Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cain, Imperial, Limelight and Meet

The NYN Club Report for October 30, 2008
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

Imperial: Street art gets a new home in Flatiron.

Meet: Another SoHo townhouse becomes available for events from corporate meetings to strip poker.

Cain: The West Chelsea den gets a makeover and returns as Cain Luxe.

Limelight: The previous reports of the club’s revival were premature.

Have fun.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NYC Poised for Growth in the Nightlife Industry

By Gamal Hennessy

Despite the gloom in the economic press there good things that can come out of the recession for nightlife natives. In spite of the bottle service decline and the community board moratoriums there is opportunity for a revitalized club scene. If
recent history is any indicator, an infusion of new thinking can be the bright spot in an otherwise dark period.

From Problem to Playground
To understand the potential for growth, it makes sense to look at a previous crisis. In the late 1970’s America’s dependency on foreign oil spiked and the price of a barrel of oil jumped from $5 to $17 (which doesn’t seem that bared when compared to the price of crude today). That
oil crisis contributed to economic malaise of the early 1980’s.

It was during this period that megaclubs opened and flourished. Between 1977 and 1985 legendary venues like
Studio 54, Limelight and the Palladium defined nightlife culture. Entrepreneurs from other sectors understood that people need release and escape during periods of economic struggle. The result was a playground for the excessive 80’s that was imitated all over the world.

Fast forward
Today it is housing and credit that is causing the headaches instead of oil. AIG, Merrill Lynch and other investment banks are being torn down and sold for scrap creating a pool of finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) workers looking for a new start. The
fall of bottle service is a direct effect of this situation. The closing or repositioning of clubs that relied on this trend is the indirect effect.

But it is in these ashes that a new era in clubs can rise. The credit crunch has had a
direct impact on real estate expansion in the city. Many people in the field see an inevitable drop in prices per square foot. As property prices fall and people look to take money out of the stock markets and put them into other investments, you also have a potential pool of talent coming out of the FIRE industries who can translate their skills into the hospitality industry. Rounding out the equation, you still have patrons who have the need for temporary escape from their daily lives. Some experts think that this combination will lead to a new period of growth in the nightlife industry.

Of course, the next Studio 54 isn’t going to just magically appear. Every new spot that opens is still going to have to find a way to get credit, deal with the community boards and police, overcome the jaded malaise of many veteran nightlife natives, compete with all the other clubs in the city and find a way to make money. There are sure to be a lot of failures but there is room for success. It will take creative thinking, personality and financial skill to make the next great spots work, but we have been in this situation before.

In the last few months, promoters have approached me asking my opinion on looking for the best club to buy and different ways invest. The advice I gave them isn’t original but I believe it to be sound. First, find someone who has experience over the long term that you can work with. Second, contribute your expertise and bring your people into the venue. Third and most important, learn how the whole business works. Those steps, a lot of work and some luck can revitalize nightlife in New York.

Have fun.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Aspen Social, Beast and Scores

The NYN Club Report for October 23, 2008
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

Halloween (Friday, October 31)
Use these guides and find a place to get your scare on.
Martini Boys

Aspen Social Club
If you’re in Midtown West and you need a rustic bar, go here.

(Urban Daddy)
An underground art lounge opens in Chinatown.

(New York Observer)
Owners of the rival strip clubs are moving in to take over the struggling strip joints.

Have fun.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Milk and Honey, Ono, and Southside

The NYN Club Report for October 22, 2008
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

CMJ Music Festival (October 21-25)
The music marathon sweeps through the city celebrating its 27th year.

(Urban Daddy)
A new dance spot moves into the LES.

(Down by the Hipster)
Halloween is the last scheduled night for the Meatpacking Garden.

Milk and Honey
The exclusive club will go private in an attempt to control the noise.

Have fun.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Houndstooth, M Lounge and the New York Comedy Festival

The NYN Club Report for October 16, 2008
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

The New York Comedy Festival (November 6-9)
A-list comics take over venues across the city next month

A new neighborhood bar and event space opens in the Garment District

M Lounge
A late night lounge opens above Megu

David Rabin
(Black Book)
An interview with the President of the New York Nightlife Association that coincided with the New York Food and Wine Festival

Hawaiian Tropic Zone
Supervisors at the midtown tourist spot are accused of forcing female employees into sex.

Have fun.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tequila: The Mexican Treasure

By Gamal Hennessy

A libation lesson brought to you courtesy of the
New York Food and Wine Festival.

Four things come to mind when we usually think of tequila: margaritas, worms, shots and hangovers from the depths of hell. The margarita association is accurate, the others are not. If you put down the lemon for a minute and take a closer look at tequila, you will discover a refined spirit with a rich history, a complex taste and an often expensive price tag.

The back story
The history of
tequila is rooted in necessity and linked to Spanish conquistadors invaded Mexico in the 16th century. I guess since raping, pillaging and subjugating populations requires a certain amount of inebriation, because the invaders ran into a problem when they finished all the brandy they brought with them from Europe. To solve this problem, they began distilling the local agave plant as a substitute, creating North America’s first native liquor.

The varieties
If your only experience drinking tequila involves licking the back of your hand and slamming a shot, you might not realize that there are subtle flavors in tequila. You might have also missed the fact that there are different categories of tequila in the same way there are different blends of whiskey and rum. This short lesson will solve that problem.

· Blanco or "white" tequila has a strong pepper and spice taste and is often used in cooking.

· Reposado or "rested" tequila is aged for three months to a year in oak barrels and usually offers a smoother drink than the blanco.

· Añejo or "vintage" tequila is aged for one year to three years in oak barrels which gives it the smoothest and most complex taste. Añejo is the tequila that is usually used in bars unless you ask for another type.

The Drink
Los Dados hosted the tequila tasting in the Meatpacking District during the festival. During the presentation, the chef explained that shooting tequila (aptly referred to as tequila cruda) is the juvenile method of drinking. Mexican importers originally introduced this technique to gringos in an effort to lure unsuspecting consumers into drinking large quantities and spending a lot of money. Only in the last few years has the main use of tequila been discovered in America.

As premium brands like Casa Noble, Jose Cuervo and Patron become staples in local nightlife and shots easily go for $25-50 a glass in clubs, tequila cruda makes even less sense than it did before. This is liquor created to be sipped over conversation and enjoyed with quality Mexican cuisine. It’s doesn’t have to be a one way ticket to a hangover if you don’t treat it that way…

Have fun.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Studio, Naya and the New York Food and Wine Festival

NYN Club Report for October 9, 2008

Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

The New York Food and Wine Festival
Gourmet food, vintage wine and celebrity chefs take over the Meatpacking District this weekend.

The Studio at Webster Hall
The B&T mecca gets an intimate performing space just in time for CMJ

A futuristic Mediterranean lounge opens in Midtown East.

Have fun.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why is New York Dating So Hard?

By Gamal Hennessy

New York is teeming with singles who want to date but dating in New York is often described as a complicated and stressful process. Like other aspects of city living, dating here can be ultra competitive, expensive and full on mental, emotional and physical turmoil. What is it about dating in general and the New York dating scene in particular that makes it so difficult? Is this something we can change?

Personal Issues: Before you can go out there and enjoy the dating scene, you need to take a look at what you bring to the table in terms of expectations, goals and personal baggage. Lindsay Gebhart, a columnist for The New York Examiner says that if you have a superiority complex or you don’t do well in social situations or you are in any other way a “
hot mess”, you can’t expect dating to go well for you. And even if you have your life together, you have to deal with potentially obnoxious, socially inept or overbearing individuals once you’re out there and separating the wheat from the chaff can become an occupation in its own right.

Uncontrolled Social Stress: Women engaging in modern courtship have developed certain defense mechanisms to ward off undesirable suitors. Personally, you have learned ways to discourage and reject men who don’t appeal to you. A girl’s
social circle can also provide powerful protection from approaching men. Finally, the insecurity and nervousness within men often prevents an initial meeting from even being attempted. Authors like Neil Strauss have made a career out of teaching men to bypassing these social walls. While these defenses are necessary to survive in the modern dating scene, they are often used out of reflex, not out of actual need. You might not be able to turn them off, even if you wanted to.

Economic Issues: If personal issues and your social defenses weren’t enough to worry about, money also provides a big challenge in New York dating. Recent studies from Forbes have suggested that New York suffers as a city for singles to date in because the
cost of living and dating is so high. The current economic slowdown only intensifies this situation. Whether you are dating for love, money or fun, a lack of disposable income from both people’s perspective can have a major effect on your dating options.

Safety Issues: Finally, in rare occasions dating in New York can be dangerous. HIV rates are up.
Condom use is down here. Although crime is down overall in New York City, personal safety is always an issue, especially with a person that you actually know. It’s hard to let your hair down if you feel that you need to constantly looking over your shoulder.

The New York Dating Mind: Issues of psychology, social barriers, economics, and safety are a part of dating everywhere and the situation becomes even more complex when religion, family interaction, career, pre-existing children and past relationships enter into the picture. But New York might be different primarily because of the perception that many of us bring to it.

New York is the business capital of the world. This mentality spills into our dating scene, making the whole process less about pleasure and more about business. If you go into it from a business mentality, as if every date was a due diligence assignment for a possible merger or acquisition, then dating is work. If you don’t like work, then dating this way is hard.

If you go out on a date to enjoy yourself, then you can enjoy yourself. Yes, dating will still be complicated. Yes, there are things to watch out for. No, every date won’t be fun. But it can be a part of your life that you enjoy instead of being another job. You can’t change the factors that make New York dating complex, but you can change the way you look at the experience and doing that can change how much you enjoy it.

Have fun.

Tell us what you think about this article. Leave a comment and speak your mind…

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oktoberfest, Catch 22 and Lucky Strike

The NYN Club Report for October 2, 2008
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

Oktoberfest Spots
Suggestions on where to dive into your river of beer from
Shecky’s and NY Barfly

Catch 22
(New York Magazine)
High class foosball (if there is such a thing) comes to Flatiron

Lucky Strike
(Urban Daddy)
High class bowling (if there is such a thing) comes to Midtown West.

…are you sensing a theme?

Have fun.