to be providing lots of answers, and Mr. West seems to be drawing peeps away from the serious boites.

The new club in the old Lotus space is finding investors at a whopping $180,000 per point, says a friend who should know. It may be that the stock market crash has a silver — and maybe even gold — lining. It seems that people with loot aren’t eager to park it so fast in the market, or even real estate. Investing in a business that may become more cash-oriented, with credit cards flailing, may be ideal. The history of the business says that in times of upheaval people drink their sorrows away. The spots dependent on corporate credit cards will adjust with door admissions and slashes in promotional payrolls. Yet, with all the bad news, I don’t know of one joint on the verge of actually closing. Sure, a few are throwing up some paint and changing the name on the awning, but no one’s turning in the liquor license.

A comment came in the other day regarding an interview I did with Abel Ferrara. The reader didn’t see the connection between Hollywood and something I know a bit about (clubs). I agree. The interview started out as an interview with Jen Gatien, my dear friend and of course the daughter of Peter Gatien. She was plugging a couple of projects, and it was arranged that Abel would also be interviewed. As it turned out, Abel became the focus, and we’re rescheduling the interview with Jen. A man has to know his limitations, a great man once said.