Ric Addison on Your New Favorite Rooftop Spot, Monarch

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. 

Tonight I will attend a press event at his new rooftop spot Monarch (71 West 35th Street) on the north east corner of the Avenue—when you get to the elevator, press 18. It’s 5000 square feet in and out, a spectacular view, with  the Empire State Building just inches away. I caught up with Ric and asked him to tell me all about it.
So, what is Monarch?
Monarch is the newest Rooftop Lounge in NYC and the next biggest thing in nightlife in Midtown. 
You’ve opened a number of spaces; tell me about the process off delegation of responsibilities?
I currently own and operate four properties, but I have opened more than a dozen for other operators. Although I am very involved with the day to day operations, I find it extremely important to have great a great management team. I open a venue and I spend one to two months with the Director Of Operations, GM, managers & staff to show and explain what their roles are and what to do to be successful on a daily basis. Then it’s up to them to keep the machine parts moving in the right direction. 
You obviously thrive in the midtown market; what can patrons there expect, as opposed to say downtown?
Customers and clients in Midtown expect the very same things as they do downtown—and usually more. Midtown is all about business meetings and impressing fellow peers. If you screw up their service or you don’t give them enough attention, they will let you know about it. Customers and clients downtown are just grateful they make it past a door person. 
You’re opening is in the fall; how do roofs stay viable year round?
I opened my other rooftop Ava Lounge at the Dream Hotel exactly 11 years ago on Sept 28th, and it’s been pretty viable. I only market the roof aspect in spring and summer, but my indoor spaces are just as much fun year round. My spaces are Lounge/Club that happen to have outdoor seating but have killer views of Times Square and the Empire State Building all year round. 
So tonight, right after I peruse the roof and the view and get over my edifice envy,  I will scoot down to The Henley (23 Cleveland Place) to celebrate a Pop Up Billy’s Antique and the premier of Mind Shit with host Daniel Pinchbeck. Billy’s Antiques use to be on Houston and Mott; it’s where every club person bought their furniture and knick knacks for their joints. Anything, although not everything, could be found—from taxidermy to war memorabilia. I mostly came to see proprietor Billy LeRoy. Stuart Braunstein is bringing people together at this gala. Other people involved include are Amber Lasciak, Clayton Patterson, and Anthony Haden Guest.

Main image via, photo by Fred Watford

Good Night Mr. Lewis: Legendary Parties, Legendary Men

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.

Grey Goose Outside Insiders: Ric Addison, Dreamy Drinks

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.