Meet the Unlikely Heirs to New York’s Nightlife Kingdom

Jordan Fox, an emerging downtown nightlife fixture, is continuing in the tradition of theatrical club kids like Leigh Bowery, as well as Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny, with whom he can often be found partying well into the next morning. Soon, however, it will be Fox’s milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard. “Like most people, I came to New York with big dreams—luckily for me, almost all of them have come true,” Fox says. “Yes, I get paid to host and promote parties, but I do it out of love—love for the art, the nightlife, the fashion, the friends, and the twisted dreams.”

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Gossip blogger Micah Jesse comes at you, all guns blazing, with a big smile and mile-a-minute chatter. Flamboyant and fabulous, he’s often called the Perez Hilton of the east—but maybe he has more in common with Joan Rivers? “Well, not Joan Rivers,” Jesse says, before considering his contemporaries. “I dream about one day being the openly gay celebrity BFF to Ryan Seacrest.” Given his ease in front of the camera, it seems more likely he’ll usurp Seacrest than befriend him. “It’s true,” he says. “I see myself on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, interviewing the stars.”

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Eight years ago, Daniel and Derek Koch le the corn elds of Ohio to work for chef Philippe Delgrange at Le Bilboquet, a tiny French bistro on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Now, after a time spent running Day & Night, their Saturday brunch bacchanals at the since-shuttered Merkato 55, the Koch twins are focused squarely on their newest venture: MPD, a contemporary French boîte in the Meatpacking District. “We’re at the point in our careers where we want to go higher,” Daniel says. “Our plan is to head into the hotel world.” Derek agrees. “It’s a business, and knowing that business, well, that’s what separates men from boys.”

Industry Insiders: Michael Stillman, Meat and Potatoes Guy

Michael Stillman, president of Fourth Wall Restaurants (Park Avenue Winter, Quality Meats, Maloney & Porcelli, Post House, and Smith & Wollensky) calls mid-town steakhouse Quality Meats his “baby” while giving us a tour of the space, speaking of each architectural element with grand hand gestures and obvious satisfaction with the finished product. Stillman is the son of famed restaurateur Alan Stillman of T.G.I. Friday’s and Smith & Wollensky fame, and plans to expand his empire, much like his father in the next calendar year. His newest venture being the Flatiron Tiki-Polynesian outpost, The Hurricane Club. More details after the jump.

On being born into the business: I really didn’t know I would steer in this direction at all. It wasn’t something I was pushed towards. I fell into it after college as one of the many things that I had an interest in so I tried it and loved it. In some ways, I think my dad’s taste for aesthetics is what was passed down to me, and that’s what makes me love the restaurants as much as he does rather than this natural “I grew up in restaurants” kind of thing.

On his favorite room in the place: My favorite is the butcher room. The logs on the wall are all reclaimed logs from the Arkansas River where trees have fallen. This logging company literally goes down and picks them up from the bottom of the river. Then they bring them up and make these beautiful end cuts. It was a nightmare to put up but it’s super cool.

On starting at the bottom: I worked for Danny Meyer when I got out of college, and I ran food, checked coats. I’d do anything. I was completely useless and a smart alec, and they really got me to feel the nuts and bolts of the business. Danny is extremely talented and is a very different feeling from my dad. It was good to see that.

On his steak preference: Charred to medium rare. I grew up in New York so I love charred steaks.

Does the way someone orders a steak say anything about them? We never judge! Only behind closed doors!

Best steak of his life: I’ll always go for the Smith and Wollensky steak when it’s extra aged. The most fantastic experiential steak I’ve had was on a ten day trip through Spain. At one point, we thought we were lost in San Sebastian, but we got to this little place with crates outside and thirty seats inside. They just cooked one steak right after another on top of the open fire. It was spectacular, very downtrodden but still high end.

On expanding Q.M. like a Friday’s franchise: We’ve been looking around in London. I think it’d be a very interesting place to take Quality Meats. They’ve started to have more American meats, but nothing with this look and feel. A lot of the British clientele here love it. We just wanted to be really careful with this and expand it the right way. I’m more interested in “one-off” restaurants and new projects. But if we expand a project I want it to be special with personality. I don’t want it to feel monochromatic.

On the biggest misconceptions about steakhouses: Steakhouses get a natural bad rap because they’re expensive and “for bankers.” They’re not for “real foodies”. Ironically, though, the foodie culture has become so market driven and focusing on the elements and raw ingredients. Steakhouses were some of the first places to emphasize the quality of products. I think when you go to the best steakhouses they’re really ahead of other places in brining in the cleanest, simplest product and not taking away from it.

On his new joint: It’s called the Hurricane Club. It’s supposed to be a modern take on Trader Vicks and a Tiki-Polynesian restaurant. Our idea for the menu is what I call “inauthentic” cuisine. We’ll have all these cool new modern Tiki-cocktails. There’s a less serious sensibility, but equally high-end. I don’t think it’s a summer thing because, what’s better than coming into a place in cold weather and relaxing and drinking out of a coconut? There’s going to be a big bar lounge. It’s a little farther downtown for us, so I think it should drive a big crowd. It’s a little bit of a lower price—50 to 60 dollar range as opposed to 80 to 90 dollar range. It’s at 26th and Park with around 250 capacity.

On changing Park Avenue from Winter/Autumn/Spring/Summer: Each one is scary. We close down the restaurant for two entire days and we change the walls; we take down the ceilings; change the light fixtures and materials; we put in installations; we change the music, the food. We’ve got it down to a science. We knew that we were putting a big bull’s-eye on our back because it sounds so kitschy. But we literally build four new restaurants every year, and we try to make it feel like how you would want to feel in that season.

On bonding with the the Stillman senior: I took my dad to see Lady Gaga. It was hysterical. He’s like 74. I went with some friends, too, who had gone to Sacred Heart with her. We remember her doing stuff down at The Slipper Room. She puts on a good show—not really my cup of tea but it was fun. I loved watching my dad. That was second to none.

Go-to places: Bilboquet. It’s a classic UES show. It’s simple, but it’s got a punch and attitude. Another place is Balthazar. An oldie but a goodie. You can’t go wrong there. For Asian, I go to Kuma Inn on the LES. It’s been around six years. Chef King does some Thai/Filipino tapas, and it’s BYOB.

Worst habit or guiltiest pleasure: American Idol might be both.

Where Celebs Go Out: Marc Jacobs, Amanda Lepore, Adrian Grenier, Emma Snowdon-Jones

At David Barton Gym annual toy drive: ● MARC JACOBS – “In Paris, there’s a small club called Montana, and there’s a restaurant called Thiou. Bars I really don’t hang out in. Oh, there’s this great club that happens once a month in Paris called Club Sandwich. And it’s at the Espace Cardin. And everyone gets super dressed-up, so it’s really, really fun. I try to go whenever I’m in Paris, if it’s going on. And we stay out all night and just dance like crazy. And in New York, my favorite restaurants have always been the same. I love to eat at Pastis. I love the Standard. I love Da Silvano. I eat in the lobby of the Mercer a lot, the hotel. I usually go to Pastis for lunch, and there’s a sandwich that was on the menu, but they don’t make it anymore, but I always insist that they make it for me. And it’s really fattening, so I shouldn’t eat it, but it’s chicken paillard and gruyere cheese and bacon. And it’s so delicious. It’s really good. And it’s my weakness. It’s just like the most perfect sandwich.”

● DAVID BARTON – “Oh, I can’t think where I like to hang out in Seattle except my new gym! There’s a great place that just opened up in New York, up on 51st, called the East Side Social Club. Patrick McMullan is one of the partners there. He’s co-hosting with me tonight. Great place; really cool. It’s very old world, kind of like going to Elaine’s, kind of little cozy; sit at a booth; very cool. Love a little place called Il Bagatto, over on 7th between A & B — little tiny Italian place, East Village, kind of a neighborhood place that I go to. What else? I don’t know restaurants. I’m very casual. I’m so not that into food. I mean, I could eat cardboard — I’m just not into food! I like people. I like atmosphere, but I’m just not that into food.” ● AMANDA LEPORE – “I definitely like Bowery Bar and I like Hiro. Boom Boom Room. Just anywhere where everybody is, I guess! [laughs] Novita, I like, my friend Giuseppe. Any favorite dishes? I try not to eat too much! ● PATRICK MCDONALD – “My favorite restaurant in New York is Indochine. It’s been around for 25 years. Jean-Marc, I adore. I love the bar at the Carlyle. I don’t drink, but I like to go there for tea in the afternoon. And I love Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon on Gramercy Park. I love Pastis, Odeon, and everywhere. I like the French fries at Pastis.” ● PATRICK MCMULLAN – “I love going to Waverly Inn downtown. Boom Boom Room is fabulous. That’s really a new, great place. SL, on 409 W. 14th Street, down below is nice. Of course, I have the East Side Social Club that I’m involved with, and that’s great for hanging out in, for eating. Favorite dishes anywhere? Oh, I don’t know, just anything that people recommend. I usually go with what people recommend ’cause most people know what’s good — the waiters know, so I think that’s the best thing. Red wine is good to have to drink sometimes. They have a drink called the Eastsider at the East Side Social Club that’s really good; any of their pastas; their ravioli is great there. What else do I like? That new place that’s open, the English place, on 60th in the Pierre — Le Caprice, that’s a nice place. At the Waverly Inn, I like the macaroni and cheese. It was funny because the macaroni and cheese is about two dollars less than a room at the Pod Hotel, which is where the East Side Social Club is! The Monkey Bar is fun. There are so many cool places in New York. I just go where people tell me to go.”

At elf party for Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe:

● JENNY MCCARTHY – “In Chicago, I would have to say Gibsons Steakhouse still; in Los Angeles, Katsuya, still love that sushi; I’m addicted to it. And in New York, Koi. I’m very trendy and boring, but, hey, that’s where the good food is, so …” ● PERI GILPIN – “In L.A., we like BLT a lot. We have five-year-old twins, so we’re like in bed by nine o’clock — pretty boring. Corner Bakery for soup.” ● CANDACE CAMERON BURE – “L.A., hands down, our favorite restaurant is Gjelina, which is in Venice. And we love Craft; love Michael’s in Santa Monica. Here, in New York, my favorite restaurant is Lupa, which is a Mario Batali restaurant; love it here. And I don’t go to clubs anymore, nightclubs; I don’t ever! At Gjelina, they have a burrata with prosciutto and, usually, a warm pear or a warm peach. I love that! I really love tapas. I enjoy getting a lot of appetizers, more than just a main dish. We, actually, have had our own wine label, Bure Family Wines, for two years, which is at several restaurants, so matching the food and the wine is a big part for us. We’re big foodies” ● DEAN MCDERMOTT – “There is a great bar, Ye Coach & Horses in L.A., on Sunset. I’m so bad at this stuff! Oh, Katsuya, in the Valley, awesome sushi. It’s our favorite place. We go there like three times a week.” ● KEN BAUMANN – “In New York, my favorite restaurant is Il Cortile. It’s in Little Italy, and it’s run by this guy named Stefano, and it’s incredible, phenomenal food. In Los Angeles, my favorite restaurant’s gotta be Cut, which is in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.” ● SHAILENE WOODLEY – “Honestly, I’m not really a club kinda girl. I’d rather go to a local bar with some friends and hang out there. Or just go back to my house and have people come over. I’m more of the congregate-at-my-house kind of chick. I’m 18, so I don’t drink, so I don’t go to bars. There’s a place called the Alamo, which has karaoke and it’s a bar, but we go and karaoke there probably once a week.” ● FRANCIA RAISA – “I’m not a big club person. I really like bars and lounges. In L.A., I like to hang out at Buffalo Wild Wings, watching sports and drinking beer with my friends. I really don’t go out that much. I hang out at home and have my own glass of wine, watching Grey’s Anatomy. Oh, I just tried this restaurant yesterday at Gramercy Park Hotel. It’s a new, Italian place — Maialino. It was amazing. And again, I’m very simple, so I like pizza, and John’s Pizza out here is amazing to me, too. And hot wings I like at Planet Hollywood. I’m obsessed with them!”

At Zeno “Hot Spot” launch party @ MTV Studios:

● SKY NELLOR – “I am a huge sushi fanatic, so I just had Katsuya three times in two days in L.A. What is it about Katsuya? It’s the baked-crab hand roll in a soy-paper wrap. It’s just so yummy. I want one now! In New York, I have a fixation with Bagatelle. I just love the fish and the veggies. Nightclubs, nightlife, oh, my God! Apparently, I’m a really good bowler, so I hang out at Lucky Strike everywhere — Miami, L.A., Kansas! We just had a bowling party, and I won, so … Oh, they didn’t let me see my score. I just kept getting strikes to the point where they were, like, ‘Give her more shots! We have to stop this girl!’ And the drunker I got, the better I got. Clubs — if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out to dance. And I’m going to go where the DJ is playing. I don’t care what club it is. I went to a dive in L.A., at a party called Afex, just because some of the best DJs were playing that night. Like, I don’t care about the crowd. I don’t care about the scene. I care about the music. I don’t think the venue has a name. I think it’s called No Space. They just move the party around.” ● SUCHIN PAK – “I have a great place. It’s called Broadway East, and it’s on East Broadway. And I love it because it’s a beautiful space, but also it’s literally across the street from my house. That always helps. And then there’s a really fantastic place called Bacaro. Oh, it’s amazing! It’s downstairs. It’s almost a dungeon-like place. The people that used to do Peasant, the wine bar there, moved to this place. I like to say the Lower East Side on East Broadway is where the grown-up hipsters go. For a true Lower East Sider, it may not be true Lower East Side, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved more south than east, and I keep trickling that way.”

At charity:ball for charity:water:

● ADRIAN GRENIER – “Brooklyn. Fort Greene. Habana Outpost — it’s run mostly on solar power, and it’s a sustainable business.” MARK BIRNBAUM “Well, if I do say so myself, Abe & Arthur’s on 14th Street; SL, the new club underneath it. I still love Tenjune. And I like hanging out at home other than that. What about places other than your own? So I shouldn’t say the Chandelier Room, in Hoboken? I really like going to Bar and Books in the West Village — that’s our spot. You know where else I like to go? Miami — the new W South Beach is unbelievable, by far the best hotel down there. The design is incredible; the pool area is very nice; they have good restaurants there — there’s a Mr. Chow’s and the other one is good; the rooms are really nice; it’s very well done; it’s just very fresh, the entire thing; and the artwork is incredible. You don’t feel like you’re in South Beach — not that there’s anything wrong with it — but it’s really, really, really, well done.” ● NICOLE TRUNFIO – “I just found this really cool jazz club in Paris where they still dance to old, rock-and-roll music in partners. It’s a location undisclosed. I don’t remember what it’s called. It’s in the Saint-Michel — it’s just off it. You can jump into a taxi, ‘cause we went to a jazz bar called the Library, but that was closed. So we asked the taxi driver, and he took us to this place. So, I’m sure lots of local French taxi-drivers would know the place.” ● LAUREN BUSH – “Oh, gosh, I’m like so uncool! It’s such an obvious question, it’s so hard … I’m a vegetarian, so I love Blossom restaurant. They have a good, quinoa-tofu dish. It’s like gingery. It’s really good. ● EMMA SNOWDON-JONES – “I love Le Bilboquet because it’s consistent, and mainly wherever your friends are it makes the place. It’s on 63rd, between Park and Madison. I’ve gone there since I was in boarding school. I’d come into the city on the weekends, and I’d go there. I think anyone that’s been in New York as long as I have knows it. That’s a really, bloody long time, sadly. As good as my Botox is, it’s too long!” ● KRISTIN CHENOWETH – “I am an old-fashioned girl, and I still love Joe Allen’s. I go there all the time. And right next-door above, is a place called Bar Centrale, and I go there, too. I was just there last night for three hours. I like the manicotti at Joe Allen’s. It’s excellent!” ● JULIAN LENNON – “Probably the Jane bar and the Rose Bar in New York.”

At launch of S.T. Dupont in-store boutique @ Davidoff on Madison Avenue:

● RON WHITE – “I love the bars in Glasgow, Scotland. You could go sit in a bar by yourself and in five minutes, you’d be talkin’ to 10 people because they’re so curious about anybody that walks in that’s not normally in there. They just want to go talk to ’em and find out what they’re about. They’re just as friendly as they can be. I was there for the British Open, or the Open Championship, as it’s called. And if you go to a bar in New York City, you can sit there for the rest of your life and not meet another person because they’re not really gonna come up to you and go, ‘Hey, what’s up? What are you doing in town?’ That just doesn’t happen here.”

New York: Top 10 Dishes to Chase Away Winter Chills

image10. Wiener schnitzel @ Klee Brasserie (Chelsea) – Daydream about being at a swank German/Austrian ski resort as you nosh on your schnitzel. 9. The ’21’ Burger @ 21 Club (Midtown West) – In the battle of the gourmet burger, this one takes the cake — especially paired with a bottle of wine from 21’s encyclopedia-esque list (it has a table of contents). 8. Pork shank vindaloo @ Tabla (Union Sqare) – Burn away the winter chill — literally — with this fiery Indian dish made with spicy heritage pork curry, tequila, chilies, and red wine vinegar.

7. Coquilles St-Jacques and soft polenta @ Le Bilboquet (Upper East Side) – If the eats don’t heat you up, join the rest of the euro revelers as they break a sweat dancing on their chairs before hitting up the likes of Kiss & Fly. 6. African road runner @ Xai Xai (Midtown West) – Enticingly exotic in a very Top Chef kind of way, this plate of ostrich tartar comes with South African seasoning and “monkeygland” peanut sauce. 5. Peppercorn crusted filet mignon @ Club Macanundo (Upper East Side) – Join mafia types and ladies in leopard for fireside beef, scotch, and cigars at one of the city’s last remaining smoker-friendly spots. 4. Liquid foie gras bao buns @ China 1 (East Village) – Insulate your body with something decadently fatty. 3. Fresh pasta with thyme and crabmeat @ Primavera (Upper East Side) – Because fresh pasta is to cold weather what ice cream is to the summer’s heat. 2. Fondue savoyarde @ La Cave des Fondus (Nolita) – Stay nice and toasty with some bubbling hot fromage at this underground fondue spot. 1. Porterhouse lamb chops @ Bar Americain (Midtown West) – Because no one heats things up like Bobby Flay.

Weekend at Bernie’s: Drowning Sorrows With Mr. Madoff In The Upper East Side

Sometimes when I have a tough day at work, I like to go around the corner to Old Town Bar and grab a pint of Guinness. If it’s been a particularly hectic day, I might opt for whiskey. That got me thinking. How would I drown my work sorrows if I’d just gotten busted for jacking, say, $50 billion from pretty much half New York plus (literally) their moms? I’m not gonna lie: I do admire this man’s Ponzi-schemin’ hustle. And that’s why I’m here to help a brother out. Bernie, if you’re reading this, here’s a step-by-step plan to get you off the couch, make you stop sulking, and kickstart your dormant social life! Cause you’re never gonna feel better if you just lounge around watching Nickelodeon all day.

● You’re under house arrest. It’s not so tough in your luxurious Upper East Side penthouse…but…you get lonely up there all by yourself. And your family isn’t really feeling you these days. (In fact, you would’ve gotten away with it had it not been for those meddlesome kids). Maybe a dozen lithe, vapid hotties will distract you for a bit. Don’t go the Elliot Spitzer, high-priced call girl route, which turns out is fraught with danger. Instead, hire one of New York’s finest model-wrangling promoters to throw you a hottie-packed jam at your crib. A giant pillow fight with a gaggle of Estonian girls would probably take your mind off the fact that all of your golf buddies want to beat you down. Bonus: the girls don’t speak English and won’t know you from Rupert Murdoch or Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s.

● Turns out one of the Russian model chicks is pretty crafty and knows how to ditch the pesky ankle bracelet the law requires you wear at all times. Once Natasha has freed you from your electronic monitoring device using only a safety pin and lube, it’s time to get dressed. Before hitting the streets, you need a disguise. Select a cozy, season-appropriate Santa outfit. This get-up will keep you both incognito and toasty warm. The party beckons.

● It’s late afternoon and the Upper East Side is a snow-tinged, winter wonderland. Sleigh ride in Central Park? Hell no, you need to drink. Start at classic upper crust haunt Swifty’s. You gingerly enter, expecting to get ice-grilled by blue-blooded New Yorkers like Muffie Potter Aston or one of the Bancroft-ladies-who-lunch, but instead find the joint eerily empty. Manuel the Guatemalan busboy shrugs and informs you that the silver foxes were last spotted on the bus heading down to the Subway Inn. You shuffle out wondering if you’re somehow responsible.

● Strolling over to Le Bilboquet, you catch a haggard Steven Spielberg a few doors down lugging a cardboard box and ringing Ron Perlman’s buzzer frantically. Perlman – one of the few people in the neighborhood who never dropped a cent in your pyramid scheme – isn’t coming to the door. You cross the street and are about to enter the tiny bistro when you notice one of the execs from Ponzi-victim BNP Paribas drinking tap water with a dejected Mort Zuckerman, another of your marks. Maybe French isn’t such a hot idea.

● Next stop: Nello. As you walk into Nello’s and whip off your fake Santa beard, you immediately get a knowing wink from another Bernie who’s been embroiled in a major New York scandal of his own: Bernie Kerick, the former police commish and a regular at the posh Madison Ave. eatery. Things are looking up for the Bern-meister! Just as you’re starting to believe everything is gonna be OK, you spot a tableful of billionaires-cum-paltry-millionaires having a lunch of mac-n-cheese and water at the coveted round table. All glare in your direction. Ouch. You duck downstairs to use to restroom and run into another scandal-loving Nello regular, Al Sharpton, waiting to use the john. He gives you a bear hug and commends you for “sticking it to the Man.” You’re overjoyed by the warmth, but then you think, “Wait, aren’t I supposed to be the Man?” This will take some getting used to.

● Perhaps you truly are a man of the people now, a modern day Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and…well, nevermind. You embrace the role regardless. Head over to Bloomingdale’s, still done up in your Santa suit, and locate a sad, preppy looking tyke. You sit him on your lap with a jovial ho-ho-ho, then ask the boy his name and what he wants for Christmas. The kid turns out to be Fred Wilpon’s nephew, so you quickly scribble an “I.O.U. for One Toy Truck and $512 million” and tell him to hand it to his uncle Freddie when’s he’s sitting down.

● As you leave Bloomie’s, you scurry past the nearby Subway Inn in case one of the down-and-out Swifty’s socialites should stumble out. It’s getting dark – time for a proper cocktail. You summon the Slavic models to the Bar Mark. It looks sort of like the well-appointed cabin of your luxury yacht, which is anchored somewhere in the Mediterranean. After four Martinis you start calculating how fast a discreet jet would take you to your boat. As you mull your getaway, one of the Latvian girls amuses herself by tossing those delicious bar nuts into your fedora. Ahh, to be so young and carefree. ● It’s midnight and time to turn in. Heading home you spot fired-up society chronicler David Patrick Columbia lurking near your building, looking for a scoop. You duck down a side street, only to be recognized by a wild-haired homeless dude brandishing a cup who yells out, “Yo Ponzi dude, all I’m asking for is some change to get a pack of smokes.” You reach into your pocket and open your wallet. Next to the 50 crisp, $1 billion bills, you find a few fives and stuff them into the wild-eyed man’s cup.The bum thanks you profusely for the generosity. It’s a positive note to end the night on, so you congenially mutter something back about being a “huge E.T. fan” and smile as Spielberg shuffles off into the darkness whistling Indy’s theme.

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.

Industry Insiders: Remi Laba of Bagatelle & Kiss and Fly

Monsieur Meatpacking: Bagatelle and Kiss and Fly‘s Remi Laba on boring models, the grub at Pastis, and bringing down the house (music).

Point of Origin: My dad’s American, my mother’s French. I was born in the US and raised in France. I can’t seem to negate my origin for some reason. Nightlife was an accident, to be honest. I was working for a liquor company, Pernod Ricard, and people were constantly asking me for sponsorship, and at one point I said ‘You know what? I’ll comp your sponsoring if my friends can come to your events.’ It grew from there until club owners starting saying they would pay me to bring people to their club. And that’s how we [partner Aymeric Clemente, formerly of La Goulue and Le Bilboquet] started, ten years ago.

We did it for fun until we realized it could really become a business. Everything we do resembles us. We try to create something that embraces the Jet-Set lifestyle in which we were brought up. When we started at Lotus, 8 years ago, Lotus was known for its hip-hop, models, whatever, and they called us and we brought in something very different. We brought DJs from Paris that were more focused on European house, and that brought the whole European crowd in and it became some of the highest generating sales ever for Lotus. We took that concept and moved it to our next venue, Marquee. We were part of the opening team at Marquee, then we did the Deck with Jeffrey Jah and Mark Baker and all those guys. We took it to Bed Roof. We always take that same concept and each time make it a little more complete. Then we opened Pink Elephant, as promotional partners with those guys.

Occupations: Aymeric and I are the main partners at Bagatelle, we’re the partners here at Kiss & Fly, and I’m in charge of all the marketing and PR aspects of the venue. What Aymeric and I do better than anybody else is bring the French ambiance and atmosphere into the venue. So it not only looks French, but it feels French. We’re taking it to the level: the St. Tropez party lifestyle. It’s for people who like to drink great wine, eat great food, and like great parties. Go to Bagatelle on a Monday night and you’ll have a peaceful environment with great food. Then the vibe builds on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then by Saturday brunch we move into a full-blown party. But we’ll never compromise the food.

Side Hustle: Aymeric and I are partners in marketing company/DJ agency called In The Buzz, that does promotions at all the top nightclubs across the world and also represents some of the top talent when it comes to DJs. We also do consulting in the hospitality industry. That’s what brought us to owning our own venue. There’s 13th Street Entertainment, which basically owns Kiss & Fly, Bagatelle, and our new lounge opening the first week of September tentatively named Bagatelle Lounge. We represent Mitch LJ, who’s the resident DJ at Nikki Beach. Jacques Dumont, who is an older DJ, probably 47 years old, and was the resident DJ at Nikki Beach St. Barths for years. Now he’s our resident DJ here at Kiss & Fly. We’ve had David Guetta play here. It’s not exclusively house music, but the crowd they’re playing for likes primarily house. I think for all of us our side projects are our personal lives. It’s hard to balance that in this industry.

Favorite Hangs: The Hamptons are a big market with high visibility. A lot of people go there, and there are very few clubs to go to. Pretty much only Pink Elephant, Cabana, and Dune. We have a very good relationship with Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss and we host the Saturday night Kiss ‘N’ Fly party at Dune Southampton. But when I go to the Hamptons, I don’t go to socialize. I enjoy the beauty of the nature there. I love the beach at Flying Point, and off Route D in Southampton. In the city, I love going to Bar Pitti. It’s very unpretentious, a great terrace, and always good food. If I’m with a group of friends and want a good, fun dinner, I like Indochine, Bond St., Le Bilboquet; Aymeric used to be the GM there for several years. Bagatelle is a big version of Le Bilboquet. If I’m going to dinner with my girlfriend, I want to go upstairs at Le Colonial. I’ll never have dinner downstairs, it’s too formal. But the lounge is unbelievable.

Industry Icons: Jeffrey Jah and Mark Baker were the first guys to understand the European factor in nightlife. They kind of made us who we are today. I’ve really enjoyed working with those guys. I don’t know if I look up to anyone really. If there are two guys who have had a memorable career so far it’s Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss. We worked with them at Marquee, then at Tao in Vegas. They are very, very hard workers, and what they’ve achieved is remarkable. I would never work the way they do. The way they work is very American. The way we work is more passionate, less driven by numbers.

Known Associates: My current associates are Aymeric Clemente, Corey Lane, Lionel Ohayon, David Graziano, and Jonathan Segal. My past associates are Richie Akiva, Scott Sartiano, Mark Baker, and Jeffrey Jah, Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg. We’ve promoted for Jamie Mulholland and Jayma Cardosa at Cain. We’ve basically crossed paths with every major person in the industry. It’s a small town.

Projections: We’ve established Bagatelle and Kiss & Fly in New York. Our next project is due the first week of September, fashion week, which will be the Bagatelle Lounge downstairs of Bagatelle and Kiss & Fly, at which point our 13th Street project will be complete–one restaurant, one nightclub, and one lounge. From there, we’ll move on, not necessarily with the same partners, but we’ll open Bagatelle restaurants and Bagatelle cafes in different cities. Ultimately our dream is to open a Bagatelle boutique hotel.We’d love to open something in Tulum (we’re looking at a property down there). We’d love to open Bagatelle, the restaurant as you know it, in London, Vegas, and San Paulo. We have offers in South Beach, but I don’t think Miami Beach is what it used to be. Though we did go to the Winter Music Conference in Miami for the past two years and did ‘Fuck Me I’m Famous’ with David Guetta at Cameo; that’s very successful.

Do you cater to a different crowd in the summer in the city than the rest of the year?

There’s definitely a different club crowd in the summer, not necessarily in quality. Most of your regulars go to the Hamptons in the summer or travel to St. Tropez, Ibiza, Croatia, etc. But there’s also a lot of tourists coming to New York in the summer who have read about venues and will come out. The truth of the matter is, if you have a good product and run your door properly, you can have the right crowd in your club every single night. If you focus on only celebrities and models and there are eight clubs going after the same clientele, there will be one winner and a lot of losers. But if you say, “Ok, I want my venue to be fun, I want the crowd to be pretty, and I want to generate dollars,” the way you look at things are going to shift. Some people say “Oh, my club is so great, we only have models.” Great, models are pretty, but are they the most fun girls you’ve ever seen in nightclubs? Not necessarily. Energy’s also a very, very important factor. If 1Oak says, “Oh, in the summer we have to sell out because all the good crowds are going away,” well, I’d rather sell out my crowd a tiny bit, but still maintain the level of energy.

Considering you’ve worked with Scott Sartiano and Jeffrey Jah, etc. in the past, do you see Butter as an influence or a competitor?

Butter is known for their Monday night parties. What Butter does on Monday nights, no one else does. It’s a concentration of models and celebrities in a very small space. Those guys have done great at it, they own Monday nights, but that’s not what we do. We’re not model-driven. [The Butter guys] aren’t competitors, they’re friends. We actually go to Butter on Monday nights when we can.

A lot of reviews of Bagatelle are calling you the next Pastis. Do you see yourselves replacing Pastis ever?

No. I think Pastis as a French bistro has had a lot of recent competition in the neighborhood, but we are very different. Most of the restaurants in Meatpacking, their concepts are big. We are very different; we’re small, 90 seats. We have a very personalized welcome. Aymeric and I are here every day. You can create an intimate relationship with the owners, which no other restaurant in the meatpacking can offer. At Pastis the food is average. At Bagatelle we pride ourselves on great food. Our chef Nicolas Cantrel, (who we “stole” from bobo), is a gift from God.

What are you doing tonight? I’ll be at Bagatelle caring to my guests and then dinner with my girlfriend later on.