Suit over Derek and Daniel Koch’s MPD Rages, Statement and Scoop From the Brothers Inside

In an industry with so many moving parts, lawsuits are not that common. Most serious players have someone who handles the minor stuff that could easily turn more major, like a trip and fall on a wet floor or a promise that was less than kept. With literally thousands of people getting wasted every night or week, actual litigation is rare. On the business deal side of things court room drama is also not the norm. Despite the enormous investments, convoluted partnerships, and massive egos, most disputes are settled around a dinner table rather than in court. Publicity of such actions and subsequent exposure of well-kept secrets keep it simple. Nightlife is a great deal of smoke and mirrors and most of the players are like the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz…not all that much when they come out from behind the self-created curtain. That curtain hides the trysts, the binges, the unusual predilections, shady business, and sometimes bad habits of the creatures of the night. A lawsuit can shatter the image and the brand that a player has spent years establishing.

I was shocked and awed by an email I received from the Dual Groupe that had my pals Derek and Daniel Koch announcing a lawsuit over MPD, their restaurant that I enjoyed so much. I guess the word "their" in the last sentence is at the heart of the matter. Here is the email, followed by a little Q & A with Derek Koch. I must put in my very biased two cents: I have found Derek and Daniel to be men of their words, something I hold in high regard. It is inconceivable to me that anyone could find fault in their actions. I went to MPD sometimes and was involved in an event there, but only because they were the people I was dealing with. What is Rick’s Cafè Amèricain in Casablanca without Rick, The Electric Room without Nur, Avenue without Noah, The Darby without Scott and Richie. Clubs , restaurants, and bars are usually ex-warehouses, garages, or even slaughterhouses. It is the personalities of the operators that animates these spaces into fabulousness. MPD, for
 me, was Derek and Daniel Koch. They were the reason to be cheerful there.
 
The email:
To Our Beloved MPD Family and Clients:
It is with great sorrow that we announce that on February 6th, 2012, we found it necessary to file two (2) New York Supreme Court Lawsuits, (Supreme Court of the City of New York, New York County: Index Number 150169/12 and 150170/12) and on February 9, 2012, a United States District Court Lawsuit (for the Southern District of New York: Index Number 12 Civ 1031), for past monies due and owing, and to prevent the wrongful parties from continuing to use the “MPD” name and likeness, a Trademark that is owned by Dual Groupe, LLC (“Dual”).
 
We have worked diligently and with great pride in developing and building the name and brand “MPD” for more than 2 years, and were very successful.  The wrongful parties, Gans-Mex, LLC (“Gans”), and Ginza Project, LLC (“Ginza”), have refused to comply with our “cease and desist” letter dated February 3, 2012, in which we asked them to stop using our Trademarked name “MPD”, and they have unilaterally caused Dual Groupe and the “MPD” name and brand to be irrevocably harmed. We tried to resolve these most serious issues without going to court, but Gans and Ginza have refused and neglected to have any meaningful conversations.
 
Dual worked hard at developing MPD into an enormous success, and subsequently was awarded a recommendation from Michelin, the oldest and best-known European hotel and restaurant guide. Ginza Project, the current leaseholders of 73 Gansevoort, has illegally and unlawfully operated the restaurant under the Trademark MPD, which we created, developed, and built over the past 2 years. We have sought the court’s assistance to right this terrible wrong that was thrust upon us by Gans and Ginza, but it is unlikely that they will comply with the terms and conditions of our contract and our federally filed and registered Trademark.
 
Building the MPD name, brand, and Trademark has been a labor of love for us and we will fight diligently to retain same.  While we have enjoyed our time at 73 Gansevoort, Gans-Mex, LLC and Ginza Project, LLC have made it impossible for us to operate our restaurant, MPD, at that location at this time.  We will announce in the near future a new venue, where we hope to continue the laughs and make new memories together with our family, you.
To be the very first to hear about MPD at its new location, write us at: info@dualgroupe.com
 
Ciao for now and we are certain to see you soon!
The MPD Family and Dual Groupe
Q & A with Derek Koch
 
I know you are in the middle of a suit over MPD and can only say so much. Tell my readers what you can.
We sent the defendants a cease-and-desist letter to prevent them from using our legally trademarked name “MPD." MPD is a brand and concept that Dual Groupe conceived and developed without any input or support from the defendants, and the defendants are now trying to capitalize and “steal” our brand and trademark. We filed suit in New York federal court to stop the defendants from illegally using our trademarked name. We estimate our damages to be in excess of $1,000,000. Additionally, we have commenced actions to recover the monies we invested in opening the venue, as well as the monies they owe us under our management agreement.
 
What are you working on ? How is Day and Night doing?
We are currently working to open a new restaurant, garden, and wine bar concept in Chelsea. This will be a repositioning of an iconic property. We are excited about the location and will officially announce it this week or next. D&N is stronger than ever.  The brunch is presently held every Saturday afternoon at the former Buddha Bar spot. We are fortunate to have solid partners involved. We are looking forward to celebrating our 30th birthdays there on March 31st – should be a good one!
 
Most promoters/owners would love to expand their brands but tell me they can’t without cloning themselves. You have a twin (Daniel) and therefore should be ahead of the pack. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with your twin?
The biggest advantage is trust. We look after each other’s best interest. There is usually no tit-for-tat. We both pick up the slack wherever and whenever it’s needed.   The disadvantage are our brotherly office disagreements… they can be a little disruptive – hehe. One of the smarter things we did is partner with a non-family member. He not only serves as a partner, mentor, and dear friend, but his involvement truly helps to balance out our sibling rivalry by serving to be a great tie-breaker.
 
Is your crowd immune to swings in the economy?
I believe our clients are no different than many in America who are affected by swings in the economy. Sometimes it is a true economic change in our client’s financial situation and sometimes it is their sensitivity to being compassionate to those that have less, and in that capacity they choose to not flaunt their wealth. We know firsthand that they always feel the ups and down one way or another.
 
A couple of years ago I declared that you and Daniel were "the next big things," even though I thought that was old news at the time. What have you done to prove me right and who do you see as the next big thing?
We appreciate the compliment; thank you, Steve. We continue to strive and work toward keeping your prophecy true. One thing we hope we have shown you is staying power in brand creation. Day & Night is in its fourth year of business… outlasting many a skeptic and is stronger than ever. In this business, we both would agree it is a marathon, not a sprint, and therefore we work hard every day, hone our skills, and make the client experience the best it can be. We were fortunate to have partnered with someone who believes in us completely. Day & Night was a spring board toward changing the way people perceived brunch and, together with a few others, revolutionized the day club business. We were fortunate to have started out with a bang and have kept the momentum going ever since. We have to keep up the energy with new trends and concepts to keep it fresh and exciting for our current and future clients and partners. We also have an amazing team at the
office to whom we are eternally grateful who also help generate the excitement around our brands.
 
Who do you see as the next big thing?
Cristina Civetta (Events), David Berrie (DJ), Oli Evans (Promoter), Romain Pavee (Nightclub Host), Pavan Pardasani (Marketing), Adam Alpert (Talent Agent), Micha Jesse (TV Host), Jon Neidich (Restaurant Owner), Philippe Bondon (Maitre ‘D), Eric Marx (Operator), The Chainsmokers (DJ’s), Nima Yamini (Artist Management), Mick Boogie (DJ), Jonny Lennon (Entertainer), Tim Sheldon (Door), Roberto Buchelli (Operator).

Celebrate the One Year Anniversary of MPD this Monday

The year will become compressed drastically as the holidays are impossibly upon us. In a flash, we will be popping aspirins, trying to recover from our New Year’s Eve excess. Leading up to the ball drop, there will be an endless string of event after event. Holiday parties, galas, soirees, and can’t-miss bashes will bash our brains, drain our wallets, and make us forget our troubles as we create new ones. Thanksgiving eve is one of the biggest cash nights in the business, but then there will be calm before the storm. We will then shop ‘til we drop and party ‘til we pass out.  For the most part, we will ignore our limitations. Everyone will shop according to their means, and maybe a little more. Familiar faces will return from their lives elsewhere to share in the cheer, while those who can will get away to someplace warm or a snowcap with skis. This weekend is a perfect time to take a deep breath and make a plan.

Champagne companies are looking forward to their busiest season. The one I am associated with, Beau Joie, will begin the season hosting the 1 year anniversary of MPD, this coming Monday.

MPD is the restaurant and home to those Dual Groupe twins Derek and Daniel Koch. The Koch brothers are a force. They cater to a smart set that includes Euro and South American jet setters and the upper tier NY party set. Their brunches established them as top players. These brunches changed the way nightlife is perceived and greatly expanded the bottom line for those who saw their great idea and copied it. No, they didn’t invent brunch . What they did was expand nightlife to day life. The social set didn’t necessarily have to meet at late night clubs or at chic restaurants during dinner hours, but could spend weekend afternoons throwing fists and paper napkins in the air with like-minded souls. 

BlackBook Celebrates Outside Insiders Presented by Grey Goose

On Monday night, at the raucous late-night hub MPD, BlackBook and Grey Goose joined forces once again to toast the Grey Goose Outside Insiders.

Complimentary cocktails, aptly named the Grey Goose Signature Sound and Grey Goose Cranberry Sparkler, were served to the swelling crowd, while flavor-packed hors d’oeuvres by Executive Chef Geoff Rudaw were dished out throughout the evening. Sounds were provided by the crafty DJ Louie XIV and the pro shots you can check out in our exclusive gallery, were taken by Julian Cavin, a master of the decisive moment. Special thanks to MPD, Dual Groupe, Ginza Project, and Dubset, without whom none of last night would have been possible.

‘Double Seven’ & ‘Bounce,’ Catching Up on New Openings After NYFW

The end of Fashion Week is certainly a relief from the bombardment of invitations to events I would not attend even if I had the time. It’s also an end to the gaggles of fashion victims banging my knees with gift bags as they rush to the next can’t-miss party, and a return to “normal” programming at clubs and restaurants. Reservations and cabs will be easier to obtain and a certain frenzy will end as the fashion faithful rush off to another metropolis.

The weather outside is delightful but the fall is saying hello and the days are getting shorter. For creatures of the night, like me, this is a good thing. This will start a migration home and to milder climates for the South Americans and Euros who have been enjoying our warmth and the hospitality of our weak currency. The well-heeled will spend more time abroad chasing broads in warmer locales and with them goes the “ka-ching” of their plastic. September brings the baseball playoffs, the Jewish High Holy Days, and for many, school. This is a traditional time of soft revenue, which will continue until the fall/winter slam that begins with Halloween and rips until Christmas and all its parties and through New Year’s Eve.

Tickets for the soon-to-be announced greatest show on earth, Pacha’s New Year’s Eve bash, go on sale Monday or Tuesday. It’s like that.

Tonight I will be at Provocateur because I think it will be the place where the Fashion Week flock will come to unwind and celebrate. I have called ahead so they will rush me in through their ever tight door. Last night I visited Daniel and Derek at their restaurant MPD for an appetizer and we chatted about St. Tropez, yachts and stuff and other things we will talk about in more depth and disclose to you…after the collective deep breath. Then it was off to The Darby for my first meal at the joint. I was with a client who wanted to do so and so it happened. I try not to eat at restaurants I design. I thought it might cloud my perception of the job I did. Last night sitting by the stage enjoying the show and a truly great meal I realized that I was wrong and I must experience the design from a customer standpoint and not just the operators. There were celebrities all around and the staff was great. I was really proud to be a part of it. I bounced over to Travertine to visit Ruben and then it was home to catch up on some long lost z’s.

Tonight I will try to catch up with some openings that occurred while I was fashionating. The Double Seven is not having a formal big bang opening “because of its size” according to David Rabin, but loyal followers will be invited to pop by all week. I need to get over to Bounce, that new sports bar on 21st Street where Porky’s used to be. I popped in while construction was nearly done and was very impressed by the room. I alsoneed to catch Arias With A Twist, that Joey Arias and Basil Twist performance at the Abrons Art Center on Grand Street. This is a must-see for the downtown set.

Nice Guys & Womanizers: Nightlife Morals

The twins Derek and Daniel Koch of meatpacking’s MPD just celebrated their birthdays. I can’t remember which one is older, but when I talked to the Baskin twins the other day they told me that the twin with the bigger head is usually the eldest. You figure it out. A little while back, I highlighted the Koch dynamic duo as “the next big thing” in clubland, and I’m still thinking it’s true. Some disagreed, but it’s easy to talk about people doing it well in the present, and quite another to recognize the tools that will mean success down the road.

I was talking to a major hotel player yesterday, who said, “That’s what we do,” when talking about hiring or recognizing budding talent. The Koch twins aren’t exactly new to the scene, and are doing quite well right now, but I see them owning this town in just a short while. My track record on this sort of “predicting success in nightlife” thing is pretty good. Quite a few of the major players in this town were brought up through my joints. Some have forgotten where they came from, but I haven’t.

For many, working in nightlife was the best way to get away from where they came. Some were selling buttons and some were tending bar or picking up a few extra bucks at night as promoters. Some were just chasing skirts before they realized they could make a good living. Most were simply trying to be something else, have a good bar rap, or were just throwing a birthday party for a friend before I lured them into the evil empire. If I’m going to get blamed for so many things, I’ll take some credit too.

Micah Jesse, who I also anointed in that article, will be celebrating the 4th anniversary of his celebrity-centric blog, MicahJesse.com, at The Box next Tuesday. The Box bash will have Hennessy Black as a sponsor with Marla Joy performing. Micah, of course, invited his friends and those who have helped his career. He thanked the helpful in his mass invite: “In some way, you have helped me grow over the last four years. You either offered up your invaluable insight/advice, or gave me a good spot on the carpet, or believed in me when I was just getting started, or helped spread my message of positivity—and for all that (and more!)—I am thankful.” It’s a super nice gesture, and shows the kind of thought that will take him to the next level. He added “When I started MicahJesse.com in April ’07 as a college sophomore, I had no idea that it would (or even could!) lead to all of this…” Jordon Fox was the third predicted winner. He is killing it over at B.E.S. and is being courted all over town. All four are nice guys destined to finish first.

Arty Dozortsev, hot off another diner success, is pushing his Sant Arturo wines—this time at the Darby. He is inviting his pals to Capitale for a birthday private dinner for Seth Greenberg this Thursday. The gala will be in the Peter Tunney room of the brilliant hall. Capitale was designed by the great architect Sanford White, who was whacked by a jealous husband back in 1906. (Recently, a mansion he designed was sentenced to be whacked to make room for a half dozen less fabulous places.) It was all in the news, as you recall, because it supposedly was the inspiration for The Great Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann is readying a new movie inspired by the tome.

Like Capitale, the mansion was the location for innumerable celebrity-packed parties. Sanford White’s work helps define our city. He did the Main Post Office building on 8th avenue, the Arch in Washington Square Park, and many others. His death should be a lesson of some sort. Not sure what that lesson is. Maybe it’s to make a lot of money, be famous and have fun, die young and beautiful—or at least desired—or don’t do any of that ’cause you’ll get in trouble. He used to lure young women to a circular mirrored room with a single swing hanging in the middle. They would disrobe and then carry on. One day, a young model (yes they had them back then) who had a swing/fling with the architect got married to a rich and powerful man. That man couldn’t live with the thought that Sanford White had exploited his bride, and decided that Sanford shouldn’t live. He shot him in the face, and a jury didn’t convict him. They thought Sanford got what he deserved. Promoters and designers beware.

I’ve known Seth Greenberg, the birthday boy and owner of Capitale, since his Boston days when he had M-80 and 10 other places—including the super chic restaurant Mistral. Seth is a living testament to that “nice guys finishing first” theory. I will attend his birthday bash, and while I’m there, I will look up at Sanford White’s deliriously magnificent ceiling of ornate moldings and stained glass, and cross my fingers and count my blessings.

On another note, I am saddened by the spectacle surrounding Lawrence Taylor. His fall from great heights is a lesson as well. Convicted of sleeping with an underage prostitute, it underscores the problems of successful men following their dick to their doom. Clubland is so full of these types. Lawrence loved the nightlife, and was frequently seen at hot spots around town where all were happy to see his big smile, and of course big bankroll. When I saw the news my mind flashed back to a night when he arrived at my joint, the Palace de Beaute, where the PetCo now sits in Union Square. He was with O.J. Simpson, and the two hit the bar upstairs hard. They were surrounded by admirers, including the dames. After getting them situated I went back to the door to tighten things up, as it was real good inside, and I didn’t want to blow the vibe with too many more people, and wanted only A-listers to get past the velvet rope. Three girls showed up asking for the football greats. They were hot, but decidedly suburban. I told them to wait as “I didn’t know if the guys were still here.” I walked up to the great players, who were now surrounded by female greatness, and asked if they wanted the suburban girls to be let in. They looked at the girls surrounding them, looked at each other and said “Nah’ at the same time and laughed. The suburban girls never got in, and the football giants eventually met their demise via other girls. I’ll let you write your own moral to my little story .

Is Tequila the New Vodka? Steve Investigates

A late night trip to the local diner had me looking at their liquor display. I noticed that there was actually the same amount of tequila being sold as vodka. Grey Goose, the longstanding staple of model/bottle tables around town, may have found that its greatest competition isn’t coming from another vodka brand, but from one of the high-end tequilas that are being promoted around town. A party I attended at Provocateur for Auténtico Tequila Alacrán had me sipping the stuff. As everyone knows, I only get drunk 2 or 3 times a year (whenever I have sex) but I made an “I’m over 21 almost 3 times over, and there’s a party for the stuff” exception.

It wasn’t like any tequila I’ve ever met before. It was clean, smooth, and had a subtle taste. I had never liked the stuff, and more importantly, it never liked me. As memory serves me, it was at a Russian-style tequila-drinking contest at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in LaLa land that I lost my wife to gentleman Joe Strummer. I do remember the swill that night came in a unflattering bottle and tasted like motor oil. I felt like a million pesos when I finally woke up, and I never asked if he collected on the wife bet, by the way. I lost fair and square, and I too am a gentleman.

The back of the menu at my favorite restaurant (which will also be opening by my home in Brooklyn) La Esquina boasts over 200 tequilas. High-end agave swill is nothing new. The question is: will it become a staple at the tables of the jet set? I caught up with my old pal, Arty Dozortsev, and asked him if tequila is the new vodka.

I know you were in the vodka business for 10 years. Why Tequila now? I jumped into the vodka trend with Kremly when Stoli and Absolute were the only market leaders. We were all trying to get a piece of that action. 10 years later, there’s an opportunity to get into the tequila industry, so I’m now with Alacrán.

What is the difference between a tequila head and a vodka head? On tequila you definitely get a buzz faster. The feeling is more fun and energetic. I think its definitely a more fun drink. People are tired of vodkas—it’s boring already. People are looking for something new and fun, and its all about trends and setting them. This is the year of tequila.

Tequila is traditionally associated with bad hangovers and wild times. What is the difference with these higher-end tequilas? The higher end tequila brands are distilled better, which costs more money to make but you don’t have that heavy head the next day.

Will the A-listers move off vodka to tequila? I think the A-list crowd is already swaying from vodka. Vodka has become so generic and unoriginal. No matter how high-end it is, the flavor seems to be pretty much the same. With this tequila especially, you can actually sip it and enjoy the flavor. You don’t need to take that shot and make that funny face anymore. How do they make the tequila so smooth? This is the only tequila using the single column distillation process. It’s the same process used in premium vodka, which is meant to adjust the amount of water you let in, and it’s how smoothness is achieved. It’s a premium 100% Weber Agave.

Where did it originate, and what is it about Alacran that separates it from the competitors? How did you get involved? The family of Ernesto Iberra Henkel and his wife, Lilian Sada, started this in their hometown of Mexico City as a personal venture among friends, just over a year ago. They were tired of the classic taste and aroma of tequila, and created an unconventional, smooth taste. They spent a lot of money on this unique distillation process, and on the sexiest packaging around. In my humble opinion, it’s best tasting tequila out there. It’s so smooth and enjoyable that it practically tastes like sake. Not only is the taste amazing, look at the bottle: it’s so sexy, I had to get on board. My family is in the importing and distribution business, and an importer approached me a few months ago with Alacran, I saw the sexy black matte bottle, then I tasted it, and I wanted to get involved instantly. I said to myself, going forward, I don’t have to force anyone to take tequila shots with me anymore.

What have you done to market it so far? We threw our party at Provocateur—the most exclusive lounge in New York City. It was crazy, and the guest list was off the charts. We had a great mix of people; Mexico City’s elite flew in just for the event, as well as NYC’s nightlife heavy hitters, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, and young trendsetters. Donald Trump Jr. and Amanda Hearst were among some notable attendees. My marketing team, VIEvents, organized the entire event. They branded the Provocateur café top to bottom in Alacran. People were so amazed by the taste—it definitely got the party started, and no one wanted to leave! VIEvents is also marketing Sant Arturo Wine, with a series of dinner parties. The dinners are meant to bring back socializing and connecting with others on a different level, aside from the usual dark night club/drunk experience where you can’t hear each other speak over the loud music. Our last three dinners were held at Cipriani, MPD, and Casa La Femme, and they were all a huge success.

I hear the tequila is not even available yet. I understand it’s on some boat now? Well, the tequila is on its way, we are anticipating its arrival to the US any day now. Just three weeks ago we had to personally airship cases of Alacran as a special request from the rapper and producer Swizz Beatz for a birthday party he was throwing for his wife, Alicia Keys. So the buzz has begun before it hits the US market. Once product arrives, we are distributing to top restaurants and nightlife venues in New York, and we are going to kill it!

Are people calling you Turtle? When is it launching for real? You can call me Turtle. We are launching March 1st, for real!

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.”

Courvoisier & Jason Littrell’s Holiday Mixology at MPD

Nearly every spot in town was fêting one thing or another last night, and Derek and Daniel Koch’s new boîte, MPD, was not left out. The reason for the seasonal imbibing: Courvoisier’s casual evening of delicious fare, cocktails, and a chance to sample the newest offerings from Courvoisier: The Connoisseur Collection and L ‘Essence. More so, for me at least, it was a chance to get schooled in festive cognac mixology. I’ve never really figured out “the right way” to drink Courvoisier, so it was interesting to see how Courvoisier could be used as not only a major mixology component, with master cocktail crafter Jason Littrell serving up detailed cognac drinks, but also as a cognac aficionado’s best friend. That is, straight up—specifically with the release of L’Essence, a limited edition blend of 100 eaux-de-vies aged 60 to 70 years (priced at a cool $3,000 per Baccarat-designed decanter), as well as the release of two aged bottles, Courvoisier 12 and Courvoisier 21.

Jason Littrell is a rockstar in bar culture, earning the Star Chef Rising Star Award this year after working under the likes of Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey, White Star, and Little Branch fame before joining the cocktail dream team at Death & Co., his current post. Aside from sipping on a $3K cognac, Littrell offered up creative and festive cocktails, paired with out-of-the-box ingredients. His favorite below:

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Edith Piaf Served over ice. Courvoisier VSOP Pear Brandy Vanilla Syrup Lime Juice Angostura Bitters

14th Street: The New Nabe Deserves a Name

Snap, that sports bar we are finishing on 14th street and 8th Avenue, is open nightly and hosting fabulous events. Last night Danny A— as in always an “A” crowd—brought his crowd to the tables. The scene was easily the hottest gathering ever at a sports bar. There were more models and hot people than at the regular hot spots around town. That was the point: a sports bar without the 800-pound gorillas in the room, a place to enjoy the big game with good food and company. I will be watching the Manny Pacquiao fight with Antonio Margarito tomorrow night there. I chatted up Danny about his success in the acting/movie producing game. I loved Holy Rollers, which starred The Social Network’s now famous Jesse Eisenberg. The first guests to arrive at the bash were former Met/Yankee basher Darryl Strawberry, chaperoned by my pal Eytan Sugarman. Me and my gal chatted up the clearly together slugger. He said he admired my work, and I told him I always admired his. I said that he an Andre Dawson were the most feared batters of their day. At a sports bar like this, attracting heroes and a sexy crowd seems perfect.

14th street between 7th and 8th is heating up. Darby, Richie and Scott’s restaurant right next door to Snap, is tasting, gearing up to be the best place in town. And ‘yes’ to all my watchdogs: Marc Dizon and I designed it as well. I am proud of my work and have no problem saying I love it. There are a bunch of joints around town that we designed that I don’t talk about. The 8th avenue end of the strip already features Norwood and the yuppiefied Honey, which could be sweet with a new look, and maybe new operators. Crispo is a great little secret spot-type restaurant on the south-side of the strip. I have been visiting Puerto Rican mecca La Taza de Oro, since I worked for Steve Rubell and Ian. I’ve seen everyone from Benicio del Toro to Raven O to club gods catching cheap and good fare there.

The block has enough old New York history and grittiness to be the next “area.” The Subway sandwich shop, the old liquor store, the last stop on the “L’ train, a couple of suspicious “spas,” and a porn joint keep it just enough “street” to feel undiscovered and fun. A gallery needs a couple more art spaces to bring that scene. The MPD is just a hip hop, skip, and a jump down the block—just far enough to keep the “tourists come lately” away for a couple of years. Everyone still goes to the Meatpacking, as the events and the sweet spots are undeniable, but the hordes of the unwashed masses have taken the edge off the night there. Cabs are tough to get, and navigating through weekend revelers to get to the Boom Boom, or hot restaurant MPD, or Cielo can be tiring for some. This new strip, which needs a name, is a significant, and a much-needed addition to the night. The location, which defines the borders of the West Village, and the Chelsea strip, screams for a gay joint as well.

The 6th anniversary of Sutra, a place I have impossibly found myself on many occasions, is this Tuesday. Ariel Palitz, the proprietor and a good friend, had friends and family there last night, but will bring it big and beautiful for us little people this coming Tuesday, along with the originator, the hero, the legendary DJ Afrika Bambaataa. I haven’t seen Bam in years, and wouldn’t miss this for the world.