Sons of Essex’s Matt Levine Talks About His New, Yet-To-Open Mysterious Space At 205 Chrystie St.

With The Elsinore poised to open up in just a week or so, things on that very strange block Stanton between Bowery and Chrystie are taking yet another step in a new direction. Because it effectively dead-ends on both sides, traffic is very restricted, which has made it a home for those less fortunate who have gathered near the Bowery Mission for eons. The New Museum and a string of art galleries, boutiques, and little restaurants have given a new look to the area. The streets are still a bit dark and the well-heeled walk fast, past the shoeless, as new development gears to bring even more change. Matt Levine and his posse have taken the 205 Chrystie space which has, like much of the people hanging around it these days, …never amounted to anything. There was a run with rock promo icons like Vegas that offered a handful of fun nights. It was a kind of cool dive bar called 6’s and 8’s. There was even a foray by the usually perfect Serge Becker of Miss Lily’s and

La Esquina fame. At 205, he was a little less than perfect. Matt Levine is hot with his Sons of Essex, a smash success. I asked him to tell me what he could tell me at this very early stage. He couldn’t say much as the process of opening is long and rife with obstacles.
 
The block dead-ends on both sides, a very unique situation which traditionally made it very…wonkie. Now there are cool boutiques and The Elsinore about to open, The Box is still wonderfully fun around the corner, and the park across Chrystie is beautiful. So you feel it’s a good time to get in?
My partner Michael Shah has a great eye for real estate, and this block, being a passageway from the Lower East Side to Soho, has always intrigued me.
 
You have been wildly successful at Sons of Essex and you had a great run at The Eldridge. You love the neighborhood. Talk about where it is heading…
We are always randomly bumping into each other on the streets of the LES; the Lower East Side is a true neighborhood in every sense of the word, a community within a community. I see the growth of the LES, beyond "nightlife;" daily foot traffic is increasing during the daytime due to the growth of art galleries, boutiques, cafes, coffee shops, and creative agencies- we all support each others’ entrepenurial spirits.
 
What else fills your days?
Everyday, a new lesson learned.

Industry Insiders: Brian Stanziale, Sloane Ranger

Ever since his eclectic creations began earning plaudits from New York City style bloggers, fashion designer Brian Stanziale has been making the transition from underground design genius to the next big thing. Specializing in the art of transformation, he uses a variety of techniques to reconstruct simple, vintage garments, giving birth to an entire line of one-of-a-kind statement pieces that could easily be worn by Lady Gaga or any other fearless fashion maverick. Under the name Sloane NYC, the line was formerly sold out of an old factory building on the outskirts of Chinatown, where it attracted a loyal following of socialites and fashion trailblazers (like Kate Hudson and Genevieve Jones). The space, which has since closed its doors, served as a fashion laboratory and showroom for Stanziale’s inventive designs, doubling as an underground party spot at night. Fortunately, Stanziale’s journey didn’t end there. He recently launched a new line of redesigned vintage under his own name. Here, the designer comments on life before and after the death of Sloane NYC.

Early Work: I studied [fashion design] in Chicago at Colombia College, which I hated. It’s the most stifling thing for a creative person to study what you want to do. I moved to New York and started working at this shop called Operations and from there I built my book as a window designer; [working] for Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Dolce and Gabbana, but all the while still sewing in my apartment at night and giving things to friends here and there.

Sloane NYC, the store: It turned into Sloane NYC through my friend Aaron Genuth who had the space. I was working on a lingerie collection at the time and we needed a spot to shoot and the store was empty, except for racks of vintage clothing and a few sewing machines in the back. He was like, “You should just shoot it here, I’m not doing anything with it.” In between shots, I started taking the vintage clothing and just fucking with these pieces, and making them cool. Myla (the model) was like, “Lets shoot them.” The photographer was down, I was down, so we ended up getting six packs of beer and having a 20-hour day. We realized that we had a product, and Aaron was like, “Let’s do the store.”

Favorite techniques: I find pieces that might have been crazy and amazing to begin with, but are a little outdated, or take things that were just basic, simple. I like experimenting with the way that you wear basic things, making you look at something in a completely different way. Shredding is fun, but it makes me nervous. I like inverting things; I find the inner construction of garments to be the most beautiful thing on earth. I took this one YSL skirt and I flipped it inside out. The outside was this matte, basic fabric. It was a pleated, Mary-Jane skirt, but the inside had this shiny satin, all this hand detailing, and the seams; the way that they were bound was mind-blowing. I flipped it inside out, switched the zippers, studded the bottom, and put suspenders on it.

The Clientele: Kate Hudson bought a sweater, which is pretty cool. Catherine Malandrino’s creative director came in on our first day and spent an hour and a half. Also, the creative director for this brand named Oasis. Art directors, stylists, local socialites. The exact person that I’m trying to target is people who don’t care if it’s new, don’t care if it’s old, just care if it’s chic. People who get excited to dress.

Basement parties: Idle hands are the devil’s playground, and it was once an idle space. We didn’t really decide, the space decided for us. There was a bar built in when we got there. We decided to make it a whole lifestyle idea; we’d have customers come in and we’d be like, “Go check out downstairs.” There would always be something going on, whether it was 10 a.m. and we just had liquor or a joint left over from the night before. There was always some reason to send people who we wanted to infuse into the brand downstairs. You’d buy a jacket and then all of a sudden you’ve spent the last 3 hours playing beer pong in the basement. The gates went down, the curtains shut, you could have the biggest rager on earth and the entire building was empty so we didn’t have any neighbors to worry about. If we didn’t have parties there, we would’ve been the biggest losers in the city.

Brian Stanziale, the label: After we got Sloane going and off the ground, we lost our space, but I still loved what I was doing. I had this weird moment where I was like, if I was to be known for doing just this, I wouldn’t mind. It would make me really happy. Then I launched Brian Stanziale, which is the same concept. I’m at a point now where I’m realizing that stuff has to sell, so I’m doing stuff that’s not as crazy as I’d like it to be. The brand that is going to be my name is just going to be over the top, out of this world stuff; think Lady Gaga on crack.

The bright future: In a couple years, I’d like to have a five-story chateau in France next to Valentino’s. Honestly when I moved to New York, I made a conscious statement to myself, like “I’m going to be young, broke, and hungry for a long time, I know this.” It’s an expensive city, and there is nothing but amazing competition, and talent everywhere. Every time a plane lands, or a bus comes, in or a car crosses the bridge, there are people that are younger, taller, richer, skinnier, and more talented. You know that you’re going to have to fight for anything that you’re going to have.

Go-to places: I was just at The Eldridge, and it was pretty nice. And I like Kenmare.

NYC: All the Week’s Parties

With Spring comes a veritable shift in nightlife. Not only are rooftops reopening and patios getting their shine on, but people start feeling inspired to jumpstart their social life and there are plenty of new offerings vying to be the jumper cables. Simonez makes a jump to Pravda on Wednesday nights (an attendees sardonic review: “Like the Vanity Fair Oscar party combined with being backstage at Woodstock”), and Mike has started using his Apartment to shoot rap videos. Meanwhile, all wait with baited breath to see what will become of the old Nells/new Scott and Richie spot, which is set to open next month.

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. 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. 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.

FRIDAY

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:

SATURDAY

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:

SUNDAY

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. ● Arlo and Esme has something called Buns and Puns, free Jell-O shots starting at 7:30PM.

MONDAY

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:

TUESDAY

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:

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.

WEDNESDAY

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. ● 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. ● 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

All the Week Parties

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 great standbys for good times, while the down-belows like Macao’s basement opium den, is also great. ● Baddies (West Village) – The former Butter party was screwed with until it finally flew the coop to the basement bar of Kingswood. Resident hipster DJs Matt & Maia draw out big name fashion folks like Alexander Wang and the Ronsons.

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.

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.

FRIDAY

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.

SATURDAY

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.

SUNDAY

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.

MONDAY

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.

TUESDAY

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.

WEDNESDAY

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

Lower East Side Reborn (as a Fat Baby)

At the beginning of the aughts, scenesters were already chattering that the Lower East Side was dead. After decades of hosting immigrant cultures and earning a reputation as the neighborhood most likely to relieve you of your wallet, Max Fish be damned, its moment as an urban frontier for artists and cool kids, off the radar of tourists and the tragically unhip, ended quickly. It rapidly swarmed with high-end boutiques and expensive lounges and out of town guests directed there by a knowing concierge, while staples like Luna Lounge, Tonic and Collective Unconscious were forced out of the ‘hood they helped create.

Because the new offerings were targeted to a bland, wealthy audience dependent on the ‘00s boom economy, and unlikely to move into apartments the size of tenements, whatever the counter-tops were made of, it was predicted that customer traffic would eventually trickle down and high-rents would topple the new neighborhood order. Blogs like Eater pulled no punches when reporting on venues like The Blue Seats, whose initial customer “deal” was to offer NFL game-day seat reservations for $50 a piece – excluding the cost of drinks. (Despite being “Deathwatched,” Blue Seats is still open for business.) Back in 2006, I had an assignment to write a piece about the rumored closing of Ludlow Street’s split-level club Libation and what that meant for the neighborhood. It, too, is still open.

In fact, despite the financial and real estate markets having soured, business is still booming on the LES. Clothing boutiques abound in even greater numbers than they did five years ago. The pricey and unremarkable restaurant at the Hotel On Rivington, now called Levant East, seems to be humming along after several misfires. The weekend lines outside the overpriced, widely-reviled, tightly-packed rock club Fat Baby are long, and brimming with a bridge and tunnel crowd. There’s no shortage of acclaimed restaurants or $6 draft beers within arm’s reach of the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington. It’s hard to get weekend seating at beer havens Spitzer’s Corner or the Marshall Stack and just about impossible to spend less than $20 on two beers and an appetizer in either venue.

And, there’s so much more to come. At least two dozen nightlife venues have opened, or are about to open, in the hood this year, despite the recession. Apparently, flavorless gentrification can go on and on and on, a lesson we should have learned from the Meat Packing District.

The LES’s new hangouts include, The Doghouse, a cavernous dive bar that serves free hot dogs; Meatball Shop, self-explanatory; T-Poutine, dishing up the newly trendy Canadian confection involving fries, gravy and cheesecurds; Los Feliz, a three-story upscale taco and tequila bar; Thompson LES, a trendy hotel with a poolside lounge and a zero-star restaurant (hello, alumni sorority mixer!); Bia Garden, a mostly-hidden Vietnamese beer garden; an upcoming piano bar AND an upcoming karaoke lounge; and yet another unnamed, unlisted speakeasy far from the subway. I don’t intend to label any of these concepts as dreadful (Los Feliz and Bia Lounge seem to be well-regarded), but none of them seem particularly inventive, with their well-studied, one concept hook. Would you brag about any of those things to your out-of-town friends to justify your four-figure rent?

Of course, if you’re forced to hang on the LES, which inevitably, you will be, many of the spots that opened in the aughts, and especially the later aughts, aren’t so bad. If you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well enjoy a Banh Mi and a good cocktail. So if you do find yourself wandering south of Houston, east of Bowery, here’s a game plan that works. The LES is dead, long live the LES.

Eat lunch at An Choi. The entire menu is superb, and it’s a particularly suitable place to grab a lunchtime banh mi and beer — and if daytime drinking is not your thing, the Roasting Plant serves exceptional coffee mere steps away. Grab first date drinks at Allen & Delancey, which still runs an impressive bar even if the kitchen is infamously volatile. Get your snack fix at Mikey’s Burger, imminently opening in the old Rush Hour space, where Michael Huynh promises to offer clever Asian spinoffs of the American classic. Browse leather jackets at Orchard Street on Sundays, when pedestrians reclaim the street from vehicles and the storefront’s move their racks to road’s center. Drink one of the last cheap PBRs around at Welcome To The Johnsons, which hasn’t changed since you were last there in 2004. Find one of the first respectable LES sushi restaurants at Uo (mostly unmarked, above longtime resident 151 Bar). Eat fresh liquid-nitrogen-made ice cream — indeed, they make it right in front of you with KitchenAid Artisan mixers — at Lulu And Mooky’s. Get your dance party fix at 200 Orchard, once the hottest new neighborhood nightclub in 2007, for just over a month until it had licensing issues — it recently reopened, finally. You know exactly what you’re getting at Stuffed Artisan Cannolis (as a self-respecting Italian I can tell you that the regular cannolis are good, but the cannolis with unusual fillings, PB&J, pumpkin spice, are better). Finally, if you are nightlife royalty and you must do one thing that is late-night, exclusive, luxurious and satisfying, stop at The Eldridge. You will find a buzzworthy hotspot that delivers the goods — if you can get past the doorman

A Gift List for Clubdom

The ghosts of Christmas past drive me to self-analytical frenzy, that gets mixed in with the shopping and the holiday greetings whirlwind. Then there’s the, “I love her, she loves me not, she loves me, I can’t stand her 75 percent of the time” pantomime. That leads into who? what? where? New Year’s Eve desperation. With work and traffic, money runs and non-stop Christmas muzak, I think I’m starting to lose it. Gonna leave you to your thing and I’ll go do mine. Before I go, I’m going to give some clubs some uncle Steve advice: What “should” each club want for Christmas?

Avenue: A deep breath. 1Oak: Another year like this one. Or better– like the year before, as the recession comes to an end. Boom Boom Room/18th floor: A laugh track and a high-speed money counter. Bungalow 8: A real deal redux and a neighborhood revival. The Jane: Another chance! The Beatrice : Clarity. Rose Bar : A Basquiat and a big hug. Provocateur: Patience and humility. Simyone: Diversity to go along with all that quality, good looks and charm. Rdv: A “stay true to your school” t-shirt. Cielo: A moment away from cops and courts to concentrate on the real club side of things. Pacha: The same plus a VIP host who knows everybody in clubdom and gets them to come. Lit: A clone for Mr. Foss and a swiffer sweeper. Apotheke: More of the old (crowd) and more of the same (delicious cocktails). Greenhouse: One clear public message besides the green thing or the green thing and chain of command. Juliet: A new lighting concept and lots of fabric. Hudson Terrace: The Copacabana. The Eldridge: 25 more square feet. M2: A real good old school club night with lots of familiar faces. This place rocks when filled with good peeps. La Pomme: Time to build its own crowd. GoldBar: A gold medal for Jon “the legend” Lennon and a little more light. It’s too dark to appreciate the crowd. Marquee: Glass and maybe a once a month huge DJ and a clearing out of the furniture. Webster Hall: Convictions. Southside: Brotherly love. Ella: A little respect. Gansevoort Roof, Highbar, Empire Hotel: Eternal sunshine, endless summer. The Box: Moist towelettes and more Patrick Duffy.

Who am I to tell all these young studs what they may or may not need. But I do remember something James Brown once said: “I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know.” Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

NYC: All the Week’s Parties, Eggnog Edition

Wednesday night, André Balazs accepted a small green KidRobot monster. There’s nothing quite like an awards ceremony to inject a little energy into nightlife, and the gracious Balazs excitedly accepting on behalf of his Standard Hotel promised energy is on the upswing. Just being in the same room as nightlifers like Six Six Sick and Harley & Cassie invigorated my addiction to the night, and I’m not the only one.

Perhaps it’s because people want their noms next year, but suddenly there is so much to do. The trees are getting trimmed and the eggnog is flowing freely with a number of places to partake in the merry-making. CV makes a splash with Diddy and Jay-Z paying it an Empire State visit and vies for a place on the Thursday-night party scene, with Amanda Leigh Dunn playing hostess to a downtown crew. Maialino gives you just one more reason to pop into the Gramercy Park Hotel. Suddenly we’re reminded how great the drinks taste at Macao and Apothéke. With wintery hideaways, new restaurant openings, and new faith in old parties, the holiday season is beginning to look a lot like New York Nightlife.

SUNDAY

Lowdown: There’s nothing like extending your weekend during the holidays. In fact, the holidays are one big weekend, starting with a nice cozy brunch, and easing into football or other day drinking opportunities. Which explains why Sundays are so very important. Hot Now:GoldBar (Nolita) – If gold is on your Christmas wishlist, indulge in the cozy gilded music hub. ● Sway (Sway) – Moroccan themed bar + holidays + booze + sketchy people = Sunday mental vacation. ● Greenhouse (Soho) – The Van Dam party isn’t by Jean Claude, but it’s still just as ass-kicking. ● White Slab Palace (Lower East Side) – Suddenly a staple! Worth a Look: ● Brooklyn Yard (Williamsburg) – Sunday Best in your Sunday’s Best! ● Charles (West Village) – Cozy charmer is quite possibly even more charming in the light of day. French toast, ricotta pancakes, eggs in the hole, and the lobster BLT balance custom cocktails that make you feel pretty darn good about drinking. Again.

MONDAY

Lowdown: Monday night means the beginning of your drinking week, the nearing end of your fantasy football league, and the drowning of sorrows and celebrating of victories. Here’s how we do it. 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. Worth a Look:Black & White (Greenwich Village) – Restaurant becomes cramped, sexy, and very cozy during the holidays after ten. ● Warren 77(Tribeca) – Just right for football fans with a bit more flair. ● Johnny Utah’s (Midtown West) Those huge TVs! It’s like a co-ed college party for industry folks (and half of them are not watching football). ● Diesel Presents Danny Clark’s Monday Nights at The Ainsworth. It’s hosted every Monday Night by Giants Linebacker Danny Clark, and admission to the football party includes cocktails, beer, and food. All proceeds are 100% tax deductible and support the Danny Clark Foundation. Meh.Antik (Greenwich Village) – Okay, so Le Royale’s former party isn’t actually in Antik, it’s in the basement of Antik. We swung into the small, rock ‘n’ roll space it was small enough to feel really full, even on a slow night. Naturally, it heats up on the late side, after Monday Night Football has dissolved. Go to make friends.

TUESDAY

Lowdown: Gramercy has sharpened its edge, with a little help from Nur and a new resto. Hot Now:Rose Bar (Gramercy) – This really has a lot to do with Nur Khan, and now the music enthusiast is upping his game with Nur Kahn’s Rose Bar Sessions, featuring a band every Tuesday night. But they are secret shows. So shh. ● Maialino (Gramercy) – Now you can eat, stay, and party the whole way through the GPH. ● 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. Others to try: Superdive(East Village) – Dear Santa: I would like kegs of champagne for Christmas, wheeled out to me by elves. Thanks. ● Simyone (Meatpacking District) – Might be able to add another notch on its belt; Tuesdays are hot at SL. ● Greenhouse (Soho) – Green is for garland and mistletoe! And Vodka!

WEDNESDAY

Lowdown: Hump day may prove to be a weekday favorite for the holiday season. 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 — so cozy for the winter season. ● 1Oak (Chelsea) – This is still 1Oak’s undisputed hot night. ● Greenhouse (Soho) – This one is in the basement, kids. Well, it’s in the whole of Greenhouse, but it’s better down below. ● Avenue (Chelsea) – Again, Avenue. But this is a raging night for the kids on the Ave. ● SL (Meatpacking District) – Tonight is the night for this Aalex Julian-guarded door. Worth a Look:Southside (Nolita) – Tutti, Franco, and Brion run the DJ booth. If you think you know, you have no idea. ● Eldridge (Lower East Side) – Rock and roll, yes. ● Von (Noho) – Party in the basement is “pretty packed and a lot of fun” for the Noho set after 10pm. ● 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.

THURSDAY

Lowdown: This is Manhattanites’ Friday night, which could explain why Butter is moving their dancey Friday party — Whipped — to Thursdays come 2010. Dancing, dinner, glitz, and even some glam, without the B&T jam. Hot Now:CV (Lower East Side) – Something has finally been done with the oversaturated spot formerly known as 105 Rivington. Hopefully Amanda Leigh will continue with the feel good vibes and attract a good, loyal crowd. ● 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. ● subMercer(Soho) – You may have forgotten about this celeb-laden underground, but she’s back. Worth a Look: Avenue, Boom Boom Room and 1Oak are still a great standby for good times, while the down belows — USL (down below Coffee Shop) and Macao’s basement opium den are also a great place to begin your holiday descent. Coming Up:Butter (Noho) – Friday-night party Whipped is so fresh, most can’t believe it’s Butter. Resident hipster DJs Matt & Maia draw out big name fashion folks like Alexander Wang and the Ronsons.

FRIDAY

Lowdown: It used to be a day of rest for jaded New Yorkers, but since we’ve stopped bleeding moola, Friday’s a great day to cut loose. Civetta bit the dust for a bit, as we look to Santos’ Party House to bring it with their OPEN party. 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. ● The Standard Grill (Meatpacking District) – What’s that, didn’t make it in to Boom? Luckily, the Grill is jumping with everyone else who tried their luck and are now eating duck (or crow); even the most beautiful, classy folks gather here, so it’s a hotspot nonetheless. Worth a Look: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.

SATURDAY

Lowdown: Whether you are above or below 14th Street, you should probably be planning on going out somewhere near to or below 14th Street. 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. Worth a Look: Bagatelle (Meatpacking District) – Bagatelle’s scene gets an early start with their Rock and Roll Brunch.

Other Parties to Keep the Holidays Rolling: With Cafe Gitane in the Jane Hotel, the café with a devoted following in Nolita has taken root. And even better news? The Jane will be reopening the dancefloor to a bevvy of dance eccentrics and poseurs. If you are entertaining some out-of-towners on the weekends, Friday and Saturday nights at Highbar offers a nice (warm) view of the city. Fully heated and enclosed by glass windows — you don’t have to worry about the weather. Kittichai at 60 Thompson has just introduced three- and four-course prix fixe modern Thai menus for reasonably priced holiday meals. These are set menus served family style and available for 6 to 35 guests. A loophole to avoid Aunt Mildred’s meat pie!

New Spaces & Laura Polko’s Graces

Word comes that demolition has been completed at the M. Katz & Sons space at 146 Essex. Rich Wolf will be putting in a high-end restaurant in the coveted building. As I remember it, there is a full-height basement and multiple levels. Rich’s Stanton Social is a mega-hit just around the way, proving that the Tao, Lavo, and Marquee partner can do downtown just fine. I also heard that Griffin may be rid of some of its grifters sooner than later. Details to follow. I usually root for the good guys in any dispute — and will do so as soon as somebody identifies one.

Laura Polko is someone you might see at a club making sure a top-tier DJ is doing his or her job. Laura’s helping throw a benefit at Ella on Sunday for the American Diabetes Association, and I caught up with her for a few Qs.

Tell me why you are associated with this event. I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic on my eighth birthday, and I can’t say that it has been anything but helpful to my life. It’s made me more independent as a person and more driven than the average girl out of Ohio.

So tell me about the event itself. I really wanted to put on an event to benefit diabetes since I work so closely with American Diabetes Association (ADA) on their Tour de Cure coming up next spring. This one’s at Ella lounge on Avenue A between Houston and 2nd Street … everyone at Ella is awesome and great for the event! This Sunday from 6-9 … all proceeds benefit diabetes. Sam French will be spinning, and so will Alexandra Richards. A suggested donation of $25 bucks is requested, and there will be an open bar . To donate or RSVP, go to www.sclpawareness.com.

You’re a beautiful hip and fun scene girl. No one could possibly be aware that you suffer from this major disease. I want everyone to know that diabetes is not a tough chronic illness — if you are to get anything, let it be diabetes. It’s done nothing but help my life and help me see what life is really about. It makes life more valuable.

I am a Type 2 diabetic myself, and I think it helps me stay in shape and live a fuller life. Tell me about your DJ-booking position. I work with RKM talent, a company founded by Rachid Kallamni. I was brought on as the director in the company.

Why do DJs need management? DJs need a manager the same way club needs a general manager these days — DJs are so much of a combination of talent and celebrity, and proper management is needed to push each individual in the direction they want to go — to get them where they want their career to take them. Without a manager, it’s hard to accomplish the goals a DJ wants to achieve … and at the same time, as a client, it’s hard to truly see a DJ as the combination of celebrity and talent when dealing solely with the DJ him- or herself.

What do DJs get paid these days? Nothing less than $200 at events, nothing less than $500 at clubs.

Who are some of your clients? YSL, BlackBook, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, David Barton Gym, W Hotels, and clubs Avenue, Tenjune, Eldridge.

How many DJs do you guys manage? We have eight DJs: Elliot Heller, a.k.a. Equal — can do basically anything, spins clubs and events as well. Sam French — he’s great, new and younger, can do it all. Dalton Loughlin, a.k.a. DL — he’s great with top 40 and does a lot at Avenue and Tenjune, however he rocks out some great house music and does a night of that at Coffee Shop. Scram Jones — very well-known and respected in the industry, great scratcher and rocks out some amazing hip hop wit out jeopardizing the night. Nick Cohen — mostly events only, however has his night at Southside. Alexandra Richards — events only. Jamie Biden — does great rock sets.