Want Some Hanky Panky? Gary Spencer Knows Where To Find It

Friend Gary Spencer has been tasked to carve out a little slice of heaven from mega-club Webster Hall, and brand it as “The Hanky Panky Club.” As creative director, he is opening his ambitious concept with a performance by the New York Dolls frontman David Johansen and my favorite DJ in this world: Paul Sevigny. For me, this is an incredible booking. The influence of the New York Dolls on NYC music, and the direction rock took from their lead, is incalculable. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I wore a suit to an office and listened to jazz. On the way to something somewhere, my cab cut to Park Avenue from another avenue to avoid traffic but got stuck again. As I glanced out the window at the very grey NYC of the early ‘70s, I saw the Dolls stumbling over each other in dresses and such with a wonderful entourage in tow. I had seen a light and got an itch that I have spent the rest of my life trying to scratch.

It was a few years later that the Ramones indoctrinated me into the life completely, but it was the Dolls who showed me the path. Rock and Roll, to its devotees, is a religion. Its anthems rarely get old, and the offerings of ancient bands and rock stars still play well to generations. Rock produced today and a zillion days ago will play well to people who aren’t even theoretical yet. It’s an "old school" genre that still delivers, still sells out stadiums. Gary Spencer is approaching the new Hanky Panky venture with an old- school mentality. I will be there to support and, more importantly, to enjoy a slice of the life I have chosen.

Hanky Panky starts with a bang, with the New York Doll’s David Johansen and my favorite DJ and (perhaps) person Paul Sevigny. Why were they chosen for this grand affair?
Friday is going to be a special night; we’ll have David Johansen from the New York Dolls performing, Paul Sevigny spinning.
I wanted to keep the integrity of not only the space but also NYC, and who better than David Johansen of the Dolls to do that? He’s New York and he’s totally rock and roll. Webster Hall is New York rock and roll history, and we have the club that overlooks it – how cool is that!!! Paul Sevigny is a quality DJ; a guy that really knows his music and is a perfect compliment for the Dolls and the room in general. He’s underrated and he crosses so many eras of music in his set. Plus, he’s an absolute gentleman. Deadbeat Darling will be supporting Johansen;  they are an amazing band whose latest album “Angel’s Share” was produced by Ken Nelson (producer of Coldplay’s “Parachutes” and “Rush of Blood”). Terry Casey, another underrated DJ, will also be spinning and maybe even you Steve, who knows? It’s all a secret!

It’s in but it’s not. The Hanky Panky Club includes the balcony of Webster Hall. Let’s face it… it’s Webster Hall, but a redefinition of part of it. Webster Hall is very music-based. Tell me about the pairings of bands and DJs at The Hanky Panky Club, and the development of a separate brand from Webster.
Lon Ballinger, the owner of Webster Hall, contacted me and said he was looking for a different demographic, a market that he hasn’t been able to tap into, and that he wanted to open the space that was above the main club. After walking through the venue on a Friday night, I was like – WOW – this is incredible; the energy on the main floor was like nothing I had seen in a nightclub for a very long time. Hundreds of people were having a genuinely amazing unpretentious night out. It was refreshing to see, but it was even cooler to see and live it from the comfort of the balcony, which is incidentally attached to – ta da – Hanky Panky!

I really feel that that’s what people will do: they will enjoy all the trappings and service of The Hanky Panky Club but also enjoy the energy that the main room and balcony have to offer, if and when they need it. In pairingup the music on a Thursday, we will have a soul evening, Fridays will be electronic, and Saturdays will be more commercial/house. The bands on these evenings will also reflect the respective genres in the main room. Your career. Tell me about it, and tell my readers about the wonderful nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow.
I was standing in Peter’s nightclub “Stringfellows “ in 1983, and his director of operations Roger Howe approached me and told me he wanted me to work for the company. I had zero experience at the time, but ended up a week later as a bartender at Stringfellows. Later on, I moved on to be the reception manager at the world famous and way-before-its-time Hippodrome. What I always remember from that is when Roger said to the bar manager at the time, “I want Gary to work at the bar,” and the bar manager said “well, we don’t have any positions available.” Roger said “Well find him one.”

Those guys understand image. They know the rest can be taught; they build all their clubs around selling glamour and image. Plus, they know all about programming. He knows his trade. Peter started off in church halls, then booked The Beatles one night and never really looked back.

Peter will always be legendary in nightlife. He understands what nightlife is; it’s fantasy, it’s sexy, it’s escapism, it’s what should be talked about amongst your workmates on a Monday morning after a wild weekend. But not only does he bring all of those qualities to his clubs, he does it with a swagger and a smile, whilst being able to laugh at himself which is a rare but very-much-needed quality in nightlife.

After I worked for Peter, I fell into a very successful modeling career and also produced the Fashion Café fashion shows worldwide. My modeling career led me to New York where I have lived for the past 15 years. Four years or so ago I went back into the hospitality/ nightlife industry and, before becoming creative director here at The Hanky Panky, I worked for Joe Bastianich at Del Posto.  I opened the Rusty Knot for Ken Friedman and was also at private members-only club Norwood.

You told me your approach to nightlife is old school, and you used the word "patience” several times. The need for it …not letting someone who doesn’t "belong" into a party in just because they’re buying bottles… will this fly?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it will fly. If somebody is right for the room and that person decides to buy a bottle, then that’s fabulous. But what I don’t want to do is let somebody in just because they have the money. I’ve seen too many nightclubs ruined that way.

While we’re on the subject, I think service plays a big part as to whether a venue is successful or not. NYC used to be known for its high standard of service, but we’ve gotten so used to everyone coming here for the last 20 years that nowadays, when a cocktail server comes to take your order, it seems like everything is too much trouble for them. Why would anybody want to spend money in an environment like that? That ethic would fail in any other business. The cocktail servers at Hanky Panky will not only be stunningly beautiful, but will also take your order if you are sitting at a table or not. I know many very wealthy people that want to be served fast and efficiently. They don’t want a “table” or a “bottle,” but they don’t want to deal with the bar either – so, they call a server over .

Another problem is that not enough nightlife people are operators in nightlife, so they defer to promotional teams to fill their venues up. Which is fine, but there is no easy fix. It takes just as much effort to fill a room that is promoter-driven as is concept-driven. The difference is that the concept-driven room will probably have far more longevity and be a hell of a lot cooler in the long term, but that’s where the “patience” bit comes into play, and unfortunately the world has become a little too “instant gratification” for my liking.

Tell me about future programming at Hanky Panky and where the name came from.
The evenings will always begin with a live band that will come on at 10:30pm and make way for the DJ around midnight. As I said earlier, we have a soul DJ spinning on Thursdays, so the band will be jazz or soul or maybe even reggae. DJs coming up soon will be people like Christopher Sealy, Bridgette Marie, Tommy D, John Luongo, and hopefully I’ll get some of my English-European mates here as well. And of course, not forgetting your good self, Steve.

When I did the first walk-through – walking up the marble staircase, past the distressed walls – I felt like I was being lead to a naughty secret hideaway. And then I saw this red neon light that was propped up in the corner that said “hanky panky,” and from then on, I immediately named it The Hanky Panky Club. If you read the dictionary definition of the phrase, you will know it’s a perfect fit.

What would you want people to leave HP feeling and thinking?
That they had fun, that they had good old-fashioned fun. That they were served well, and listened to great music amongst good people. There’s not enough of all of that anymore, and I, along with the Hanky Panky crew, intend to change that.

Gary Spencer

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.

New York Classics: Pre-Nell’s to the Darby

Damn Monday nights. A little while ago I’d use Monday nights to get rid of the idea that the weekend was over, and the next one so far away, by promptly leaving work and tossing back copious amounts of open-bar booze at some after-work affair. This would be promptly followed by a barrage of whiskey on the rocks at Lit Lounge, until I would promptly go to bed around 5 a.m. It made me feel better about participating in the workforce. These days, I’m a bit gun-shy about pulling the trigger on a Monday night. It’s dangerous when you’ve got some real responsibility, but I still get a little antsy. So I’m home in my gym clothes, still trying to look cute for my bf, who is clearly more interested in whatever spread sheet he’s glued to. Could be work, could be some kind of fantasy football thing, could be some kind of elaborate date plan he’s mapping out. Right. I pour myself a monster glass of wine and think about the fun things I could be doing if it wasn’t 10:45 already, and I wasn’t an hour away from looking decent.

The list, just to prove how strong my willpower is these days: Eric Richman’s game night at Soho House with a bunch of swells and tarts; The Swarovski Elements 22 Ways To Say Black Charity Auction, held at Phillips de Pury & Company, my invitation to which, judging by the guests who did attend (Halle Berry, Sofia Vergara, Julianna Margulies), I’m quite certain was a mistake in the first place; Women: Inspiration and Enterprise cocktail party hosted by Sarah Brown, Donna Karan, and Arianna Huffington, an event I’m not sure I was actually invited to, but rather a party-crashing friend bribed his way in somehow.

Instead, I’m sitting on the couch with the aforementioned monster Rueda, reading a book set in the ’80s where all these little party girls overrun Nell’s, and I’m thinking about how every generation of partiers is basically the same. Only the sets change. I’m sort of tired of old writers talking about “the good old days” of nightlife, without actually telling me what made the old days that good, so I decided to find out myself. What was Nell’s will soon be The Darby, with owners Scott and Richie, who are about to be as famous as Steve Rubell himself. (Don’t tell any of the older writers I said that, because until there is a movie made, that statement can’t be totally true.)

Part of the fun of sitting at any bar in the city is the realization that someone sat there before you. I’m talking about a hundred years before you. One of my favorite places to sit around and contemplate this is anywhere on the Bowery, with its flea-ridden tramps and easy women. There’s the Mike Lyons Restaurant that shuttered in 1910, which brought together politicians and musicians and people from all walks of life around the Bowery’s dance-hall days, before the Bowery was punk rock alley. The space that was Nell’s must be just as rich in sordid history. So this is becomes my Monday night: replacing uncomfortable shoes and cab fare with a quick history lesson near the eve of the opening of The Darby.

Birthdate: Nell’s opened in 1986, and the 246 West 14th Street spot was run by Rocky Horror actress Nell Campbell, presiding in see-through shirts and wacky Rocky outfits, though it was actually Keith McNally and then-wife Lynn Wagenknecht, who were probably responsible for the daily grunt-work of the operation. Before it was known as Patrick Bateman’s favorite spot, it was known for transforming nightlife. It was the trend that lead A-listers and other New Yorkers away from the giant discos popular at the time. It was also known as one of those places that actually turned away celebs. In the ’90s it had a rebirth as a rapper’s haven. Biggie Smalls shot “Big Poppa” there, and Tupac was a fixture.

image Nell Campbell

Neighborhood: 14th Street between 7th and 9th Avenues was once a community that housed mostly Spanish immigrants. Across the street from Nell’s was a famous speakeasy that thrived during prohibition called the Tammany Tough Club. Next to that was the Andrew Norwood House, an esteemed mansion built in 1847, whose exterior is a designated landmark. The mansion was sold after Raf Borello, the owner of the house, died in February 2005 after lovingly maintaining the estate for 29 years. What you see now is the members-only club, Norwood. Signatures: $200 black membership key rings given out to a lucky few, shabby-chic gentleman’s club interior, peep-hole door. Famous Patrons: Calvin Klein, Bono, Warren Beatty. Vibe: From the New York Times article “Glitz, Funk, and Victoriana Enliven New York’s Discos” published in 1987: “As if emerging from a Ralph Lauren ad, many here seem to inhabit a world blending bored detachment and grand theatricality. Black taffeta regularly appears next to faded denim, and English accents – both real and fostered – abound. An artist from New Zealand, lounging on a sofa with a cigarette, mused as to why he was admitted: ‘They go for people who look like they don’t care whether they get in.'”

Post Nell’s

NA Birthdate: Noel Ashman’s baby (and for who the club was so-named) opened the Bungalow-esque NA in 2004. Damon Dash and Chris Noth were some of the high-profile investors involved. Signatures: Resident DJ Mark Ronson spun, $1,086.25 membership fee, palm fronds. Famous Patrons: Ivanka Trump, Puff Daddy, Mischa Barton.

image Noel Ashman

Plumm Birthdate: In 2006, after a nasty investor battle, Noel reopens the spot with Michael Ault, who was known for Spy Bar. It was co-owned by Chris Noth, Samantha Ronson, Joey McIntyre, Damon Dash, Jesse Bradford, and Simon Rex, to name a few. Signatures: Purple, no membership fees, Lindsay Lohan, Agyness Deyn, and Joel Madden guest DJed, Tommy Hilfiger and Axl Rose got into a famous fight. Famous Patrons: See investor list. Vibe: Fashionable, purple, “My ideal mix would be an underground kid from Williamsburg, some models, a few European aristocrats, socialites, and a hip-hop mogul or two,” says Ashman.

The Darby Birthdate: Set to open, um, soon? It’s missed all of its perceived opening dates, no doubt because of the city and her licensing ways. Should be ready next month. Signatures: Butter/1Oak‘s Dream Team, Butter’s chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli Famous Patrons: So far Jay-Z threw Beyonce’s birthday party here, so there’s that. Vibe: “I want to bring back an old-fashioned sense of class from the ’50’s and ’60’s, like El Morocco, a place where you can dress up, have an amazing dinner and some music and entertainment,” Akiva told the Times.

Lewis Ink, Sailor Jerry Turns 100

A recent obsession of mine with everything tattooed may be due to a midlife crisis, but if you do the math that means I’m going to live until 114. Anyway, I had my midlife crisis in ’87, and then that other one in ’96, and then there was that recent 3-year relationship with that 19 year old which in all fairness isn’t as bad as it sounds, as she eventually became 22. No, my tattoo thing is most likely due to my constant trips to Williamsburg. It’s as if you can’t rent a flat out there without a serious sleeve. My good neighbor Dana Dynamite, ex-Ben Sherman and more recently Carrera Sunglasses, is pushing Sailor Jerry. There actually was a Sailor Jerry and I have this DVD to prove it. Turns out he was an even surlier old cuss than I suspected, with political views slightly to the right of Attila the Hun. Jerry has passed on. He would have been a hundred this year. He leaves behind his art which adorns the tilted masses and will for generations. So in celebration of the old swabby’s birthday, they’re having events and such. Most notably is the “Sailor Jerry 2011 Calendar Contest: The Search for the Hottest Tattooed Women in the World.” Now that sounds like a typical Saturday night for me (before I met my lovely Amanda).

I do not have a tattoo. I will get one, but have sworn that my first ink will be an image of my bestest friend ever, my Chihuahua Arturo. It will be over my heart where he will always be. Arturo turned 16 yesterday and is as feisty as ever. When people applied for work when I ran joints, final approval came from him. If he didn’t like you, you didn’t have a chance. Once, I didn’t bring him to work because of inclement weather, and I hired a lovely gal. All week the rest of the staff asked me, “Did Arturo meet her?” I said, “No, it rained and he was home and I did it on my own.” They tsk-tsk’d me and walked away upset. The poor girl only lasted a week. Much of the staff from that era are still best friends. They are my clan and are having babies and BBQs now, and all had the Arturo snarl of approval. Inclement weather kept me away from the Sailor Jerry film screening in BK last week. The rain had them retreat to All Saints Pub where they partook in a Sailor Jerry Rum concoction appropriately named “The Perfect Storm”. If you missed this soiree, don’t panic. There will be another aug 7th. Check their website for info.

I miss more events than I make as that cloning thing isn’t nearly perfected. I missed another tattoo event—an opening of art by tattoo artists at the P.J.S. Exhibitions Gallery on 14th Street. The gallery is just east of the Darby and Snap, the two joints my firm is designing on 14th Street and 8th Avenue. That little area is on the upswing, with Norwood right across the street and lots of hip new restaurants nearby as well as some fabulous new residentials. The show is called “Metanoia” and it features the works of really awesome New York-based tattoo artists Chris O’Donnell (New York Adorned), Jason June (Daredevil), Josh Egnew (Three Kings), Ryan Bonilla (Bellum Concepts), Stephanie Tamez (Brooklyn Adorned) and Thomas Hooper (New York Adorned). I caught up with P.J.S./Metanoia honchos Patrick Sullivan and Bevin Robinson and asked them about the show, tattoos and the changing landscape of the area.

What is the relationship between tattooing and creating other works of visual art for these artists? Do they get a different sense of release depending on whether they’re painting or tattooing? BR: The relationship between tattooing and creating other works of visual art for these artists is expression. We do not believe the artists get a different sense of release, but in terms of personalization, they have no boundaries in creating their own art. As with tattooing, they are working in a specific framework of imagination and space on the human body, the medium, which is skin and ink.

How did you choose this location for the gallery? With a lack of artistic developments in that area, does the neighborhood affect the gallery? How is the sense of community? PS: I have lived in the neighborhood for over 10 years and embrace the sense of community. In fact, I am trying to make sure that it stays. There are a lot of Irish bars and erotic shops and I don’t want to see them go. I don’t want to be the only gallery in the neighborhood, but I do want everyone to know who we are and what we are about. BR: 14th Street is a central area for cultural diversity, while still retaining a feeling of neighborhood vibe as you go from east to west. I believe that this is one of the few art galleries on 14th St., and therefore there is an undiscovered demand for something to get people to think, experience, and socialize.

Why and how did you select these particular artists and this theme for a show? How do you know Bevin Robinson and why did you guys decide to co-curate the show? PS: Bevin and I have known each other for a few years. Growing up in the neighborhoods and environments that we both did, everyone knows everybody. Bevin presented the idea of Metanoia to me a while back and once we both had the chance to put all of our efforts into it, we did. First, we contacted Thomas Hooper, Stephanie Tamez, and Chris O’Donnell at Brooklyn Adorned. Then after some searching for other artists that would represent the show well, a friend introduced us to Jason June and Josh Egnew. Ryan Bonilla, a long time friend of mine, was all we needed to complete the show. BR: The name all of the show represents the general idea and theme of the show; Meta means “after” or “beyond” and noia is a condition of the mind or will. These artists all represent this experience in their art-making process. Beyond the will of the minds’ conditioning, their training, busy tattoo schedules and success also holds them back from having time to make new art.

What is your vision for the gallery in terms of the art you want to see displayed and your goals for curating? PS: I always want to be able to enjoy what I have on my walls. Not hanging anything because it will fetch a pretty penny, but being proud of all of my hard work and efforts. BR: Love. Love for art, people, and process.

Any funny or interesting anecdotes since opening the space? BR: I almost tipped the motorcycle in the window. Since the opening, Shiva (gallery dog) has upgraded from a floor mat to a plush Polka dot love seat. She definitely earned it for being moral support.

Has tattooing moved into the mainstream in a generation? Is the work shown in a gallery setting a natural progression of the art? PR: I don’t think so. The work on the walls is unique and thus stands alone. Yes, more people are getting ink, but this show is no way a representation of that.

14th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues has been somewhat seedy for many years. Norwood has brought in some class and Honey some yuppies. Now the addition of the new restaurant The Darby in the Nell’s space, and the high-end sports bar Snap where Country Club was, will transform the west side of the block. Will we see new galleries and shops? Is this heaven-sent for your gallery? BR: I am happy to have Norwood, Honey, The Darby, and Snap all on our block. I am also happy to have McKenna’s, Woody McHale’s, The Crooked Knife, and Flannery’s. There have always been clubs and clubbers on the block and we are used to it. But with such a broad spectrum of establishments, it is sure to make for some fun!

Nightlife Try Outs: Amanda Leigh Dunn’s Week of Parties

It’s 10:30 on a Wednesday night and I’m in gym clothes crossing Union Square wondering if I’ve anything good left on TiVo when I first hear them. “Let’s just get drinks here,” a California blond squeals to her fellow interns, a group of smiley, freshly implanted college girls. “This part of the city is amazing—there are so many places to go!” Suddenly I feel refreshed, the soggy, angry heat evaporating around me. I immediately recall those same, remarkable feelings of excitement when I was new to this city: every step was one outside my comfort zone, and the possibilities were endless—the night was a mystery. Now, since I’ve settled into the groove of actually living in this city, the knee-jerk reaction toward their enthusiasm is a swift eye-roll at their naïveté and a silent recitation of the latest snarky blog post about this exact area going to hell in TGI Friday’s hand basket. These days, the trend is to speak about nightlife as you were attending its funeral. I’ve grown bored with the idea that there’s nothing new or provocative happening in this metropolis. Nightlife isn’t dead, it’s just different, and it’s different for everyone. It’s been a while since I first started covering nightlife as “Holly GoNightly,” but my interest is once again piqued to seek out new ways to look at New York after dark. While some longingly wish for their days at Studio 54, Tunnel, or the Beatrice Inn, there are many more seeking out the new. The internet has given everyone a certain kind of access, diversifying trends and experiences. There’s something for everyone, and the only way to find out what works is to step out and try it on for size.

So this is what I’m hoping to do: like those transplanted interns weighing their options with gimlet eyes, I’m going to set my sights on stepping out of my own comfort zone, on noticing, trying, and doing more, on venturing out to see nightlife through other people’s eyes. To start, I’ve asked Amanda Leigh Dunn, a quintessential ‘Girl About Town’ who’s always at the “It” place with a band of cooler-than-cool kids, to fill me in on her own little black book of go-tos. Her’s is an agenda not for the faint of heart—a week of non-stop partying with an array of eclectic and truly hip characters.

image Amanda Dunn

Professional Resume: I own a company called Cross Street Productions Inc, a Manhattan based firm specializing in brand integrated events, artist management as well as fashion, beauty, and lifestyle public relations. I also run an event space on Greene Street. One Word to Describe Nightlife in New York City: Endless.

City Loves:Favorite lunch spot: Cipriani Downtown, I pretty much live there. • Favorite dinner spot: Fig and Olive, Ilili, Hotel GriffouFavorite nightlife trend: Le Bain, the new spot at the top of the standard. Naked girls, water beds, and the best view of the city—what more could you want? • Drink of choice: I’m mostly a champagne kinda girl. • Meal of choice: Tuna Tar Tar • Favorite group of people to bump into: My night kiddies: Becka Diamond, Stef Skinner, Carol Han, Sami Swetra, Paul Johnson Calderon, Timo Weiland, Jane Bang, Matt Kays. You know, the cool kids.

image Le Bain

City Gripes:Nightlife trend you loathe: I hate Juliet Supper Club, the Empire Hotel roof is a clusterfuck of ugly people. I hate places that anyone and their mother gets let into • Drink: Cafe Patron, sick. • Meal: fried food, ick. • Group of people to bump into: Hipsters, teens, and coke fiends—and the usual uninvited crowd, you know who you are.

Her Hotspots: Monday: Dinner with my closest, plotting the week. Tuesday: Lit Lounge Wednesday: Soho Yard, the “Everything’s Ridiculous” party with Spencer Product and Becka Diamond. Thursday: Avenue, BEast for Main Man Thursdays, Norwood with Timo & Alan. Friday: Le Bain, Tribeca Grand Salon with Matt&Maia and Andrew Saturday: Pianos for the Mile High party with Jane Bang, Easthampton Boathouse, hosted by the Eldridge Sunday: Sway, Goldbar

image Kenmare

Every night: Kenmare, we call it Kenitis, or La Bain. Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Greenhouse, Tenjune. For special occasions: Depending on the season, every drink occasion with my closests is a special occasion. But if I had to say, it would prob be the Plaza Hotel (the have the best bloodies in NY). Brunch is usually: Cafe Cluny, Schiller’s, Serafina, Soho House (Essex House is the Greenhouse of brunch).

Where Celebs Go Out: Stanley Tucci, Tom Colicchio, Alessandro Nivola

Stanley Tucci at The Luxury Collection Destination Guide Launch with Assouline: I like to go to a lot of different places, but certainly Mario Batali’s restaurants. The beef cheek ravioli at Babbo is so delicious and so incredible. Just about anything he cooks is okay with me. I always stay at the St. Regis, here in New York. ● Rosie Perez: I love Gino’s in Bay Ridge. The arroz con gandule at Luz in Brooklyn is a favorite, and the roasted chicken is the best deal in town. Here in the city, Dok Suni’s for Korean barbeque, at First Avenue and 7th Street.

Alessandro Nivola: Sunny’s, a bar in Red Hook, which has bluegrass bands on some nights. It’s where they filmed On the Waterfront. And a restaurant called The Good Fork in the same neighborhood. The Red Hook Bait and Tackle is a bar that’s seedier than Sunny’s. In Boerum Hill, there’s a great place called Mile End, a hip, Jewish deli. They smoke their own meats and have this incredible beef brisket. ● Estelle: Avenue and SL, I love ’em both. ● Krysten Ritter: I love Brooklyn Bowl. Kenmare is a fun place to go. Aurora in Williamsburg on Grand Street has a wonderful, little beet salad with hazelnuts. ● Timo Weiland: I love to go to Norwood and Gramercy Park Hotel. Sugarland in Brooklyn, so much fun. It’s off-the-beaten path, but a wild dance party. ● Daniel Boulud at the James Beard Awards: Right now, DBGB these days, because it’s one that keeps me the most busy. I like Marea, Le Bernardin, Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn. ● Tom Colicchio: I live in the West Village, so I, often, go to Barbuto or Spotted Pig, ’cause they’re in walking distance. The food’s all good. I try different things all the time, so I don’t go back and try the same thing over and over. ● Wylie Dufresne: We like to go to PDT for a cocktail late at night or some tater tots. 15 East is a favorite. We just came from the new Terroir in Tribeca that was great. DBGB just opened up in our neighborhood. The hundred-layer lasagne at Del Posto was pretty special. ● David Burke: Corton was great. From the Garden is a favorite dish there. ● Michael Oher at Big Brothers Big Sisters Sidewalks of New York gala: I live in Baltimore. I love seafood, so anything on the Inner Harbor. The Cheesecake Factory is there. At PF Changs, I get the shrimp-and-chicken fried rice. ● Sebastian Copeland at Pepcom for the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Into the Cold: My favorite sushi is in the Valley at Nozawa, which is a place that Spielberg goes to and tried to have Mr. Nozawa open a restaurant in New York. He serves you the food, so you can’t ask for what you want. He kicked out Cherlize Theron one time. He’s known as the “Sushi Nazi.” ● Miranda Cosgrove at Sony Music luncheon celebrating the release of her debut album, Sparks Fly: I go to Mozza in L.A. It’s like a pizza place. They have squash blossoms and really, good margherita pizza. Hungry Cat, on Sunset, has the best dessert. It’s like a chocolate souflee. ● Phil Ramone at opening night of Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway: Bravo Gianni’s on the east side. Sardi’s because I want to feel the history, and they have a good wine list.

Where Celebs Go Out: Green Day, Serena Williams, Dr. Oz, Carla Gugino

Billy Joe Armstrong at the Broadway opening of Green Day’s American Idiot: I don’t have any favorites. I like anywhere and everywhere. I went to go see “Everyday Rapture” last night, and then I went to punk-rock karaoke down on the Lower East Side, it was at Arlene’s Grocery. ● Mike Dirnt: Honestly, I like to meet friends for a nice pint at McSorley’s, the oldest pub in New York. ● Tre Cool: I like to go to Gray’s Papaya at 72nd Street and get cheap hot dogs.

Serena Williams: Oh, I don’t go out too much. I love Mr. Chow in Miami. ● Donald Trump: Only at Trump properties! Jean Georges. ● Carla Gugino: I’m a big fan of Morandi. I just went there for brunch for the first time. And I love a little Mediterrean place called Taim. ● Camryn Manheim: The truth is I like to go to a casino and play some poker in Los Angeles and Vegas. And I love to go to all the places here after the show. Joe Allen, Angus, Bar Centrale. ● Whoopi Goldberg: I don’t go out, but when I am out in the city, I go and get my hot dogs from Gray’s Papaya. Which one? I like all of them. ● Dr. Oz at HealthCorps “Garden of Good and Evil” gala to fight obesity: I like Candle 79 a lot. It’s my favorite vegetarian restaurant. It’s easy to get to, and I love the way they pull together tastes that are unique. And by the way, they supply my food in the green room, for my show. I order out, and Candle 79 caters it. They have a seitan dish and they look like chimichurri. ● Roger Ross Williams: I hang out a lot at Norwood, which is a private club, on 14th Street. It’s a whole brownstone. There’s a restaurant and a number of bars. I live on the Lower East Side, so I hang out there at a lot of different bars. I love restaurants, so sometimes Spotted Pig, Pastis a lot for lunch. Right now, I’m like editing in the Meat Packing District at an edit house, so I’ve been to the Standard a lot. ● Rocco DiSpirito: I still go to Balthazar and Spotted Pig and places like that. I love going to Balthazar and getting a big plateau of fruits de mer, you know the three-level plateau, with a couple of friends and some good white wine. ● Ben Vereen: Koi restaurant. I like the food, the ambiance, and the people.

Unlock BlackBook’s Nightlife Badge on Foursquare!

In partnership with the aspirationally driven folks at HBO’s How to Make It in America, we’re proud to offer you the chance to achieve a personal gold standard by unlocking the exclusive BlackBook Nightlife badge on Foursquare. Make HTMIIA your Foursquare friend, then check into any 3 of 20 possible New York nightlife or dining destinations (restaurants are the new nightlife, you know), and you’ll get the shiny new Foursquare badge pictured here. Soon we may provide an even more material motivation to have fun with this, but for now, download the BlackBook Guide iPhone app and start hitting the hotspots. Complete list of eligible joints after the jump.

Allen & Delancey Apothéke Balthazar Boom Boom Room The Breslin Butter Coffee Shop Craft Daniel Elmo Japonais Macao Trading Co. Matsuri Morimoto Norwood Pegu Club Per Se Soho House The Spotted Pig Tenjune

Industry Insiders: Alan Linn, Members Only Fellow

Alan Linn created a home for the art world by hand picking every piece inside Norwood, his West Village private members-only club. An artist himself, Linn got his B.A. and M.A. at Royal College of Art in London and started his career working at local bars, but fell in love with New York. Lucky for him, a group of New Yorkers have since fallen in love with Norwood. Once a month, Linn selects random members to sit for dinner and hopes that Norwood’s legacy will be the projects that are inspired there. Everything from movie screenings to band performances occur under Norwood’s roof and spontaneous jam sessions take place regularly. (You might also be surprised to see which rock star comes in to play the piano every now and then). A chat with Linn after the jump.

How did your start in the hospitality business? I got a bar job just to pay bills and carry on being a painter after university. I worked at Andrew Edmonds restaurant in Soho, London, which is a real institution. I also worked at The Groucho Club. In the ‘80s and ‘90s it was a big hangout for artists like Damien Hirst. I worked there for about six months and left to run a members only club called Blacks. Joe Strummer and Kate Winslet would come in there. It was quite wild. I was there for 12 years.

How’d you make it across the pond? I fell in love with a New Yorker. I’m a gay man so I couldn’t come here officially by getting married, so I decided to open a business in New York. Although, it probably seems naïve to think I could just come to New York and open something that would be successful.

Still together? Yes, still together.

Do you have any partners in Norwood? Steve Ruggi is my business partner, and he was a founding member of Blacks. He knew I wanted to do this and his wife is a New Yorker and art critic for Art Forum in London as well. Steve had been a documentary filmmaker and then went into finance. It was a good match all around.

How did the business come together? It was day or two of looking at spaces. It was very important to me to have a house. A house makes people relax, and I love the idea that this is a house for the arts. I wanted to create a place where people actually looked each other in the eye and talked to each other and had a commonality of being creative and being curious. We’re still focused on being interested in people and seeing what we can develop.

How big is the 14th Street space? This house is 9000 square feet and 6 floors.

And you found it on day two of looking? There’s been a lot of serendipity with this project from the start. The outside of the building is landmarked. We preserved the interior, just bringing it to code. It’s one of the best townhouses in America. It has reverse staircases and solid silver handles on the mahogany doors and a marble fireplace.

Who belongs to Norwood? Our demographic is from the ages of 21 to 101. One member is a young writer who comes on his skateboard while others are people at the highest level of their careers. This is a club for New Yorkers. We only just began taking members from outside New York. We wanted to be established as a strong arts club for New York.

Who were the first members? The founding members were cherry picked from many different worlds. It was very important to me to have a good mix. We had the connections. It was two years getting the project together and now we’re two years open. We started with 300 members and are just over a thousand now.

How do you compete with Soho House? It is not about competition. It’s if people like what we offer.

Do you have sister clubs? If you’re a member here, you’re a member of The Ivy and The Groucho Club in London, as well as the Spoke Club in Toronto. Those are our affiliations, and helped in how we branded ourselves.

What was the inspiration for the interior? Simon Costin designed our interiors. We wanted it to seem that when you walk in the door, you’re somewhere else. It was very important to have a fragrance for the club so that if you were away the smell would bring you back. We go to flea markets every weekend looking for things for Norwood.

Plans for 2010? We’ll be opening a new dining room on the second floor. Andrew D’Ambrosi from Top Chef is our chef. We also want to eventually start a foundation to fund various art projects.

Who are your favorite artists? Francis Bacon, Henry Darger and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

What are your go-to places? Diner in Brooklyn, Fatty Crab, Basta Pasta, Boom Boom Room. I love hotel bars like at The Carlyle. Always great service.