Le Baron to Become The Baron

New Beatrice alert! New Beatrice alert! According to Eater, the already legendary Parisian nightclub Le Baron is coming to New York, and there’s nothing you can do about it. The uber-exclusive celebrity playground barely fits a hundred people (most of whom are rail-thin), and you can expect its New York outpost to be similarly cramped. The space it’s occupying is miniscule.

Le Baron owners Andre and Lionel (because last names just aren’t ‘it’ enough) are transforming a karaoke bar in Lower Manhattan (32 Mulberry St. to be exact), and infusing it with their sense of old-world bohemia. By doing so, they will presumable attract new-world bohemians. This means leather banquettes, early 20th Century black and white nude photography, a grand piano, and a password-protected door. Okay, so we just described the current Le Baron, but there’s no reason to think they’ll mess with an equation that has attracted everyone from Bjork to at least one Olsen Twin.

But even with its celebrity cache, Andre has always maintained that he isn’t concerned with money and the people who have it. In a Paper profile last year, they detailed his distaste with all things flashy. “His door people, often painter pals, routinely reject models and moguls, while welcoming scruffy artists who pay for their drinks with art,” it said. It also said his next project was reopening the Beatrice with a more “mature” look, something that obviously didn’t happen.

Le Baron has already flirted with New York nightlife. You’ll recall that during last year’s Fall Fashion Week, Andre turned upstairs at The Bowery Hotel into a pop-up Le Baron. (Also a graffiti artist, Andre designed the bottle for Belvedere IX, which celebrated its launch at the location all week long.) It was a huge hit and probably helped to convince Andre that New York was ready to be incorporated into his global brand (there’s already a Le Baron in Tokyo). Le Baron will be a sensation with New York’s downtown set, and a new bestower of status with people who like to express themselves through the clubs they’re seen at.

Sorry Mike, it was fun while it lasted.


NYC: All the Week’s Parties: Lenten Drinking Festivities

Well that was fast. Mardi Gras is fin, and most New Yorkers were too distracted or bleary-eyed from the long weekend to get truly fat on Fat Tuesday. Now Lent is here and people have rushed into giving things up and fasting and otherwise resorting to being good and decent people for the next 40 days. What does this mean for New York nightlife? Judging from the long lists of places to-go and people to-see, I’d say not much. This week we’ve got Brooklynites saying Bryant Park what? as they host a fashion week(end) of their own, while Oak takes it upon itself to get its own magazine credits by releasing another issue of their popular Oak.a.zine fashion rag. Hotel Rivington tries out a new party with the old dogs from Stereo, people flood Rose Bar to see if they can’t shmooze their way into Nur Khan‘s new Kenmare, StyleCaster hits up Goldbar and free booze tries its damnedest to revive Happy Endings.

Eclectic, Straight THURSDAY

Lowdown: This is Manhattanites’ Friday night. Whipped has moved to Baddies, the hipster alcoholics moving closer to their hipster roots. Hot Now:CV (Lower East Side) – Something has finally been done with the over-saturated spot formerly known as 105 Rivington. Let’s see how long this minor revamp will last. ● BEast(Chinatown) – Main Man, Ryan McGinley’s night of debauchery, is still in swing. Expect a Misshape or two, Sophia Lamar, and a band of insiders. ● Coffee Shop (Union Square) – One of the true day clubs, chocked full of promoters networking via text message; the basement named USL will be making random appearances throughout the week. Avenue, Boom Boom Room and 1Oak are still a great standby for good times, while the down belows like Macao’s basement opium den, is also great. imageBaddies (West Village) – The former Butter party was moved around until it finally flew to coop to the basement bar of Kingswood. Resident hipster DJs Matt & Maia draw out big name fashion folks like Alexander Wang and the Ronsons. Tonight Andy Rourke joins in the fun. Other Things to Try:New Party: The guys from Stereo of party days past have a newbie night at the Penthouse @ Hotel on Rivington named “A Family Affair.” Could use a better name. ● About Town: Fashion folks, take a break from your vodka/cigarette diet and check out ‘Wichcrafts cozy sandwich/fire pit thingy. “Bryant Park’s Southwest Porch provides free appetizers and drinks courtesy of ‘wichcraft, with heat lamps and a fire pit to stay warm.” Yeah, no hooch but it’s free food and a toasty atmosphere. For a dose of electro-darkness, Dan Black plays Mercury Lounge with Free Blood (not to be confused with True Blood). Luckily for those who live off of open bars and luckier for those who live for fashion: StyleCaster and SmartWater “Celebrate New York Fashion Week” at Goldbar tonight from 9PM-12AM. Tom Green begins a 3 day stint at Comix while the Music Hall of Williamsburg celebrates their third annual (which is like 10 years in Brooklyn terms!) Dre Day at 10PM. If you’re a Bushwickian, head to Don Pedro’s from 9-10PM (the working man’s Happy Hour) for some free Colt 45 and some metal music at the Impose’s Test Patterns party for a mere $5 cover. If you’re one to mourn the loss of the Annex, then help the Tiswas Weekly party, now at Beauty Bar (on the island). Showboating with vodka from 10:30PM- 11:30PM.


Lowdown: Doesn’t much feel like Friday if you had the luxury of sitting around your apartment in your underwear, celebrating President’s Day. But it’s already here! Hot Now:Boom Boom Room (Meatpacking District) – You probably won’t make it in like the rest of the plebeians (us included), but if you could, this would be the night to go. ● Home Sweet Home (Lower East Side) – Jonathan Toubin brings the fairly popular New York Night Train to this little living room on Friday nights. ● Santos’ Party House (Chinatown) – A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip. Upstairs. Funk. Other Things to Try:About Town: Eric Clapton & Jeff Beck get all old skool/new skool at Madison Square Garden at 8PM while the Dirty Projectors play the old school Lincoln Center at 8:30PM for the American SOngbook concert series. If you have traded in your tired fashion week fixation to join the rest of humanity with a healthy Winter Olympics obsession, the Bohemian Hall & Beer Gardens in Queens is doing that whole “big-screen Olympics” trend and are showing hockey at all hours of the day. Lastly, Freshkills and the Death Set hang out/play some tunes at Lit. Hopefully not a Freudian Death/Kills slip of what’s to happen to the smoking Lit.


Lowdown: Saturday: a day of rest, a night of partying. Hot Now:Boom Boom Room (Meatpacking District) – Again, try your luck. ● Lit Lounge (East Village) – Saturday night is grimy and fun! ● Bowery Hotel (East Village) – Simonez throws ragers here, spanning Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Other Things to Try:About Town: Like you haven’t heard this one before; party at Tribeca Grand. They’re hosting an open Svedka Bar from 10- 11PM while Memory Tapes play a live set. presented by the folks at Self-Titled Magazine, GrandLife, self-titled & The Pop Manifesto. Just when you thought it was over; Williamsburg decides to host yet another fashion thingy. But Brooklynites should get behind this one. The Williamsburg Fashion Weekend at GlassLands Gallery runs Saturday and Sunday from 8pm and features 12 local designers (and some national ones as well) along with an art show and live music for just $8.


Lowdown: Sundays have been a solid party night, even through the bluster of the winter season. Hot Now:GoldBar (Nolita) – Frequented by the Ronson clan and celebfolk who go unrecognized by a collection of spendy bankers. A favorite amongst models, Danny Masterson, and DJ Jesse Marco. ● Sway (Sway) – Moroccan themed bar has become the Pants on the Ground song. Sort of creepy, but a guilty pleasure and viral. ● Greenhouse (Soho) – The Van Dam party begs the question: Where is Jean Claude Van Dam? ● White Slab Palace (Lower East Side) – Another odd place to stumble into late night. Hit or miss and always a “Where did all of these people come from?” moment. Other Things To Try:Free Booze: Home Sweet Home tries to offer an alterna-Sway with their new Sunday party, N.W.N.S (No Way No Sway). Enjoy an open vodka bar from 10:30pm-11pm with no cover. If you’re looking for some Brooklyn brew, check out Savalas for “Shake Your Brass Sundays with Wolff” night. They’re hawking free Yuengling from 8-9pm. ● About Town: Passion Pit play yet another DJ set at Pianos. Apparently they really want to burn out? Mates of State bring their special brand of musical cuteness to The Bell House tonight, $16 advance tickets and $19 at the door. Too tame? Arlo and Esme has something called Buns and Puns, free Jell-O shots starting at 7:30PM.


Lowdown: Monday night is for getting rid of your Sunday hangover. Hot Now:Stanton Social (Lower East Side) – Yes, still a great place to have a fun bite/Monday night drinks. ● Butter (Noho) – Not only is this a truly great place to get sloshed on Mondays, I am now excited to admit it. There’s a cool, younger crowd that’s mixing in on Mondays and adding a bit of an edge to the festivities. ● Black & White (Greenwich Village) – Restaurant becomes cramped, sexy, and very cozy after ten. ● Johnny Utah’s (Midtown West) Football season is over, but it’s still industry night here. Other Things to Try:About Town: The Paris Review’s Philip Gourevitch hangs out with Mary Karr at Joe’s Pub for a public chat at 7PM. Oh I’m sorry, a conversation without booze not cool enough for you? Then go hang out with people talking about a different kind of ‘zine at the release party for Oak’s specialty rag, oak.a.zine, being held at SPiN.


Lowdown: Fashion week comes to a close, so get your last drop of freebie booze and your final fix of celeb stalking. Hot Now:Rose Bar (Gramercy) – This really has a lot to do with Nur Khan, who is pairing up with Paul Sevigny on the next New York hot spot, Kenmare. ● Avenue (Chelsea) – People were astounded to find this place under our Tuesday heading: “Duh, the hot nights are Monday and Wednesday, obvi.” Those people are right, but those people have never known the true Bea. And really, Avenue is good every night — right? ● 1Oak (Chelsea) – Right around the corner, the one-of-a-kind kids get the spillage of displaced hipster kids, who can’t decide between one gilded lounge or the other. Again, people agreed to disagree — and with a name like “Tight Jean Tuesday,” we know Jay-Z’s knots don’t fit. ● SL (Meatpacking District) – Might be able to add another notch on its belt; Tuesdays are hot at SL. ● Greenhouse (Soho) – Green followers love Tuesdays too. Other Things to Try:About Town: Walter’s Fall 2010 After Party is at 9:00pm at The Eldridge. ●Free Booze: It’s Trainwreck Tuesday at Angels & Kings. This means two open vodka bars with no cover. The first freebie power half-hour: 10pm-10:30pm, the second from 1-1:30am. Happy Ending has free vodka from 11-12am at their weekly Disco Down party with 66Sick, and Brooklyn’s Glasslands Gallery for Todd & Harrison’s Tuesday Night Disco. This means free absinthe and live music with a $7 cover.


Lowdown: Fashion week winds down with many needing to detox after the week’s festivities, but Hot Now:Le Cubain (Lower East Side) – Great spot for pre-drinks and cheap eat with babes with bangs in boots and vintage fur coats. Maybe even make it downstairs for a Chloe revival — bottle models pack it in pre-1Oak and Boom Boom Room. ● 1Oak (Chelsea) – This is still 1Oak’s undisputed hot night. Tonight it’s all about Funkmaster Flex on the decks. ● Greenhouse (Soho) – BlackFun (indieelectropopbangers) take over the party along with banter & booze from Marc Alan + Kieren+ Mike de Guzman+Joey Nova+ Valerie Termini+Anna Maltezos & Friends. (hint: these are names to drop @ the door kiddies.) ● Avenue (Chelsea) – Another good night for the kids on the Ave. ● SL (Meatpacking District) – Tonight is the night for this Aalex Julian-guarded door. ● subMercer(Soho) – The FAM (Friends and Music) party, featuring Gabby, Richard and Tariq has been going strong for the past few months. ● Su Casa (Greenwich Village)- The kids from Upstairs (remember Upstairs? Leo Di doesn’t either) are putting together this new party. Heavy on the gays and the girls, produced by Michael Cohen, Cameron Moir and Mark Holcomb. imageSouthside (Nolita) – Tutti, Franco, and Brion run the DJ booth at their TGIWednesday party. Von (Noho) – Party in the basement is “pretty packed and a lot of fun” for the Noho set after 10pm. image

Top 10 Spots for a First Date

Variety is key when you are testing the waters of love and lust. To some, love is motivated by how fat one’s pocketbook is. To others, it’s based on where one is able to get a reservation at peak time on a Friday night. Whether your leading lady is a tastemaker with a tiny appetite, or your gent is a sucker for the sauce, there’s a hotspot that’s all the bang for your buck, and a watering hole that may just lead to a bang.

The Little Owl (New York) – Small hotspot where you can view the West Village through rose-colored window panes. A savvy choice for a date in the know, but let your date know you chose it for the greenmarket menu. Swoon. ● Mistral (Los Angeles) – Intimate space, low lighting, the smell of French cuisine, and love is in the air. Couples relish the dark corners. A vast wine list and pared-down menu means easy first date decision-making. Opt for fries over the spinach side; the soft light helps you seem sexy, but it will do nothing for a green tooth.

Nemo (Miami) – Don’t waste this space on someone you’re lukewarm for. Rack up first-impression points with the serious atmosphere at work here. Not too pretentious, but tasty and hip: She just might find a way to thank you after the meal. ● The Bourgeois Pig (New York) – A jump-off point for daters to test the waters before committing to a bite to eat, though perfect as a post-dinner stop when things are going well. Champers, chocolate, cheese make eating sexy as hell. ● Smith & Wollensky (Miami) – Fab first date spot even if your date isn’t a carnivore. For light fare, opt for the cocktail/oyster combo — though the view is the only aphrodisiac needed. Great food, stiff drinks, and unrivaled panoramas of the ocean and the Miami skyline. ● Casa Tua (Miami) -There’s the intimate speakeasy feel that helps to make an impression, especially if your date is young and impressionable. Lamps hang from banyan trees in the garden, inviting atmosphere is conductive to great conversation and even better make-out sessions. Plead your first-date case to the members-only bouncer and see if you can’t stretch out the evening. ● Casa La Femme (New York) – If you’re the dating type that needs a few props, this all-inclusive date spot is loaded with shiny distractions. Tent city flaunts belly-dancing beauties and unbeatable signature cocktails to spice things up. Décor is richly detailed, bearing a genuine elegance to mask the cliché sexiness of it all. ● Little Door (Los Angeles) – Deserving of its reputation as THE place to go on a date — whether you speak fluent or just cinematic French, mais oui. The courtyard will help you fall in love, the sexy candlelight will make you fall in lust, and the extensive drink list will take care of anything in between. ● Mayahuel (New York) – The goddess of agave may be on your side for a modern-day Spanish inquisition. Speakeasy vibe with serious, sexy decor, and food to match. Creative cocktails will impress mixology minors; opt for small, shareable plates and cozy up in a carved-out booth. ● August (New York) – For a date of the handholding variety, turn to this claustrophobic cave restaurant. In the fall, intimate garden and sweater weather inspire premature cuddling, which could lead to other things more mature. ● Bowery Hotel (New York) – Pretend you’re somebody as you whisk your date through the golden doors propped open by smiling bellhops. Good for blind dates, it’s a cozy spot where you can get closer, or direct your attention to Cameron Diaz getting blitzed at the bar. Swill red wine on vintage chairs, surrounded by downtown “it” people. It’s all very very, even if your date is very boring.

Art Rocks the Bowery Hotel

An evening of art, music, and drinks provided the ideal atmosphere at Bowery Hotel for Art Rocks! The third annual benefit — hosted by John Whitledge, Arden Wohl, and DJ Berrie — was a late starter, and many thought it was over before it even began. But the slow build created a lounge setting that put everyone in a drinking spirit. The patrons took their time perusing art and swiping snacks early on, with easy access to the bar. After around five or six stiff ones, things started to get weird.

People came in at a slow trickle until the bar was packed, and some were dancing by themselves. The art not only rocked, but it was quickly snapped up in voracious bidding as celebrities and socialites like Liam McMullan, Olivia Palmero, David X Prutting, and Ally Hilfiger came out to support the cause — raising money and awareness for the pediatric diabetes program at the Berrie Center. Featured artwork included installations, photography, and modern pieces by top emerging talent, curated by Emmet Shine and John Cruichshank.

Photo: Patrick McMullan

Makeup for Mark Ronson, Butter, & Club Kids

It’s usually nightlife that inspires a guy or gal to get made up, but this is makeup inspired by nightlife. Illamasqua, a cult favorite amongst beauty junkies, club kids, makeup artists, and celebs, was conceived amidst the dark drama of 1920s Berlin — embraced by alternative cultures, made by a British brand, and now readily available to help you develop your nightlife alter ego. I decided to try the pigment-rich rockstar colors for Friday night’s festivities, which included Mark Ronson’s Gucci party at the Bowery Hotel, followed by “Whipped,” Butter’s hipster dance party, to find out first hand why Sienna Miller, Lily Allen, Beth Ditto, and Karen O. are rumored to be obsessed with it.

“Illamasqua is for the bolder, darker person hiding inside us. It is an act and an attitude. A symbol of tolerance. A celebration of idiosyncrasies. A confident statement of self-ownership and self-expression. Illamasqua is your alter-ego.” After reading Illamasqua’s mission statement, I couldn’t help but be inspired to really go out as my alter ego, wherever she was hiding. I topped off a one-shoulder dress and an otherwise bare face with Illamasqua’s Liquid Metal. It’s a rich and highly pigmented metallic cream you can apply with your fingers anywhere on your body. On my lids, I used Enrapture, a bright orange color with a bronze finish, blending from lash to brow. The intense color was less club kid, more 80s trendy — which luckily garnered more approving looks than weird ones. Did I find the bolder, darker person hiding inside me? Maybe, but it could have also been due to the Bowery Hotel’s martini. In any case, I’m still going to rock Illamasqua’s Illuminator, as that seems to hold the same kind of power as a Bowery cocktail.

Industry Insiders: Jack Dakin & Corbin Plays, Design Dream Team

Jack Dakin and Corbin Plays are two Northern California Bay boys who came to New York City to create lounges and restaurants that combine functional design with the cool factor. They ended up working for the likes of Serge Becker, Sean MacPherson, and Eric Goode and on venues such as: Joe’s Pub, The Bowery Hotel, Jane Hotel Ballroom, The Park, Dirty Disco, and Duke & Duchess. The duo plans to soon branch out to New Orleans, Dallas, and Philadelphia. We caught up with them before their national invasion.

Which present-day designer/architect does it right? Jack Dakin: Marc Newson. The man does an excellent job bridging the gap between fine art and design. Corbin Plays: Santiago Calatrava does it right. He combines function with form in a balanced way. He’s both an engineer and an architect.

What past designer/architect influences your style? JD: I have to thank Serge Becker for giving me my start in this business. He inspires me every day. Also, I have to admit — although it sounds cheesy — I do love all those midcentury designers: Gio Ponti, Alvar Aalto, Oscar Nemeyer. CP: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He designed on all different scales from large buildings to furniture. His ideas are clear throughout.

What venues around the world do you think are done well, with style? JD: The R- Bar in New Orleans. It’s an amazing balance of hipness and dive. Best Bar in America and two-dollar Miller High Life. La Esquina is still going strong, and I’m impressed at the way they make the components — taqueria, café, and restaurant — function so well. Also, I love L’asso on Kenmare … just plain amazing pizza. I’m very impressed with the new Standard, although I haven’t seen the whole thing. Also I recently stayed at the Standard in Miami and enjoyed that as well. CP: Clerkenwell on Clinton Street. Great food, people, vibe and location. Joe’s Pub has cool music and comfortable lounge chairs. Oyster Bar because the ceiling is great and food is good too. The Outrigger in Kona is my favorite hotel, because the bar hangs over the ocean, and you can sip cocktails and watch the fish and turtles swim by.

Favorite city for design? CP: Rome with the layers of history, and boldness of the architecture all stacked on top and interlaced. The downtown neighborhood of Testaccio — where the clubs are — is built into the ancient Roman amphora dump. All the walls are made of ceramic pots that they used to transport olives and wine back in the day. Like Rome, New York has those layers of history, and the old 1800s tenements are contrasted by the new modern glass structures. JD: If I don’t say New York, then I’ll have to ask myself why I’ve lived here for the past 14 years.

What’s special about New York in that regard? JD Different people mixing. Of all the places I’ve been, I’ve never experienced a place as diverse as New York. I think every New Yorker answers that question with my answer, so it’s a bit of a cop out, but very true.

What’s the next New York trend in architecture and design? JD: In the last ten years, New York has moved much more in the direction of cultural segregation, with the creation of a lot of insular cliques. I think that in the next couple years, the pendulum will swing back, and when you go out you might sit down with a prince, a punker, a banker, a model, and an artist. CP: My outlook on the future of architecture in New York is that the best way to make a more sustainable city is to not only build new buildings but to restore the well-built existing architecture from the past.

Where do you go when you go out? JD: I go to Oro, my local coffee shop, every day. Café Select also has a scene I enjoy, very low key but lively. Also, I have to mention the sound system at Santos, what the fuck? CP: The list would be too long, but most recently Spitzer’s on Ludlow, and Dumpling House on Eldridge.

Something no one knows about you? JD: I’ve always wanted to learn to play the violin. CP: I shed tears while watching The Deadliest Catch.

Photo by Ivory Serra

Industry Insiders: Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman, Still Smiling

The owners of Noho’s mixed-use hotspot, The Smile, Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman have done their best to turn their joint into the coolest clubhouse in town. Located in a circa-1830’s Bond Street building, the bar effortlessly fuses a rustic cafe and boutique with the basement tattoo parlor of legendary ink artist, Scott Campbell. The pair may also be spotted at the the Jane Hotel Ballroom, which they run after the sun goes down.

How’d you get your start? Carlos Quirarte: I worked for Apple in San Francisco. The office was relocating to Los Angeles. Like any good San Franciscan, I hate LA, so I moved to New York. I knew I wanted to work in fashion, so I started working at a Diesel store. All the sales people there were really talents artists and designers. That’s what I wanted my staff to be like, people who are doing other shit and would be interesting to the people shopping there. Then I started working for a Levis concept store and began throwing parties. We threw events at Joe’s Pub and The Pussycat Lounge. 40 people came to the first one and the next one 400 people came. Then, I stopped to open a showroom. We started producing t-shirt lines. We did that with a lot of small brands. We had Subversive in there, Taavo Somer’s shirts. Then Scott Morrison approached me to work at Ernest Sewn. I wanted to do something different. So we had these events every 45 days and collaborated with other brands. This was how I met Matt. Matt was doing a party at Salon similar to what I had been doing. Salon became Socialista and later would become Café Gitane. Matt Kliegman: I started throwing parties as a sophomore at NYU. It sounded like a great idea because you drink for free. After college, I was working on Wall Street and stopped throwing parties until a friend convinced me to do it again. I met Mike Pappalardo who owned Salon. My friend Jeff and I were having the parties at Salon with Matt Creed as DJ. Matt later became the house DJ at Beatrice. The first party that Carlos, Taavo, Matt Creed and I threw was a Halloween party at the Bowery Hotel.

That was a crazy party. You didn’t really have a doorperson or ropes. MK: We don’t like to use them. Our second Halloween party was on Canal and Broadway in a 14,000 square foot retail space. Essentially we built a Mexican village. After the first party we did together, we realized we collaborated well and started looking for a space together.

What was your inspiration for The Smile? CQ: I always liked the idea of Michael’s uptown. That is what inspired Smile. We wanted a place our friends, who happen to be very interesting people, could come to hang out—even casually network with each other. That’s one of the great things that happens in New York. Also having Scott here is great. We also connected with the heads of companies to have limited edition product made just for us. It’s all contemporary art on the walls.

How did you meet him? CQ: While I was at Earnest Sewn, we did an event with Mother’s Day tattoos and he was involved. We also did that here this year. MK: Scott came here with us before we did anything and saw what it could be. We loved that the building is from the 1830’s.

What were you thinking for the Jane Hotel Ballroom? CQ: For the Jane, we wanted to have a scene with different kinds of people. Lately most places only have one crowd. There are good people from every group that want to have a good time and they all get along. Also, we loved the idea that people can come to the Ballroom to hang, get a room if they’re inspired to do so, then have breakfast at Café Gitane, which will be opening in the Hotel (in October).

How’d you end up partners in the Jane? CQ: We met Sean MacPherson through Serge Becker and Lisa Spellman from 303 Gallery. Sean had the best idea for the space and is known as a great guy in the business. These guys are like a family. Serge Becker, Sean McPherson, Judy Wong (owner of Cafe Cluny). They take care of each other and have become successful without stepping on each other. It’s special to be part of their group.

What music do you listen to? CQ: Queen, The Virgins, Gang Gang Dance. MK: TV on the Radio, Neil Young, The Band.

Where do you go out? MK and CQ: Bowery Hotel lobby, Café Select, Lit, Café Cluny, Vinegar House, Il Buco, Mole, and we used to live at Beatrice.

Something people don’t know about you? CQ:That I own a clarinet and can’t swim. MK: I am not from LA.

Where are you guys tonight? We’re at the Jane seven nights a week.

New York: Top 10 Bars with the Hottest Staff

Casa la Femme (West Village) – The French Kiss cocktail and Mediterranean fare seem to put you in the mood, but it’s really belly-dancing beauties and equally glamorous staff that produces the allure of the place. Their simple-sweet service and svelte, mannequin-like aura makes the entire experience romantic and outlandish. ● Rose Bar (Gramercy) – Whenever I see Nur Khan, he’s usually with top models like Lily Donaldson. Needless to say, with the one-two punch of Ian Schrager and Julian Schnabel top design, one of the most beautiful bars in the city is staffed by the most beautiful people as well. Bartenders are the pouty, brooding type. Cocktail waitresses are classy in a dangerously sexy way — all seem like James Bond babes, and we always leave shaken and stirred. Wins for a likewise beautiful clientele. ● Baddies (West Village) – The Kingswood Aussies bring their Aussie-ness to the downstairs party. In case you don’t speak Australian, Aussie means sexy, mate. Strapping men with accents and their friends who are just as Aussie, even if they are American. Close quarters in the murky-chic basement means a lot of flirting, trust us.

The Empire Hotel (Upper West Side) – Like finding beauty in far off locations; you’ll have to travel all the way to the UWS to take a gander at the exotic animals inside the Empire Hotel. Literally, Halle Berry works weekend evenings in the main bar. At the Empire Hotel Rooftop, Brazilian beauties makeup for the middle-aged crowd. Boyfriends will stare, with good reason. ● Bond St. (NoHo) – Well, there’s Nick Atkinson. And some wouldn’t need to go farther than that. But roam the sexy lounge and behold a bevy of friendly, neighborhood beauties who can hold a conversation while pouring your hot sake. The girls look sultry in little black dresses, the men are exactly the way a girl could want them; handsome, attentive, with an air of intelligence. ● The Bowery Hotel (East Village) – Sure, some people go to spot celebs in their natural habitat, but some go sit on the benches outside simply to gawk at the beautiful, baby-faced doormen. Inside, the hosting staff and servers have polish, and an artistic flair — which is all the hotter. The bartenders seem like strictly reformed fraternity brothers who know their spirits. No wonder Cameron Diaz has been spotted here, tipsy and flirting with the staff. ● Thom Bar (Soho) – It’s been said that the Thompson Group curates their staff in order to provide the most aesthetically appealing service — and I wouldn’t argue. Former models, ballerinas, and generally sexy people make up the downtown-meets-out-of-town vibe. ● Coffee Shop (Union Square) – Long holding a title for consistently beautiful staff, sometimes you aren’t sure if you’ve stumbled into a taping of The Real World or America’s Next Top Model. Makes sense: actors between jobs and part-time models staff the hot Brazilian diner, offering up their views of NYC to tourists and locals alike. Whether they’re an out-of-work actor or a wide-eyed newbie, they’re still sexy enough to stare at. ● GoldBar (Nolita) – Skulls and chains do something for everyone’s sex appeal, and the whole gold thing does wonders for everyone’s skin. Cocktail servers get close to whisper over the music. Behind the bar, tenders glow and really know what they’re doing with those cocktails, which makes us think they probably know what they’re doing in the … kitchen. Owner Rob McKinley is gorgeous in that disheveled downtown way, which happens to be the way we like it. ● Avenue (Chelsea) – Tough door means beautiful people on the inside, and I’m not talking about their kind hearts. Simple math … if you curate a pretty, interesting crowd, you should probably have an attractive, interesting staff. Luckily the lounge staffs some of New York’s finest. Yoga instructors, bilingual beauties, and Motorcycle and Espresso aficionados are fun to look at and talk to.

Not So Plain Jane

I’m real sick and tired of snarky wannabes who wouldn’t know what end of the bottle to pour booze from, declaring a place done 20 minutes after it’s open. I saw all sorts of silly comments on my friendly neighbor Scott Solish’s blog Down By The Hipster about how the Jane Hotel Ballroom is over. I decided to check out the Jane Ballroom on Friday night and see for myself. I had written about its opening but the distractions of summer have kept me away. A large crowd of attractive people were vying for the attention of the doorman. I approached James, who I didn’t recognize at first and said a few relevant things and was welcomed inside with my companion.

The crowd was simply great. It was the kind of crowd that moves a little to the left to let you pass often with a nod and a smile. This was a weekend night in the heart of the summer and the place was packed with sharp scenesters. There were celebrities: an Olson and that skinny, tall, British, rock-starish, actor Russell Brand. He, like everyone else, moved to the left and allowed me to pass behind him with a smile. The DJs were great laughing and playing fun tunes and the crowd was wildly into it. The lighting isn’t great and it’s a bit hard to see how beautiful the room looks.

My only real criticism is that the bartenders aren’t fast enough and there are certainly not enough of them. I couldn’t find Carlos Quirarte or Matt Kleigman to say hello. There didn’t seem to be anybody in charge or “working the room,” but maybe that’s a great thing. Maybe it’s about the room, the music and crowd rather than the personality of an operator. The place is a smash. Is it the next Beatrice? I don’t even know what that means. Why can’t it just be the Jane Ballroom?

I have yet to see one critical comment, which lays out in terms that I can grasp, what is wrong or expected. I actually believe that the writers of these silly quotes are people who could never make it past James. That doesn’t make them necessarily bad people but it does in so many ways discount the value of their point of view. Jane is near perfect and if some people don’t like it they just shouldn’t go. I hear Bowlmor is open late for them. A joint doesn’t have to cater to people who declare something over simply to impress their loser friends that they’re way cool. A joint doesn’t have to cater to anyone but the crowd they want and not some anonymous loser who can peck unsubstantiated bile on an open forum blog. A joint can define itself and be grand without the validation of people who know so very little about the process. The Jane can cater to a vibrant crowd and be fabulous without the approval of negative nellies. The Jane is great. I say so.

I don’t often disagree with DBTH as they have their thing and I have mine, but I do believe that their article the other day about “ballroom blow,” was a low blow and not worthy of the intelligence, wit and insight that I, as a daily reader, have come to expect. As one person said, it can and does happen everywhere. I didn’t understand the entry. To me, it could only be seen as an attack, an attempt to bring the authorities down on the new establishment. I know that it hurt the operators who didn’t understand why Scott would do this. The Jane is not over. It is brilliant. It is one of the more significant nightlife entries this year. They’re not even up to speed yet. They opened in the middle of the summer and the food element and outdoor spaces will make the place undeniable.

I live near Cafe Gitane in Nolita, and the notion that Luc will bring his considerable restaurant skills to the premises is brilliant. Gitane keeps me fed and will be a great asset to the west side, and as for the Jane, I think all the loser commentators that will now rain down their blubbering bullshit on me should open their own joint and try to make it work. The place would play music that even they wouldn’t like and be inhabited by that too-cool-to take-a-shower hipster crowd. No one would talk, just tweet anonymous downer remarks at each other, and they would declare it over before the bartender could say PBR. The Jane Hotel is operated by Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode. These guys have brought us the B Bar, The Bowery Hotel, The Maritime Hotel, and The Park. Eric Goode gave us Area, easily one of the top 5 clubs of all time. The Smile, Carlos and Matt’s Bond Street entry is one of the great places in my hood. I’d love these snarky know-it-all commentators to open a joint. That space wouldn’t last an Andy Warhol 15 minutes.