Industry Insiders – Three’s a Party with David Rabin, Johnny Swet, & Larry Poston

When you ask three nightlife veterans to transform the top of one of New York’s most fashionable new hotels into an intimate lounge, the result is bound to be exciting. But with the opening of Jimmy at the James hotel in Soho, David Rabin (center), Johnny Swet (left), and Larry Poston (right) have created nothing less than an 18th-floor paradise, with original art on the walls, creative cocktails on the menu, and breathtaking views of lower Manhattan from every seat in the house.

Jimmy is the latest in a string of successful nightspots for Rabin, who left a career as a lawyer to open Rex in 1990. Its success quickly led to other endeavors, including the first western-style nightclub in Moscow. (“I still haven’t told my mother half the stories,” Rabin says.) Back in New York, he and his partner opened now-classic venues Union Bar, Lotus, Double Seven, and the Lambs Club. When approached about Jimmy, Rabin jumped at the chance, provided he could bring along two uniquely creative talents. “I was blown away by what Johnny and Larry created at Hotel Griffou,” Rabin says.

Swet’s introduction to the nightlife industry came just days after moving to New York from Los Angeles, landing a job at the Bowery Bar on the day it opened. “They said, ‘That’s your table,’ and Courtney Love was sitting there. I was like, I think I’m going to like this.” He was soon working with Keith McNally to open the restaurants Balthazar and Pastis, and eventually became the general manager of Freemans. But it was the exclusive West Village boite Hotel Griffou, which he opened with Pastis maitre d’ Poston in 2009, that made him a perfect fit for Jimmy.

A native of North Carolina, Poston began his career as an actor in LA, which led to a job as a pool boy at the Chateau Marmont, passing out towels to Julia Roberts and once dropping a full room-service tray in front of Andre Balazs. He made the move to New York, learning the ropes at Pastis and Graydon Carter’s Waverly Inn.

While it’s not even a year old, Jimmy is already looking like a downtown institution, drawing a healthy mix of New Yorkers, hotel guests, and celebrities. The party will only get better this summer, as the outdoor terrace and pool deck let the fun spill out under the stars.

[Photo: Brett Moen]

Parties: The Fashion Week Effect on Nightlife

Fashion Week has descended upon New York City, anointing new and yet-to-be-opened venues with its holy presence. Fashion houses and fashionable rags have shouldered their way into seen-and-be-seen restaurants and night spots, and have sold off their first born in order to offer their party guests a first look at some unopened places, like The Mondrian and the Darby’s buzzy basement. The perennial question: Whether to elect tried-and-true spots (or, in the case of Alexander Wang, gas stations and bounce houses) over what could be just a flash-in-the-pan hotspot. Herewith, a rumor-mongering and totally useless look at where all the week’s parties shall take place.

No Need for Dropping Bar Names Tonight, Stella McCartney will be watching out for our furry friends along with PETA, Tim Gunn, and Olivia Munn (last name rhyme-a-thon!) at her store for PETA’s Fashion Week fete. Also tonight is Waris Ahluwalia’s party at The Wooly to celebrate the buzzy launch of his line “Waris Loves You,” with and Karen Elson is rumored to perform with The Citizen’s Band. Not to be outdone, Fendi will be at Saks Fifth Avenue along with The New York Botanical Garden and a slew of fashion fixtures like Genevieve Bahrenburg, Byrdie Bell, and Lauren Remington Platt. We know this game all too well: we’ll have to leave our Frye boots at home. One place we can wear our beloved booties is the RETNA graffiti party at 560 Washington Street with fashion royalty, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, with an after-party at good ‘ol Indochine. Itinerary: Stella McCartney The Wooly Saks Fifth Avenue Indochine

Hotel Playgrounds The James has proven to be a great new nightlife addition, frequented by a slew of designers and celebrities, which means the hotel’s newbie restaurant, David Burke Kitchen, will be a big draw for the fashion crowd, and the rooftop bar Jimmy, will be packed—per the usual. But really, the buzz is all about the VMAN party rumored to be held at the not-yet-opened Mondrian—more specifically, Imperial No. Nine, chef/cool-guy Sam Talbot’s new restaurant therein. Reason for the buzz: VMAN’s cover featuring Kanye West with money in his mouth, shot by Karl Lagerfeld. We’d love to see the confirmed guestlist, pretty please? And of course, don’t discount The Standard Hotel. Although it’s not spanking-new, Boom Boom room will continue to dazzle, and blogger workshops for the Independent Fashion Blogger’s Evolving Influence conference (featuring Proenza’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez) will be held at Le Bain. Itinerary: The James David Burke Kitchen Jimmy The Mondrian Imperial No. Nine The Standard Hotel Boom Boom Room Le Bain

On the Verge Speaking of Le Bain, the French connection will see to it that the delayed Le Baron New York will have a proper place to party. Aside from Alexander Wang (who may just be hosting a chill party at his Soho store opening on February 15th) another person everyone is trying to befriend in time is Andre Saraiva. His Paris club, Le Baron, has always been the spot for Paris fashion week, and conveniently, the New York outpost is rumored to be opening in March. Though it’s been reported that it isn’t officially ready in time for NYFW, that doesn’t mean it can’t host private events and quiet gatherings for Saraiva’s closest friends. But instead of temp fate (or the Community Boards) the splashy Le Bain will host Le Baron and family on two separate occasions: on Friday with Kitsuné celebrating “Kitsuné Parisien” with hosts/music done by Gildas, André Saraiva, Annabelle & Alexander Dexter-Jones, and Grand Marnier from 11-4AM. On Sunday, the Nouveau York weekly will also host “Late Night with Le Baron, with music by Alex from Tokyo, Manu (Supreme Records) and Lee (Hamsa). The Darby has been open for a while, but rumors point to a private basement opening party this Friday, with a subsequent party open to the public (whatever ‘public’ means to the Darby folks) next Wednesday. Also on everyone’s mind: Westway, a former strip club resurrected, has bloodlines from The Smile and The Jane. Charlotte Ronson’s after-party is one rumored party slot in Westway’s schedule. Itinerary: Le Baron Basement of The Darby Westway