New York: Top 10 Bars for a Bathroom Hookup

Per Se at the Time Warner Center (Midtown West) – Discreet and intimate, with stunning attention to detail. That’s how one would choose to describe this advanced gastronomy resto at the Time Warner Center. It doubles for the bathrooms. Discreet, intimate, and roomy. I can name more than a few hookup tales thanks to these private rooms. ● 1 Oak (Chelsea) – Private bathrooms lined in a row for a gorgeous group waiting in a line. Floor to ceiling coverage, low lighting, and mirrors where you just barely make out your own reflection. Bonus for the fact the attendant never seems to be around. Maybe he’s getting it on as well? ● Plaza Hotel (Midtown West) – Act like you’re old money having an affair like the rest of the clientele. Restrooms are private and off main grid of the palace, though everyone’s too wrapped up in themselves to notice your vulgar behavior. Posh, gilded — dare we say fucking tacky — catering to tacky, sexy quickies.

Back Forty (East Village) – Such a virtuous, healthy restaurant — the scene for a hookup? Named for the unplanted quarter of 160-acre homestead where farmers get wasted after long days baling hay, the idea brings to mind your romp-in-the-hay fantasy. Just me? Well, the clean, private bathrooms, left unattended and rarely used, provide room for some other fantasies. ● The Cooper Square Hotel (East Village) – Some might blame an amorous evening on the beautiful views, but you could venture to also place blame on the size of the bathrooms. Everything is low key — even the lobby is unassuming. Small, clean lines, and lots of places to get lost in, including the bathrooms. ● BEast (Chinatown) – Should Chinatown bathrooms be this clandestine? Clean, separate, all-white water closets act more like a hangout space than anything else. ● The Box (Lower East Side) – The attendants are busy flirting with the regulars somewhere, the cushion-covered, plush restrooms seem as though they were made for a hookup. The stalls aren’t exactly private, but that makes it all the more dangerous. ● Raines Law Room (Flatiron) – What laws? Speakeasy vibe and overall privacy of this joint plants the seed; the floor to ceiling doors shut out the noise and bring to mind more dirty deeds. And if you need any more suggestions, consider the bathroom wallpaper: stick figures in various sexual positions. Subtle! ● Bungalow 8 (Chelsea) -“It’s a standby” says [redacted] enthusiastically about banging in the Bungalow loos. In his professional experience, one should slip the always-friendly attendant a $20, and do as you like. The sexy lights, sturdy counter tops, and close quarters will do the rest. ● Baddies (West Village) – Here, it’s all about the mirrors. Small, unlit hallway leading to the bathrooms helps as well. Single, private rooms, though not a lot of room to get creative. Still, people will leave you alone to get the job done.

Photo: Purple Diary

New York: Top 10 Summer Cocktails

Cold cocktails and summer go together. Whether you’re sitting by the beach or running from your office at the stroke of five to cool down at the nearest bar, the only question is: what is the most rockin,’ balls-to-the-wall, delicious, sunshine-inspired beverages out there? This list will get you started on a summer journey through NYC’s nooks and crannies, keeping your taste buds tantalized through at least October 1.

● Wailer’s Island Punch @ The Bourgeois Pig (East Village) – You don’t need to fly to Jamaica to feel like you are on an island listening to Bob Marley and his Wailers. All you need do is head to the East Village, order the Wailer’s Island Punch, and you will assuredly hear steel drums by your second glass. The muddled raspberries, Pedro Ximenez sherry, pineapple juice, lime, and Pol Roger champagne mixtures will have you jammin.’

● Beet Sangria @ Tailor (Soho) – Any chance to infuse vegetables into your liquor is healthy! I tend to even harbor the notion that I am doing some good to that bikini body by sipping on the Beet Sangria made from red wine, brandy, Triple Sec, orange juice, beet juice, and orange salt. The red of the beets brings out the red of the wine — or vice versa — and makes for a bold-colored, tasty treat. Another veggietail perfect for summer is the Bell Pepper Margarita; it’s fiery and makes you feel like you’ve traveled south of the border, or is that just the blazing sun on the Manhattan concrete? Either way, these drinks will simultaneously heat you up and cool you off.

● The Myra Breckinridge @ Death & Co (East Village) – The cocktails are crafted with such care, detail, and finesse at this cool speakeasy that you ultimately cannot choose wrong. For the piping-hot months of July, August, and I’ll throw in September for good measure, try one of the concoctions from the “Indian Summer” menu. The “Myra Breckinridge” features Laphroaig single-malt scotch, absinthe, fresh lime juice, and sugarcane syrup. And to add a little rum to your punch, try the “Gantt’s Tomb,” consisting of Goslings rum, Rittenhouse rye, El Dorado 151-proof rum, fresh pineapple, orange and lemon juice, and Allspice Dram. So many ingredients, so little time to try them all.

● Caipirinha @ Paladar (Lower East Side) – Nothing says summer like a day of sipping on caipirinhas. The mint and lime are muddled to perfection at this Latino digs on Ludlow. Drinks are half price from 4-7pm, so might I suggest starting while the sun is still shining high? Those pestering sweat beads on your brow will dissipate in no time.

● Basil 8 @ Table 8 (East Village) – The Cooper Square Hotel restaurant is aesthetically pleasing, uber-trendy and so hot right now. The “Basil 8” is made with Ketel One vodka, white grapes, basil, lime juice, and ginger ale. White grapes are a staple fruit of summer, and putting them into a cocktail will keep you stapled to the bar.

● Frozen Mojito @ Cabanas at the Maritime Hotel (Chelsea) – It’s a slushy with alcohol … need I say more? This drink embodies summer, as does the fact that you will be enjoying it on a tremendous rooftop. Stargazing is also a plus, and ya’ll know I am not talking about the stars in the sky.

● Bittersweet Mimosa @ The Stanton Social (Lower East Side) – Brings bravado to your everyday mimosa. Yes, I like to have one every day. It is composed of Moscato d’Asti, Campari, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Flavorful, refreshing, and oh-so yummy. Be careful of the midafternoon hangover. Go sleep it off on the beach; just don’t drive there.

● The Sun and Moon @ Haven (Midtown East) – Made with U’luvka vodka, fresh pineapple juice, lime juice, and muddled sage. A simple, amiable way to start drinking by day and keep right on until the moonlight. There are also $13 pitchers of a featured mixed drinks served daily during happy hour, plus burlesque parties every Thursday starting at 9pm with an open bar from 9-10pm. Summertime cocktails and nipple tassels, anyone?

● Dirty Martini @ Angel’s Share (East Village) – Tucked away above a Japanese restaurant, this “no standing allowed” lounge demands courtesy and etiquette; you’ll never find yourself cramped with a bunch of sweaty folks just off the hot streets, as you must be in a chair to drink at this establishment. No more chairs means you have to wait, but yummy cocktails come to those who do. The vodka or gin (depending on which tickles your fancy) come with the olive juice on the side, so you can dirty it up to taste. Combined with the vibe, the conversation gets better with each beverage, and so does your date’s appearance.

● Gold Cup Mint Julep @ Hotel Griffou (Greenwich Village) – OK, it’s just a mint julep served in a gold cup. But this place is so brand spanking new and trendy, and who doesn’t love a classic mint julep in the summertime? The gold cup is just a bonus.

Industry Insiders: Sandra Ardito, Giving the OK to KO

Sandra Ardito heads sales, marketing and special events for KO Hospitality Management (Cooper Square Hotel, Empire Hotel, Hotel on Rivington, and Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City). We met the hospitality connoisseur at the Cooper Square Hotel to get the scoop on the Hamptons Memorial Day hotspot, the Reform Club Inn (suites and private cottages in Amagansett), working for Ian Schrager, and why we should stay at Cooper Square (besides the fact that it’s the location of the Bjork’s afterparty tonight).

Is this the first hotel KO has developed? No, we did the Empire Hotel on 63rd Street, and we did the Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City for Paul Sevigny and Matt Abramcyk. For those hotels, I would describe us as the hired guns.

Who are the other members of the KO team? Klaus Ortlieb, Yana Yevinson, Meg Burnie, Manuela Kolb, and Annie Ohayon.

How’d you get here? I was the director of special events at Chanterelle. Budgets were $250,000 to a million back then. And while there, I moonlighted by helping people open their restaurants. I opened the Harrison with owner Jimmy Bradley. I met some amazing people, like Joey Campanaro from Little Owl. I was Jason and Jen’s investor at ‘ino on Bedford street. Eventually, Meg Burnie brought me into meet Klaus at the Hotel on Rivington. That’s when I left Chanterelle. My first event at the Rivington was Timothy Greenfield Sander’s XXX Book. Bill Dye called me to be part of Gramercy Park Hotel with Ian Schrager. We opened with the Marc Jacobs party on September 11, 2006, after working for months nonstop. I shadowed Ian for the two nights before we opened the hotel. He had receptions for all of his friends and was surprised at how I knew them. He said, “You are the girl, you are going to do this.” It was like a love letter. And he trained me and nurtured me into this role. Finally, Klaus started KO Hospitality Management about a year and a half ago and asked me if I wanted to be a partner. It was very hard to leave Ian. At KO, we work with owners and developers from ground-up construction. We attaché the restaurant, the architect, the interior designer, and conceptualize the entire project.

Something unique about Cooper Square Hotel? Every book in the Cooper Square hotel was picked through Housing Works, which is a charity for AIDS victims. People can purchase the books and the money will go to the charity. Klaus is a seasoned professional who only takes on projects he believes in. He worked with Andre Balazs and Ian Schrager for years. He wanted the experience at Cooper Square to be completely different, that’s why there’s no reception desk. There’s a lobby host who shows you to your room. It’s about personal attention. Klaus sat on 575 chairs until he choose what he felt was the right one. We’re also building a screening room on the second floor. There’s an indoor/outdoor bar on the second floor as well, and a 3,000-square-foot terrace.

What is your specific contribution? The total experience here. I hand-picked the staff. What Ian and Klaus have given me, I hope to give to someone else.

What’s the next project? We are helicoptering to the Reform Club Inn in Amagansett to get ready to open for Memorial Day weekend.

What music do you listen to? Rock ‘n roll — Iggy Pop, The Raconteurs, Jane’s Addiction.

Favorite artist? Radek Szczesny.

Favorite restaurants? ‘inoteca, Little Owl, and James in Brooklyn

Favorite bar? Royal Oak in Williamsburg, Madame Geneva in the Double Crown and Bowery Electric.

Favorite hotel? East Deck in Montauk for a retro motel and The Crillion in Paris for high-end.

Who do you admire in the business? I grew up reading about Ian Schrager and then had the pleasure of working for him. He hired me to be his director of special events. The man who started the party is looking at me and letting me see his vision. It’s an honor and the best compliment. I also admire Klaus Ortlieb for his loyalty, compassion, and integrity, and Nur Khan for the incredible way he takes care of people

Who do you feel does it right? Joe and Jason Denton of ‘inoteca and Lupa

What’s something people don’t know about you? I’m an avid gardener and spend all my money on plants for my roof deck that I made totally grassroots style with my boyfriend.

What are you doing tonight? Going to Bjork’s concert at Housing Works and then to her after party at Cooper Square Hotel.

Photo: Mike Mabes

Saving the Beatrice

imageI attended the “Save the Beatrice” party at the brand spanking new Cooper Square Hotel. Paul Sevigny promised a free save the Bea T-shirt if I came. He has not kept his word. However, he does promise to keep his word to the New York City Buildings Department. A hearing today will clarify what the department will require the Beatrice Inn team to do in order to reopen. Paul promises he’s “more than willing to fix anything that is required and to address any issues that they have.” I asked him if the joint will open soon, and he replied, “Hell yeah.”

The party was a blast — like from the past when clubs were super duper and you couldn’t tell a count from a knave as everyone looked fabulous. Chloë Sevigny, Paul’s uber-fabulous sister, came over to mess up what little hair I have left and talk about little things. I’ve known her since before it all became amazing, and she is as genuine now as she was way back when. Lots of people introduced us, and it was sweet the way she made me feel important. Jen Brill told anyone in earshot — which included Lizzy Trullie, Leo Fitzpatrick, and just about everybody on earth I actually like to see — that I had banned her from clubs a long time ago and therefore put her on a straighter and narrower path. Paul told me he had secured the insanely fabulous roof penthouse Tuesday at 8 p.m., giving him virtually no time to pull this event together. The sound arrived by Fedex Friday. Red Bull, Belvedere, and Sandra from the Cooper Square were saints according to Sir Paul. The T-shirts (which I never got) arrived at 9:30 p.m. the night of party, and the supreme donated “fuck em” buttons came that late as well.

Ashley Olson was hanging out, plus famous artists and DJs, and even rare man about town Matt Damhave, whom I’ve got to collaborate with again. We did Plaid together. Prior to the party, my office contacted me. It seems that a certain gentleman who could not get guestlisted felt that I could get him in. I was offered, through intermediaries, money to get him past Angelo and into the soiree. The last number I heard was $1,250 cash. I turned it down, even though I can always use a quick 1250. I told him again, through channels, that the reason I could actually get him in is that I would never take a bribe. I retold this story to mega-doorperson Angelo as I arrived, and he knew the dude’s name and gave me a brief history of the man. It was a sad, desperate tale.

The future of nightlife will be wrapped around hotels such as the Cooper, the Standard, and the Thompson LES, as well as the Gramercy. The hotel spots have a number of huge advantages over the non-connected lounges. They usually pay a percentage of profits rather than a fixed rent to the hotel. The hotel pays for the build-out and considers the space part of the hospitality package it must offer to guests. Things like cleanup, PR, maintenance, some security, and some management are all built in and paid for by the property. There’s always a built-in crowd loaded with tourist dollars — always the easiest to pry from customers’ hands. The standalone lounge is at an extreme disadvantage from day one. It’s also fairly easy for a hotel to obtain licensing. We will see many more hotel-related hotspots going forward.

Industry Insiders: Nathan Ellis, Master of Presentation

Syndicate PR’s founder Nathan Ellis on spearheading the popularity of the Fashion Week presentation format, earning Anna Wintour’s approval and looking forward to the most imaginative designer each season.

What has been your most memorable Fashion Week moment so far? One is the 2007 Petrescu project with Trovata, where we created characters inspired by the collection and then unleashed them on an unsuspecting Fashion Week. When WWD ran an article on the stunt mid-Fashion Week because Radar.com speculated it might be an Ali G prank, I knew we had created something that would really raise eyebrows. Page Six outed us the last day of Fashion Week, and we celebrated with a party hosted by, quite naturally, the faux Romanian socialites and Waris.

What events are you handling this year? This year there’s not a whole lot going on in terms of producing anything. Instead, we’re hosting at the properties we represent in the city — Cooper Square and Thompson LES most notably, but also the Gramercy Park Hotel. This whole season is pretty much a wash in terms of parties … everybody canceled everything, and the shows that are happening are pretty muted. We were really heavy into the fashion show production business but have been taking a break the last two seasons, and we’re going to get back into it in the fall when things stabilize a little bit.

Are there any events that you’re particularly excited about? Typically the anticipated events are the Calvin Klein and the Marc Jacobs parties, neither of which are happening. But what we have going on at the Thompson LES is the IMG Fashion Week kickoff, which should be a lot of fun. It brings together a lot of people from the business, and it’s a traditional start to the week. Then we’re doing an infamous dinner party for Derek Lam, and we’ll be hosting small groups at Above Allen throughout Fashion Week. I think a lot of the socializing this Fashion Week is going to go down in that manner. The after-parties are quite muted, but there are still people coming into town, and they’re still going to want to get together and socialize.

What has been your most hectic season so far? Right when we were launching the Gramercy Park Hotel and we did the production for Philip Lim, Alexander Wang, Trovata, and Vena Cava’s show. We did the launch of Edun for Bono’s One campaign, and I believe we produced Jovovich-Hawk that season also. It was just a tremendous amount of stuff going on simultaneously that was all really exceptional in some way. What I remember about that season was the sheer volume, but also how quality everything we were involved in was and just being completely exhausted at the end of the week — it was basically a 15-day marathon where we had something going on almost every day.

What’s the most challenging part of production for Fashion Week? The most difficult part of Fashion Week is that it’s an endurance test. It can be extremely draining, and you also have to understand that these designers put their heads in the guillotines every Fashion Week. For the younger ones, especially, they’re judged a great deal on that particular presentation. It can create a lot of momentum, and it can also cost them a lot of momentum. So it’s a tremendous amount of pressure because you’re putting months and months of preparation into something that lasts ten minutes tops, and you’re going to be judged by the media. It can be very stressful and the clients — rightfully so –are fairly demanding, and a lot of times you’re asked to work with tight budgets and make a dollar out of 15 cents.

What’s the best way to deal with the pressure? The way to look at it is to see things as a great challenge. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to create a spectacular moment. One of my best memories of our work was a show with Philip Lim, which was the first time he presented. We did a really amazing sculptural presentation in a really unique space, and the whole thing was done for about $25,000. People thought it was beautiful, nailed the collection, and did what a show was supposed to do.

You are given a lot of credit for starting the trend of presentations to challenge established runway shows. How did that begin? I think it all comes down to hitting the notes that the collection hits and doing something that really helps to tell that story. What you’re doing with a show each and every time is telling a story. The amazing thing about New York, is that you think you know this city, but opportunities always pop up when you look at things a little bit closer and you really walk down a block and see it with a fresh pair of eyes. I think that we initially went that route because I had never worked in fashion PR production, and I really felt that there were alternative ways of telling a story than just putting models on a runway. It also satisfied some budget constraints, so we did the first Trovata show in The National Arts Club — no one had ever done an event there. We really used what the space already had to tell the story of their collection, and it was a really good match … people were really charmed by it.

What are the benefits of the presentation format? I think you have to look at each brand and each season in a different way, but I think that it did catch on because it’s a refreshing way, and it cuts out all of the trouble of getting people in and seated. At a presentation, you have a nice hour window where people can come see it at their leisure and go. I think we finally gave that format some credibility when we did one with Trovata at an art gallery. Anna Wintour commented in her “Letter from the Editor” that it was one of the most charming and commercially persuasive shows at Fashion Week. And obviously her opinion carries a lot of weight, because she was known up to that point for really favoring runway shows and not really being a huge fan of presentations.

What shows do you look forward to most? I feel like going to the Marc Jacobs show is always a right of passage as a New Yorker. I remember the first time I was able to go, it was a very big deal to me, and it was a very exciting thing. So on the macro, rock-star level, that’s definitely the top one. But then the cool thing about Fashion Week is that you never really know where that special show is going to come from in terms of the younger designers. Shipley & Halmos is always doing things cleverly and in an interesting way; Alexander Wang is the same, and he’s even transitioning now. He had his early moment where he was the new kid on the block, and now he’s settling into building a brand, expanding it and becoming a real contender. But I feel like there’s always one designer every season who captures people’s imaginations and most people weren’t aware of — that’s the power of the potential. You can be an unknown brand with a $25,000 show budget, and then after Fashion Week, you can have some of the most influential people in the world singing your praises.