Kenmare & Travertine Changing, Ludlow Manor Loses Floors

This week finds me too busy to completely vet your rumors, so you will get a lot of "we hears." For example, I heard the Kenmare closed up "temporarily" while they get their restaurant situation together. We hear the Travertine is getting their kitchen together with a familiar face. It’s an out-of-the-frying-pan into a red-hot-as-a-fire situation. And I was told that Ludlow Manor has been chopped down to size.

For Ludlow, the community board got miffed at the operators, citing all sorts of misrepresentations and misdirections. My source told me (as if he knew everything about it) that they only had one liquor license for iall three floors and were playing some catering license/"private party" type of game. The powers that be put the kibosh on that and closed down two floors. On Saturday night, I walked by and saw the roof without its trademark blue lights on, and the ground floor dark. The side door — which takes VIP types to Luc Carl’s private lair "Casino" — was admitting patrons. The problem with that is my source and published reports say it’s only the ground level that is actually licensed. You can’t take a state-issued liquor license and move it around from floor to floor. I’m afraid that the authorities are going to deal with this continued game of night moves harshly. It’s possible they got some sort of permission to use the paper on a different floor, but I’ve never heard of that. More on that perhaps later.

These closings put a whole lot of people out of work at the worst possible time. I’m not saying it could have been prevented. Kenmare will be great when it returns to the living, and eventually Luc and Georgie Seville will get organized, but the impact in the "right now" is tremendous. Scores of people, including DJs and bartenders and waitrons and security and busers and promoters etc., will have a lot less loot in their pockets to ring in the New Year. It does seem to me that community boards are becoming more aware of the need for joints and therefore jobs. Closing places on technicalities must stop because all of us need to — technically speaking — pay rent and eat and buy things.


Namaste from Bondi Beach: Danae Cappelletto Just Wants Peace

So if I’m beating a dead horse, let me know, but I have a feeling the Travertine/XIX space is not dead at all. It is getting more free ink here than the people at Fineline Tattoo are giving out this Saturday in honor of Sailor Jerry’s 101st birthday. I love all the players at Travertine, even the players who aren’t players anymore and possibly never were. It gets confusing as everyone is nice and every story is completely believable. So were’s the beef? I promised the owner and former chef Danae Cappelletto a chance to speak her piece. She only speaks Australian so it was a rough go a couple of times. We were being all Facebook-fuzzy nice when I told her about the lawsuit her company threatened me and Blackbook with in a legal letter put out yesterday. The Facebook exchange went as follows. I will translate when the Australian gets too thick. I’ll also correct some spelling.

i’ve just read the new piece, i got a hand it to you, you do write an intriguing story. Thank you Steve, I hope this all goes to bed soon but in the mean time i do appreciate you giving us the opportunity to respond.
Mark and ruben are friends(of mine) but there is only one truth…i really believe this might serve to clear the air and end up good if egos are put aside… so who over there put the lawyers On me?
oh god no not on you!
i’m putting a statement together for you now, and no the letter was certainly not in any way directed at you x
Well it was sent to bbook… asking for a retraction and removal of post… its all good get me your statement and i will do my best to get it out
The letter was really to stop guys that had nothing to do with the project from jumping on this, i have no idea how that happened its mindboggling!
Here is my statement for you – Thank you again
Steve, you know the funniest thing about all this is, there’s people (Mark Baker) making comments back and forth here that were never involved in the project! its Bonkas!
Honestly, sometimes you have to laugh –and I do appreciate that you are just the messenger. To be honest, with the huge ego’s floating around and all the self-serving misinformation I really don’t want to bore your readers making more corrections. Lawyers do that. I do wish Ruben the best of luck running his new door post.
Our economy and the neighborhood have changed a lot in the last 3 years since we started and I feel your real story will come in due course when the updated concept is revealed by the new team. Namaste – from Bondi
So the letter is not directed at me or bbook but says we …i had it all wrong and wanted us to take it down and print a retraction?????
Well as you can see from the above Mark was not involved in the venue so its all nonsense
Ahh now namaste from bondi is confusing.. there is Bondi in the l.e.s. or an australian reataurant..which bondi? which namaste?… and what you are saying was no deal had been finalized with mark baker
Ok so i assume its spice namaste from bondi beach new south wales
LOL sorry – Namaste (meaning peace) from Bondi Beach yes that is correct nothing had ever been remotely close to finalized with Mark
Namaste is a term used over here to say "peace" and i am in Bondi Beach in Sydney Australia x i’m sorry for the confusion
That Australian sure is a funny language. George Bernard Shaw once said that England and America are "two nations divided by a common language." Maybe that’s all that’s going on here. Maybe a translator is needed to help these people get it all together. Baker wasn’t talking in the same dialect as Ruben. Mark was talking fabulous and wonderful and amazing, lots of jetsetter speak while Ruben was talking L.E.S. street-real.. all about respect, what I’ve done, and can do. Danae and I had a little trouble at first . She lambasted me in Australian from Bondi before we re-upped as great friends and not just Facebook friends. The lawyers are talking in "legaleze," a language only they seem to understand. They seemingly targeted me, when the owner Danae (speaking in Australian) clearly holds me harmless. I had that beef with that other guy saying "Jew" this and "Jew" that, but I can easily also chalk that  to a language barrier. He probably meant no harm, just that where he comes from it’s a common expression.
As the poet Mick Jagger said at that famous Atltamont concert right before, or was it after a biker stabbed someone who had a gun, "Brothers and sisters, come on now! That means everybody just cool out. We can cool out … why are we fighting?" The biker and the gun-toter were speaking a common language and got right to the point. Everybody understood what they were saying without all these words. What are they all fighting about? As Danae said (in Australian) "It’s Bonkas!". Nobody is talking about what the fighting stems from. It seems to be all egos on the surface and maybe that’s all it is… slices of pie not being divided as everyone likes and power shifting around and not being clearly defined… and maybe that language thing too. Well, anyway, Namaste from BBurg!

Ruben Rivera on His Celeb-Studded Parties at XIX

It’s all about fit – the round peg in the round hole, and all the et ceteras in the square ones. Nightlife often tries to force things. An uptown promoter in a downtown space might not be able to perform; a great DJ who spins a certain genre might be placed in the wrong room with the wrong crowd. Ruben Rivera at Travertine is the perfect peg for the perfect hole in the ground. His basement spot XIX is continuously jammed with the right stuff.

Its casual, dark, street-smart atmosphere is a haven for those who know exactly who they are and what they want, which surely includes privacy, intimacy, and great music. It’s a place to party with your friends without attitudes and crowds. The restaurant is going through a few changes and will re-launch as a better fit for the neighborhood. Danae Cappelletto’s considerable talents didn’t seem to translate to this location. She was a talented square peg trying to squeeze into an unforgiving round hole.

Ruben Rivera comes from a door position where he met all the right people and learned from his mistakes and those of his employers. He learned well. Travertine is red hot and it’s all his fault. We are buddies. He is respectful, intelligent, and aware of who he is and how much he needs to learn to get it right. He learns from his mistakes, while so many in the business just deny them. He isn’t last year’s Ruben Rivera. He’s grown considerably, but in doing so has never lost sight of his lifelong values, friends, and where he came from. He’s a man who gives and gets respect, and that is at the core of his success at Travertine. I interviewed him yesterday afternoon as we both waited for our wonderful dentist, Dr. Farzin, to cure us of — and cause us — pain.

Travertine has no press and no PR, yet you are always packed with an A-list crowd. How are you doing it? I opened the place with lots of help from friends and great music. It’s a very intimate venue so I figured we’d start slow and let it grow through word of mouth, like the days before cell phones. There’s a mystery to that type of PR that attracts people, it’s a bit more real then just hiring every promoter in New York.

Which celebs have showed up? I always say that good clubs don’t need celebs to attract crowds, it’s the opposite…the club’s crowd attracts the celebs. As far as celebs, we’ve been blessed. I don’t do anything in Page 6 or any other publications. I think it’s a comfort zone for those who are obligated to go to other venues. a sort of a free zone for famous people. It’s refreshing to see an A-lister such as Scarlett Johansson come in and socialize with guests and dance all night. By the way, did I mention that people really dance at XIX? They really get down. The people and privacy and dancing is what’s attractive to celebs. I won’t mention anyone else on the list but it’s quite extensive and impressive. How about the food? We’re going through some complete changes at Travertine. We’re going in a different direction with the menu. I really want to give people in the downtown community what they want—quality, great tasting, well-prepared comfort food. They’ll know it will be open late night so everyone will be able to stay in the neighborhood and eat late.

What’s it like being the man controlling the space instead of just a door? What do you miss about handling the door? It’s crazy! It’s all about sticking to the script and knowing what’s hot and what’s not. I see that door man problems are a lot different from the shit I deal with now. The politics of booking DJs is crazy! That alone can make a man insane. Just things like simple repairs, AC, liquor orders, maintaining staff is difficult, but I have a great staff. Big Benny’s done a great job at the door, and Jay Lyon and Justin have been a tremendous help. I almost miss the days when I just had to show up looking good and send people away. Or the funny stuff like when you walk out holding some poor guy’s arm, yelling, “Who the hell let this ass in?” ha. I definitely don’t miss the losers that couldn’t get in and would annoy me all night. Guys: If you get turned away, just go home. You look stupider if you hang around talking shit. The door is the key to the room and if you don’t have swag, style, comedy, wit, or if you’re high, thirsty for press and tips, you’re not a good door man. The club will reflect its’ door and I’ve seen it ruin places almost instantly.

Talk to me about your DJs. What’s working and what’s trending? I’ve got to thank DJ Sinatra, he was the only DJ that believed in XIX when we opened. He was spinning to 20 people the first month. Now everyone wants a night. I mainly deal with 4AM but I’ve had almost everyone of DJ importance in NYC come through, including Cassidy, Ruckus, Mick Boogie, Sam French, Nick Cohen etc. It’s really the most important component to what makes XIX. You can’t get a better sound system and you really feel a DJ’s music intimately at XIX. I’m excited about the music every night and the people in the room are musically literate so they also appreciate it. The energy is amazingly live when Sinatra is in the booth on a Saturday night.

What’s missing in nightlife today and what’s improved from the good old days? To be honest, after I left Juliet I spent the year in Los Angeles came home to XIX and haven’t been out much. I support “Funday” at Gold Bar but besides that I haven’t been anywhere in a while. I try and get rest every chance I get. I guess I’m old school because I really can’t mention anything that I like about this club era. I’m from a great era of night life the late ‘90s and early 2000’s, so I’ll just keep those great memories and try my best to duplicate that energy at XIX. I think it’s working out so far.

Shut Up NIMBYS—Destefano’s, Gentrification & Hustlers

The irony wasn’t lost on this old sailor: Last night, I was treated to a serious steak at a decidedly non-hipster haunt near my new home in Williamsburg. Destafano’s satisfied all my carnivorous urges and also introduced me to some of the locals in my new hood, people that don’t have a used dresser packed with plaid shirts back home. Williamsburg, with its hipster hangs, massive flowering parks, and quaint shops, is grounded in the old-school Italian and Polish populations who’ve been here forever, and, thankfully, who readily accept their newish quirky residents.

It’s a neighborhood much like the one I just left, the super-gentrified tourist-trap North Little Italy, which was renamed with a real estate agent’s moniker, Nolita. It was meant to assure newcomers that this wasn’t the Little Italy of gangster lore, but a new chic hood dominated by actors, artists, chic restaurants, and boutiques. When I got to Nolita 7 or 8 years ago, it was all that—quiet and trendy. I would have a breakfast at Gitane or Habana while saying hello to a couple dozen neighbors. It was too good to be true — and it was too good to last. The fabulousness attracted the tourists and yuppies. They came in hordes. The local shops and cafés changed to meet their needs. Prices on everything, including rents, skyrocketed.

A few years ago it became impossible for a local to visit these haunts, with hour-long waits not uncommon. Sure, the other day I saw a very tired and wet Gabriel Byrne leaving his place to catch a bite. Eight years ago I would have stopped and chatted with my neighbor. Nowadays, it’s become like the rest of Manhattan, a place where you don’t know those who live nearby. The new construction and high rents have diminished the diversity and friendliness. Gentrification has taken the neighbor out of the hood.

Last night my new friends at Destafano’s talked about Noho. They lived there when it was little Italy or The Village. They, too, have migrated to Williamsburg for much of the same reasons as I did. While I followed the hipster migration, they found a small enclave that still has the values they cherish. The old neighborhood had lost its charm. Williamsburg still had it. Destafano’s is all that: broccoli rabe and panacotta to die for, and families and conversations that made a stranger feel at home. We talked of Ray—the actual real Original Ray’s Pizza, who passed just a couple of years ago, and Vinny Vela, who’s also out here. We talked about this guy, and that one, and of Little Charlie’s Clam House, which is now Travertine. Ironically I’m going to Travertine tonight. Travertine is a great place that made me forget it was Little Charlie’s. Destafano’s was so good and so friendly that it made me forget my Nolita years.

Tonight’s party at Travertine centers around a beautiful young actress’s birthday. I’ve known Evy Bjorn since she was around 4 years old. Her dad, an actor as well, managed at Café American, which is where Nobu downtown is. It was there I did fun, experimental fashion shows that started in the kitchen, went into the aisles, passing the large windows of the restaurant, wended out the front door to the street where large crowds gathered, and then flowed back through the service door for a change. Evy was sometimes running around being cute. We met up years later at clubs around town when she was old enough to vote. We remain great friends. Her story is one of survival while she tries to make it big. I gave her her first gig working with New York and now Vegas legend, Mike Diamond. She was a bottle host at a thankfully forgotten joint called Madison. She moved on to work with Travertine force Ruben Rivera, who was running the door at Mansion at the time. Then it became M2 and she was still there. She has bartended and waitron’ed at dozens of joints. If she is working 4 days a week, she looks for more shifts. Shifts pay for her career. She is now bartending at Upstairs. Her day job has had her stunt driving in Steve Carrell’s flick Dan in Real Life. She’s always studying, auditioning and collaborating. Her night jobs afford her the flexibility. Without a vibrant night scene, and the jobs it creates, we’d have far less talent struggling to make it here. That’s often lost on the NIMBY’s who fail to respect that nightlife brings needed jobs to this job-starved city. If you ask her what she’s up to she spouts “auditioning a ton, some commercial modeling,trying to get funding for a Franc Reyes pilot, and another pilot by Zach Dunham, finishing up and writing my own pilot, and looking to put together my first gallery show of some of my pieces by the end of the summer. Taking my career to the next level. Oh ,and in an Improv Group at The PIT.”

At a community board meeting the other night, yokel locals held up signs and shouted at respectable operators vying for board approval for their projects. Operators who would provide work so that our communities are full of Evy Bjorn’s doing their thing and paying their way. The locals just shout and spew vile, harass, and lie. The biggest lie being that they actually represent the community. I told someone with some clout that the only way to end their power is to hold them accountable individually in court. Sue individual ”neighbors” and board members for libel if they libel, when they libel. Hold them accountable for the threats and lies, which are so much a part of their toolbox. Tonight I’ll head to Travertine to celebrate Evy and a thousand others who still believe if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. In the city that never sleeps, Evy and her ilk sleep less than most.

Clubbing in Cambodia, XIX, & Jessica Rabbit Sings

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a rock star with the greatest moniker ever, Jello Biafra, crooned a tune called “Holiday In Cambodia.” At that time in Cambodia, the people in power were whacking teachers, doctors—anyone with an education or slight western tilt. A holiday in Cambodia was a bad idea. Nowadays things are different. The bad men, for the most part, have been exiled far away from Main Street, and people I know can actually go there. With the weather here driving me bonkers, I checked in with a pal living in the oblivion of Southeast Asia, and asked for a club report. I mean, if I’m gonna go somewhere to duck the cold, they had better have a good club, or I better be prepared to make one. The words may not be that accurate as this Droid translator—a Cambodian to English thing—is way too hard for me to handle. But I’ll give it a try.

It’s real cold here and I’m looking for an exotic escape. Is there nightlife in Cambodia? They are behind here, but it is hip compared to Vietnam.

What are Cambodian clubs like? Most are smoky and have sleazy girls in cheap plastic heels with lots of expats watching soccer. Bangkok has much more of a scene. They have some clubs that can afford international DJs. They do Tokyo to Bangkok, so it’s not like they fly them in from London. Singapore used to have really famous DJs, and the decor in the clubs is so classy, so up-market, that they sometimes had one great DJ a week. Singapore has real night life, but they are American in so many ways — except that ladies doing a “trade” are legal. Why not? It’s the safest city in the world. Is there a little Steve Lewis yet? I hope you are happy and NY isn’t so cold and your apt is warm.

No, no kids. And could you define happy? I’m freezing and want to go somewhere hot. I went to two really nice Cambodian clubs, one called Heart of Darkness with great decor but only so-so music. It did have amazing security. The other one was called Riverside. It has a fantastic sound system, hot women that are not sleazy, so far. Those are the nicest I have seen. Heart of Darkness is also nicknamed “Heart of Business.” It had a gay element, and had tough guys and foreign people living and visiting. It was packed. The decor mixed Ankgor and modern perfectly. It was hot.

I’m looking into flights!

Last night, after BINGO, we headed over to Travertine to check out what my man Ruben was doing with the downstairs space XIX. XIX didn’t impress me at first. I almost went in on a couple of occasions, but stalled at the door, chatting with door folk. The crowds I observed going in were not going to lure me off the street. It seemed to be trying to do the same ‘ol same ‘ol, and didn’t have the players to pull it off. It was, at least for me, a must to avoid. Ruben called me and told me he changed things up, and to pop by.

I never say “no” to some people, and yes, that has gotten me in trouble, but this time I was pleased. Everything was working. The crowd was enthusiastic, with enough beauty to legitimize it with a sharp crowd, and plenty of hip and artistic types to keep it from being a bore. DJ Kid Mess was just killing it with sounds not normally offered at joints trying to sway similar gatherings. I was very impressed. With it’s proximity to Kenmare, La Esquina, Goldbar, and a neighborhood packed with interested parties and restaurants to feed it—including its own upstairs—this small spot looms big. All they need is a little patience to see their plan through, and this joint will get serious. Ruben is just what they needed, and XIX is what I need. I’ll be back.

There are many people I can’t say “no” to besides Ruben. One is Heather Litteer, who is sometimes called “Jessica Rabbit” or just “Rabbit.” She’s an extraordinary performer/artist, often seen around this town wherever the hipper-than-hip, smart set evolve to. Tonight she will sing at The Gershwin Hotel, 7 East 27th Street, which, as she points out, is right next to the Sex Museum (but we all knew that). The shin-dig starts at 8pm, and will include “special performances” by Nath Ann Carrera and Nicholas Gorham. It is promised that Heather “will sway you with the sultry sounds of her smoky vocals, while accompanied by Zecca Esquibel on the ivories.” She says to “Pucker up darlings!” She will conquer you. She can’t help it: She was just drawn that way.

Let’s Compare Danae Cappelletto & Amy Sacco’s Boyfriends

Many of the women I meet in nightlife only make me long for Amy Sacco. There are plenty of women present who give it just as good as the guys, but there are also plenty of women who realize they’re a minority in the after-dark world, and carry themselves with a sort of defensive air accordingly, as if I need to be reminded. Which is why I was excited to see Page 6 Magazine‘s profile of Danae Cappelletto, the talent behind Travertine and the new club-entry XIX. Unfortunately, while the article directly compares Cappelletto with Sacco, the points of comparison veer away from the powerhouse ladies’ nightlife resumes, focusing instead on all-important questions like who they’re dating and what they wear.


It’s fun if fluffy stuff, certainly, but if we’re crowning the heir to one of the most notable nightlife impresarios in recent memory, perhaps heftier points of interest are in order? What is Travertine’s effect on nightlife? How might it be mimicking Bungalow 8’s takeover of the Chelsea West Side? How is their celebrity following comparable? What obstacles have the two women overcome? Pointing out who Cappelletto and Sacco are dating while neglecting to look at the cultural impact of their endeavors reminds me a little of this. Then again, it’s just nightlife.

Hot Totties: Fall Nightlife News

Perhaps eclipsed by the buzz of Don Hill’s, many under-the-radar projects are in the works for New York nightlife’s back-to-school season. While some neighborhoods are focusing on new openings – and non-neighborhoods are starting to call themselves “Kenmare” – many continue to draw inspiration from the past (not Steve Lewis’s past, but further back), hoping to add a dose of Mad Men elegance to nightlife. Here’s a shortlist of the most exciting developments destined to pack a big punch this fall.

Bars for Lucky Strike Guys n’ Gals Today, Guest of a Guest begged the question on everyone’s mind: Will new bars like The Darby and the Lambs Club restore the kind of elegance we’ve come to expect on Mad Men? Richie Akiva has talked about modeling The Darby – I had the stealthy pleasure of touring it last week – after Mad Men favorite El Morocco, and David Rabin, along with chef Geoffrey Zakarian, has collaborated on the Lambs Club’s 60’s atmosphere and classic drink menu. But the question remains: “Will people really dress up to go to dinner, will our ADD generation be able to stay in one location for the duration of the night, will we be able to put down our smart phones and make it through course after course with nothing but our conversation and a possible live band to entertain us?” If they do, I’m hoping my favorite old-school joint (and a frequent setting for Boardwalk Empire) Delmonico’s will also have a second coming.

Hungry for Something a Little Different After pulling teeth, nightlifer Matt Abramcyk (Beatrice, The Bunker Club, Smith & Mills, Warren 77) finally got the blessing of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to move forward with his plan to open a 100-seat Latin restaurant called Super Linda at the old Delphi Diner space on West Broadway and Reade Street. Super Linda will open sometime within year.


A League of Their Own I am completely jazzed that Aaron Bakalar, former Socialista gatekeeper and nightlife mainstay, has finally found a way to capitalize on the DNA of famous offspring like Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Gia Coppola, and Isabelle McNally. Bakalar just launched The Collaborative Agency, a creative agency focused on the representation, promotion, and management of significant contributors to the modern youth culture. Says the website, “The Collaborative Agency represents individuals directly engaged in the fields of fashion, music, film, and art whose inside perspectives grant them the unique ability to appear as true images of their generation and to provide distinctive insights into the state of the current market.” If you look at the endeavor from a business standpoint, even if the talent grows up to become garbage collectors (which they will not, since the roster is brimming with potential, but I’m just saying), their names will still be bold-faced in the morning papers. Since they’re born with a certain amount of access, the kids have the luxury of being “early adopters” (I will never willingly use the synonym “tastemakers”) of nightlife and culture. I’m interested to see how Bakalar will manage and promote his clients, and what affect his background in nightlife will have on the collaborations.

What will happen to the “Kenmare” Nabe? “Kenmare Street was once a lonely extension of Delancey Street, home to auto mechanics, psychics, and bodegas,” says the NY Post. “Once a total drag, Kenmare strip is the coolest new food strip in town.” Lovely of them to notice, but some locals aren’t too keen on the changing tide—especially with the Nolitan Hotel opening at 30 Kenmare this November. One of my favorite websites, Bowery Boogie, notes that the latest “trendy hotel monstrosity” is just the beginning. “It’s the newest ‘it’ spot, which is simply a euphemism for a gold rush of epic proportions. And the scene is already crowded: Travertine, Kenmare, and Village Tart are already heavy contenders.”


The Plaza: It’s What’s For Brunch I though it was a joke when I heard the rumor, but the Koch brothers, who run the popular “Day & Night” brunches at places like Merkato and East Hampton Point, are bringing their brunches of debauchery to the Plaza. If you thought Eloise was a terror (and I hope you did not), just think about what champagne bottles, sparklers, and people passed out on tables will do for the legendary hotel. Come to think of it, perhaps the brunches will be the wake-up call the Plaza has been in need of ever since the sleepy condos took over. Their first party will be held this Saturday.


New Openings to Try

The Hurricane Club For the Kitsch of It You may only glimpse snippets of it between deskside cocktail hour (every hour), but the Mad Men era was also the golden age of tiki cocktails, with Trader Vic-style bars in every city and town. This tiki joint from the Quality Meats peeps revels in a similar brand of inauthenticity. AvroKO did the design. Slurp booze from a coconut while nibbling ribs off a pu-pu platter.

Lincoln Bar Food Pair a splashy hypar (hyperbolic paraboloid, but you knew that) lawn in Lincoln Center with an ambitious pan-Italian resto under the command of Jonathan Benno (Per Se) and you get one hot rezzy. Hit up the bar for a quick drive by, and be the first to say you’ve already been. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Alphabet City New Bar Crawl image Bedlam The folks of Eastern Bloc bring forth stylish retro cocktailing amid stuffed bears and assorted Victoriana. Try the Bedlam Cup, with Pimm’s, cucumber, lemon, and elderflower liqueur while lounging in the ginormous main space, complete with dance floor, top notch sound, and Anderson Cooper (his BF is a partner).

Billy Hurricane’s Another hurricane trope, this bar happens to be the Mardi Gras–themed Avenue B answer to Hooters. Hooters in the East Village—it’s blasphemous! But the kitschy décor—Bourbon Street mural, porch swings, and beading—feels Disney-enough to have a gander.

Idle Hands Basement spot keeps it simple: Bourbon. Beer. Rock. Latter represented in entryway with music-flyer collage. An equally bustling spot, Idle Hands shares the space with Billy Hurricane’s, boasting more than 70 bourbons, whiskeys, and ryes.

Industry Insiders: Danae Cappelletto, Wizard of Oz

Australian restaurateur Danae Cappelletto opened New York eatery Travertine early last year, an arduous process she once described as “a gladiator sport.” But Cappalletto slew the tiger, and now she has her very own modern, sleek, candlelit Mediterranean restaurant in a building that housed the popular mafia hangout Little Charlie’s Clam Bar until it shuttered in 2007. Once she settled on the space in Manhattan’s NoLita, she’s been collecting accolades for her award-winning investment ever since. The granddaughter of famed Australian chef Giuseppe R. Cappelletto, is finally making a name for herself.

Go-to places: Al di Là, this old school Italian place in Brooklyn, for their cheese plate, shaved fennel salad and squid ink polenta. Moustache for their tabbouleh and falafel. Estiatorio Milos for a special fine-dining treat. I like Apothéke for the amazing infusion and La Esquina for the tequila.

On her idols: Donatella Arpaia. I sent her a message on Facebook inviting her to the restaurant. She came, and is completely amazing. She’s such a strong woman in the business.

On getting to know the family biz: My grandfather was a big chef in northern Italy. That’s where my family’s from originally. When they came to Australia, they opened a series of restaurants. My father is an amazing cook. He made all the food for the banquets they would do. It’s just in my blood. We had a veggie garden and we’d pick the vegetables and bring them in for cooking. This has always been my mentality.

On getting her start: I started working for a company called The Merivale Group, a big hospitality company in Australia, as a bartender. I just love working with people. Then worked my way into managing and established their biggest venue for them, as well as did special events. I left that company to get into the more elegant side of things with a venue space called the Tea Rooms. I opened a place for them that had a panoramic view of the harbor. The place was just stunning. They did weddings, events, and had a fine dining restaurant. It won a whole bunch of awards — one being for the best wedding event center.

On finding the right city: I was supposed to move to Greece to do events for the Belvedere Hotel in Mykonos. Before I was to start I came to New York for a visit with my brother and fell in love with the city and couldn’t leave; I love it so much. I arrived on the evening of Halloween of 2006. I had to call and tell them I wasn’t coming. I couldn’t leave New York. I also reconnected with my brother, and we made a pact we were never going to live in different cities anymore.

On being self-sufficient: I got a job that would sponsor me for a green card, but eventually decided that I wanted to have my own restaurant and I quit my job to do it. I was eventually able to sponsor myself.

On finding the perfect location: I spent ten months trolling Manhattan for the right location. Everything here is part of my vision.

On the name: Travertine is a rock that grows. It just seemed like the perfect name.

What’s next? For spring, we’ll open the expanded space downstairs at Travertine for reclining dining.