St. Patrick’s Day Soirèe Saturday at Yotel, Steven Greenberg’s Memorial Service Next Tuesday

Look, I hope you won’t be insulted if I keep this short today. I am way too busy to chat or be profound or funny or whatever it is I am doing these days. I got to get to the 17 Stanton space, formerly called The Elsinore, to finish up with the construction so you guys can go oooh and ahh or say …"What in God’s name was he thinking?" According to Scott Solish at Eater yesterday, nobody cares, but sometimes he is a little left of right. I read his take on my column yesterday and noticed just a little error…a right when he should have gone left. He said that Noel Ashman had changed the name. In reality, the name was changed over Noel’s strenuous objections. This will play out, as revelers attend the space and play with tables and bottles and other toys. Seventeen Stanton has a new name, which will be seen and heard sometime in the next few days. The place is almost ready. It feels good-to-go. After this writing and the day-job designing, I’m off to Hotel Chantelle to DJ with Sam Valentine and Michael Tee and a slew of others.. I’ll get home at 6am-ish. I was up at 7am, so it’s a 23-hour day for me. I figure I’ll get all the sleep I need in 20 or 30 years.

Saturday I will don the green tie and attend the Saint Patricks Day soirèe my two favorite Patricks are throwing at Yotel. Mr. Patrick Duffy and Mr. Patrick McMullan and son Liam will be hosting. Liam will DJ, along with the Justin (O)Strauss. I’m not a big fan of the day and even less of the night, which is often ruined by people who have been drinking all day, well …er …since 1995. The "no gays" in the parade thing is a disgrace and…well, I’m in a hurry. I asked Patrick Duffy a few Steve Lewis questions. He gave me Patrick Duffy answers.
 
Tell me about this year’s St. Patrick Day festivities.
We are doing it at the Yotel! We have taken over the space for the night. Liam is going to DJ along with Justin Strauss. We are having a private dinner for Patrick, Liam and I, and our best friends..then a massive party for everyone!
 
Which of you is the most Irish? McMullan or you?
Hard to say! I know we all have the luck of the Irish! Patrick and Liam are sweet, charming, and so much fun! I hope I am too! We are calling ourselves the Holy Trinity for the evening Father (Patrick McM) Son (Liam) and Holy Ghost (guess who).
 
For those that are clueless or who live under rocks, tell them who you are and what you do.
 I am Patrick Duffy, I do Patrick Duffy things.
 
For years, gay people have been denied the opportunity to parade with the rest of the flock. Who wins on this, who loses, and how does that affect you inside?
The world loses. (Most) gays make the world a better place – the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, so to speak. At least the ones I know!
 
Growing up, when did you feel that you might skew different from the rest? When, if ever, did you stray from the pack and the traditional values?
I was born with heels on and a martini in hand. Didn’t have many friends at Catholic school, accept for some other members of the congregation.  
 
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In sadder news, a memorial service will be held Tuesday, March 20th for my dearly departed friend and mentor Steven Greenberg. I can’t believe he is gone. I will gather with the other disbelievers and believers at Park East Synagogue 163 East 67th Street to remember him. A close friend of Steven consoled me with this thought, "He lived to help put people together." He’s doing it again.

Co-Owner Noel Ashman On The Elsinore’s Fashion Week Pre-Opening

I wear multiple nightlife hats. I, of course, write here daily; I design joints; I DJ; and I help in the marketing of that delicious Beau Joie Champagne. There are often conflicts, especially in the writing. I follow the rule of disclosing what I can about the new projects I am designing, but I do comply with the rules publicists and management lay out. I often do not get the first photos of places I’m designing or often even the first substantive story. In the case of the The Elsinore at 17 Stanton Street, my latest creation, publications like Crains and Thrillist got the scoops. I also will not write about a place differently because I am involved. This has upset a few clients, but others like the added dimension of this column.

The Elsinore will preview tonight with a Fashion Week soirèe for Buckler. This is a private preview event and there will be some other such events in the space in the two or three weeks before it actually opens. The Elsinore is nearing completion with more wallpapers and moldings and finishing touches going up daily. It is not quite ready for primetime players but the folks attending tonights bash and the ones to come will see something new and I think very different. Having a party at a virginal space seems to thrill party planners. The Steve Lewis designer hat wishes people would see it for the first time when it is done. I caught up with The Elsinore honcho Noel Ashman late last night/early this morning for some thoughts.
 
You must be excited. Although The Elsinore is incomplete, with a scheduled opening in two or three weeks, it is previewing for Fashion Week. What are the upsides and downsides of pre-openings?
Well the upside is that we keep our word to the designers and other fashion peeps we promised the space for their Fashion Week events. The downside is the space is still very raw and unfinished which is why we are calling it construction preview parties.
 
Who is involved with you on this latest project (and for the youngins reading my column) who are you and what have you done?
I am nobody they should not know who I am lol. I have been very blessed to have a great team working with me on this project. We have a bunch of partners in The Elsinore… actors Norman Reedus and Damon Dash have come out in the press so far but we have some other interesting creative entertainment peeps involved as well, which I am sure will come out in the near future. Richie Rich is designing the waitress uniforms and is hosting a weekly night as well. A guy named Amit Zamen is a co-owner with me and is great at handling lots of the back-of-the-house details that usually go underappreciated (except by me). I also brought in some other operational partners who have been incredible in helping me get the space together and who we would not be here without. Seamus Regan is our very capable GM and a partner as well. Scott Hockens is helping with internal marketing and is also a partner. Clarence Fuller is also doing in-house marketing and is one of our creative directors.
 
Where does the name The Elsinore come from? Who came up with it?
I wish I could take credit for it but actually a very close friend of mine suggested the name and I loved it right away. The Elsinore is actually the castle from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
 
What is The Elsinore doing to fill a void in nightlife or push the envelope of nightlife?
I think many clubs/lounges in NYC have gotten very commercial and seem to be almost copying a Las Vegas formula, which can be profitable but I find very stale. They have lost a lot of the NYC authenticity and artistic flavor that, in the past, had made NYC the envy of nightlife all over the world. I think we are trying to bring an updated version of some old-school, more selective NY clubs/lounges like my old club Veruka, Spy Bar, Bungelow 8, etc. but with some new twists. We are designing the space for many of the creative high-profile people that do not feel protected in current venues, to give them a more private place to hang.
 
The location seems to be getting hotter by the minute. Why did you choose to be in this area?
I spent a lot of time looking at venues and areas of town and I felt the Meatpacking area was way too over-saturated and commercial. The Bowery, to me, is the next great nightlife destination and The Elsinore was just perfect for what I wanted to do. It is small (holding approx imately 175 peeps at a time), but has a feeling of being very spacious because of the high ceilings and has a great backyard, outdoor area so I just fell in love with it.

Steve Lewis the Writer Interviews Steve Lewis the Designer

The weekend was wonderful, with the air as crisp and fresh as the apples we bought at Auntie El’s, my favorite hush-hush spot on Route 17. My day was spent with a couple of bartenders and a doorknob manufacturer at Storm King, the greatest place to spend a day. It’s miles of art strewn about in what looks like an abandoned golf course. Look it up and go. I’ve gone a zillion times, any and all seasons, but enjoy this time of year best, with the fall blooms and changing leaves and light.

We played catch with Osage Oranges and watched a massive flock of Eastern bluebirds play and bathe. They truly were the bluebirds of happiness for my merry crew who hadn’t slept. People like us sleep when we can. The day people dictate to us what times things we want to see are open. We eat when they sleep, in diners which are getting increasingly better at accommodating the more and more of us who must work nights at second jobs because the first ones don’t pay the bills.

Love him to death, but O’Bummer isn’t putting smiles on peoples faces. We need more Storm Kings and bluebirds and jobs. Despite increasing bureaucracy at the buildings department, which delays the openings of job-creating joints, and despite overzealous city regulators seemingly hell-bent on closing places that are feeding our flock, hospitality still keeps many of us alive.

I am building an office and three new joints. Often, when I take on a project, I sign a confidentiality agreement, legally binding my talkative/writing half from blabbing about what the design half is doing. Oh, and the DJ half is too exhausted from my Saturday night gig with Uncle Mike at White Noise to butt in. The Uncle Mike/Uncle Steve show threw rock and roll classics and newbies at the crowd until they screamed uncle. Then we hit them harder. I love White Noise, and you should too. Anyway, getting back to what I was saying. I signed this confidentiality agreement in regards to Noel Ashman’s new project. He told me I can tell you about half of it, so here I go. It’s located between Delancey and Houston, and Christie and Crosby. It’s not too big or too small, and it’s about half way done. Noel says “it will be a private NY lounge bringing back the Veruka/Moomba/Bungalow 8/ feel that has gotten lost with so many bottle clubs that are imitating Las Vegas.” Now that’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me god. He has some “high profile” people backing him, as usual. As I said, I’m the designer, and so the writer Steve Lewis has decided to ask his better half, Steve Lewis the designer, about intent.

Steve Lewis (writer): What’s it like working for Noel Ashman? Steve Lewis(designer): well, it’s always interesting. I helped Noel with his Plumm project, designing the layout until circumstances led me away from the job. I did manage to get a sense of the room, which became invaluable later on when I was tasked to design The Darby. The concept of reversing the stairs to accommodate a second entrance was one of the things I executed based on the Plumm experience. Noel is a trip, and I love talking with him the minute he wakes up, raring to go, at 8pm.

SL (w): What will the place look like? SL (d): Great question! It’s going to be based in the color Blue with many modern and old English Empire references. Noel’s crowd is heavily VIP, so the place will be mostly based around comfortable seating and sight lines that allow people to see each other, but at the same time offers the ability to protect his celebrity friends.

SL(w): Wow, that sounds difficult to pull off. SL(d): It is, but I like working for Noel. He has always danced and dressed to the beat of a different drum. His clubs were always mixed, packed with bold-faced names, and had great music. They were just like the white T-shirts he wears as a uniform, a little bit more laid back and comfortable than the rest of the pack.

SL(w): Can you name some of the celebrity investors or friends that are involved or will be hanging out? SL(d): No, that’s all hush-hush. I’m sure there will be many of the usual suspects, as well as some unusual ones attached. As far as who will come play? I guess the same people you always see at his parties. Noel has his supporters and always will, because they know they can rely on him for privacy and a comfortable place to play. I always enjoyed watching his sports friends playing hard at night, even though they couldn’t for whatever reason do that on the field. I hope he doesn’t get mad at me for saying that.

SL(w): It’s not your fault. It’s mine for asking.

Oh, and by the way I could use a little intern help. The summer’s end sent the ones I had scurrying back to their universities and colleges to unlearn what I taught them. Is there a person out there who wants to help me get this thing done? Contact BlackBook and tell them you need a dark handsome stranger in your life, but will settle interning for a pale, weird looking, strange person until that happens.

Happy Birthday Noel Ashman

Like a B actor on a network TV drama, Noel Ashman basically wears the same outfit every working day—some sort of ugly pants, sneakers, and a white t-shirt. For his birthday this Thursday, I will stop at a Rite Aid (the nice one that was an old theater on Manhattan Avenue where my girlfriend buys her amazingly tacky fishnet fingernail coverings) and buy him a couple packs of new white Hanes. He will chuckle about it. I imagine some closet at Ashman Manor with 100 white t-shirts hung on hangers and a single black one for weddings and funerals. Noel is beloved by many and…disliked by others. There are no gray areas when Noel is concerned.

It’s t-shirt white or black like the night — you love him or hate him. The old expression goes, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs,” and I agree with that. I discount the rumors that Noel at one time aspired to be a short order cook. Some of those who love him hate him sometimes as well. For me personally, after about 20 minutes, I want to pummel him, but then he calls me “Buddy” and it’s all good again. I’m always “Buddy” to him and to others. I believe that’s because he’s always preoccupied with deep, deep thoughts and can’t remember mine or anyone else’s name.

Unless you are a complete asshole in nightlife, you gather enemies. I think it’s the nature of the game we play. Often the creepiest of the creeps and the most egotistical jerks are the most popular. The public just sees the smile or the smart suit of the megalomaniac who’s in charge of the hot spot, and they think he’s a great guy. But those who live in the dark are often not what they seem. Nightlife’s heroes are often the most despised. Noel is a really nice guy and I never get tired of defending him. Noel is always in a world of his own—a little off to the left of mainstream joints, owners, promoters, and goings on. He has owned and operated Veruka, Plumm and NA, to name a few, and has promoted a zillion parties at places like Eugenes and Adams Apple — and for me, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. This birthday makes him officially old. Not “Steve Lewis old,” but old. I think he invented Spam, not just the e-mail thing but the canned food as well. He started doing this when he was too young to drive. I heard a rumor that he had his own apartment at 15 years-old because he drove everybody at home nuts. He went to all the right ivy league schools and he (and especially they) are very modest about it. He is always surrounded by a familiar family of celebs. Too often I’ve even seen him with sports heroes who should be sleeping (you know, resting up for the big game). Then I sort of came to understand that money and fame and conspicuous consumption is in itself a big game and Noel is their wonderful new coach. He is an enigma and a dilemma wrapped in a white Hanes t-shirt. He rarely lies except sometimes when he is talking. He is always ready to plunge into the fray and start a new club, lounge or party and alas I always go …and I always have a good time. He grabs you and brings you in and introduces you to his fabulous friends and, kind of refreshingly, he’s not like those other guys. You see, I’m a big fan of Noel Ashman. Underneath that rough exterior and the white t-shirt is a man who is…I’m sorry but I just found myself wondering what’s under the white t-shirt and got a little queasy and I must just stop right there.

I didn’t come to praise this Caesar of nightlife, or to even bury him but to talk about his birthday. This birthday has a cast of hosts that include all the usual and unusual suspects.

Patrick McMullan, The Sopranos muscle Federico Castelluccio, Damon Dash, Chris Simms, Michael Bregman, Ethane Browne, Heather Hunter, Anna Rothchild, Nick Raynes, and George Wayne are on the top of the invite list. Beverly Hills 90210 star Vincent Young will also be on hand celebrating his own birthday. The event is at Five, 21 7th Avenue South at Leroy Street. Five is the old Luke and Leroy space which became Le Royale which, of course, was for many years Crazy Nannies, to those who know about such places. I haven’t been to Five but I hear nice guy Redd Styles is involved. A club name like Redd Styles is like a tattoo I think. Once it’s there it’s hard to go back and change it, but he is a really nice guy so I won’t say anything about it, anymore. Grandmaster Melle Mel will perform and there are whispers of others as well. I will DJ, along with Boogie Dash, Ani Quinn, Reach, Liam McMullan and Ethane Browne. Noel is threatening to DJ as well but we have a plan to prevent this travesty of vinyl. Dave Delzio is hosting, whatever that means. I love Dave and when I see him Thursday I will ask him what exactly he does for a living. That and why it’s called Five and Redds real name and what Noel will be wearing (besides the white t-shirt) will keep me entertained for minutes. Oh and I can’t talk about what Noel is up to as I promised I wouldn’t but it is fabulous and soon I …I’ve said enough. If you get there after 10:30pm you will miss my DJ set and prove to all around how club savvy you really are. Happy Birthday Noel Ashman!

Lit’s Anniversary Party, Noel’s New Joint, & My Tooth

A tooth that once took a solid left hook from a very tough gal a couple years ago finally went down for the count – and took the rest of me with it. Therefore, I missed the un-missable event of my new year, the 9th anniversary of Lit. The people I was going to meet at the soiree spoke incoherently when I asked them what had happened. They seemed to have had a blast but were of no use to me, so I turned to the proprietor, the debonair man about town Erik Foss, who everyone just calls Foss. Here are his 9 highs and lows:

1) No cops, no blood. There was total harmony. 2) No Ron Jeremy, that made me sad (a reference to my famous friend who I brought to the 8 year anniversary). 3) Leo Fitzpatrick, Josh Wildman [photographer], Jonathan Tobbin, Naeem [Spank Rock], Sal P [Liquid Liquid] Djed, and “it girl” Becka Diamond, the band xx was in the house. 4) Hussle Club and Fresh Kills performed. 5) Paul Sevigny attended but did not DJ, as his new club opened in LA yesterday, so he had to prepare. I wonder what they thought when they got a look at him and Andre! Hahahahaha 5) OK, now I keep getting her name wrong but Fiona and the Somethings? [Florence and the Machine] she opened up the Grammys this year, and won, I think? Redhead from London? She was wicked cool and her friends were also. The first thing she said to me was: “Why can’t people be nice when you meet for the first time?” She said we were nice. That got me stoked 6) Nick Zinner was in full form. 7) A woman flew here from Puerto Rico with her luggage in hand, tan, and covered in sand! 8) Brain and Matt McAuly from the A.R.E. Weapons were in full force. Brain the singer of the Weapons was celebrating his birthday as well. 9) Spencer Prada [I think Foss means Spencer Product—maybe?] in full effect, and may have been his birthday too. So many friggin’ birthdays! George Washington’s birthday too, I believe. 10) Zack Williams, new gallerists Mallick Williams Co., and the son of actor Robin Williams in full attendance, hanging with New York gallerist Jonathan Levine, and bar mogul Mikel Stuart [Beauty Bar]. If I haven’t told you, I am doing my first solo art show this September 11th at Mallick Williams Co. in Chelsea. The show is called “Avarice,” and is about the greed that fueled such events 10) I think Obama pulled up, but decided not to come in because the line was too long.

This late night text was full of inaccuracies, and I did my best to clean it up. Such is Foss. Such is Rock and Roll. Such is the morning after the night of. Someone once said that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, a thousand words from a real insider like Lit honcho Erik Foss paints a very accurate picture of why the place has lasted so long. Foss is what I call genuine, and that feeling pervades his joint. All the proper spelling, punctuation, and remembering correct names, fancy chandeliers, expensive finishes, and celebrity friends couldn’t create “genuine.”

Funny how a little tooth can make my whole gizmo inoperable. I think clubs and restaurants are like that. A place can be a well-oiled machine: food or drinks are great, the place looks hot, and yet one dick employee can send a customer home with a bad experience. A bad employee is like a bad bicuspid. Sometimes it’s all amazing, but it’s a bit too bright, or too loud, or even too cold or hot. The experience that can make a first-time customer into a regular rests on a thousand little things that can go wrong. Management, often the weakest link, must be ever vigilant. Lit has gotten it right enough to be still standing long after their competitors have been redesigned as Starbucks or chic boutiques. It remains a time capsule of an era gone by, but an era that is severely missed. It’s beer soaked floors, tattooed staff, and consistently solid music—live or DJed—has it going for a decade more. It will make it. A decade in club years is unheard of. Here’s to Foss, David, and the capable crew of Lit. Still my favorite spot.

On the “You Heard it Here First” front, a rumor monger insists that Noel Ashman has just about sealed up a deal for a new lounge. The location is downtown, and I hear it’s small, but that’s all I could get. Stay tuned. Another event that I could not go to, but probably should have, was the party for Michael Collins 10 Year Single Malt downtown at Ward III on Reade street. I sipped some of this stuff a couple weeks ago, and found it scrumptious. I’m a sucker for this kind of swill when I actually do drink, which, of course is 2 or 3 times a year—whenever I have sex, or maybe have a bad toothache obtained on my fourth attempt last year. But that of course is a short story unto itself.

So Many Events, So Little Time

If I wasn’t too busy to write about anything, these are the things I might write about. I want to discuss the avalanche of invitations I receive through the media snowstorm that has become my life, and probably yours. I ache for the days when a young punk would hand me a flyer when I left a joint. Nowadays, my e-mails, my phone, and my computer are all billboards for a zillion events I just don’t want to attend, or can’t possibly. I have people inviting me to parties in Vegas, L.A., Greece, and South America. I guess a wide net is thrown out, and what happens, happens. With almost 5,000 Facebook friends, I am not only invited, but used as a platform to annoy my crew. I have a steadfast rule: If you invite me via text or through some Stepford voice message, I don’t listen, and of course, I don’t attend. I don’t mind it when a college student, intern, or a real human calls and politely asks if I want to go, even if it’s from Noel Ashman.

Anyway, I’m way too busy to attend or write about anything this week, what with the openings, the moving to Brooklyn, my Friday visit to Michael Alig, and of course, all the Paris Fashion Week events I’m asked to cover. I’d attend an event — or three — in Gay Paree, but it seems impossible, as all my nice duds are packed in cardboard boxes, and I can’t find the Paris “L” train stop on my brand new, and very fashionable, plastic subway map.

Anyway, back to the things I would check out if I had time to check them out. First off, I really want to attend the Freestyle Archityper 2 event at the Raw Space Gallery. The gallery is on 11th Avenue between 21st, and 22nd Streets. I love the space, and am excited about this event. If I only had a minute! It is described as a “Structural Intervention by Carlos Rodriguez.” Carlos, also known as Mare 139, was tagging walls and trains back in the mid ’70s. He elevated his art in 1985 into what is described as “novel sculpture idiom,” and his “sculptural interventions in public and private spaces inciting community dialogue about contemporary urban art, and its affect on our landscape.” This event is part of the Hip Hop Theater Festival, which has been enticing me, inviting me to one fabulous event, after another. I don’t mind this bombardment of invitations. It’s not spam if you want to know about it, and I have been reading every word sent to me attached by the publicists.

Recently, another event caught my experienced eye. It seems Samuel Adams Beer is bringing back some concoction of theirs—by popular demand, of course. Noble Pils hits the shelves in January for the second time. Normally I would ignore an invitation to imbibe. Loyal readers know that I only drink 2 or 3 times a year (whenever I have sex it becomes very necessary, but I digress). Anyway, those wild and crazy folk over at Sam Adams are dragging Eddie Murray, and my favorite rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, to Hoppy Hour at Jimmy’s No. 43. I was born on February 2nd, Groundhogs Day, and I kind of am worried about my pal Phil. If I am not going to get any sleep, I’ve got to believe Phil should. I am very concerned that, after all this hoopla, (or is it “hopla”) he will be ready and well-rested for his big day, when he informs all of us just how harsh our winter will be. This kind of stunt may throw off his balance, and who knows what might happen. Between global warming and Sam Adams, I think the whole mechanism might become askew. I am also concerned what his “inner circle” might look like. If the beer isn’t enough to entice you, getting a picture with my furry friend might be just the thing. This shindig is tomorrow night. Bring lettuce.

The last thing I’m going to chat about on this day is the hiring of my trusty old intern/assistant, Nadeska Alexis at Blackbook. I highly recommended Nadeska, who I have never called by that name. She was, and will always be NASDAQ to me and mine, as Nadeska was way too difficult for me to remember after a night out on the town. NASDAQ is the real deal. She is always one of the brightest people in the room—provided the room is not too crowdedl. She is more beautiful than many, and funnier than a banana peel pratfall. The one thing I can truly vouch for is she can take a punch. No, I never hit her, but in my fast-paced world of club superstars—with their quirks, and egos—she never let them see her sweat. Often, when we left a meeting with some club god who believed he was curing the common cold, saving the rain forests, the dolphins, and babies everywhere by running some joint, she would double over in painful laughter. She absolutely got it. She knew who was cool and who was full of balloon fuel. She could read between my lines, and instinctively knew when I was going to blow a gasket and pummel an interviewee. She saved me many times. Blackbook’s Victor Ozols, who has some fancy title over there that I never paid attention too, except when I steal his candy, wrote about my beloved friend:

“In addition to the standard intern labor of transcribing interviews, editing blog copy, and generally helping everything run smoothly, she also worked closely with Nightlife Correspondent Steve Lewis, running around from club to club, and nightlife empresario to nightlife empresario, coordinating interviews, smoothing ruffled feathers, and staying on top of all that is important in the New York nightclub scene. It was a trial by fire if there ever was one, and Steve could not have recommended her more highly for her skill, finesse, and grace under pressure.”

NASDAQ has recently worked for AOL’s music site, writing about hip hop, pop, R&B, shows, albums, and a ton of etceteras. I don’t really know what she is going to do over at Blackbook. That info is above my pay grade. And besides, half the time I don’t know what I’m doing there either. I do know that all of us are blessed that she has agreed to rejoin the flock. Welcome home NASDAQ!

Q & A: Noel Ashman Returns

This Friday, Q — a club where Quo, Myst, Prime, and Retox used to live — will open. None of these were A-list joints, but all entertained the B-, C-, and D-listers with great sound and good service. They were what they were, and I found myself there having a good time more often than I’d like to admit. The concept of a “new” club gets blurred as spaces are renamed, redone, and hopefully reconsidered by a public always willing to give it another shot. That seems to be the case here, where management has brought in a couple new faces (Antonio Fuccio and Mike Heller) and will refer back to the “glory days” of Quo with the Q name. The two-room format will be disposed of, as Q will be a good midsized room. The city needs this size of a betweener room, as only Pacha and M2 fill the large club niche, and there are hundreds of small joints. Q can present a world-class or circuit DJ and still remain small enough to have a social scene.

And really, Quo was never that bad. The crowd that enjoyed it has gotten a little older, which may mean wiser and more monied. The room itself is built for nightlife, with few columns and high ceilings. For opening night, the joint will go old school with Noel Ashman and Patrick McMullan among others hawking for a crowd. Noel had some success as the owner of N/A and Plumm on 14th Street in recent years but never really achieved the success of his Soho spot Veruka. Is it just me, or do all these names suck? Anyway I caught up to Noel and asked him about his return to the limelight (no, not “the” Limelight!).

This is your first gig since Plumm closed? No, I hosted a party for Candace Bushnell at Mr. West and did a couple of things in Atlantic City.

What have you been doing with your time? We have been shopping two TV shows … both are new takes on reality shows — and a film.

Is Friday’s opening a one-off, or will you be promoting at Q? Not sure. I know I’ll be hosting the opening with Patrick and then maybe some parties down the line. I might do a weekly party at this space because it’s large and I like to do that, and it’s a contrast to something I’m working on but can’t talk about right now, which is a very small, semi-private club. You’ll probably be consulting on the design.

Yes, but I’m sworn to secrecy. This is difficult for me sometimes, as I can’t talk about some stuff here, and I often read about things I’m working on in other blogs, and I get yelled at. What does “semi-private” mean? Private — you have a number to call, and only members get in. We’re going to let some of the public come. A limited number.

What clubs do you enjoy now? Good question. I’ll get in trouble any way I answer that. I do think there are some good ones out there.

How do you feel about Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano taking over your old joint? I wish them well. I was there for five years, which is a pretty good run.

What are the biggest challenges for owners in today’s club market? Over-saturation. Back in the day, there were four or five good ones. Bottle service brought all sorts of new people into the game. Everyone wanted to get in on the gold rush. It looked easy. Many found out it’s harder than it looks. Few actually make money

Did you ask Patrick to co-host with you? Yes, Patrick is an old friend. They wanted a cool, high-end opening with an old -school crowd feeling comfortable, so I thought it would be fun. I also have Ethan Brown hosting and DJing. I’m going to be Ethan’s manager.

Do you think a good crowd will return to that West 27th Street/28th Street strip? They’ll come if there is something special happening. This Friday figures to be special.

You have been an owner for years. Is going back to promoting an event or a weekly something you enjoy? I always did events at other places, even when I owned Plumm and NA. If I do a weekly, it would be a different type of weekly — maybe not at a club. Funny thing … I’ve had close to a hundred calls from people who think I’m the owner of Q. I tell them I’m hosting opening night

For the new project, do you have your old crew of celebrity investors on board? Yes, some of them will be there, as well as some new ones. I think this space will really be much more like Veruka.

What motivates you to do it again? When you ran clubs, you approached it as an art form …

Well, part of that art definitely was making money. Yes, but you took the approach that if you did it to make money, you probably wouldn’t make any … but if you made good art, you would, because it’s easy to sell good art.

Well yes, thank you. That was a basic Andy Warhol lesson. Andy felt making money from his art was very important — maybe even a validation. For me it certainly was. I feel many people can open and make loot, but not be fabulous, and many can be fabulous but broke … success for me was having both. Tell me about the film. It’s about New York nightlife. We’ll start shooting in five months to a year.

When will the new club happen? Very soon. You can’t talk about it!

OK, OK. Are you keeping busy? Strangely enough, yes. Plumm’s closing has freed me up to work on the TV shows and the film.

Nell’s, Amy Sacco, Citrine as Latrine, Os Gemeos, & My New Intern

I call it Nell’s. Despite my deep affection for everything Noel Ashman, a space always maintains the name of its greatness, and 246 West 14th Street had its fame when it was named Nell’s. Scott Sartiano and Richie Akiva received unanimous approval of the full community board yesterday, and they will open a restaurant on the ground floor and a club/lounge downstairs. Their success at Butter and 1Oak guarantees that this place will be grand, plus, I and my partner Marc Dizon have been hired to design it. We feel very honored. I designed Butter for them a number of years ago, and that experience really boosted my design career. They are a couple of bright guys who are very hands-on and deeply motivated to create something hot and fresh. This is a very sexy project, and I’m quite excited.

Amy Sacco has been linked to a Bravo network show which will chronicle the launch of her new New York City nightclub. I have, despite stories to the contrary, the greatest respect for Amy. She is one of the top-tier nightlife players, and I believe with a new place she will maintain her crown as the queen of New York nightlife. Bungalow is a legendary place, but the problems facing the West 27th Street club mall did not leave it unscathed. She is a class act, and I can’t wait to see the show and hang at her new place if she still loves me.

Moving on from a class act, I will now address an ass act. The firing of veteran doorman Ross Hutcoff by Citrine management two days before the birth of his son is despicable . Ross is one of the real good guys in this town, and more than that, he does a great job. I went to Citrine once to attend owner Adam Elzer’s wife Sachi’s birthday bash. She is a wonderful person and can’t believe Adam and Dave have done this. I don’t enjoy Citrine. It’s a young, not-too-classy crowd listening to common-denominator music in an awfully designed place. Yet all these kinds of shortcomings can be forgiven if the energy from management is honest and positive. When I went to attend Sachi’s party, Ross greeted me at the door. I was glad to see a familiar face amongst a faceless crowd. Again I like all three of the owners and am shocked by the severance. Ross is a great doorman and will get work I’m sure — I totally endorse him. Until I hear of a reasonable explanation, Citrine will now be referred to as “Latrine” in this column.

The wall on the corner of Houston and Bowery has a new mural. This will always to me be the “Haring Wall” because of the piece Keith did there so long ago. That piece was restored in honor of the late artist’s 50th birthday but was whitewashed the other day for a new masterpiece by Os Gemeos. The new mural has hundreds of delightful images hiding in its complexities. It is, in fact, dedicated to two people that have died recently. One (Iz the Wiz) was a legendary train bomber (tagger) from back in the day. The other was Sace from the Irak crew, who died of a heroin overdose last week at the age of 27. He was more commonly known as the downtown polaroid and installation artist Dash Snow. I saw another giant mural by Os Gemeos on a daytrip to Coney Island last week and was awestruck. The image at the top of this post is by photographer Mari Lowery; it shows a small section of the Houston Street wall. Keith would have loved it.

Pacha, on trial for its life, is awaiting a verdict from state supreme court justice Joan Madden. She will allow New York’s great mega-club to be open this weekend. Everyone is hopeful that the club will be allowed to continue operations as Judge Madden seems like an intelligent and fair hand. Without Pacha, the greatest city on earth is left with M2, which has been designed as an ultralounge but may pick up some of the slack; and Webster Hall, which. to paraphrase Yogi Berra, is “crowded but nobody goes to it.”

Last but not least, I need a new intern. Nadeska “Nasdaq” Alexis is moving on to tanner pastures, and I will be lost without her. I am looking for someone to help set up interviews, transcribe them, prepare me (which includes making sure my shirt is buttoned correctly and I’m not wearing two left shoes), and laugh at my bad jokes. You need to like going out of course, as you’ll get lots of invites through me, BlackBook, and otherwise. There is further major upside potential, as BlackBook likes to hire from these ranks too. Writing your own stuff can and has happened, both for online and print. Look up Nadeska’s body of work; she did a great job and I will miss her. If you’re interested, email me at {encode=”slewis@bbook.com” title=”slewis@bbook.com”}.

TGIF: Harlots, Hoodoo, and Hotel Griffou

Did some Nostradamus-type advertising guru from T.G.I. Friday’s invent textese, therefore predicting the SMS revolution me and my Blackberry are now celebrating? I went to the T.G.I. Friday’s website to check and was bombarded with heavy metal music and images of violently searing meat, bottle-tossing bartenders and sexy Midwestern waitresses. Too much before my morning lemonade. I’m in love with my Blackberry. It doesn’t mean I want to marry it, but I do plan on taking it on vacation. Some say I’ll have a better time if I leave her at home and go with some random gal, but I told them to gft.

My brain is indeed withering from the heat of my mid-summer night’s dreams. Last night, I attended the “Harlot Nights” party thrown by Collective Hardware’s very own Puck, Stuart Bronz. It was a stooopid hot event, with only two floor fans for a massive crowd of hipsters, dipsters, and scenesters. In midsummer you can tell how good a party is going to be by counting all the cute summer interns dressed up and doing important things. This party was no joke. There were gaggles of beautiful, sweaty women everywhere. As I sat in the big couch and chatted up all that I could, I was constantly reminded by an annoying intern of the “Win a Date With Steve Lewis” contest Blackbook was going to host for me way back when. I told the nosey intern that I was seeing someone on-line. I explained that I wake up most mornings and go to sleep most nights chatting up a sexy Facebook friend far, far away, and sometimes we text or SMS or tweet during the day. I told the squeaky intern that indeed I had “never met her in the flesh.” After this horrible intern stopped laughing in my very sweaty face, she asked me if that wasn’t “a bit two-dimensional.” I said it was sort of like dating a model. People were changing into bathing suits, hand-painted right there in front of me, and I guessed that and the sweltering heat and the obnoxious intern were the “harlot” part of this monster gala. Patrick McMullan took a thousand photos of me with the irritating intern and introduced me to his son, that hot boy about town Liam, for the thousandth time. I left, because I know when to leave.

Tonight, Noel Ashman is hosting a party for Candace Bushnell, who of course had that bestseller book-to-series-to-movie Sex and the City. This uber-hot event will be at Mr. West, which seems even farther west than when it opened. I saw on the Facebook page Noel posted that 23 people had agreed to attend. This was less than the 25 people who are members of the “Noel Ashman Screwed Me Out of Money (and I’m Suing)” group. If you add in the 1 member of the “Noel Ashman Slept With My Girlfriend and I’m Angry” group and the 3 members of the “Noel Ashman Is Not the King of New York” group, you can see that he is clearly outnumbered. However, if he rolls in with Chris Noth, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessie Bradford, Damon Dash, and other members of his loving and loyal investment group (ready to change nightlife as we know it any minute now), then it’s a push. Unless Ivy brings Scratt — but that’s a different story altogether. I contacted Noel for comment but got none. Could he have been shacked up with that guy’s girlfriend? I assure you that although most of you have no idea what just happened, there are others who are really enjoying this. It’s all on Google — or is it ggl? I love Noel Ashman. He is a frnd and not just of the FB variety. I may just go West to see him tonight.

I went to Hotel Griffou the other night. I was told the place was working out the kinks, and I should not judge it harshly. I guess when they fix the crowd, decor, lighting, and noise I will give it another look. When I mentioned this to the friend who brought me there, she made all these excuses and told me that “the food would be great when they work out the kinks … it’s new!” I used to pop into the place from time to time when it was the great secret hang Marylou’s. Jack Nicholson would enjoy a cigar there and was such a regular that when the smoking ban kicked in, Jack said he would pay the six figures to put in an air filtration system to keep things right. Alas, the city retreated from its approval of these systems because the ban is about employees as well as patrons, and cleaning up and such wouldn’t be fair to these people. I was told not to say bad things about the place, so I decided that every time someone says “Hotel Griffou,” I will just say, “god bless you.” See you l8r.