Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Eagle, The Westway, Rakim and Marriage Equality

Nightlife News for June 30, 2011
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

Prince of the City
What role did nightlife play in marriage equality?
Saying marriage equality came about because of nightlife might be going too far. But nightlife is a part of that story, so it is a part of our story as a society.

Rakim and the birth of modern hip hop
Twenty five years ago, people who thought they knew music decided hip hop was a fad. They wouldn’t support it on mainstream radio because it was going to die out in a few months. Hip hop has clearly lasted longer than a few months.

I’ve recently started developing a list of reviews on the popular venue site. Take a look at my new listings and let me know what you think…

East Side seeks to ban pub crawls
Following the lead of NIMBYs in the Lower East Side, residents in Midtown are trying to ban the organization of pub crawls in their neighborhoods

Rooftop Bars
Steven Lewis offers a list of the best rooftop bars for the Financial Times crowd in time for the 4th of July. Unfortunately, most people who read FT will probably be celebrating American independence in the Hamptons or Dubai.

Anthony Herbert
A discussion with one of the few politicians running for office that isn’t totally against New York nightlife

A Tribe Called Quest
Beats Rhymes and Life Documentary showcases the rise and fall of a pivotal hip hop group

The Eagle
On the Price weekend that saw the Marriage Equality Act pass in New York, police raided the West Chelsea gay bar.

In the wake of Drink the Deal and Living Social, a new nightlife discount service called Poggled is launching in New York.

New Venues
The Westway
The old peep show parlor and erotica shop gets a nightlife make over from the people who brought you the Jane Ballroom.

Have fun

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Dream Hotel, Hip Hop Art. Drink the Deal, and Pride 2011

Nightlife News for June 24, 2011

Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

Pride 2011 (June 24-26)
The last weekend of June is the annual celebration of LGBT culture in New York City. There will be parades, parties and special events all over the city. Click this link for an introduction into the various events.

Fundraising Fashion Show for Life Preservers (June 28)
Next week B Discovery and Nikki Midtown will host an event for Life Preservers Inc. Life Preservers is an organization that helps victims of sex trafficking in the New York City area. The party will include a runway show, product discounts and giveaways.

Hip Hop Art Exhibit
Fab Five Freddy, a hip hop personality since the 1980s, recently opened up an art exhibit at Gallery 151. The exhibit featured crystal encrusted digital photos of models and boxers and was inspired by graffiti styles of early hip hop. The continued emergence of this kind of nightlife culture in established museums and galleries is a welcomed recognition its artistic merits.

The Business of a Beer Sommelier
A lot of people like beer, but Matt Simpson has become a self taught expert. Because beer can be as complex and varied as wine or whiskey, he spent years developing a deep knowledge about the subject. This probably included a lot of drinking. Now he travels the country doing seminars, consulting on restaurant menus and hosting parties for wealthy clients. Why didn’t you think of that?

New Venues
Nights and Weekends
Williamsburg will get a rum based venue from the operators who brought you the successful Five Leaves restaurant.
PH-D in the Dream Hotel
One of the major venue openings of the summer inside the Dream Hotel had all the requisite A-List personalities, scene seeking crowds and high end opulence.

Drink the Deal Site Launches
A new nightlife centered discount group has launched to compete in the Groupon/ Living Social market.

Have fun

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NYC Cocktail Week, Gun Bar, Club Scanners and Lap Dance Lawsuits

Nightlife News for June 15th, 2011
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

NYC Cocktail Week (June 15-29) is partnering with more than a dozen cocktail lounges in NYC to provide a special menu for the end of June. Proceeds go to City Harvest

The Non Art of the Lap Dance
A court in Albany recently ruled that a strip club has to tax patrons who receive lap dances. This tax will increase the cost of a $20 lap dance to $22, excluding the tip. The court rejected the idea that a lap dance is a form of art that is exempt from taxation. While the tax on lap dances might not affect you, the ruling does because it implies that dancing, all forms of dancing, is not art and can be regulated by the government. This idea is central to the cabaret laws that currently prohibit dancing in venues that don’t have a cabaret license. Dancing is art and should be treated that way whether you are talking about ballet dancing, belly dancing, break dancing or even lap dancing.

ID Scanners
The NYPD is pushing a proposal to operators to install ID scanners at venues. The measure is being marketed as a deterrent from everything to underage drinking to terrorism. Opponents of the measure, including civil rights groups claim that privacy rights would be violated by the collection of these databases. The underlying issue revolves around what happens to the names, addresses and social security numbers of patrons. Will operators be able to sell those databases to promoters, marketers and other corporations? Will security people like Darryl Littlejohn be able to use it to find potential victims? Will cops like Kenneth Moreno be able to use it to find potential women to abuse? The scanners might curb underage drinking, but they could also open up a completely different set of problems.

Economic slowdown doesn’t hurt liquor sales.
The latest figure show what operators have known for a long time; regardless of the economy, people will drink. In good times they drink higher priced options to celebrate their success. In bad times they drink lower priced options to forget their problems. While venues are clearly fighting for business harder than ever based on sites like Groupon and Living Social, high price cocktail lounges are still opening on a regular basis. Drinking might be one of the few recession proof industries we have left.

New Venues
Gun Bar
The Meatpacking District opens its own version of the LES dive bar, complete with bottle service and tattoo parlor (two things that probably shouldn’t be in the same building)

Lot on Tap
The new extension to the High Line has added gold to the end of the redesigned railroad. A beer garden has been placed on the north end of the park for the summer of 2011. Now you can start your Highline stroll with a beer at the Standard beer hall and end your stroll with a beer at Lot on Tap. If you are a beer lover, what could be better?

The Terrace at Yotel
The new rooftop bar in Times Square claims to be the biggest, but can it be the best in a market that has more rooftop options than ever before?

Have fun.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Brooklyn Hip Hop, NYPD Rape, Beer Gardens, Concert Tickets and the Dream Hotel

Nightlife News for June 7, 2011
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival (July 11-16)
 Tribe Called Quest front man and prominent DJ Q-Tip is hosting a celebration of hip hop culture this summer.

The NYPD Rape Case
While the incident and the details of the 2009 attack have been in the news for several months. The verdict has been handed down by the court. The aftermath is still in the news. But the important lesson from the NYPD rape case deserves more attention. As nightlife patrons, we ultimately have to protect ourselves from predatory behavior. We can’t get drunk and assume that a bouncer, a cab driver or a police officer is going to get us home. They might, since New York is full of decent people. Then again, they might break into our apartments and abuse us. If you are outraged at the cops, remember that anger when you go drinking. That way, you’ll make sure you can go home without them.

Lowering the Drinking Age
Last week I posted a piece about the motivations for underage drinking. Now a new report from the American Council on Science and Health released a study arguing that the legal drinking age of 21 might create more social problems than it solves. At the heart of this argument is the concept that increased enforcement stringent will merely drive it into the shadows instead of stopping it. The author recommends removing the mystique around drinking through sensible exposure. While it is political suicide for anyone to suggest reducing the drinking age, the idea that responsible indulgence can be tied to age is a weak one at best.

Beer Gardens
Along with rooftop bars, tiki bars and speakeasies, the beer Garden has been a growing trend in New York nightlife for the past three years. This summer is starting off with six new locations in spots as diverse as Chelsea, Harlem, Grand Central and Midtown West. Brooklyn is probably still the king of the beer garden boroughs, but who knows how long that will last.

Concert Tickets
Real time price chances could make concert ticket prices resemble the stock market
Concert sites like Live Nation and Ticket Master have seen their profits go down in the face of competition from companies like Stub Hub. In an effort to reclaim some of that lost revenue, Live Nation is testing a system that would increase or decrease the price of tickets based on demand. This could lead to a chaotic system where two people could both buy their tickets online and be sitting next to each other at a show but one paid two or three times as much for their ticket. Secondary businesses are sure to pop up as a result when speculators buy tickets in bulk when they are first issued then sell them at a mark up when those tickets become scarce.

New Venues
Dream Hotel
The newest entrant into the rooftop bar market is opening in the Dream Hotel Downtown this month, complete with a private entrance, a mini beach and a bottomless pool that can be seen from the lobby below.

Have fun.