Your St. Patrick’s Day NYC Itinerary

This year, St. Patrick’s Day arrives on a Sunday, transforming our day of rest into a day of revelry, as NYers hit the streets covered in shamrock-colored face paint and stuffed with Jameson and Guinness. And New York really makes it all too easy, as bars across Manhattan host massive parties devoted to getting you as buzzed and green-in-the-face as possible. Since navigating the subway system may overwhelm the day’s thought processes, I’ve gathered the city’s best parties into a neat, walk-able, almost-charming itinerary. So print it out, stick it on your fridge, carry it in your pocket, and fuel up for a day of nonstop mischief.

First stop: sideBAR for an all-green breakfast.
Our favorite Seuss book comes to life at upscale sportsbar sideBAR, where green eggs, pancakes, bagels, and Lucky Charms are the requisite, pre-drinking morning fuel. Alas, the breakfast is called “Kegs & Eggs,” which means this event gets dynamic quick, offering up to eight green Bud Light drafts, and getting you buzzed by noon. Starts 9am, $24. Info here.

Second stop: Bounce Sporting Club for their themed Sunday Funday party.
Green sparklers & bottle service, rotating DJs,  and an all Jameson whiskey-infused menu kick off your official St. Patrick’s celebration with class and crazy at Bounce’s weekly “Sunday Funday” party. Pick up the banana Jameson shots, Just the Tip cocktail with peach puree, and – if you already need some reviving – the Slumpbuster cocktail with Jameson, Bailey’s, Kaluha, and restorative espresso. Starts noon. Info here.

Third Stop: The Windsor for pastrami spring rolls, corned beef, & Guinness cupcakes.
Snack time. Head to the West Village or Gansevoort Park locations of upscale sportsbar The Windsor for their special pastrami spring rolls, corned beef, and Guinness chocolate cupcake with Bailey’s buttercream, served in a jar. All day till 4am. Info here.

Fourth Stop: Fiddlesticks for the casual, pub experience.
Ireland’s best NY bar, this pub holds all the Irish charm you envision for the big day: outdoor tables, a packed bar full of loud Irishmen, Gelic lettering and décor, filthy bathrooms. Fiddlesticks is king. Till 2am. Info here.

Fifth Stop: Lavo for a wild dance party.
You’ll need a cab to this Midtown East club, but it’s worth it: do the Irish jig with sexy dancers on top of your table – Lavo style – at the themed Riviera Sundays weekly party. DJ Yacine spins, while your world starts to also.

Sixth Stop: Your bed.
Well done. Now go to sleep – or get lucky. It’s the Irish way.

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Do You Suffer From MGOOMFA This Oscar Season?

Does watching The Oscars in your living room sound a bit dull? Do you crave that surge of communal disappointment and celebration upon the announcement of the winners? Do you like chicken tenders? If you’ve said yes to any of these questions, chances are you have a case of the MGOOMFA: Must Get Out Of My F@#$ing Apartment syndrome commonly associated with freezing climates and 4+ hours browsing Hulu daily. And with The Oscars coming up this Sunday, the perfect opportunity is upon you to get out of your apartment, and communicate with fellow NYers at official Oscars viewing parties across the city. Here is where to go:

SideBAR: Upscale sportsbar. Optional two-hour Bud Light & well-cocktail open bar at 7pm. Oscars ballot competition with $50 gift certificate for the winner. Personal bucket of pigs-in-a-blanket and tater tots. $10 entry, $50 with open bar. Chicken tenders.

The Windsor: High-end sportsbar.Free house-made gourmet popcorn. Free first glass of bubbly. Truffle grilled cheese. Starts 5pm. No entry fee. No chicken tenders.

The Bell House: Brooklyn’s wackiest events venue. Hosted by (my favorite) comedian & (erotic short story) writer Dave Hill. Raunchy, thought-provoking  analysis during commercials. $8 cocktail specials. No food/chicken tenders.

Brooklyn Winery: The sophisticated celebration. Oscar-themed sparkling cocktails. Seth MacFarlane hosts. Oscar ballots. First come, first-served seating. Starts 7pm. Get gussied up. Obviously no chicken tenders.

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Los Angeles: Top 10 ‘Entourage’ Hotspots

Entourage is back for the sixth season, and Vince and his boys do Los Angeles like no one else can. While not as concerned with flaunting their reservations (that’s so New York), the LA backdrop plays an integral role in the show, proving that they frequent the newest and hottest joints that La La Land has to offer. Between business lunch bites, and late nights, here are the latest, if not greatest LA hot spots, approved by Vinny, E, Turtle, Drama and the rest of his entourage.

Season 6Millennium Biltmore (Downtown) – After the boys attend the premiere for Gatsby, they take their date to this ritzy, gloriously preserved hotel for the after-party. ● Sidebar (Beverly Hills) – Mrs. Ari takes Marlo Klein out to Wolfgang Puck’s latest addition, and sidekick to steakhouse Cut in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. ● Sofitel (Mid-City West) – Kerry Simon’s Angeleno wing serves appropriate American food for Turtle’s birthday at this trendy, tech-friendly hotel, creating the perfect backdrop for Turtle to announce that he’s going back to school.

Season 5The Grill On The Alley (Beverly Hills) – Careers are made while you destroy the not-to-be-missed or messed-with garlic cheese bread course at this grill known for hefty portions — which makes it the perfect place for Vince to meet with Carl Ertz to talk about the project, Danger Beach. ● Urth Caffe (West Hollywood) – This organic latte-loving cafe is as trendy as world conflict. The caffeinated works of art are a favorite of all the pretty people, which is why Urth gets so much screen time in Season 5. Ari pitches Benji to Vince here, Vince and E meet with Josh Weinstein and Frank Darabont to talk shop, and later, Vince bumps into Justin Chapin, the virginal pop-star played by Gossip Girl’s bad seed, Leighton Meester. ● Nate ‘N Al (Beverly Hills) – Vinny knows his sandwiches. Perhaps it’s his New York roots that lure him to this pastrami haven; it is, after all, known as the best Jewish deli in LA. It’s an easy spot where Marvin, Vince’s accountant, begs the actor find some work. ● Cut At The Beverly Wilshire Hotel (Beverly Hills) – Wolfgang Puck’s overpriced chophouse sets the scene for the bidding war between Amanda and E over Ed Norton in the Smokejumpers project that Vince is attached to. Amanda pulls Ed Norton. I wonder if they split the $120 Kobe? ● The Edison (Downtown) – The former power plant is now a hotspot with a laboratory noir setting. Vince and his entourage celebrate closing the deal on Smokejumpers, and Jamie-Lyn Sigler throws a drink in Turtle’s face for gossiping about their hookup. ● Harold and Belle’s (Artesia) – Moguls and Euros craving gumbo have this place packed. A BlackBook favorite and also a fave of Jamie-Lyn Sigler, who takes Turtle here for the jambalaya. ● Whiskey Blue At W Hotel (Westwood) – In this white-hot bar — boasting tons of candles, an open atmosphere chock full of voyeurs on beds and sofas — Vince meets model Natasha to continue their amorous chats after Natasha is fired from Vince’s advertising campaign.

Summer Nights: Changing of the Guard

A game of musical chairs is being played by most of the major promotional entities as the summer roof season is upon us. While the highly successful 230 Fifth will still dominate this market just as the Empire State Building dominates its incredible view, some places remain unsettled or don’t have a clear opening date due to a myriad of problems. Highbar is getting a quick polish, while the roof at the Stay Hotel is still under construction. Mixed reports come from Cabanas and The Park, and the highly-touted Above Allen will finally get to open its windows amidst hopes that the sound spill doesn’t disturb too many hotel guests and nearby residents. Daemon O’Neil, Rose Bar’s patient, sweet, and very good-looking door guru (not to be confused with Damion Luaiye), is packing his clipboard and heading over to the Bazaar Bar at the upcoming Trump Soho hotel. The economic downturn, a weak dollar, and a laundry list of safety issues make travel abroad a lot less attractive this season. I hear reports that Hamptons summer rentals are sluggish, yet the Surf Lodge in Montauk is riding high.

I caught up with super duper and uber owner/outdoor space promoter Jeffrey Jah of 1Oak and other fabulous places, and he told me he was bringing back the “changing of the guard” at Groovedeck at Hudson Terrace this summer. “With Groovedeck, we’ve assembled an insane team from Bijoux (Dimitry and Francois) to Pavan and the 1Oak team. We’ve booked the Hamptons Magazine summer kick-off party as well as Lydia Hearst hosting the last International Film Premiere event.” I asked Jeffrey how the whole outdoor summer club thing started for him.

It’s pretty simple … the first real outdoor parties were “Groove on the Move,” with Mark Baker and I back in the early 90s, moving from the Central Park Boathouse to Tavern on the Green, and then permanently at Bowery Bar with Eric Goode and Serge Becker. There really were no other outdoor parties; then in 2000, I moved to Pier 59 Studios and created the deck with Scott Sartiano and Richie Akiva — that’s where Remi Laba and Aymeric Clemente were given their fist taste of club promotions. They were low-level maitre d’s. In 2003, we were forced to move it to BED (the same team), and then they tried to get smart, and Baker, Remi, and Karim sold them on a cheaper deal without the 1Oak crew, but they were done after four weeks. We missed two seasons, and we’re now back at Hudson Terrace.

I asked Jeffrey if the problems with international travel these days, the weak dollar, and pandemic diseases would keep people closer to home. “Yes, the economy will keep people here. New York is the capital of the world. What’s more important is that Europeans will venture more to America with the weak dollar and get more value for the buck. We will see a lot of Euros this summer. New York is resilient, we’ve seen worst times apres 9/11. People want to blow off steam, and if the product is good, they will come again and again. A lot of people are not taking houses in the Hamptons this summer because institutional money and jobs evaporated over the last half of 2008 and first quarter of 2009. Hence I’m betting that we will see a much stronger city summer.”

I also asked Hudson Terrace co-owner Michael Sinensky about the economic impact. “If you can build one of the nicest venues in New York City, people will come out to escape what’s going on in the world. In this economy, you have to really service the customer and think outside the box to keep your patrons entertained, happy, and feeling satisfied enough that they’ll come back. I don’t think it’s all about having the best promoters and DJs and strictest door anymore — I think that’s a formula to stay open 6 to 12 months. Hudson Terrace wasn’t built to follow the models-and-bottles formula and meet their steep table minimums. Instead, we’ve taken pages from our other successful eating and drinking establishments such as the Village Pourhouse, Sidebar, and Vintage Irving, with offerings like pitchers of sangria and margaritas.” They’re pitching a happy hour concept from 5-7 p.m. I’m proud to say that Hudson Terrace was designed by my partner Marc Dizon.

The roof parties and a stop-start economy will get us through the heat of summer. An added value is that outdoor parties are generally blessed with quieter music, as sound travels and Manhattan gets more crowded by the minute. The music played in most clubs theses days — especially the clubs catering to these particular crowds — has stagnated. The isolation of Hudson Terrace and Jeffrey’s commitment to play it a little forward should educate a crowd to new tastes. Steven Greenberg’s 230 Fifth bans hip hop altogether in favor of mostly rock fare. This space is the highest-grossing joint in New York nightlife history. I know only a little about music made in this century, but I do know this: The crowds I DJ to these day are growing, and my CD collection isn’t. I play almost an entirely rock set, and there seem to be a lot more people interested in it than a year ago. Oh, if you want to hear me DJ or toss an egg or discuss clubdom, I’ll be at 38 Howard Street off Broadway tonight; I go on at 12:30 a.m., right after the bands.

Industry Insiders: Michael Sinensky & Sean McGarr, Terrace Twins

Twenty-nine-year-old Michael Sinensky and the ageless Sean McGarr juggle the ownership of SideBar, Vintage Irving, The Big Easy, Hudson Terrace, and the Village Pourhouse, along with Michael’s personal projects: corporate event management, “disco sushi,” and the NewYearsEve.com. The much-anticipated opening of Hudson Terrace is slated for May 5, so the hospitality and nightlife pros gave us a glimpse at the new joint and the forces behind the machine.

How would you describe yourself? Michael Sinensky: Sean takes his two daughters to school every day, and I clean my baby’s diapers. He handles the sponsorship acquisition. The goal with operating numerous places is buying power on Sean’s part. I deal with day-to-day operations. Sean McGarr: Michael is definitely the brains behind the operation, and I’m just looking to retire.

How did you get your start together? SM: I owned Webster Hall for ten years and last December sold my interest back to my partners, the Ballingers. I met Michael eight years ago when he had his event marketing companies and two successful bars in New York, the Big Easy and Proof. He would come to me for time to time for special events, and through all of my years, Michael was the only one who consistently under-promised, and over-delivered. We developed a friendship first, and respect for the work. When it came to opening our first Pourhouse location, we joyfully did that together. We both brought so much to the table. I had experience with buying power because of my clout at Webster Hall, and Michael could run anything. We both owned our own marketing and advertising agencies, so we put together a powerhouse saloon across the street from Webster Hall, and we signed and delivered the deal in 12 weeks.

What inspired Hudson Terrace? SM: Hudson Terrace is really a place from conception — the building was custom built for us. Everything put into it screams luxury, and from all of our favorite places, our place was born. When Marquee opened, we loved the service and the way the servers handled their customers, and like that, we incorporated this into ours. We constantly came across Lee Blumer of Crobar and then Mansion. We wanted her to come and work with us. She’s one of the best event planners in the city, so rather than hear about one of the best planners going elsewhere, we incorporated her into our business. MS: That’s our secret to success — taking other people’s secrets of success and doing it just a little bit better. Suede Lounge was one of my favorites in the city. Every single time you went there, you had a good time. They took something that could be considered snooty and turned it into a bar atmosphere where everybody remembered your name whether you spent $10 or $10,000. We made sure that customer service was our #1 priority. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel; you just make it with better wheels.

Who do you look up to in the industry? MS: I’ll say Frank Steo. While I was going to all of these events with Sean, he was the first to nurture me, teach me right from wrong, and he put me in the right direction. I learned that you don’t cut back, make your employees happy, don’t’ fire to make the business more money, and you create loyalty. From there I opened two places with him, and that’s how I met Sean. SM: I would have to say the Ballinger brothers at Webster Hall who gave me the opportunity to get to where I am today. We were the Kings of the Nerds. We made a business out of going after the average person. Everyone who came to Webster Hall had a mom and dad who loved them.

Any bad hospitality trends that you took into consideration when preparing Hudson Terrace? SM: There’s so much on the negative. We’d have to say really good plastic cups. Hudson Terrace would have benefited from bottle service, but what’s so positive about the nightlife business? We battled for 18 months to get our liquor license. Every time someone said we did something wrong, we had to hire a lawyer to prove them wrong, and we’re rather sour on the nightlife business now. It’s just very slow in New York City. MS: The “going away” from the bottle business. But Sean’s right, it’s actually a negative thing because of the economy. The payoff isn’t that good. We’re just opening more businesses to lower costs to make some money. Every aspect of every business — it’s getting harder and harder. The city and state are making it more difficult with licenses and permits. It should take days, not a year and a half. Most people go under. We were just lucky to have an open-minded landlord.

Positive trends you’re happier about? SM: If you’re the best, you can do very well, and that’s the fate of Hudson Terrace. We will make money. Michael and I will always end up on the winning side of things. This year, our companies will create 150 new jobs. MS: The positive spin on this horrible economy is that the people who are left standing are at the top of their game. Hospitality is the one industry that is hiring now. We need good people on many different levels to help us become more efficient, and to make it. As an entrepreneur, you can hire more people and do more events for charities.

Something that people might not know about you? MS: I’m 29, a father, and married. I’ve been doing this since I was 17 and throwing events in high school. What nobody knows about Sean is that he grew up in a trailer park and he had nothing — forget middle class, lower class. His is a great success story. SM: I also have two little girls: Hannah and Lily. Michael and I are living a dream — we’re able to have this exciting owner’s life.

Something you love? SM: My favorite thing is having no boundaries, no limits, no roof. Living in this country, you could do as much as you wanted, be whoever you want to be. It’s just really hard work. MS: Peking duck wrap at Peking Duck House. Sean thinks they’re too fatty. And going to my parents’ house in Queens, shutting off my phone, and sleeping the whole day. It only happens once a year.

What are you doing tonight? MS: I have a meeting at the Nets game with a potential client, then I have to rush home and change diapers. SM: Michael still wears diapers. I’ll be in countless meetings at the New Jersey location, with contractors, floor people, an attorney, and I won’t be at the Nets game eating and drinking. I’ll be eating cold soup and wearing flannel.
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Industry Insiders: Wolfgang Puck, Resto Wizard

Easily one of the most celebrated celebrity chefs in the world, Wolfgang Puck speaks about food with balls, juggling more restaurants than he has fingers, and still finding time to make love.

Where do you love to eat? In France, Beaumaniere. In Italy, Quattro Passi. And in Los Angeles, Matsuhisa. What is your favorite food? Food with some guts or balls, as we would say in the kitchen— no matter what origin. Where are your secret spots? Sidebar at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and Angelini Osteria for true Italian food.

How did you come to LA? I grew up in Austria where I did my apprenticeship. At 17, I went to France and worked there in some of the best restaurants, like Beaumaniere, Maxim’s, Hôtel de Paris. My first job was in Indianapolis, but my dream was always to go to California, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, and I ended up in Los Angeles in 1975 and fell in love with the city, the climate, and the excitement with everything new. I opened Spago in 1982 and Chinois on Main a year later. I think it was the beginning of a new style of cooking in America.

Who do you admire in your industry? The first one, Raymond Thuilier; a true renaissance man who had the passion and love for cooking and who inspired me and taught me many things. Foremost, that great cooking starts with great ingredients. Second, Andre Soltner, because he had the stamina and professionalism to spend every day of his life in his one restaurant, Lutece, in New York. I do not know if he has the perfect wife, but I know he had the perfect restaurant before it closed in 2004.

What is a trend you like in the dining industry these days? I like that many restaurants today have sommeliers who make up many interesting wine lists and serve wine in a professional way. Also, there is a bigger value put on professional service.

Is there anything you dislike in your industry these days? Most young chefs don’t have the patience to learn the basics so they can grow and become chefs with the right foundation.

What is something that we might not know about you? I am involved with many charities from Los Angeles to Cleveland to Las Vegas, and I also love modern art. Robert Rauschenberg and the Los Angeles artist John Baldisarri are two of my favorites.

What’s next? We will open two more restaurants in the first six months of 2009. One is called Five Sixty in Dallas. It will have a great view and Asian-inspired menu. The second one is a Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill in downtown Los Angeles next to the Staples Center at L.A. Live.

And lastly, what are you doing tonight? I will be in my three restaurants in Los Angeles: Spago, Chinois, and Cut. Have dinner with my wife at 11 p.m., then go home, and hopefully we’ll make love.

Photo: Lisa Romerein

Las Vegas: The Retro Weekend

Friday Stay: Golden Nugget. Check in. Inside the hotel, there’s a Bond villain-worthy pool complex and newly renovated bars and restaurants. Outside the hotel, historic downtown Las Vegas. 3 p.m.: Brass Lounge. Enjoy a “Hello Vegas!” cocktail with a view. 4 p.m.: Nothing in your luggage glamorous enough? For ladies, try the Bettie Page store. Gentlemen can pick up slick threads from days gone by at Valentino’s Zoot Suit Connection.

7 p.m.: Golden Steer. Have dinner at the archetypical Vegas steakhouse where you can sit in Presley’s booth and have your Caesar salad made tableside using Sinatra’s recipe. 9:30 p.m.: Pogo’s Tavern. This unremarkable neighborhood bar becomes a jazz hothouse on Friday nights when the All-Star Big Band, a combo made up of veteran musicians from Vegas’ golden age, takes the stage. 11:30 p.m.: Champagnes Café. Flocked velvet wallpaper, Marilyn Monroe memorabilia and a cast of character actor-like regulars. Feeling inspired and/or tipsy? Kick out your own karaoke Neil Diamond or Judy Garland. 1:30 a.m.: Griffin. Stop in for a quick nightcap by the fireplace, hear the 60s soul and 70s punk coming from the back room and stay for a few dances with local favorites the Bargain DJ Collective.

Saturday 10 a.m.: Golden Nugget Rise, shine and, in the great Vegas headliner tradition, hit the steam room. 11:30 a.m.: Bellagio Brunch. It isn’t Vegas without a buffet. 1:30 p.m.: Classic Car Museum at The Imperial Palace. Mustangs. Cadillacs. Bentleys. Lincolns. Packards. 3:30 p.m.: Golden Nugget pool We’re surprised you waited this long to get on that water slide. 6 p.m.: Battista’s Hole in the Wall. Tip the accordion player extra to squeeze out a few Dean Martin covers. 7:30 p.m.: Jubilee at Bally’s. Old-school production with showgirls in big feathers n’ small sequins as well as a reenactment of the sinking of the Titanic. 9 p.m.: Sidebar. Have an expertly crafted martini or Manhattan at this smart little downtown bar. 10 p.m.: Atomic Liquors. The oldest bar in Clark County has seen the rise and fall and rise of Fremont Street. Get a miniseries’ worth of Las Vegas history for the price of a few rounds. 11 p.m.: Binion’s Poker Room. Vegas’ original poker room. 1 a.m.: Beauty Bar. DJ’s and the occasional live band at this small beauty shop of a bar.

Sunday 11 a.m.: Canter’s Delicatessen at Treasure Island. Mod revision of LA classic still serves lox n’ bagels. 1 p.m.: Pinball Hall of Fame. Get a pocketful of quarters and throw it back to the days before video games. 3 p.m.: Golden Nugget “Farewell Vegas!” cocktail by shark tank.
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