NYC Try Outs: Kristina Marino’s Downtown Diaries

Steve Lewis has it right: these are the good ol’ days. They’re good because there’s something for everyone, and you can change your something on any given night. Take Kristina Marino. Her blog, The Downtown Diaries, chronicles all things nocturnal in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn—her own weekly imbiberies are chameleon-like, but they’re also true to herself. She likes a nice local bar where everyone knows her name, she takes chances with new parties, and she doesn’t judge a restaurant by its dress code. Here, her weekly spots to be scene and be sceney.

Name: Kristina Marino Professional Resume: I’m a jack of all trades but am best known for my blog, The Downtown Diaries, and the parties I throw. In my spare time, I’m the Digital Engagement Manager at Mirrorball, aka I get paid to Facebook, Twitter, and blog, all day, every day—be jealous. One Word to Describe Nightlife in New York City: Sceney

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City Loves:Favorite lunch spot: Westville, Schillers, Miss Favela (Williamsburg). • Favorite dinner spot: Rye (Williamsburg), Fette Sau (Williamsburg), Gemma. • Favorite nightlife trend: Wearing whatever the F you want. • Drink of choice: Dark and Stormy’s. • Meal of choice: Any kind of seafood. I love the linguine and clams from Fiore—it’s cheap and delicious but more of a guilty pleasure. • Favorite group of people to bump into: Nicole Wasilewicz (Free Williamsburg), Katherine Kelly, Melissa Widhson, Caitlin Monahan (Darling Cait), Tommy Eichmann (Alexa Ray Joel), Mike Del Rio, Brittany Mendenhall (ChiChi212), Antwan Duncan (I Think You’re Swell), Victor Castro (Wet Paint Photography), Hannah Rad (Sheena Beaston, East Village Radio), the Finger on the Pulse twins, DJ MSB, and a bunch of people no one reading this has ever heard of.

City Gripes:Nightlife trend you loathe: Fake glasses, models, celebrity/socialite DJs, and Aalex Julian. Oh and ladies, if you are not wearing tights in the middle of winter, you need to get your act together. • Drink: Vodka Cranberry • Meal: Street Meat. Food Chains. Dos Caminos. Group of people to bump into: About 50% of the people I see out on a daily basis…New York City is one big incestuous small world.

Her Hotspots:  Honestly, as a blogger, it’s hard to have a hotspot—I am running around the city attending different events, shows, etc. The best part about living in NYC is the variety—it’s all about having options. Here are some basics. Monday: Jane Hotel Tuesday: Le Souk Harem is giving a solid effort. The Bowery, Avenue, Lit, Gallery Bar…I guess. Wednesday: FOTP BBQ Blowout at Good Co, RDV. Thursday: Il Bagatto, Goldbar. Friday: Above Allen, Dram. Saturday: Day & Night, Le Bain. Sunday: Thompson LES pool party, Jelly Pool Parties/ All Saints Pub, Goldbar.

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Every night: Le Bain, Kenmare, Godlbar, or anywhere local—I usually hang at The Commodore, Maracuja, or Spuyten Duyvil. Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Greenhouse, Marquee, SL, Kiss & Fly, Tenjune, Veranda, Above 14th St.

For special occasions: MILK Studios is a great event space.

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Brunch is usually: To eat, I like to stay local. There’s nothing better than brunch in Brooklyn. My friends and I wind up at Lodge more often than not. If I am going to “brunch” to dance on tables and get wasted, then Day & Night it is. 

BlackBook Staff Picks: Dining, Drinking, Shopping, & Staying

Here at BlackBook, we pay a lot of attention to where cool customers go out — bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, you name it. So why not flip the frame and let you see where we go out? Here’s a periodically updated, exhaustive list of hotspots currently favored by everyone at BlackBook, from the mighty bosses down to the humble interns, from the charming local lounges around the corner to the jet-setting temples of luxe living.

BLACKBOOK MEDIA CORP ● Chairman – Bob Hoff, Voyeur (LA) ● CEO – Ari Horowitz, W South Beach (Miami) ● Associate Publisher – Brett Wagner, Da Umberto (NYC) ● Director of Finance and Operations – Tim Umstead, Aquagrill (NYC) ● Corporate Counsel – Drew Patrick, El Ay Si (NYC) ● Executive Assistant – Bridgette Bek, Manhattan Inn (NYC)

EDITORIAL ● Creative Director – Jason Daniels, Morimoto (NYC) ● Vice President Content – Chris Mohney, This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef (NYC) ● Senior Editor – Nick Haramis, Freemans (NYC) ● Features Editor – Willa Paskin, The Sackett (NYC) ● Writer-at-Large – Alison Powell, Jean Philippe Patisserie (Las Vegas) ● Nightlife Correspondent – Steve Lewis, subMercer (NYC) ● Assistant Editors – Ben Barna, LeVack Block (Toronto), Cayte Grieve, Vince (NYC), Foster Ethan Kamer, Sel De Mer (NYC), Eiseley Tauginas, Maialino (NYC) ● Copy Editor – Michèle Filon, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (Miami) ● Editorial Interns – Megan LaBruna, Crash Mansion (NYC), Averie Timm, Madiba (NYC), Hillary Weston, Les Halles (NYC), Annie Werner, DBGB (NYC), Ashley Simpson, Barcade (NYC), Michael Jordan, Destination Bar & Grill (NYC)

ART ● Art Director – Amy Steinhauser, Union Pool (NYC) ● Assistant Designer – Serra Semi, Five Points (NYC) ● Photography Assistant – Stephanie Swanicke, Provocateur (NYC) ● Freelance Designer – Krista Quick, Fornino (NYC)

FASHION & BEAUTY ● Fashion Editor – Christopher Campbell, Grand Sichuan International (NYC) ● Fashion Interns – Jillian K. Aurrichio, Greenhouse (NYC), Anabele Netter, Il Buco (NYC), Nicole Applewhite, Vanilla Bake Shop (NYC), Deanna Clevesy, Tao (NYC)

ADVERTISING ● Senior Account Executive – Dina Matar, Blue Duck Tavern (Washington, DC) ● Executive Director, BlackBook Access – Gregg Berger, Charles (NYC) ● Advertising Director – Michelle Koruda, Supper (NYC) ● Detroit Account Executives – Jeff Hannigan, The Lodge (Chicago), Kristen von Bernthal, Pukk (NYC) ● Midwest Account Executives – Susan Welter, Old Town Social (Chicago), Andrea Forrester, Tuman’s (Chicago) ● Southwest Account Executive – Molly Ballantine, The Tar Pit (LA) ● Northwest Account Executives – Catherine Hurley, Flora (Oakland), Shawn O’Meara, Nopalito (San Francisco)

MARKETING ● Marketing Manager – Julie Fabricant, Eponymy (NYC) ● Partnerships & Promotions Manager – Andrew Berman, Bozu (NYC) ● Interns – Adam Meshekow, Ronnybrook Milk Bar (NYC), Kayla Gambino, Grom (NYC), Marie Baginski, Stir (NYC)

DIGITAL ● Director of Development – Daniel Murphy, Standard (Miami) ● Developer – Bastian Kuberek, Greenhouse (NYC) ● Developer – Dan Simon, Hudson Terrace (NYC) ● Designer – Matt Strmiska, Uchi (Austin) ● Developer – Sam Withrow, Phone Booth (San Francisco) ● Quality Assurance Engineer – Sunde Johnson, Ginger’s Bar (NYC) ● Mobile Developer – Otto Toth, Alloro (NYC)

BlackBook Staff Picks: Dining, Drinking, Shopping, & Staying

Here at BlackBook, we pay a lot of attention to where cool customers go out — bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, you name it. So why not flip the frame and let you see where we go out? Here’s a periodically updated, exhaustive list of hotspots currently favored by everyone at BlackBook, from the mighty bosses down to the humble interns, from the charming local lounges around the corner to the jet-setting temples of luxe living. ● Creative Director – Jason Daniels, The Odeon (NYC) -American Psychos down salmon and steak frites, but the real scene’s on the sidewalk. ● Vice President, Content – Chris Mohney, Agua Dulce (NYC) – Festive outpost feels like Miami, F-L-A.

EDITORIAL ● Senior Editor – Nick Haramis, Motor City Bar (NYC) – Front like you remember how to drive and these 8 Milers might let you hang. ● Features Editor – Willa Paskin, Mayahuel (NYC) – Tequila temple where patrons pay homage to the goddess of agave. ● Writer-at-Large – Alison Powell, Peppermill (Las Vegas) – Vegas institution pushes diner food in front and romantic cocktails in the back. ● Nightlife Correspondent – Steve Lewis, Serpentine (NYC) – Patrick Duffy’s legendary scene uncoils in west Chelsea. ● Assistant Editors – Ben Barna, Jupiter Room (Montreal) – Drink your face off for cheap and dance ’til it aches. Cayte Grieve, Blackstones (NYC) – Foster Ethan Kamer, Joseph Leonard (NYC) – Elegantly distressed Village charmer serving up three solid meals a day. Eiseley Tauginas, Barrow Street Ale House (NYC) – College sports fans and West Village regulars cram into cozy confines. ● Copy Editor – Michèle Filon, Back Forty (NYC) – Manure-free urban farm sates virtuous, albeit rare, healthy food cravings. ● Editorial Interns – Molly Gunn, PDT (NYC) – Somebody told, but still a nice sophisto surprise behind the grunge of Crif. Megan LaBruna, Mercury Lounge (NYC) – Catch a future indie rock god at this rite of musical passage. Toren Curtis, The Vagabond (Miami) – Great indie scene. Even better music. Ashley Simpson, SPiN New York (NYC) – Marginally-more-athletic alternative to beer pong gets its own private club. Averie Timm, Downtown Cipriani (NYC) – Über-scene congregation of A-list supermodels, art stars, and financiers. Food, too. If you care. Annie Werner, Antone’s (Austin) – This revered blues club’s namesake did more for black-white relations than the Oreo cookie. Hillary Weston, The Four-Faced Liar (NYC) – Greenwich Village-proper pub is something out of Middle Earth, or Docklands. Either way: the real deal.

ART ● Art Director – Amy Steinhauser, Mizu Sushi (NYC) – Popular lunch spot for Flatiron media types needing to bitch. ● Assistant Designer – Serra Semi, Momofuku Ssäm Bar (NYC) – Chef-of-the-minute David Chang fancies up Korean burritos and gets avant-garde after 6pm. ● Photography Assistant – Stephanie Swanicke, Canal Room (NYC) – Jersey hordes in the house, but discreet famous faces still rock all night. ● Freelance Designer – Krista Quick, t.b.d (NYC) – Sleek and chic lounge in the heart of Greenpoint.

FASHION & BEAUTY ● Market Editor – Bryan Levandowski, Shang (NYC) – Toronto-bred Susur Lee takes on nouveau Asian small plates at the Thompson LES. ● Fashion Assistant – Wilson Mathews III, Dylan’s Candy Bar (NYC) – King-sized candy shop hypnotizing children and torturing adult waistlines in the UES.

BLACKBOOK MEDIA CORP ● Chairman – Bob Hoff, Voyeur (LA) – The inspiration is Eyes Wide Shut…so yes, there’s lots of leather. ● CEO – Ari Horowitz, Nikki Beach (St. Barts) – An escape into paradise in the middle of, well, paradise. ● Associate Publisher – Brett Wagner, Barrio Chino (NYC) – Chino Latino tequila bar serving up 50 kinds of that devil stuff. ● Director of Finance and Operations – Joe Friedman, Brooklyn Bowl (NYC) – Rock and bowl will never die. ● Corporate Counsel – Drew Patrick, Tournesol (NYC) – Coq au vin and crème brûlée? Oui! Oui! ● Executive Assistant – Bridgette Bek, Tu Lan (San Francisco) – Word-of-mouth dingy treasure serving good, cheap Vietnamese food in a downright crappy location.

ADVERTISING – advertising@bbook.com ● Senior Account Executive – Dina Matar, Ilili (NYC) – Upscale Lebanese moves miles beyond falafel. ● Account Executive – Brian Kantor, Lillie’s (NYC) – Victorian pub with just enough antiquery to make you feel grand. ● Executive Director, BlackBook Access – Gregg Berger, Indochine (NYC) – French-colonial greets uptown-cum-downtown diners. ● Advertising Director – Michelle Koruda, Shorty’s .32 (NYC) – Josh Eden under-promises and over-delivers at this Soho charmer. ● Detroit Account Executives – Jeff Hannigan, The Lodge (Chicago) -Ye old typical Division Street cheese, but always a shameless good time. Kristen von Bernthal, Hudson Bar at Hudson Hotel (NYC) – Acid-trip décor. Sit on a log and rest your drink on a gnome head. ● Midwest Account Executives – Susan Welter, Hopleaf Bar (Chicago) – Andersonville’s best bar. Belgian beers and food meet in a place that’s too smart to be too cool and vice versa. Andrea Forrester, Coast Sushi (Chicago) – BYOB meets the sea at this high-quality Wicker Park sushi spot. ● Southwest Account Executive – Molly Ballantine, Rustic Canyon (LA) – Leave it to the upper-cresty West-siders to show everyone else up with their moody, fashionable darkwood and cream take on the ubiquitous neighborhood wine bar. ● Northwest Account Executives – Catherine Hurley, Coi (San Francisco) – The apotheosis of both the molecular gastronomy trend and the sustainable food movement: ethereal, futuristic flavors in a serene environment. Shawn O’Meara, Nopalito (San Francisco) – ● Sales Coordinator – Celia Ballou, Pink Pony (NYC) – Pseudo-bohemian bistro that’s better for people watching than, like, eating or whatever.

MARKETING ● Marketing Manager – Julie Fabricant, Bottega Louie (LA) – Proof that Downtown is still gentrifying. ● Partnerships & Promotions Manager – Andrew Berman, K & M (NYC) – Former perogie factor converted to current meat market for the indie-rock set. ● Interns – Cristina Girgis, Barbounia (NYC) – Tony Medi with good bones. Interior is all about the arches. Alexandra Vickers, The Slaughtered Lamb Pub (NYC) – Magical enough to overlook the horror movie gimmick.

DIGITAL ● Director of Development – Daniel Murphy, Max’s On Broadway (Baltimore) – Ahhh, good old Max’s I remember you well…well what I can remember anyway. ● Lead Architect – Matt Hackett, Caracas Arepa Bar (NYC) – Arepas, seventeen ways. Venezuela is for carb lovers. ● Developer – Bastian Kuberek, Greenhouse (NYC) – NYC’s first Green club tries to make bottles and models sustainable. ● Developer – Dan Simon, Hudson Terrace (NYC) – Rooftop pleaser for drunk summer afternoons. ● Designer – Matt Strmiska, Uchi (Austin) – Thoroughly inventive and delectable sushi in vibrant environs, compliments of lauded chef Tyson Cole. ● Developer – Sam Withrow, The Knockout (San Francisco) – The vibe is blessedly lawless,prolifically musical and down right hedonistic. Peep tall cans and a sweaty dance floor. ● Quality Assurance Engineer – Sunde Johnson, Melt (NYC) – Brooklyn brunch spot becoming the standard for neighborhood dining. ●Mobile Developer – Otto Toth, Alloro (NYC) – Cacio e Pepe peeps get creative on the Upper East.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Bob Hoff, Voyeur (LA). Ari Horowitz, Nikki Beach (St. Barts). Eric Gertler, Matsuhisa (Aspen) – World-famous Nobu chef brings incredibly tasty, stylish, pricy sushi to Aspen. Joe Landry, SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills (LA) – Phillipe Starck and Sam Nazarian mind meld to create a papparazzi-inducing modern luxury hotel in (well, near) BH. Irwin Lieber, Fishtail by David Burke (NYC) – Fresh seafood in the UES by celeb chef David Burke. Dan Pelson, Marea (NYC) – Hopes for a high tide abound at Michael White’s temple to Italian seafood. Barry Rubenstein, Bryant & Cooper (Hamptons) – While it may be trying a little too hard for a classic old-time-y vibe, the steaks are nonetheless quite good. Jack Sullivan, The Raleigh Hotel (Miami) – The local equivalent of LA’s Chateau Marmont.

Industry Insiders: Michael Sutton, Guy’s Guy

Soap opera star turned LA nightlife entrepreneur Michael Sutton has quite the diverse CV. He’s been nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards, he was a co-founding partner for a private membership community called Xenii, and he’s had ownership in LA hotspots The Lodge Steakhouse, Memphis, Charcoal, and supper club Goa. His new joint Guys & Dolls has been a hit among the West Coast elite.

The opening event at Guys and Dolls looked like quite a show. We opened May 26 and had a launch the day after Memorial Day Weekend. It was a bit crazy. I had a friend who was able to spin on that day, DJ AM, and we just went with it because the lounge is not a huge club-sized space. Being that it’s limited in scope anyway, we figured we’d launch on a Tuesday and it would help with our capacity issues. The event really set the tone for the past months that we’ve had.

Where are you from originally? Born and raised in Beverly Hills.

Tell me about your history with Guy Starkman of Guys Bar, which occupied the space before. I was looking for a new location to open up either a bar, lounge, or a club. I wasn’t sure which was going to come my way first. I was actually approaching Guy to see if he’d be interested in selling his location and his business to me. He had just re-built the space, and he hadn’t really opened yet, but he wasn’t quite sure. This was in November-December, when we were talking. About three weeks later, I found a location in Hollywood and I was going to move on it, and then I decided to give Guy one last phone call. During the conversation, for whatever reason — timing, luck — he was willing to sell it and we made the deal right then and there. I obviously didn’t move forward on the Hollywood location and was very, very happy to take over Guys and rename it Guys & Dolls. The idea was to be the evolution of Guy’s bar. The place that I promoted was nothing near the scope and magnitude of this location, or what was built at this location. Guy’s bar opened in 1995, and I think I promoted it at two different times, so I knew the location well. We named it Guys & Dolls to have a little play on words — established in 1995, and refined in 2009.

What’s the vibe like? It’s this sexy, sophisticated, service-oriented ultra lounge. LA doesn’t really have anything like that. It’s the size space you would see in a hotel bar, but being that it stands alone, there’s this incredible energy in the room. It’s kind of like Rose Bar New York meets Mynt Miami. You have to see it to feel that energy.

What’s the music like? The music in LA, believe it or not, has really come full circle. We were hip-hop only for so many years. I’m a huge hip-hop and rap fan, but now, I think a full night incorporates a lot of feel-good remixed 80s music and a lot of fun, happy house music. A little bit of electronic house, more European in scope. Everything that we do at Guys & Dolls is really catered to the happiness of the women. The music, cocktail menu, the vibe. If the women are happy, then we have a successful lounge. It’s all about the women.

Why is that? It’s the secret of LA. I think this is the case anywhere, but LA specifically, because of the celebrity factor. It’s all about celebrities and women. If you capture those two, keep them coming back and happy and advocating your place, then you win.

The women bring the men? Exactly. The beautiful women always attract the men and bring us the best clientele. The place is an extension of entertaining my friends. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I realize that if I just try to build a place that would accommodate my friends and my needs, inevitably it ends up being a successful venue. I feel like I’m in touch with what would work and what would be embraced by the city. My friends, luckily, are fun, like to have a good time, and are beautiful people. That grows organically, and like anything, it’s not about the dollars you throw out to market it; it’s got to be grassroots. It’s either something that people like or people don’t, and I never want to sell something that people don’t like.

How’d you make the transition from acting to nightlife? It was out of necessity. I was working on a soap opera where you’re just given dialogue after dialogue, pages and pages. It’s a never-ending cycle of putting words into your head. So, I didn’t have any time to see my friends. My father was a publicist at the time, and he’d taken on an account at a club that used to be very hot called Bar One. I told him that I would go in and throw a party there once a week so that I’d have a chance to see my friends. I ended up launching the opening of their new bar, called The Room. From the first night we did it, I had my actor and model friends, photographers, directors, producers, and agents. I did a party or two a week for the last 15 years, believe it or not. About seven years ago, I invested my own money into a place called the Hollywood Canteen, and that was my first transition to operations, marketing, and promotions. I loved it. After that, I got into The Lodge Steakhouse. I really got an education in business because I had the mindset of an artist and wanting to do creative things as opposed to business. At this point in my life, I have a good background in both. You need that to be successful.

Where are your spots in LA? The best sushi place in LA is in Beverly Hills — it’s called Yu-N-Mi Sushi, and it’s owned by a friend of mine who was my executive chef at Goa. That’s one of my favorites. I love Mr. Chow. I like to be adventurous, so I’ll go to all the different cultural sites around the city. I’ll go to Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Thai Town, and go to the local dive restaurants there that have authentic food.

Where do you shop? I like H. Lorenzo on Sunset Plaza. I’m a huge fan of all the Japanese designers, and Lorenzo goes to Japan four times a year, and he gets all the best new designs. I don’t think anyone else does that in LA. Maxfield is great, and Fred Segal and Barneys. Those four get my paychecks a lot.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Travel. Indulgence. I definitely love to explore, so my guiltiest pleasure is that if I had the chance, I would just keep going from new destination to new destination. My second guiltiest pleasure is beautiful women.