The major news of the day is the merger between EMM Group and Pacha over at the soon-to-open FINALE. They’re looking for performance artists and staff that can do more than just sling drinks and, as I have said, I think this is the shape of things to come in NY nightlife.
This Wednesday, Terry Casey and his inevitable sidekick Chris Graham will start their Sub-Atomic Wednesdays, a house music affair, at Lil Charlie’s. At the opening, they will DJ along with special guests Nelly Munoz and Niki McNally. I love the space and adore Terry and Chris, so I’ll be there. They have a big Halloween planned. They asked me to DJ the top floor that’s open to them for the holiday but alas, I will be at The Griffin along with Chrissie Miller and Michael Cavadias.
Lest I forget a special birthday shoutout to Jamie Hatchett who celebrated at Pink Elephant last week. I am still living out of suitcases as my new apartment is readied. I am getting to some things, but not to everything. Jamie is one of the good guys in the business who will surely finish first.
There’s lots going on behind the scenes as various parties "negotiate" for the old Lucky Cheng’s space; a deal is a deal only when it is a deal. At District 36, closed for a few months, other various parties are trying to obtain what probably is the best room that’s come available in quite a while. Owner/operator Damien Distasio told me that “it will take a real player with real money and a real vision to make the deal.” The bottom line is that District 36 is a recent multimillion dollar build-out, with all newish fixtures. Plumbing and electrical and permitting are all intact. A "real player" can do a relatively inexpensive redux and have a brand new space on the cheap. All the heavy lifting has already been done. The District 36 folks are aware of this and are looking to get paid. Interested parties hope the price will come down as creditors, including the landlord, gripe. But spaces this size in neighborhoods where neighbors are rare don’t come along often. Someone’s going to snatch it up. My sources tell me Mike Satsky has looked, and other players have as well. I was told the operators at the shuttered Mars 2112 were interested, but Damien says that’s news to him. I know of one other serious group, but they are bargain hunting content to wait for their price.
Over at Ken & Cook/ Lil Charlie’s, Karim Amatullah, who is a man who can always talk the talk, told me he is going to walk the walk. He’s out, and here’s what he had to say: "Let’s just say it wasn’t the right fit."
On the must to-do list is tonight’s birthday bash for the ever lovely Justine Delaney at the Electric Room. It’s part of her weekly Tuesday night affair there where, with partner Nick Mark, she spins under her DJ moniker Justine D. Justine is a winner. She has always been a bellweather of what’s hip, and I won’t miss her celebration. She taught me everything I know about being a DJ, but obviously she didn’t teach me everything she knows. A big happy birthday shout-out to Justine.
Ken & Cook doubles down on its Travertine upgrade with a go at the basement. Formerly XIX, the new downstairs lounge is named Lil Charlie’s in honor of the clam bar that held down this corner from 1926 until aught-seven.
The interior represents the opposite end of the design spectrum from red tablecloths and chianti candleholders. Seventies-era glam rock provides inspiration for an elegant, intimate space. There’s plenty of brass, from the DJ booth and the bar to the shimmering chain ceilings. Copper mirror walls and recessed lighting keep things warm. A stray palm tree or two provide a hint of SoBe, a notion backed by the cocktail menu’s smart twists on mojitos and margaritas. Bites come from chef Richard Diamonte, who also mans the kitchen upstairs. As at Ken & Cook, he’s partnered with Artan Gjoni, of subMercer fame, and a fellow vet of Jean-Georges’ Mercer Kitchen. Wide black leather banquettes are just the thing for kicking back with a smooth pour. The overall effect is a lot more comfy than the last incarnation here, should you feel like sticking around a while.