Burger Friday: NYC’s 3 Best Burgers For Your 3-Day Weekend

Memorial Day is all about burgers. Burgers of every kind – juicy, veggie, dripping, spicy, charred. Burgers know no limits. And in honor of the national holiday that is National Burger Month, I’m devoting this extra-special Burger Friday to Memorial Day. In fact, I’ve created a three-day Memorial Weekend burger itinerary for you, simply to ensure that you devour only the best burgers all weekend long, every day. Dig in:

Saturday:
The Bronte Burger from Ruby’s: This burger is the star of the show at Australian-American spot Ruby’s in the middle of Nolita. Probably because it’s a sensory parade; you’ve got a thick hunk of beef, topped with fresh, local tomato and lettuce, creamy mayo and cheese, and a sweet and tangy chili sauce – sandwiched between a toasted ciabatta bun. Exclamations after the first bite known to include: "oh my," "what the…" and "Holy Mother."

Sunday:
The Black Label Burger from Minetta Tavern: Mosey down Greenwich Village’s tucked-away Minetta Lane and get served a $26 burger of prime dry-aged beef with caramelized onions on a toasted soft bun alongside pommes frites. You’ll feel French in no time.

Monday:
The Off-The-Menu Burger from Brindle Room: This discreet burger is adored, yet it’s a strictly "ask the waiter" deal. What makes it special? The aged ribeye that’s ground into the steak, and its ruthless simplicity. Gotta love a good secret.

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Photo: Yelp.

Baddies Makes Good

Nick Mathers’ lounge Baddies, under Kingswood, is a step up from his ultra-small restaurant Ruby’s. I live in Nolita, surrounded by some pretty great places to catch a meal. Ruby’s is one of those joints that keeps me coming. In the winter it’s often so cold you have to wear your coat and sit by the pipe. I’ve seen my breath more than a few times. Yet there’s something about the place that makes me endure and indeed celebrate its smallness. Ruby’s seats about 25 people, and that’s practically sitting on your neighbor’s lap. Neighbor is the key word; you’re made to feel like you belong, that it’s your neighbors and friends that you’re eating with. Celebrities are a regular sight. I go for the best burger in town, the Whaley’s, or maybe the pasta or pear and walnut salad. I don’t’ think I’ve tried anything else, and I’ve been there a hundred times. Baddies and Kingswood bring that same casual friendliness. Everyone in town awaits the return of Beatrice and every hipster joint is declared its heir apparent. Baddies will do until the return of the baddest boy in town, my dear friend Paul Sevigny. Until then I’ll be hanging with Nick Mathers and his mates.

I’m in a bar called Baddies, which is one of my favorite names so far. Where did the name come from? Nick Mathers: A few of my boys, which means mates or friends.

You’re both Australians, but I live in Nolita, so I eat and drink at Eight Mile Creek and I eat at Ruby’s. I’m used to Australians. But many of my readers will not understand. So you and your mates … NM: So me and my mates, we were down here and we didn’t have a name. We never have names for anything until things really start to come together because the whole interior, the feeling, the vibe you get creates the name … it’s not the name creating the space.

It’s like a dog … you don’t name a dog in advance. NM: You pick a couple names right, and then … I had picked a lot of names, and we were down here, we were having a big night, everyone was just throwing stuff around and someone just goes “it’s Baddies, this place is Baddies.” And it just sort of stuck. It’s just such a cute name, and we love it. It’s kind of fun. We’re taking a lighter version on this whole thing, you know, it’s hard to say a different name would be kind of cool, but it’s good to take the piss out of yourself and take a lighter stance, and with Baddies, it’s all a bit of a pun.

I think the word is “whimsical.” It’s a whimsical name, and I think it really does set a tone that makes you feel comfortable. Any place that’s too stuck up, it can’t be really any fun. I think that’s the reason the name “Beatrice” worked because it was just such a put your feet up kind of place that you had a good time. NM:Yeah it’s like being in a friend’s living room, and that’s why Lit works…

You’re a polished version of Lit and Beatrice, but what about the design? Nick, are you a part of the design? NM: Yeah, it’s me and another guy, Scott. What’s Scotty’s last name? Scooter? I don’t know anyone’s last name. Scotty’s sort of a surfer dude; he’s a Cali boy, he’s not Australian.

Let’s talk about the cabinets. They’re a cross between Morticia Adams and the woman from The Incredibles, sort of like strange figurines. So, we have two words: whimsical and figurines. So these whimsical figurines, tell me why they’re in here. NM: Around the corner there is also another man, and he’s kind of spooky and fits the whole theme. Tim Burton, that’s my theme. Even when you see our logo for Baddies, it’s all very Edward Scissorhands sort of stuff. When I was speaking to Scott, I told him, we’ve got to do these marionettes, and I want you to run with it, and he was like yeah, let’s make this cabinet. We like to change everything in the cabinets, and we also like to change the art, use different artists and keep it really fresh.

You also have crystals and apothecary type old-school stuff here. NM: And we have coral, and it’s a mix, and it sort of comes together, funnily enough.

Tell me about the cherries. NM: The cherries I can’t tell you — Scott said, “We’ve got to have cherries in there.” You’ll have to ask him. I said we needed a little bit of color.

This place is bad. It’s just fun. You have big oversize ostrich-skin couches. Is it real ostrich? NM: It comes from cattle but then that’s the style. All our furniture is … well, we have zebra, and then we have pony hair and real leather, there’s no vinyl. Everything is done to the nines. I’ve got a really good guy that I work with, and we sit down and draw up the couches, and we go through the colors, and he makes them for us, and he’s amazing.

I’m looking at hot chicks in strange underwater shots, and you put the drawers underneath, which we invented in Marquee. When I was designing Marquee, Jason Strauss and I both ate at Craft the day before we did the couches, and I dropped my fork on the floor, and the waiter opened the drawer of the table, and that’s where the idea came. The same thing happened to Jason, and we both had the same idea at the same time. It’s a great idea for many reasons, for people keep their bags in. NM: The picture were taken in Indonesia. They’re my mates who went down and shot everything underwater. They made up these whole scenes that were all done underwater, and they were done with tanks. Even the photographer had a tank on; they spent days underwater coming up with these scenes.

What’s the name of the French designer who inspired you with the strong colors and sharp angles? NM: There was Philippe Boisselier, and then I brought out Verner Panton. I just think he just has a way with the colors, and it’s that 70s thing that works well. It’s a really bad era, but I love his whole thing. You’ll see that he’s going to give even more of a drive to the red. The floor is the highest gloss, it’s like a fiberglass red floor, and then you’re going to get these cabinets in red, and it’s just going to pop. So you’re going to feel like you’re in a brothel.

So Baddies, am I a Baddy? People coming here, are they Baddies? The staff, are they Baddies? Who’s a Baddy? NM: No one is a baddy, it’s just a concept. You come down, it’s bad, it’s fun, it’s not about who’s bad and who’s not.

How much of your crowd is Australian? Is that your core crowd? NM: Down here, I’d think like five percent. Maybe ten percent maximum.

Let’s talk about this location. NM: It’s killer.

Are you the alternative Beatrice now? The new Beatrice? It’s got to cross your mind. NM: I mean, we have similar promoters and DJs, and our doorman, Simonenz, you had to realize that he is going to attract that crowd. Beatrice closed and we’re a viable alternative, but it’s big shoes to fill.

But this place is much more buttoned up. It’s cleaner. And the cocktail menu is really spectacular. Beatrice had their cucumber mint drink, and Rose Bar has their Rose Bar drink. What’s the Baddies drink? Dylan Hales: We’re doing a recreation of classic 70s cocktails, so we’re doing a white Russian, a Martini Rossi dry vermouth cocktail, a tequila sunrise. We’re all along that theme. We’re going to expand our cocktail list, so we’re going to get into some more classics. Like I was saying about the artwork, we’re going to switch out the cocktail list as well. There were so many amazing cocktails in the 70s, and so we’re going to start bringing a lot of those back.

So who is your crowd? Is it the Beatrice crowd? NM: Well of course we get the Beatrice crowd … we do get the hipsters. But it’s not too heavily hipster, it’s a nice mix, because it’s more like a 25-30 crowd. We want a casual, cheap version of the bottle, but you can come down and we sell bottles. So we’ve got three places where you can buy bottles, and it’s been popular to come down and buy bottles, and then of course we always have the promoters run tables.

What kind of music? NM: In general, I’d say we’ve been mixing up a lot, but I’d say like more disco-house, not rock. Not rock, more fun, it’s disco.

You guys are having routine DJs who are all very hip, and in tune to what’s happening on the scene. NM: Yeah, so it’s not rock at all, its not Rolling Stones, it’s not Sting. But we’re doing a rock ‘n’ roll night on Mondays.

How will that be different from the one at Greenhouse with Dave Delvio and Scott? What kind of rock are you talking about? NM: That’s the Beatrice crowd.

You having Lizzy Truly DJ? NM: Yeah Lizzy Truly is DJing here, and we’ve got Franco.

What are your restaurants? NM: There’s Ruby’s little café, then there’s upstairs and we have one with Ralph Lauren in Georgetown.

Do you feel that the restaurant is going to drive the lounge? Or does it just happen to be under it? NM: It just happens to under it. Separate entities. It was really nice to be able to go into the restaurant, but from a design point of view, it’s just an extremely different feeling to what you get when you come in here.

Do you spend a lot of time down here? NM:Yeah, Dylan spends most nights here. I come about every three nights. DH: Yeah, luckily for me, I’m a very high-energy person.

The hours of the restaurant, the stresses are different. At a nightclub, or a lounge, you have to worry about people being drunk, acting crazy, doing drugs, people breaking up with their girlfriends publicly. There’s a whole new set of rules that you’ve got to learn. How do you prepare for that? Do you watch movies, or do you just hang out in clubs? NM: We didn’t prepare … there’s no point in preparing. You’ve got to just throw yourself in there, and find out for yourself. You know what you do, you touch the iron and it’s hot, and you’ve got to find out how to touch it with a cold mitt.

Why the restaurant business? You’re a bright boy, why aren’t you a lawyer? NM: I’ve got ADD for starters, so lawyer is no good for me. I worked in restaurants here and there in Australia while I was going through school, university, and then I came out here, and I wanted to get a visa. I love New York. When I got here, I had a girlfriend I was going to meet in Europe, and I called her up and said I just signed a 10-year lease on a restaurant on Mulberry Street, and she was like “what!?”. And then I rang my mom as well.

Ruby’s is yours right? Yeah, Ruby’s is mine. I traveled a lot when I was a kid, and I wondered why I hadn’t been to New York until I was 25. It was always the place I wanted to go and I know why now, because when I got there, I was never going to leave. Someone told me, “Ya know, get a bike in New York and you’ll never leave.” So the first week I got here, I got a bike and I rode around the city all day, and I was just like, “I’m never going to leave this city.”

Ruby’s is the most impossible restaurant in the world. It’s insanely small but everyone goes. Yeah, Kingswood is great, but Ruby’s is where my heart is. I was in LA, and I said oh we have this restaurant Kingswood and someone said, “Oh, he also has this restaurant Ruby’s,” and they said, “Oh! I know Ruby’s.” Everyone knows that place. I had someone calling me, talking about doing the franchise in the Middle East, and I was like “What the fuck?” It’s insane. It’s the size of a bathroom, and I’ve had — Can we get it in Sweden? Can we get it in Paris? Can we get it in Tokyo? Can we get it in Dubai, and can we get it in Sydney? I mean that’s six different countries of very different natures approaching me saying “We love this place.” Kingswood came out of Ruby’s. But what makes Ruby’s is people like Dylan who started there, and James, and it’s the different characters that come through.

There’s this whole Australian expat group that goes there, but also the food is good and I revel at the efficiency of it. What I’m getting at is that you have this incredibly small space but yet you’ve got a great menu, the crowd is cool as hell, and now you’re taking it to the next level. Now I’m realizing that Kingswood is totally the next level. NM: Yeah, and now we’re doing now 60-200 covers a night, and we’ve got the bar, so maybe 60 people walk through Ruby’s on a night, and maybe 300 or 400 walk through a night here. It’s a big jump.

You got a bar upstairs? NM: Yeah we’ve got an island bar upstairs. It was voted best bar to eat at by New York magazine last year.

DIY Designer Outlet: Inven.tory’s Mike Townsend

The boutiques of New York City are like a bed of oysters. Some are appetizing, some unbearable, and occasionally, you find one with a perfect pearl. With the aesthetic of providing emerging designers a space to sell overstock, rather than tossing their hard work to the curb, Inven.tory is undeniably of the pearlescent variety. The stark white exterior cloaks an unrefined, modern art gallery-esque boutique in the original corner-shop on Kenmare Street. Complete with exposed brick, unfinished wooden tables, and clothing suspended from the ceiling like raw meat, the outlet suggests another overpriced store with unnecessarily bitchy salespeople. It’s anything but.

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“One morning I was sneaking a little whiskey shot,” recalls Mike Townsend, one of the boutiques founders, “and I didn’t realize that a customer was in the store. The man walked over, mute, and took the lid off his coffee cup, and I splashed his coffee with a little whiskey. As he walked out he replied ‘This is my new favorite store.’” And it’s ours too. With gasp-inducing price tags and a stirring selection of labels, such as Idol Radec, Orthodox, and Rhys Dwfen, five minutes inside and you won’t be able to keep your pants on.

Amidst the whirlwind of opening a second store on Lafayette Street, as well as hosting Cheap Monday’s Customized Jeans Tour inside the new joint, Mike took some time to discuss the story behind Inven.tory.

Where does the name Inven.tory come from? Why the separation in the middle? The name Inven.tory was created with my good friend Cory Gomberg. Cory and I were together and we were throwing names and ideas out. We liked stores that had a simple name that was literal and straight to the point, and out came Inven.tory. The separation came about to break up the look a little. We wanted it to be distinctive and unique.

What inspired you to open a wholesale boutique? The inspiration behind the wholesale boutique was to help young designers find an outlet for their overstock without losing their brand image and credibility. Also the concept of a curated, well merchandised boutique that offers wholesale prices has never been done.

How did you choose the location for the first store? Second store? The first store, 19 Kenmare, was found by my partner, Jon Daou. He had his eye on the space and knew that the corner had great energy. Jon and Whitney both took me to the space, and I freaked out and was instantly in love with the space. I knew we had to have our first store there. Jon also found the second store. We saw it and realized that the size was great for what we wanted. We knew that the space would work really well with the raw aesthetic that we wanted to convey — I am really inspired by the retail space in Berlin and Shanghai.

Who are your partners-in-crime at Inven.tory? My partners in crime at Inven.tory are Jon Daou and Whitney Singer. We met one night at an event for Brantley Gutierrez at Open House gallery — Whitney and Jon are the owners of the space. We quickly became friends, and Whitney and Jon wanted to get into retail. We started doing sample sales at the Open House gallery space, and then our idea of a store came to mind. And here we are now! Kat Berkery has also been very instrumental in the whole deal as well. All four of us work as a team and are able to synthesize our best qualities together.

How are designers/labels chosen? We (Kat Berkery being the buyer) like to pick categories and trends that have to fit our price points. We are very price-point conscious when picking what goes in the store. At the new store, we have some brands that Inven.tory will be collaborating with at our price points. We want to be able to work with designers and not rip them off. What’s your favorite label Inven.tory carries? Favorite piece of clothing currently in the store? I won’t tell you who my favorite is, but I really like this pair of cropped chinos we have in and am always a sucker for the Romance T-shirts. As for womenswear, I think I would say the selection of handbags and jumpsuits-onsies are my favorite.

Who is your favorite designer? Style icon or source of inspiration for your personal style? I really like Robert Gellar at the moment and what he is doing with his line. I am also a huge fan for my friends at Idol Radec; I purely enjoy everything that they create.

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If you could go back to any time period, which would it be? I would say I love the 1920s — Great Gatsby when Hemingway and Fitzgerald were in Paris. It was a time before modern communication and the focus of people’s social life revolved around conversations and socializing was centered around the art scene.

Favorite artist? Musician? Book and/or writer? Artist: Max Ernst. Musician: Helio Sequence. Author: Kurt Vonnegut.

What excites you? I find that traveling and meeting new people and seeing different cultures is one of the most exciting things to do with your life and time.

What’s your favorite thing about New York City? My favorite thing about New York City is the drive the people have here. All my friends really hustle and strive to do and work on/for something they are really proud of. People like Colin Tunstall, Morgan Collett, Jared Flint, Kat Berkery, Josh Rosen, Whitney Singer, Errol Silverstein, Jeremy Schaller, Audrey soon-to-be Robinson, Cory Gomberg, David Zahabian, Matthew Grzywinski, Jon Daou, Dylan Hales, Sean Ennis, David Schulze, M, and Creed.

Favorite hangout spot? Ruby’s.

Favorite place to eat? Móle.

Drink of choice? Whiskey.

Best advice ever received? “Don’t drink the kool-aid.” Last words you want to leave us with? “If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something” FDR. I think this still rings true for Americans today.

Good Night Mr. Lewis: The Southside Boys, Part 2

I am deeply honored to be nominated by PAPER magazine for best nightlife blog. However, having already been honored as best nightlife blog by the Village Voice for 2008, I think it’s best that I withdraw and throw my support to another candidate. I have noticed the other bloggers nominated are campaigning, and feel I must spend my own energies campaigning for Barack Obama. I think the problems facing America far outweigh our little scene. I urge all my loyal readers to vote for Barack for President and Rachelle of Guest of a Guest for best blog. I would also like to nominate Brittany Mendenhall of Chichi212.com for Vice-Blogger. Thank you, and enjoy Part 2 of the conversation between myself, my editor Fernando Gil, and the Southside boys Anthony Martignetti and James Willis. (See Part 1 here.)

I’m very much enthralled by the design for Southside; I went downstairs, and we talked about how you wanted to make it fun and airy; not so dark. Anthony Martignetti: There’s a huge resurgence in the past five years in New York of speakeasy looks, where everything is hidden and quiet and dark, and a lot of them go down very well. A lot of them had done less well over the years, when a lot of people have started ripping off a lot of the small speakeasies. But then there’s the big New York City nightclub, and I just don’t think there’s anything in between, that I’ve seen.

There’s nothing in between the size of Marquee or a Milk and Honey or Beatrice Inn; something very small, dimly lit, and not a lot of money put into it. I didn’t have $5 million to build a building and do massive staircases.

You’ve done very well; you’ve played games with wallpaper. AM: Yeah, and these are all cheap things.

Yeah, smoke and mirrors, but the art of it is taking a warehouse or a former stable or some sort of factory and making it the hottest place around. And right now … AM: Yeah, this basement was a cold storage.

Amazing. Well, right now this is one of the hottest places around. AM: [Laughing] Wait, wait, “one of”?

How about the name Southside? To me it sounds like Chicago. “Southside” to me is Al Capone from the Southside — where does the name Southside come from? You’re certainly not on the Southside, you’re on the Westside. AM: It’s technically a drink, but it didn’t really come from that. James Willis: We just liked Southside, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s like, “Come to the Southside.” AM: We didn’t want to have a name where you said it and it meant something. We didn’t want to have a name that had a connotation of fancy or hidden. We just wanted the name to just …

I like the fact that you removed the booths from the Southside of the place and it was a cleansing. I like to think of it that way. AM: We definitely had a bit of a cleansing down there. JW: How we did the rooms downstairs — the last time, the booths were in the back, so if you bought a bottle you couldn’t see anyone, and they weren’t a part of the dance floor. How all the banquets are now, they’re all facing each other, so the DJ booth is there and everyone surrounds it, so everyone can see each other.

I think finding the center of a room in design is one of the most important things. JW: It’s nice and light, we’ve got the two disco balls, great sound system, the parties we’ve had have been hands in the air. Fernando Gil: Do a lot of people still think Southside is kind of like the old place that was here, Bella’s? AM: A lot of people still say they’re showing up to Bella’s, or they’re looking for Bar Martignetti.

Is it hard to get rid of that boarding school connotation? AM: We’ve been turning down a lot of our regulars who actually spend a lot of money here, for the common benefit of the space. We want to let some of them in, because they add to the group, but we can’t have 30 guys who live on the Upper East Side in their parent’s places still. FG: So it’s not the Gossip Girl crowd? JW: Yeah, but the kids who worked here previously … we know who the cooler ones are, the crew who would necessarily spend money but … AM: Nick Cohen DJs Thursday and Saturday.

You made this transition from Ruby’s, which is this really boutique little hole-in-the-wall Aussie place on Mulberry Street. And you’ve been talking about this for a long time: You wanna do a club, you wanna do a club. How does it feel now? Is it a dream or is it a nightmare? JW: I feel awesome. I love ringing Anthony in the morning and going, “What’s our plan for the day?” or “We’ve got this party tonight,” or “We’re getting interviewed.” I love doing events, I love throwing parties, I love hosting. I didn’t come to New York wanting to own a nightclub, I was still going to do fashion, but after I left Ruby’s we went to Kingswood … and it just didn’t work out with what I wanted … and me getting older. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and I wasn’t enjoying the restaurant business anymore. And fortunately I came to the Martignetti brothers to ask them to teach me the whole business side to running a nightclub. And I went downstairs, it was like boot camp. I didn’t like the crowd, but his brother showed me how a lot of stuff, how to run the business, how to run a nightclub.

Well, you have qualities that can’t be taught. I’ve been in the business for well, too long, and basically your charisma, your honesty, and your ability to make people feel like they know you are things that many people don’t bring to the table. There’s nothing aloof about you, James, or you, Anthony. I met you guys, and you made me feel like you wanted to be my friend, and that’s something that can’t be taught. A lot of this business in the last ten years has been hijacked by suits with no personalities who really shouldn’t be in the business, and I think the recession is going to bring a natural correction. AM: Nightlife needs to be corrected; promoters have gone way overboard.

You said the “P” word again. FG: What spots do you like and what spots don’t you like downtown? AM: Right now, I go to mostly restaurants. I could live at Indochine.

Anything else you guys want to put in? AM: No hip hop, no promoters.

Promoters is a very weird term now because promoters can be like James said, that he became a promoter by default. You got hijacked. You were bringing your friends in, and you didn’t even know you were a promoter — but you were. As for hip hop, the lines of music are getting blurred. I’m DJing on Sunday nights, and somebody said to me, “You put on a hip hop record,” and I didn’t even know it’s hip hop. So are you sure — none? AM: We’ll sneak it in once in a while. JW: Yeah, we’ll sneak some old school hip hop, we just don’t want like the “Gold Digger” kind of rap music — that same shit we hear at 1Oak and Marquee. I hear the same set every single night. AM: We want to surprise people. We’re small enough that we can do that. JW: Saturday night, downstairs, everyone had their hands in the air. I haven’t been to a club in New York where everyone … AM: We had that much dancing! JW: Everyone was just yelling, screaming, whistling — they loved it. It was amazing. Everyone had a smile on their faces and was just dancing their asses off.

Good Night Mr. Lewis: The Southside Boys

I live in Nolita but seldom hang in the neighborhood joints — Southside may change that. Around the corner from neighborhood staple La Esquina, Southside is a smallish basement boite catering to a crowd that is mixed and mature. The vibe is just right; you walk in and feel a cool that comes from operators who aren’t forcing it. A well-dressed but casual Nolita crowd with fun music and a lack of pretentiousness sets this place apart from so many others. Owners Anthony Martignetti andF James Willis took a few moments to give me the full story on the joint, so here’s Part 1 of the conversation; check back tomorrow for Part 2.

You’ve opened up Southside, which I attended the other night and had a great time. I think the place is beautiful. Anthony, I think you had a secret ambition to be a designer at one point, is that about right? Anthony Martignetti: Yeah, I started a design company when I graduated school, and basically that’s why I moved to New York, to design places and build furniture. Then I found out that you couldn’t make any money doing that, so I decided to start bartending at night.

We’ve had a different path. I started off running nightclubs and bars and decided I couldn’t make any money at that anymore, and then I got into design making a pretty decent living. AM: I’m actually learning now that once you start designing for other people, you make money; when you design for yourself, you only save a lot. You don’t see the money, but it’s actually there.

Now, one of my favorite restaurants, especially in Nolita, is a place called Ruby’s. James, I know you from Ruby’s, a place where I’ll have my pasta with hot Italian sausage and that pear salad I’ve been eating for years. When I read the post from Rachelle from Guest of a Guest, I saw there were Aussies everywhere, and I couldn’t figure out where they came from, and then I saw you. Tell me about the Aussie Nolita crew. James Willis: Well, basically when I first moved to New York, when I was in Australia, my friends hooked me up with the Ruby’s boys, and on Mulberry Street, you have Eight Mile Creek as well, the Aussie pub, which is where we go and watch the rugby games. It was such a small community of Aussies then. I think everyone just drew themselves to Ruby’s to go and maybe hang out with an Aussie or get some burgers, some food.

You don’t have ugly Aussies; everybody in your crew is like model material. It’s a really beautiful Aussie crowd, is that a rule? Is there a height requirement? JW: Well, if you worked at Ruby’s if you’re a male, you had to be an Aussie. Because the Aussie’s wouldn’t get along with one Swedish, or one American guy, because they would cop so much shit all day that they couldn’t handle the sense of humor. But the girls.

The girls are hot. JW: Yeah, but it was great working for them. I came to New York knowing two people, and I actually came here to do a fashion interview and didn’t take the job. And so I met the boys and started working with them and just created a friendship with the people that used to come in. Dudes who lived in Nolita and Soho, and that’s how I met Anthony.

There was a club downstairs before Southside, and it was a pretty raucous club. Sometimes I didn’t walk down the street because I would go to La Esquina and I’d peek around the corner, and there was a crowd that wasn’t my scene. How did you guys come to take it over? AM: Basically, James had moved over to Kingswood; we’d known each other and partied with each other for a bunch of years, and we just started saying if we put our two crews [together] … I can get all the socialite babes, for some reason, I don’t know why. I’ve known them because I used to bartend at Dorian’s and Suite 16. I don’t like to admit it, but I used to be a promoter back in the day.

You said the “P” word. AM: Yeah, I know … maybe you don’t want to use that. So we just wanted to make a place that was just an awesome nightclub for an older crew. Downstairs used to be really young, 20, 21, not your crowd.

But with Bar Martignetti, I was always amazed at the balance of it. Just enough yuppies to make money, and yet it’s still hip, which is a very rare balance. You just usually don’t get those crews mixing; it’s either the yuppies or the hipsters. But this place has a mix. JW: Yeah, we’ve got a strong mix of that, especially with the new club.

I think that’s really, really difficult thing to do, and I’m sure its conscious, so tell me the steps you took to balance that. AM: If you can put together groups of people where the room is heterogeneous, and you’ve got a hairstylist next to … I just wanted different. I want to see James’ Aussie surfer buddies sitting next to … I just, I want to see a mix of people. Those are the places that are going to last, and not like I was around in the 70s and 80s for nightclubs, but I imagine that that’s what they had as a mix. When you see old pictures, you see a politician who’s 45 years old sitting next to a young hustler, next to a gorgeous model, and you’ve got a mix of people that I think will make the place more interesting.

I ran the Palladium on 14th street back in the day. Back then without email or text messaging, you had to have a mailing list. I had 160,000-plus names on my mailing list, and when we promoted a party, what we would do, as it was all in zip code order, we could say we want a thousand artists crowd from this zip code, and we want 3,000 of this, 500 of that, and we’d mix it. We literally engineered the crowd, and that’s why we were successful. Then at the door, we’d adjust it; if you’re getting too many yuppies, let more of these in, just to keep that balance. And the door would be instructed as to what we were trying to achieve … 2% this, 10% that. AM: This is exactly what we’re doing every night, because Thursday night is the party that me and James host together, and we go through our phone on Thursday. He comes up with a list of people he wants to have from all different backgrounds, because I don’t want to invite ten of my friends that I went to school with. If I know ten best friends that I went to college with, I want to have one of them, but then I want to have one guy that I used to weld in Brooklyn with. And then one guy who’s a friend of a friend who’s a hairstylist. And James will bring one guy that he knows who is a surfer dude, and one guy he knows that always hangs out with a couple models, and then one guys he knows that’s just an Aussie hedge fund guy.

That’s what I hear is happening, that’s what I see is happening. I think it’s what’s necessary in this neighborhood. Because I think that’s what this neighborhood is about.

Come back Thursday for Part 2 of this interview.

Industry Insiders: Tamsin Lonsdale, Supper Clubber

Supper Club’s jetsetting Brit Tamsin Lonsdale makes introductions, keeps secrets, and detoxes poolside at Soho House after a rough weekend in Ibiza.

Point of Origin: I went to University in Edinburgh and every birthday party, I’d organize a celebration in our house, a mansion, a house by the water. So that’s where I got my taste for hosting events and getting all my friends together for music and dancing. In 2004 I was a fashion stylist in London doing styling for rock bands, new talent for Creation, the record company, and that was fun. I’d style a lot of the music videos but it wasn’t fulfilling work and it wasn’t like working for myself. I started hosting these dinners and they were really successful.

A lot of people wanted to come. It got really popular, and I had to make the decision between staying as a stylist or doing my supper club. I decided to set up on my own and set it up as a company. After about a year of running it organically, alongside with fashion styling, I set up a website and I wanted to trademark the name, but the “Dinner Club” was already taken so I took “Supper Club.” I charged people membership fees to join. I hosted about 15 events per month, we were really busy. Sometimes, I’d do three events in one night. I did different categories of events. I did gay night, I did nights for people in their twenties, in their thirties. I had a lot going on. I decided two years later to expand to New York.

Why New York? New York is somewhere I always wanted to live. I traveled here as a fashion stylist, and I’d always wanted to be here, and suddenly I had a company that I could take here. I honestly felt that New Yorkers would love the idea, and that it would be a big success. I had a lot of feedback from members who went to New York who wanted me to take it there as well. A lot of times, I would e-mail a member to come to an event and they wouldn’t be able to because they were in New York. So I went out here and spent a year researching the market, meeting with people, interviewing people, meeting with press companies. I found an amazing girl to help set it up with me, who worked at Soho House as a consultant. So we did it together and launched it, and a year later, I now have 300 members in New York, 300 in London and growing. We take on about 10 members a month.

Are you guys doing anything for Art Basel? We might do something. It’d be nice to do a small dinner rather than do a big cocktail party. It’s good to have a presence there, but for me, I don’t want to compete with everything else going on.

Your main thing right now is Supper Club NY, Supper Club London, and you do separate events in LA., Miami. Are those the only cities? My plan in the future is to take Supper Club global. I want to take it LA next, and then Dubai, and then Paris. My idea is to set up a Supper Club in every major metropolitan city around the world. A greater community of people that can meet up in that city or another city they visit.

Like aSmallWorld? Like a smaller aSmallWorld. It has been compared to aSmallWorld. We have the online member aspect to it. If you’re a member, you have a profile.

Really? But it’s only like 300 people. So yeah, like a mini aSmallWorld. But aSmallWorld doesn’t really do events for their members. And I’m at every event hosting it, and I know everybody by name. If you come to a dinner, I do a seating plan where I sit you next to somebody you should meet, that I think you’d get on well with.

What kinds of people are your members? Our members work in different industries. Property, fashion, film, media, finance.

Who are some of your associates, then? What I do with Supper Club is I have an ambassador program. When I launched in October last year, I invited 16 friends, contacts, notables in New York to become ambassadors. What the ambassadors do is they host a dinner party with me and invite all of their friends, well, not all of their friends — their favorite friends, best contacts — to come to dinner. People such as Jennifer Missoni, Alexa Wilding, Hilary Rowland, Flavia Masson, Heather Tierney, Susan Shin, Jim Kloiber, Keren Eldad, Richie Rich, Kate Lanphear, Duncan Quinn.

Are you affiliated with Soho Housee in any way or is just a base? I have an office in Soho but I take all my meetings here. It’s easier I think, and it’s nice.

Where do you like to hang out? Other than Soho House. Soho House is great in the day. I love coming here during the summer. In the evening, I would choose to hang out elsewhere. Norwood, which is another private members club. Mole, the Mexican restaurant in the Lower East Side. Anywhere in the Lower East, any of those bars. GoldBar, I like. The Box, I love. Highbar is quite fun. I like Nolita. I love the restaurants around there. Ruby’s for lunch, Public for dinner — the food is fantastic. I love La Esquina. I love anything Mexican, it’s my favorite. Bond St. is great … I love the sushi there even though I don’t sushi. I eat the vegetarian sushi. Bobo, I love Bobo. Il Buco … so many good places. We work with all of Andre Balazs’ hotels in LA, Miami, and New York to give our members preferential rates.

Industry Icons: I guess I admire Simon Hammerstein. I went to school with him. He’s a friend of mine, I haven’t seen him in ages, but I really admire what he’s done. He’s taken his dream and he’s created something unique and different — in New York — that has longevity even though it’s so small and unique. It’s amazing. And everybody wants to go.

I don’t want to go. Have you been? I’m kidding. Upcoming projects. What do you have in the works? I’m hosting an event at Apothecary, this new bar in Chinatown that you must come to on the 27th.

I live in Chinatown. Actually, I’m not going to say anything about that.

Why not? Apothecary you say? Where is it? No, I’m not going to tell.

This interview is over! We’re going in the pool. Where is it? What street? Come to the event and then you can discover. I don’t want you to write about it because the owner is my friend and she wants to keep it a secret as long as possible.

Really? That’s going to be impossible. There’s a new thing called the Internet. But anyway … We’re doing something in the Hamptons for Halloween. We’re doing a Halloween in the Hamptons. We’re doing a murder mystery. We’ve acquired a big house in South Hampton. It’s a 16th-century house, really old. It’s got 20 bedrooms, so we’re inviting 20 members to come, and everybody gets to bring a guest, and everybody gets into character, so they come in theme. Somebody gets killed. It’s fun. I’m looking forward to it.

What are you doing tonight? Tonight, I’m going to Kiki de Montparnasse for a cocktail party. Then I’m going to this new bar in Chinatown.

Which is located where? I don’t know, actually. It’s top secret.

It’s not the fucking Eldridge is it? No, it’s not the Eldridge. But tell me about the Eldridge, I read about it on Page Six. Is it really good?

What did it say on Page Six? It said that Kate Moss and Richie Rich are regulars there, but then Richie said he’d never been, so …

It’s all hype — all media hype. Some kid from Long Island opened it I think. But I’m basically juice detoxed for the moment and I have to make it an early night because I can’t drink and eat.

So you’re going to go out in a make-believe bar in Chinatown, and you’re not going to drink? What kind of drugs do you have? I don’t take drugs. I’m a clean living kind of girl.

Interview is over, then, you’re going in the pool. How did I do?

Fantastic. Was it fantastic?

Brilliant.