Demi Monde: Far, Far Away & Well Worth the Trip

Last Wednesday I accepted an invite from a promoter named Alana to visit and guest DJ at a new weekly party called Dark Kabaret at the very far down and to the left club DEMI MONDE. Demi Monde is located at 90 Broad Street, which is very close to the Staten Island Ferry in what I guess is called the Financial District. I went with Hotel Chantelle honcho Tim Spuches because I wanted his input, but mostly because I wanted someone to split the cab ride with. Demi Monde is an investment. It works hard to make sure that your trip is worth it. The design is slick and modern, the place is laid out well with intimate seating groups lightly separated by Japanese bondage rope dividers. The bar is ample and well-manned. I tried a (non-alcoholic) celery soda and will try to decide between the other house-made sodas, including the Strawberry Tarragon. Grapefruit, tonic, and sarsaparilla on my next trip. Yes, there will be a next trip and probably more after that since I enjoyed my experience at Demi Monde a great deal.

I saw other promoter types at the party, scratching their chins obviously, trying to figure out how to move it closer to civilization or how to make it work for their crowd there. I asked one (who asked to remain anonymous) what they thought and the answer was "it’s perfect…except…" the except being, of course, the location.  Someone said it felt like they were on vacation in some wonderful club, far away. Although the room was filled with familiar faces, they greeted me like they were running into me in Miami. It’s like that.

Like many things in life, inconveniences like distance and toothaches, bad mates, and being short of cash are things people can get used to and I believe this could happen with Demi Monde. The theory behind destinations is that they have to deliver every time. If a person makes that trip and has a bad experience, they are unlikely to try it again. Demi Monde seems to get that and the staff – starting at the door, where Kimyon’s amazing smile greets you, to the not so pushy and friendly waitrons inside – set a tone.

 The cocktails were great and the music provided on Wednesdays by veteran rocker Peate Suzuki was wonderful – accessible but not commercial. There were The Love Show dancers, Adrienne the aerialist, Natasha King and Lena Marquise prancing around on platforms everywhere, and a generally sexy vibe. The crowd was mixed and excellent.

One of the principal owners, Chris Nagy, showed me the ropes, literally, and explained how a club too far will survive. Obviously, making it worth the trip is part of the plan. Wall Street "after-work" parties and special events should pay the bills and the Financial District is one of the fastest growing residential areas. We saw a bunch of hipster types walking their pedigrees as we approached. Demi Monde may be very close to an under-exploited mass of neighbors.

This Wednesday I will DJ a rock set from midnight to 1am and then hang around for more than a minute. Defenz Mechanizm will perform. It did feel like a refreshing vacation, a pleasant experience off the beaten path.

The Facebook Post That Cost Promoter Frankie Leone His Job

Nightlife is full of moving parts and diverse choices.  A V.I.P. at one place may be just another body at another or actually turned away at the door. There are still places where fools aren’t serviced because they will agree to pay way too much for a bottle and the table/real estate that comes with it. Even the best rooms in town rely on promoters to fill tables and attract beautiful people, which serve as candles, attracting the monied moths that pay the bills. Club management understand the recklessness and ambitions of the promoter. The word "promoter" is something the best try to shed fast. They call themselves owners, partners, directors, managers – anything to avoid the dreaded "P" word moniker. Promoters make promises to patrons that management and door staff often can’t honor. They try to wrangle under-age patrons past the door and will say anything to put asses in their banquette seats. They are paid for production. It is a numbers game. Those that count those beans must be reconsidering the employment of Frankie Leone.

I was alerted to a Facebook post by Mr. Frankie Leone, a promoter at various hotspots around town. He has a hot mess cachet about him that attracts other similar types to places around town. Recently, he became an actual mess and missed a lot of work. I am not going to dwell on this except to state that unbelievably-always-accurate cliche:  "He who lives in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones." His personal problems, which I am very aware of, will not be printed here, as I answer to a higher authority: my conscious and my girlfriend, regarding such matters. When I told him I was DJing at Avenue recently, he told my gal "that Steve Lewis guy is really blowing up."  She was amused. Frankie is sort of an amusing chap. At about 6-foot-5 with wall-to-wall tattoos, he resembles an ’80s junkie rockstar and brings an attitude that matches that look. He walks sort of like a drunk giraffe, looking like he is going to crash into someone or something at every turn. I have avoided him, as his schtick isn’t original or even well done but, alas, we do find ourselves in the same room once in a while. He is twice my size and half my age so if he has beef with me, it should be a fair fight… if I’m drunk.
Below is a "promo" message he posted on Facebook. One of his employers, Tim Spuches of Hotel Chantelle, informed me that as a result of this post, he has terminated Frankie’s promotional gig at that venue. I will be at Avenue tonight to celebrate Tao Strategic Group honcho Andrew Goldberg’s birthday party. Andrew is also aware of Frankie’s stupid and obscene post. Note: the quasi-passable ID line. That will make management squirm. The last couple of lines are beneath contempt. I have been told by some that he’s "actually alright." Others point out that he’s "been through a lot." I hope he retracts and apologizes and, more importantly, understands that this kind of talk is hurtful and beneath the establishments he represents and himself.
Frankie Leone:
Tonight (Wednesday) I will not host. I am taking two extra nights off (just this week). This Wednesday and Friday I’m going to rest and relax with my friends and family.
I’m even going to stay with my family a night (which I rarely get to do).
I’m really happy and excited.
However, I’m also excited for my triumphant return to the chaos of clubland tomorrow.
Tomorrow (Thursday) I host at Avenue in the upstairs VIP room. 116 10th Ave and 17th St.
Complimentary vodka, tequila, and champagne until you make an error in judgement you’ll roll your eyes when hearing about, but feel a secret feeling of satisfaction inside.
11:45PM WALK IN. Late arrivals please drop my name at the door for preferential treatment. Quasi-passable IDs are necessary.
Dance with your devils…
…Get down like that

Plumm Outta Room

imageOpenings and closings. Re-inventings and re-hashings. Clubdom is reeling like a Detroit car company. Now Plumm, Noel Ashman’s three-year-old celeb boite, is expanding to accommodate its celebrity crowd — they need a bigger place but don’t want to go anywhere. I caught up with Noel in the unused Plumm basement lounge while Saturday night raged up above. I was rather surprised as I was being whisked to Noel’s table — not only was the place packed, but the crowd was hot. Not “three years ago hot,” but better than the other places I was hitting that night. A steady stream of hip hop treats led me to Noel’s table, only to realize that he wasn’t there. I glanced up to see who was playing, and there he was: DJ Ashman. Noel offered two more tunes, and we headed downstairs to see what could be done.

When the joint was Nell’s, I was a regular at the downstairs bar. It hasn’t changed significantly, but I was there to talk about change. We were joined by the dapper Tim Spuches and entrepreneur Damon Dash (who has an interest in the joint). An hour of “we could put this here and that there” resulted in a plan. The entire time we were meeting, young ladies heading to the restroom politely asked if they could pose for a snapshot with Damon. He accommodated every request with a pose and a smile. Noel looked at him at one point and said, “I don’t know how you do it,” referring to the constant “heys” and poses. Damon is just great about it.

I’ve got the plan in order and am mulling over design ideas. Decorating will start as soon as the investment loot is put in place. That shouldn’t be as hard to do as last month. I’ve been approached by a couple of Wall Street types interested in putting money in places with reliable operators. A great joint can return investment at a much better rate than stocks and real estate, even during the Dow 1400 days. Now with stocks and condos becoming real risky business, loot is looking for creative places to land. A bonus is that girls who never glanced once at you might start glancing twice.