Many of us tend to classisfy nightlife to just downtown. Meatpacking, L.E.S., the East Village, or WilliamsburgGreenpointBushwick— yet nightlife is thriving everywhere, and I’ve never seen anything like it. There are tons of large spaces and residents are scarcer or are young upwardly mobile types occupying new construction; they’re enthusiastic about going out and their money is green. Ric Addison of the Hospitality Group that bears his name, is the teflon don of Midtown boîtes. Everything he opens is hot.
Today is going to be short and sweet. The half of me that’s Jewish is having a huge argument with the half that isn’t and it’s best that I write half a column today. Tonight I will DJ at Champagning Midtown at the lobby-level bar at the Dream Hotel, 55th Street btw. Broadway and 7th Ave. Nick Andreottola and Nicole Rose, along with Dream honcho Ric Addison, are hosting this shindig which starts at an early 6:30pm and runs until 12:30am. They say the idea is "to celebrate life by drinking champagne.” I have many reasons to be cheerful this week so I may imbibe. As many of you loyal readers and friends know, I only drink two or three times a year, whenever I have sex, so I’m going to go to my "sexy" set for tonight. That’s Chris Isaak’s "Wicked Game" to Donna Summer’s "Love to Love You Baby.” You get the idea.
The invite says "Music By Legendary Steve Lewis.” That’s nice, but every time somebody calls me "legendary," I quickly check my pulse. I remember the things that I have done and appreciate the respect, but I try to live in the real world I wake up to every day and want the things I do "now" to define me.
Tomorrow night I will miss (because of my Thursday Night Generation Wild party where I DJ with the Legendary Sam Valentine), the Salon 13 Benefit For Breast Cancer at B-Side. There will be a raffle including gift certificates from Salon 13, Thicker Than Water Tattoo, Bar Bone, Unleashed, Continuum Coffee, Back Forty, W.i.P., Bantam, Rex Hughs Dog Training, and more. Gotta go…
Oh, I almost forgot…. Happy birthday to legendary promoter, entrepreneur, all-around-nice-guy John Davis, who will be celebrating his 50th birthday. Sheee-it, I got shoes that are 50! John has moved his legendary Body and Soul party to the cozy confines of XL Nightclub, 512 W. 42nd St. This event, like my girlfriend ,starts at four in the afternoon. It ends around midnight (she can go all night). Legendary DJs Francois K, Joaquin "Joe" Clausell, and Danny Krivit will provide continuity as well as awesome sets. I worked with John and this party back at the legendary club Life back in ‘96 or ’97. The guy who ran that joint was some sort of genius or something…legendary.
Ric Addison knows all about pleasing the hard to please. As the owner of three upscale Manhattan lounges, Ava Penthouse Lounge and Rm. Fifty5 at the Dream hotel, and Inc. Lounge at the Time hotel, his clients tend to be well heeled, well traveled, and familiar with high-end cocktails. He was made for the challenge, presiding over cocktail menus that satisfy and stimulate the palate in equal measure. Here, Addison talks about his background, the changing of the (cocktail) seasons, and the effect of an open sky on drink orders.
What kind of background do you have in hospitality? I worked with (hospitality legends) Rande Gerber and Ian Schrager for years and learned a lot from them before I opened my own venues.
How are your cocktail menus structured? I have the menu separated by individual spirits, and I stay on top of the trends and feature the best cocktails in each section. We provide a little bit of everything for everybody, because our customers come from all over the place: upscale world travelers and high-end clientele such as bankers and entertainers.
What’s popular these days? Flavored vodkas are very trendy. All of the Grey Goose flavors are very popular within my establishments. We work a lot with Grey Goose L’Orange. It goes well in so many cocktails.
Does your cocktail menu change with the seasons? It does. I change our menu twice a year, spring/summer and fall/winter. We keep it light for summer, with refreshing flavors such as cucumber. Winter brings out the brown sugar, cinnamon, things like that. Our fall/winter 2011-2012 cocktail menu was introduced last week and we’ve had great feedback so far.
So you’re into fresh, natural ingredients for your cocktails? Absolutely. We try to use locally-sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible. For example, we always used fresh-squeezed juices.
Since your venues boast outdoor space, have you found that people order different kinds of cocktails when they’re under the sun or stars? When people are outside, they tend to order more tropical-style drinks, like mojitos and punches and things like that. Citrus flavors are big.
Suppose a customer has a basic idea of what they like, but needs some guidance in what to order. How would you help them? All of our bartenders are very well trained, and if somebody needs help in deciding what to order, we’ll ask them about what kinds of flavors they like. The bartender will always put together something special.