How to Best to Bribe NYC’s Wintertime Doormen

Matt Duckor has some “Pro Tips” over at The Feast today. “The Seven Coldest Doormen in New York” asks the town’s busiest club gatekeepers to offer their take on surviving a frigid night outside. Everyone from Wass Stevens at Avenue to Eddie Bilowich at Bunker discusses the warm and cozy details of their layering habits this time of year, as standing outside all winter certainly makes them experts on the subject. But this fun and breezy article might also serve a double-purpose: As the guys weigh in on their personal warming habits, they’re actually exposing a collective Achilles Tendon, a weakness for preferred hand-warmers and cashmere under-pinnings that could, if you’re slick enough, be exchanged for entree into the clubs. Here are your best bets for winter-time bribes.

Simonez Wolf Door: Le Bain Method of Comfort: Huge parka, not having to stay outside all night. Bring Him: A pack of Little Hotties Hand Warmers.

Rich Thomas & Cristian Achirill Door: Lavo Method of Comfort: Layers and Fur Bring Them: Uniqlo’s Lab Heattech Long Underwear. Makes gifting underwear less creepy.

Aalex Julian Door: SL Comfort: Mental and physical vacations to warm places. Bring Him: A Lei from Hawaii or a Pineapple

Jonny Lennon Door: Goldbar Comfort: Roughing it by pretending he’s in the great outdoors. “On nights when there’s a full on blizzard, I make a point of it to be outside all night, to survive it.” Bring Him: Bear Grylls. If these can’t be rustled up, maybe a pair of snowshoes or something from Carhartt.

Herman Solomon Door: The Mulberry Project Comfort: Drinking a lot of water and having style. Bring Him: A stylish water bottle! See what he thinks of the Bobble—a cute water bottle that filters water as you drink it.

Wass Stevens Door: Avenue Comfort: Cashmere, fur, and his own personal heat lamp. Bring Him: Unless you are planning on swinging by Burberry to pick up a fur trapper for the doorman of all doors, don’t bother with a bribe. It’s luxury for this man, all the way down to his cashmere undies.

Eddie Bilowich Door: The Bunker Club Comfort: Heat packs and hats. Bring Him: Something vegan. Sure you can bring him an extra pack of glove warmers, but the man used to run a website called “The Hot Vegan,” so a nod to his foodie past would be more appreciated than an extra skull cap.

My Top 11 Clubs of the Moment

In his decades-old column in last Wednesday’s Village Voice, Michael Musto, the greatest nightlife writer ever, listed his “10 Best NYC Clubs of All Time.” His list was Studio 54, Mudd Club, Area, Danceteria, Jackie 60, Happy Valley, CBGB, The Roxy, The Palladium, and Limelight. He is as right as anybody, as each of us has our own perspective. The list doesn’t go back to joints pre-Michael’s viewpoint, like El Morocco or The Cotton Club, and it discounts anything recent with the exception of Happy Valley, which maybe had a moment 5 years ago. My list is pretty close. I would swap out Happy Valley (which was mostly awful), CBGB, and The Roxy in favor of The World, Max’s Kansas City, and Paradise Garage. The others I heartily agree with.

The Roxy would certainly make honorable mention, but it was a bit one dimensional. Then again, so was Paradise. The Paradise Garage was a temple to a generation that was previously dismissed. This crowd, and those who passed through to worship, luxuriated in their newly realized numbers of like-minded souls. It also had a god in DJ Larry Levan. I believe you can’t talk House Music without Larry as the leader. It can be argued that the Chelsea boys found a home, each other, and a lot more pride in their Mecca, the Roxy. Although it was never really more than a Saturday night, it was always quite a night. Lets just say, since it’s 2011, it’s the top 11 list.

A list of the 10 (11) best NYC clubs of today is even harder, as the jury is still out on so many, and the term “club” has a different meaning in this era. There’s no easy way to do this, but as the great Carmello Anthony said after being booed in his own arena, the boos don’t bother him or effect his game — he’ll always have his haters one way or the other. Some will always hate on me and my opinions, but I can take it. I welcome feedback.

My list is only Manhattan. My list includes lounges and bars, and even the Darby, which takes great pains to call itself a restaurant—which it is, but when you throw parties for Beyonce, Andre Harrell, and Prince, and I can walk by and see Leonardo DiCaprio hanging outside with Lucas Haas, like I did last night, it’s a little more than a restaurant, and it makes my list. I looked at this list as if friends from out of town had asked me where to go at night. Where would I send them? I would ask what they are in to and send them to the relevant places. Some people will find the Boom Boom Room a dud, while others will think Pacha is music to their ears—it depends on the individual. Here are the 10 (11) most relevant joints in Manhattan today, in no particular order.

Provocateur: Although I spend 40 minutes or less each time I go, it isn’t a criticism of this beautiful space with a crowd to match. They said it couldn’t be done, but Mike and Brian did it. Undeniable Nirvana for those who like this sort of thing.

Kenmare: “It’s not Beatrice, it’s Kenmare,” a witty beauty said yesterday when chatting about her nightly visitation of the place. She possibly unwittingly quoted Marilyn Monroe from Some Like It Hot: “And always the same 500.” That crowd goes there, and nothing else quite scratches their itch.

The Boom Boom Room: Or whatever they call it. I dress for it. It’s wonderful, it’s beautiful, it’s fabulous, and it’s becoming more fun. Andy Warhol once told me that any place that’s too neat or too clean can’t be any fun. Maybe Boom Boom was/is a little too clean and neat to reach its potential. Time will cure that. The whole Standard complex is finding its feet. It’s amazing.

Avenue: This model/bottle monument turns off so many, but it’s the epicenter of the jetset culture it continues to define. Beaucoup bucks makes it relevant, and its celebrity clientele are unparalleled. Even the hipsters can come a couple of nights a week.

1OAK: The hipper, more street version of its neighbor Avenue still brings all the girls to the bar, and they have to charge (large) all the boys that follow. The music is always good for the mash-up crews

Pacha: Nobody does big DJs better. To the outside world Pacha is the only game in town. I have to admit that I am there more than once in a while for the monster trucks (international circuit DJs). Sometimes at 6AM it feels like nothing has changed.

Darby: A restaurant with a stage and live acts, the Darby, as I mentioned above, is not a club but a little bit more than an eatery. It’s certainly a place that scenesters includes in nightlife plans, and therefore makes this list. The downstairs lounge will open soon enough, propelling this space to a different level. I must repeat their mantra: Its a restaurant.

Lavo: Word on the street is “Lavo is killing it.” The euros and uptowners are people too. Grace Jones once said, “I’m not perfect but I’m perfect for you.” Lavo is perfect for the perfect people it caters too. With big DJs routing on their way to Vegas, food, tables, bottles, and a dressed up crowd, Lavo overflows its niche and makes the list. More napkins thrown in the air and bottles popped than anywhere. Somebody told me that Noah, just after investing in Artichoke Pizza, is now considering buying a sparkler factory. Smart guy.

St Jerome: I’ll put it here to represent all the dive bars and hole-in-the-walls that cater to a crowd too hip and cool to even think about the list above. I could of said Lit, which still has its moments, or even Max Fish with its new lease on life, but St Jerome, with its Gaga moments, crosses it over to top 10 (11) territory.

Webster Hall: Webster has never made any list I have ever made. However, solid bookings on its main stage, coupled with those in the newish Studio, have made it a contender. Its door policies are too democratic for my palate, but to the thousands upon thousands that visit it each week, it is home. The room has over a hundred years under its belt, and is the best room in town. I gave it a makeover a while back. When I visited it the other day I felt proud.

Other venues that are easily recommendable are Rose Bar, The Bowery Poetry Club, The Box, SubMercer, and your own fill in the blank. These are all 11’s or higher, depending on what YOU like. All are worthy. This list doesn’t include a gay venue, and therefore is completely irrelevant to me and so many of my friends. I’ll go there another day. It doesn’t consider White Noise, which might make a big noise, Hotel Chantelle, which is gearing up for it’s future, The Bunker, which may prove to be the real deal, or Goldbar, which still has its moments. There are some goings on at the Mondrian, and Stuart Braunstein may awaken the collective conscience in the bowels of Greenhouse. Rumors say that the turmoil within that organization will see a new beginning, or a new ending. I’m sure I forgot someplace fabulous, and I implore you to tell me.

Last night, club entrepreneur Matt Isaacs was subjected to a surprise party over at his Snap. The saying is nice guys finish last. When I left at 4am, nice guy Matt was the last guy standing, and I can’t quite figure out how he was doing that. Don’t call him today.

14th Street Stories & Mayhem

I was bouncing around 14th Street all day yesterday, buying lights, visiting job sites—even having lunch at La Taza de Oro a half block north on 8th Avenue. La Taza is one of those seminal New York Joints that are disappearing. (The New York I love is dying by pin pricks.) Its real-deal Puerto Rican fare at more than fair prices, served up nice and friendly. I saw Benicio Del Toro there one afternoon, and it’s not unusual to see downtown superstars like Raven O. getting grub. I used to eat there decades ago while waiting for my weekly meeting with Steve Rubell, who had his office across the street. They’d call me and say, “Steve is ready for you,” and I’d gobble up my rice and beans, pay the check, and rush to judgment. I was directing the Palladium for Steve and Ian, and my weekly meetings with Steve were like audiences with the Pope. Today, coincidentally, is the 31st anniversary of Steve’s conviction for skimming loot from Studio 54.

I did my rounds, which included a little tweak at Snap, where construction for the downstairs lounge will soon begin. The lounge has a name, a design, and a concept, but my designer hat can’t tell my writer hat what it is right now. I’ve been fighting with myself all morning. With the Jets still very much in the mix, green becomes a very interesting color. Not only is it the color of their uniform, but it represents the color of money, which bars—sports bars and pubs—are collecting at a greater-than-normal rate. Football is mostly played on Sundays or during the day. The games bring all the boys (and girls) to the bar, and much needed mid-winter revenues. Baseball, on the other hand, schedules most of its important games during prime time, which leaves joints empty until they finish. With a local team in the mix, joints will cash in big on Superbowl Sunday.

I wasn’t going to go out. The sleet and snow have me thinking of trashing my copy of the Inconvenient Truth. I’m having trouble embracing this Global Warming concept. Despite the conditions, Cayte Grieve, my fabulously fabulous editor and friend, was imploring me to join her at some shin dig. We met at The Darby, where the last of the diners were being shuffled off to other places. As checks were being processed and coats returned to patrons, red S.I.R. cases were loading in. S.I.R. stands for Studio Instrument Rentals. They provide gear for touring acts in need. I knew the reason they were there, as I have very big ears and was hovering around 14th Street all day. Prince was going to have his after party and jam at The Darby after his Madison Square Garden show. I was proud to see The Darby, my little baby, hosting such a fabulous soiree. Friends of mine were inviting me to Brooklyn Bowl, where his after party was rumored to really be. I knew better, but again, one hat wouldn’t allow the other hat to say anything.

Cayte, my Amanda, and I headed to The Bunker to see all that one can see. I hadn’t gone yet, even though I always adore Matt Abramcyk’s joints. Again, I have been conflicted. Although as a nightlife writer it behooves me to ‘visitate’ swanky places, my designer hat was wearing, not a grudge, exactly, but a disappointment. I need a shrink, or at least a Jamison. Back in ancient times, I used to enter what is now The Bunker. It didn’t have a name then, or a real staircase. You had to sort of climb down, jump the last 2 feet, and then wallow around in wet sand. I always wear sensible shoes, as I do tend to find myself wallowing a lot. Overhead the field of cobblestones from the street was only broken up by a manhole cover or some glass bricks that allowed daylight to trickle in. I thought it to be one of the most interesting and challenging raw rooms I had seen. My old partner and I did layouts and design. Since it’s under the actual street, there was all sorts of red tape, as the department of transportation plus the buildings department needed to be involved with licensing and oversight. Many bold face night club names claimed to be attached — and then detached — from the project. Last night, the place was unrecognizable to me. Its décor was no where near the design I had offered to Steve Hanson, the proprietor then, and the hush-hush proprietor now. I was told by someone employed by the spot that he is never mentioned, as it’s Matt’s gig. I love what they have done with the place, but alas, I loved what I wanted to do much more. Still, as Steve Rubell used to say about joints that were popping big time, “It’s a hit!” Arguing with success is something I’ll leave to other nightlife bloggers.

I was pleased to run into my buddy Dean Winters there. Careers have drawn us apart but we keep in touch and swore, swore, swore last night to have dinner soon. I love watching him as Mayhem in those insurance commercials. He brings more personality to a commercial than I can recall. Amanda pointed out that he’s the absolute biggest thing in commercials today, maybe replacing my other friend, actor Jonathan Goldsmith, who is the most interesting man in the world in those Dos Equis ads and absolutely, actually, truly is in real life. I was going to tell her about Mason Reese, my friend, who was a huge success in commercials in the 70’s before he almost grew up to run joints, but I thought I would be dating myself, which could result in me dating myself. Where is that Jamison?

Top 10 Nightlife Openings of 2010, From the Internets

I’m a big fan of the end-of-the-year round-ups that pop up during this in-between week of internet trolling. Sam Sifton, my crush at The New York Times put out his toplist, “A Critic’s Choice of Restaurant Newcomers,” which included Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Park gem Maialino, and The Breslin, a place that seems like it has been part of the fabric of NYC restaurant culture forever. One of my favorite no nonsense city blogs, Grade “A” Fancy, elected to round-up some of the greatest New York City bar and restaurants losses of 2010 in an intriguing video format. We already had our own formulated opinions on the best places we’d gotten drunk at in 2010, but were curious to see what venues garnered the most interest from readers based on end of the year web traffic results for BlackBook’s New York guide. Here we present our overall snapshot of interest in NYC nightlife venues—the Top 10 that opened in 2010.

Top 10 New Openings Based on Reader Interest

Provocateur Originally garnering backlash for having an untrained door staff and odd new door policy, Provocateur won over people looking for a more clubby, Euro scene in 2010.

Le Bain Naked photos surfaced from their opening night in June, and who doesn’t like a little NSFW nudity?

Bedlam Add Anderson Cooper relations and non-crazy celebrity sightings (SJP, for example) to a cozy Alphabet bar and you’ve got the new star-slumming spot.

Top of the Strand Any new rooftop boite is enough for people to take notice in the throes of spring. Add in set designer Lydia Marks of Sex and the City fame to the back story and you’ve got every Carrie wannabe in town popping in for a Cosmo.

The Bunker Club Excavate an old civil war bunker underneath 9th Avenue with the help of the Beatrice’s Matt Abramcyk and you’ve got buzz.

Good Units A thriving event space with emphasis on art, under-the-radar DJs and bands was the perfect edition to the Hudson Hotel’s interesting family.

Panda Beloved bar Passerby was replaced and supported by former regulars and ex employees who stayed committed to making the night jump off. Even master Joe Latimore came back from his hiatus in SF to open this two-room joint off Delancey.

Kastel People were excited for this sleek lounge in the back of Trump SoHo, and our Steve Lewis noted its quiet confidence and subtle sexiness backed by Trump money.

Bar Above Cabin AKA Black Market Cabins are everywhere these days and this untitled neighbor to the Cabin Down Below, with oysters and burgers and drinks, piqued interest in parties looking to get peaked in 2010. And then confused them on the internets by having trouble settling on a name.

Penthouse 808 Nightlife in Long Island City! This terrace lounge sprawling atop the Ravel Hotel got locals excited with jazz nights and DJs on the weekends, and got City residents amped for an alternate view of the skyline.

Last Night @ Bunker

Despite the elements, the general lack of cabs, and the overarching malaise brought on by the “snow-pocalypse,” Bunker packed in a surprisingly large group of Sorel-clad kiddies. Early on I spotted a few nightlifers with their parents who, as it turned out, were stuck in the city a few extra days and were keen on cutting loose with their kids to break out of their debilitating cabin fever mode. It was a fun mix of faces, all bonded together by the absurd state of the city, but I imagine this Tuesdays at Bunker party to be quite the destination in the coming months as people have been waiting for a regular Tuesday night party to rise to the occasion. One of the things that make a place great is reliability—a regular and consistant “night” that people can turn to without thinking. LA is built on this premise, since cars and valets keep nightlifers largely confined to one spot or area, but it’s not often a New Yorker can be sure where they’ll end up on a particular night. I think that the “hot night” syndrome will once again be on the rise thanks to a bevy of openings that seem to have a more specific entertainment POV, such as supper club newcomers The Darby and the Lambs Club. In the Bunker’s case, it’s big enough to host all different types of people, allowing patrons to migrate to different areas within the multi-platform spot that correspond to their varying degrees of intoxication. In any case, here are a few snaps from last night, taken by Tommy Mendes.







A Bunker Wonderland: A New Tuesday Party @ Bunker

I can think of very few things I’d brave these kinds of elements for, and tonight is on that short list. Pour one out for your stranded New York comrades (some not able to get a flight back into the city until New Years Eve) at Bunker tonight, where BlackBook and myself will be hosting a cozy little table underneath the frozen city. Have a hot toddy, strap on those winter proof Rachel Comey lace up booties and kick off Tuesdays at Bunker Club tonight. Because no one is really working this week anyway. Details after the jump.

Cure your cabin fever and celebrate the awkward in-between time after Christmas and before New Years, where we’re forever stuck in childhood.

Hosts: BlackBook’s Cayte Grieve Matt Kays William Vitiello

DJ: Josh Madden & Franco V

Midnight Snacks: A Few Suggestions For Your Friday Night

Party: Carmen Kass hosts cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to celebrate the launch of with Reet Aus. Time: 5PM-8PM Perks: Music by The Misshapes. More: Dear Carmen Kass, I love you. You could be hosting craptinis in your grandmother’s basement and I would be more than thrilled to go. Also, can we be friends? Thank you for having us, Holly.

Party: Join StyleCaster to celebrate the launch of Qwiki ( at Backstage (152 Orchard Street, LES, NYC). Time: 9PM Perks: Music by Neil Jackson + iPad DJ Rana Sobhany. Complimentary cocktails courtesy of VeeV Açaí Spirit. More: Backstage? Qwiki? iPad DJs? I have no idea what is going on here, but I like it. And drinking spirits made from Açaí berries make me feel better about my liver and general lack of concern for it. PS: Space is limited. RSVP:

Party: T*n*A at Thompson L.E.S Time: 10PM-2AM Perks: Drink specials, and elbow rubbing with fashion-y elbows. Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein host. Music by, you guessed it, T*n*A More: Does T*n*A stand for tits and ass, as the old adage goes? Also, you should really think about changing the asterisks to periods. It must be murder to BBM that to your friends mid-drink, amirite?

Party: Franco V’s 4th Birthday Celebration at the Bunker Club. Time: 11PM-4AM Perks: Franco V More: Darling, it’s tacky to pretend to know somebody just to get into the club of the moment, so don’t even think about pulling that trick, not for a second, do you hear me?

Party: Steven Rojas is DJing at the Soho Grand Tonight Time: 10PM-4AM Perks: What a GrandLife, right? More: The grands, Tribeca and Soho, have been powerhouses with staying power. Powerful stuff.

Party: Refresh Refresh Refresh at Happy Ending Time: 8PM-12PM. Perks: Ever wanted to be one of the cool kids on the internet, or just meet them? Those cool kids, including Leon Neyfakh, Katie Baker, Sasha Frere-Jones, Akiva Gottlieb, Nick Sylvester, and Mike Taylor will tell stories. More: I heard about it from the intranets, what does that tell you?

Party: Bear in Heaven plays with Twin Shadow, and Sun Airway at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Time: 8PM Perks: All bears go to heaven. More:

Party: Tame Impala plays their second consecutive sold out show with Stardeath And White Dwarfs, and Kuroma at Bowery Ballroom Time: 8:00 PM Perks: Tickets will release at 9:30PM, and will also be found on Craigslist, along with everything else you could ever want. More: Video from last night;

New York Openings: The Bunker Club, Realm, Buffalo Exchange

The Bunker Club (Meatpacking District) – Live it up deep below Ninth in this excavated party vault. ● Realm (Soho) – Euro-tinged high-end couture in a cast-iron storefront. ● Buffalo Exchange (Chelsea) – Thrift store’s buy-sell-trade philosophy makes for good fashion karma.

Itinerary: Halloween Parties Begin Tonight

Technically, Halloween festivities fired up as early as last week, but New Yorkers really get down to business tonight, extending their weekend via The Bunker Club, or The Gutter, and rolling through the weekend with 1Oak, the Boom Boom Room, and the Hudson Hotel, with some lovely Brooklyn markets and parade options thrown in the mix. Enjoy one of the best weekends in NYC, and remember: next year, Halloween will fall on a Monday.


Tonight Yelloween Location: The Bunker Club Time: 9pm Veuve Clicquot is hosting their “Yelloween” Halloween party this Thursday night at one of our favorites in the MePa.

Launch Party for the Renaissance Hotel’s RLife LIVE Location: Renaissance Hotel Time: 9pm The Renaissance Hotel is launching a new entertainment/cultural program called RLife LIVE and will feature performances from various RLife LIVE artists including Robin Thicke, Sam Ronson and Solange Knowles. It’s a free national program created for hotel guests and patrons in cities across the country, which allows them to experience the music industry on a more intimate level on site at Renaissance properties.

Scott Sartiano’s Birthday Party Location: 1Oak Time: The usual time parties at clubs start. DJs Jus-Ske and Harley&Cassie help Scott celebrate.

Friday HallowMeme Costume Party Location: The Gutter Time: 8:00pm-2:00am Join Know Your Meme & Urlesque for the 2nd Annual HallowMeme Costume Party. Dress like your favorite meme, viral video subject or other Internet phenomenon. There’ll be free drinks, live performances, giveaways, a photobooth, and awesome prizes for the best costumes.

Saints & Sinners Location: De Santos Time: 10:00pm-2:00am Mandatory costumes with $40 open bar.

Saturday House of Horrors at Santos Location: Santos Party House Time: 9pm Guests include DJ Cobra Starship and Taryn Manning and Eddie the Gun.

Kinda Scary Halloween Party Location: Thompson LES, Shang Time: 9pm Rex Sortgatz hosts a costume party in which guests come as terrifying or spooky media and tech personalities. Prizes awarded for best costume.


The Bowery Hotel Presents Ghosts of New York Location: The 2nd floor of the Bowery Hotel When: 11pm Celebrating Halloween and the world premiere of Nigh Home, a film by Gary Breslin. Join hosts Johnny Christ, Laura Cooper Brown, Brooke Geahan, Gary Breslin, and Brian DeGraw.

Day & Night present Seven Deadly Sins Time: 12pm-4pm Location: The Oak Room at the Plaza Start celebrating early with brunch at The Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel with the Koch twins.

2nd Annual Haunted Candyland Halloween Location: Le Poisson Rouge Time:10:30pm-3am The Sky Group pairs specialty cocktails with specialty candy and a whole lot of crazy.

Heaven or Hell Party Location: RdV Time: 11pm-3am Jamie-Lynn Sigler hosts this good/evil bash.

GrandLife Halloween Party Location: Tribeca Grand Time: 10pm-4am Hosted by Timo Weiland, Carol Han, Steven Rojas and DJ sets by The Misshapes, Harley&Cassie, and matt + maia.

The Hudson Hotel Presents DJs Jus Ske & Jesse Marco Where: Hudson Hotel Time: 10pm Hosted by 4AM in Hudson Hall.

Library Bar Presents the Tequila Avion Lounge Location: Library Bar at Hudson Time: 10pm-2am Our very own Steve Lewis DJs with Paul Sevigny.

La Roux at Hudson Bar Location: Hudson Time: 10pm-12am 2 hour DJ set by La Roux.

Veuve Clicquot’s Nightmare on 13th St. Location: Bagatelle Time: 8pm Veuve Clicquot throws a their Halloween bash to start off the night right.

image Sunday Halloween Market at Kings County General Store Location: Kings County General Store (125 Fifth Ave. in Brooklyn) Time: 12pm-5pm The local market has drink specials and free admission to the afternoon fall festivities.

Angels and Devils party at The Standard Location: Boom Boom Room Andre Balazs, Andre Saraiva, Olivier Zahm host your good and your bad side at the party of the evening.

Not Your Standard Bingo Location: The Standard Grill Costumes, prizes pre-Boom Boom Room.

Village Halloween Parade Location: Spring Street at Sixth Ave running up to 21st on Sixth Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm The classic parade at dusk in the Village.