Refinery 29’s Connie Wang Gives Us Her Nightlife Ins & Outs

Connie Wang is a global editor at online fashion hub  Refinery 29, and disproves the Devil Wears Prada axiom; that in order to get ahead in fashion journalism, you have to be cutthroat and Wintour-ian. In fact, in her two-plus years at the site, Ms. Wang’s good-natured sense of fun and whip-smart writing helped catapult Refinery 29 out of the realm of "fashion blog" and into a nation media empire. Just read her posts, from a "Trend We’ve Made Up" to odes to cats that look like Park and Recreation‘s Ron Swanson, and you’ll see a fashion editor who has serious chops, but isn’t afraid to have a bit of fun, too. Here, she answers some of life’s most pressing questions.

Best bar when money is tight:  "Lucy’s in the East Village. The musty smell might drive you bananas at first, but a couple bottom-shelf whiskey gingers will clear that right up (also meet Lucy, who’s the sweetest bartender, ever)."

Place or bar whose name immediately induces hangovers: "I used to spend a lot of time at the bar directly underneath my old apartment, Fish Bar. The bartender there is as free with the liquor as she is with her stories about hooking up with ’90s indie musicians. That place will forever be synonymous with a four-Advil morning."

Best place for a covert makeout session: "In one of the rooftop lounge chairs at Le Bain. It’s a strange sensation to have both the city and astroturf below your feet."

My favorite guilty pleasure place:  "As much as I’ll pretend I hate this spot, I have to say that La Caverna in the Lower East Side has a special place in my heart. Where else can you dance in a space with glittery pink foam stalactite ceilings, watch people fall into the fountain placed haphazardly in the middle of the room, and always know the DJ will play "Remix to Ignition" before last call?

My favorite jukebox/DJ/bartender who plays great music: "My roommate, who mans the iPod at our apartment, before we go out. It’s a very exclusive party, ends by 11, and always involves a cross-genre mashup of K-Pop, Top 40 hip-hop, and Celine Dion."

Alcohol you won’t see me drinking: "Spiced rum. Who wants to relive junior high, really?"

Where you might find me a night off (or on?): "On my nights off, you can find me wearing spectacularly unattractive pajamas watching Netflix in bed. When I’m feeling extra-fancy, I like to pour myself a mug a Champagne for a touch ofclass.

Hands down, best drink in NYC, and you can quote me on it: "Though I’ve never had it during the nighttime, Prune‘s clam-infused Bloody Mary is my favorite thing to drink.

NYC: Toast to Friendship Day at These Dives

imageIn such far-flung places as Guatemala and Finland, February 14 isn’t a day for all legally-bound lovers (ha ha, suckers!) to show off their ability to ensnare a mate while the rest of us suffer, sublimating our hysterics with disco fries. It’s not a day one takes time out to offer respects to martyred saints. But to those friends who, when you need a shoulder to cry on, are ready with a bottle of Merlot — or those friends who, when you needed advice about what to do now that you’ve lost your job, are also ready with a bottle of Merlot. That said, gifting a bundle of poppies is only the icing on the cake that is Friendship Day. If you’re looking to shirk the faintest mention of the V-word and anti-parties won’t cut it for you in New York (where Valentine’s syndrome can be especially devastating), treat your besties to a round at these hideouts.

Lucy’s. Located on the outer edge of Alphabet City, the barkeeps here simultaneously encourage the pyramidic stacking of empty PBR cans while casting cold stares at those who mistake the space for the privacy of their own bedroom.

Bushwick Country Club. One of many like it throughout Brooklyn, there’s a putt-putt course in the patio. Which is useful if you’d like to sit down on astroturf after your umpteenth goblet of Stella. Or, I suppose, if you’d like to play a round of mini-golf.

Mars Bar. If anything, this spectacularly graffitied hangout proves that Broken Hearts and No-Hearts alike can comfortably call the dingy fringes of the East Village home, where vile obscenities like Naughty & Nice cocktails all seem like talismans name-checked from noirish sci-fi novels.

Home Sweet Home. But perhaps this basement bar particularly appeals because you don’t risk the chance of sunlight creeping in when it’s dawn. At which point, you realize that no one’s issued last calls and that your best friend, bless him, has just bought the next round. Even though it’s well past five the next morning.

Industry Insiders: Socialista’s Jeffrey Trunell

Socialista gatekeeper Jeffrey Trunell on working the door for a former doorman, club owners who scowl, and why Perez Hilton isn’t on his list.

Point of Origin: I moved to New York in 1996 to be an actor. I started working at Coffee Shop. I was a bar back and I didn’t know anything. I was just a kid from Philly. I started bartending, worked at a lot of hotel bars: 60 Thompson, the Hudson, and subMercer right when it opened. I remember that was the first place where cocktails were $15. Nowadays if you’re not charging $15 a drink you’re nothing, but back then it was like a science experiment. My voice would always choke when I told a guy he owed me $30 for two drinks.

Occupation: I was working at La Esquina as a bartender and started to work the door there part-time. [Socialista owner] Armin Amiri was getting ready to open up and still didn’t have someone for the door. He’d been working the door at Bungalow 8, and I think it was the last thing he wanted to think about, the last piece of the puzzle so to speak. It is cool having a boss who used to be a doorman, because he understands. There’ve been situations where I haven’t let someone in who I was supposed to — and at another place they’d tear my nuts off — but Armin gets it, he understands.

Side Hustle: I’m still an actor. I lived in LA for about three years. I worked some out there, but I missed New York. It’s hard. A lot of actors I know who used to work a lot are struggling. I came back because I wanted to do more theater. I do commercial work, which isn’t as fun but it can pay really well. I just turned 30 so, you know, now’s the time. Favorite Hang: Right now, I like a jukebox and a pool table. I don’t drink much, but when I do, I usually just want a beer. I live in the East Village so there are lots of places like that — like Lucy’s and some good dive bars on 5th street. I have a friend who works at Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg which is a good spot. I’ll go to the Beatrice Inn or 1Oak, but you end up seeing a lot of the same faces from Socialista. Then I feel like I’m on the job!

Industry Icons: I think Armin does a great job because he has a vision and he takes it seriously. [La Esquina owner] Serge Becker has great taste, plus he’s very even-keeled. You never see him freak out at anyone or even scowl. I think he understands that the whole thing is a process.

Known Associates: I’m not terribly impressed with celebrities, partly because they are so seemingly unimpressed. Strangely enough I get really excited over journalists. War journalists in particular. I met James Nachtwey and Michael Ware — that was amazing. I had the opportunity to hang around with these two photojournalists based out of Africa when I was working with a non-profit called Soft Power Health. Marcus Bleasdale and Finbarr O’Reilly. Fucking studs, man. Check out and, then go to Then you tell me why anyone gives a rat’s ass about how much weight so-and-so has gained.

What are you doing tonight? Working, man. Then going to the beach tomorrow with my family for a few days.

Photo by Lucas Noonan