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Tag Archives: bar
There are certain places I avoid in New York. Any place near Times Square, the three feet of space around food carts and–most importantly–shitty Meatpacking clubs.
It started back in the first summer I moved to New York. My German friend was visiting me in New York and I knew nothing. Seriously, all my knowledge of the “scene” was sourced exclusively from the internet. In fact, I think I chose our destination off a Refinery29 roundup or something. (I was so cute back in 2009, no?) So off we went, him and me and his Belgium friend, to the Gansevoort. What I experienced next was humiliating. We stood in line while taller, skinnier ladies and hair-gelled dudes traipsed in. The bouncers looked us up and down. The message was clear. You are neither cool nor attractive enough for this venue. The memory of that still makes me cringe.
Plus those clubs are ripe for terrible people. Setting aside the bridge-and-tunnel factor, after I got roofied in Paris, my friend Facebook messaged me to tell me about her experience getting roofied at–where else–a Meatpacking club called Marquee.
And those bouncers and dudes with clipboards will use all sorts of excuses to keep ugly, fat, unconnected, accent-less, unfashionable and prude people like you and I outside. Like a couple weekends ago, when a couple girlfriends were in town. I was planning on taking them to Le Bain (more info below), but a DJ friend of mine was adamant that a new club called Le Baron would be amazing. I texted him several times to verify. Would there be a cover? What’s the scene like? I’m responsible for making sure my visiting girlfriends have an amazing time. Was he SURE that this was fun?
He responded saying, “No cover. Fancy door, but just say you’re there for Jacques Renault and it’ll be fine. Should be awesome!”
Well, we showed up. The girl in front of us in line and her friend were already in an argument. “Listen. We just flew in from Dubai and we are so incredibly jet lagged so can we please just go in?” While we gagged behind her, the guy with the clip board nodded, the rope was unclipped and they went inside. The bouncer looked at us and said, “Are you on the list?”
“Uh, no,” I said. “We weren’t told there was a list. I’m here for Jacques Renault.” I made sure my pronunciation sounded extra French. He was unswayed. “You have to be on the list.”
We looked at each other. Awesome. I shook my head. We stood there. Finally the bouncer said, “Ladies, could you please just move out of line so others can move up?” Yes, we were being booted out of line completely. I texted my DJ friend who sent me some drunken replies about the bouncer being a complete asshole. My friend leaned in and told me that his “list” was a blank piece of paper. We left, went to Le Bain and had a kickass time.
But last night was the worst. I had sworn off completely clubs like that. I prefer places where you go because you love music–venues mostly in Brooklyn. You can wear and be whoever you want, the crowd is fascinating and open to new experiences, and it’s always a great time.
This is the kind of music I’m looking for:
But last weekend my friend A. told me that her new gorgeous Brazilian model
boyfriend interest had a promoter friend and we could go to this club called Pink Elephant and get everything for free. So fun! She was so enthusiastic and I love her, so of course I said yes.
I dragged myself away from after-work margaritas at 11 so I could go home and change. I chose a loose, coral-pink silk shift dress that lightly skimmed my curves. I smeared dark eye makeup on my eyes and coral lipstick on my lips, shoved bangles on my wrists and slipped into high heels. I thought I looked hot. Or, at least attractive.
A. left the inside of the club–randomly located between 5th and 6th on 8th Street– to meet me and her model friend outdoors. Her little sister was still downstairs inside the club. The bouncer directed us to stand in line. A small man walked out of the door with a clipboard. A. showed him the stamp on her wrist. He looked at her, me and her hot date and leaned into the bouncer. “She and he can come in but”–here he pointed at me–”but not her.”
A. was horrified. She grabbed my arm and refused to move. We stood there. The guy with the clipboard came back five minutes later. The bouncer gestured to the three of us. Again, snotty clipboard dude (who I’m sure has a small penis) pointed to A. and friend. “They can come in, but not her.” This happened once more, again.
It of course was humiliating. He might as well have said, “Your friend is ugly, sorry.” A. tried begging him to allow us to go in together but he wouldn’t budge. I watched a line of girls walk in. One had on a red satin, ruched, body-conscious dress from what looked like Caché. Another had on a satin leopard print cropped bustier with a black mini skirt.
I realized my dress was all wrong. Gotta be honest: My three best features are my eyes, boobs and butt. My high-necked silk dress that hit mid-thigh and barely skimmed my butt was just not cutting it. And this was the kind of place that doesn’t care about pretty blue eyes. They want long legs and nice assets displayed. If there’s one place where misogyny will never die, it’s shitty NYC clubs.
At that moment I realized I didn’t want to go in there anyway. What would I find there? Probably men who were the kind of guys who like girls who wear satin leopard-print cropped bustiers. Men whose eyes would glaze over if I mentioned what I do for a living. Women (besides A. of course, who is a smart, capable lawyer who happens to be gorgeous) who couldn’t name the current president. Gross vodka tonics that would make me throw up after I was done desperately throwing them back to make things seem better.
I threw my arms around A.’s neck and told her, “Go! Go! Go find your sister. I can do something else.” She protested, but I held strong. “Don’t wait for me. Have a wonderful time. We’ll hang out next weekend, OK?”
I thought of my friend D. as I walked off down the street. She called me early this year at 3 am her time, saying how her blond friend had tried to take her to a fancy Parisian night club and she had been rejected by the bouncer, even as he bantered familiarly with her friend. Of course D.’s feelings were hurt. I felt for her. “You said yourself it’s one of the most exclusive clubs in Paris. I wouldn’t be able to get in there. Don’t worry about it!”
I told myself these same things as I paid for a cab, again, to take me home. “I don’t want to go anyway. Those girls are stupid slutty people who just want a rich douche to take care of them. I know boys think I’m attractive! I’m smart! I have a fun personality! It probably sucked inside!”
But it was still a blow to my self esteem. And really, that is not necessary in a place like New York. So let’s go someplace else instead, shall we?
Below are two places that are much, much better. They both have doors, but only nominally. The crowds are great at both, the music amazing. You’re pretty much guaranteed a good time without having to parade your boobs around in line to get in.
This oddball little club is located on one of the top floors of The Standard Hotel, which straddles the High Line. Walk to the north side of the hotel, and a vintage neon sign directs you to the entrance. The line is long, but moves fast. Perhaps some skinny chicks will butt you, but you’ll get in. Once inside, take the elevator to the top, and pop in one of the trippy, all-glass bathrooms, with huge windows looking over the city. You can tell yourself it’s a one way mirror–I’m not sure that’s true, but you have to believe it to get over the fact that anyone with binoculars can watch you peeing. Oh well.
Leave the house of mirrors and hit the dance floor, where notable DJs pound the bass. If you’re feeling frisky, strip down to your undies and pop in the pool that’s a few feet from the dance floor. I’ve never done it (and don’t plan to), but I’ve definitely seen girls dressed in tanks and black lacy underwear standing by the pool. Gaze out the windows across the Hudson to New Jersey. Then walk up the stairs to the roof, buy a Nutella crepe from the crepe shack, sit down in a chaise lounge, kick your heels off to dig your toes into the astroturf and chat with your friends while you watch the city lit up like Christmas below.
There’s was actually a great act there last night, but of course I skipped to try this terrible Pink Elephant place. So listen to this DJ duo from Brooklyn and imagine yourself listening to this while on top of the world:
This isn’t actually a hotel. It’s just a tri-level restaurant that turns into a club on weekends. Once you get inside after a supremely short wait in line, stop at the ground floor bar to grab drinks, where DJ Mesh throws down real vinyl tunes. Then head upstairs to the tile-clad rooftop bar where the DJ spins mash-ups of current indie hits and eligible men look for eligible ladies. (I’ve personally been picked up by
two three as of June 10th really nice, smart guys while I’ve been there.)
When you’re nice and sauced, head to the basement, where the DJ will recreate the best part of college for you. Oh yes: The frat basement. The music is almost exclusively 90′s and aughts Mariah Carey, Bone Thugs and Harmony, Kanye and other music that will make you and your friends practically shriek with exuberant recognition. And, of course, a little Call Me Maybe thrown in. It’s sweaty and crowded and awesome.
When I convinced my college girlfriends to go there with me, one was yawning and saying she would stop in but would probably go home in a little bit. Three hours later she was on the dance floor with me, lip syncing and telling me she hadn’t had this much fun since college.
A little post-script: I found out that A. left Pink Elephant a half hour later, and some female friends of her friend that happened to be models couldn’t even get in. So I’m feeling a little bit better about being the ugly friend. But I’m still not going back.
A more little post-script: The night after I wrote this, my friends and I went to Hotel Chantelle. When we got out of the cab, we groaned at the huge line. But before I could even cross the street, my friends were already talking with a clipboard guy, who escorted us around the side, unclipped the rope and let us in. So there you have it: Chantelle has taste, and Pink Elephant doesn’t. I think the words, “This is the BEST PLACE EVER,” were spoken at least twice that night!
Why “Our?” This isn’t an aggregate blog, it’s just my personal blog. But I speak for several of my girlfriends when I say this bar ROCKS. Let me explain…
Last Friday I went out with the girls to see a great play, (thanks for the free tickets Liz!) called Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Think Vagina Monologues, but funnier, and with clothing instead of Vaginas. Five women acted out adorable/hilarious/heartbreaking life stories with clothing as the backdrop. Breast cancer and bras, wedding dress shopping, terrible and uplifting romances with cocktail dresses and purses, it was wonderful. I recommend. (Except if you are a guy, then I wouldn’t recommend.)
Afterward we all stood on the corner, discussing where we wanted to get drinks. Girly, fancy, fun drinks. As we talked, I heard a guy shout, “Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall!” A woman hit the ground next to me. Apparently she had tripped on a manhole, and struggled to catch herself until she finally spilled on the sidewalk. Her cigarette smoked on the ground next to her. Several concerned bystanders helped her to her feet, she was fine, and she left.
One minute later a guy walked by, and in one fluid motion scooped up the cigarette, put it in his mouth and walked on. Oh, New York.
After a misstep where we briefly stepped into a rooftop bar in midtown (“Do you smell vomit?” “Yeah, I was wondering why this place smelled like a frat party.”) I led everyone to the Ace Hotel. I was just thinking the lobby bar, where I’ve been a couple times. But at the door three adorably-attired male employees in suspenders and jeans told us we would have to go through the restaurant next door.
We stepped into The Breslin, and after taking in the vintage decor and calm ambiance, decided to stay. We followed a wooden staircase to the second floor where we seated ourselves in a tiny area with only three tables. “Can I fit my butt in there?” I asked a guy who was seated on the bench at the table next to ours.
“Well, of course,” he said graciously, “You can most certainly fit your butt in here.” What a gentleman.
All five of us crowded around the little table to peruse the drink menu. When the bartender popped over from the bar, merely seven feet away, I ordered a Surfer Rosa with “Rum, Dry Olorosa Sherry, fresh lime juice and artisanal grenadine.” The other girls ordered a Synchronicity (“Pimm’s with fresh lemon juice, mint, cucmber, grapes, Topped off with Prosecco”) two Lust for Lifes (“Gin with lavender syrup, mint and fresh lemon juice, topped with soda water”), and a Rush of Blood to the Head (“Prosecco with Blood Orange Liqueur, Hibiscus Syrup and lemon zest.”) Feeling thirsty yet?
We struck up conversation with the three friends next door. Julie is a recently fun-employed Food Advocacy gal. She filled me in on Breslin’s pedigree. It’s owned by the same people who have a NYC fave, Spotted Pig, so the menu is likely to be conscious and local as well. The cocktails, if you could not gather from above, are top quality. Gin is Hendricks or Tanqueray, for example.
After we finished our first cocktails, Annalee and I decided to test our bartender. We are currently obsessed with St. Germaine, an intoxicating and sweet elderflower liquor. Annalee, after getting home from her demanding finance job, makes her self a g&t and St. Germaine. Classy!
“Can you make us two – no, three – drinks with St. Germaine?” Annalee asked. “And please make them all different.”
He came back with two martini and one highball glass, various colors, with ingredients like orange bitters, tonic, lemon juice, and agave. I love a bartender who uses agave. We kept doing that all night. “Can you make us something….sweet, with blah blah?” He performed every time.
We talked with our neighbors some more. They shared their cookie plate, roasted almonds, and caramel popcorn with us, talked food policy, cracked jokes, discussed the merits of Brooklyn versus Manhattan, and just generally made good neighbors. If these are the kind of people you can expect to find there, than I will hang out there all. the. time.
In fact, you’ll find us all back there again tonight, sipping on inventive cocktails and being girly. Care to join?
Drinking like a hippie DOES NOT mean passing out on top of my bong with my face planted into post-music festival mud. Just wanna make that clear. I only passed out with my face in my pillow last night.
So, I met up with an old college friend for drinks last night. Before I left work, I thought to myself, what a great opportunity to figure out how to be sustainable while drinking my cares away! (I’m a green nerd, please forgive me.)
Look, I know it seems weird to care about what I’m putting in my body, when essentially I’m pouring a type of toxin into my blood in hopes of blurring my vision and losing my inhibitions. However, just think of how you felt last time you got drunk off of Aristocrat. Can’t argue with me there, can you?
So what kind of liquors to drink? Maybe I want a vodka tonic? Or even skinnier, a vodka soda water? Well, I know Rain Vodka can be found almost everywhere. It’s pricey but delicious. There’s also Square One vodka, Tru Organic Lemon Infused vodka (buy a bottle, they plant a tree!), Juniper Green Organic Dry Gin and Sarticious Gin. Gin tonics really are my favorite.
Eating local is great for the environment, so you might as well drink local too! I see Brooklyn Brewery bottles around a lot. And Anheuser-Busch is actually right in the state. According to Knowmore.org Anheuser-Busch says ”it recycled more than 97% of the solid waste it generated in 2003: more than five billion pounds of material. The company released the data as part of its annual environmental, health and safety report. Anheuser-Busch Recycling Corporation is the world’s largest aluminum can recycler.”
Surprising, but cool. Could buying beer from a corporation be an eco-friendly act? Apparently so!
John took me to the Red Lion in the village. “Wow, this place is yuppy to the max,” I observed. It was stuffed with respectable looking people in khaki pants and nicely tucked in button downs. “Well It’s a W&L hangout,” John said. Ah, that makes sense. I opted for a Brooklyn lager. Well, four Brooklyn Lagers.
They had a great act performing, a girl named Rebecca Correia. (pronounced like Korea) She’s got a wonderful voice, and plays guitar and piano. She was nice enough to talk to me a little bit between sets. She’s based in Nashville but comes up to New York often to perform. I bought a CD off her, filled with live performances she did for Sirius XM, call Soul of Me. I’m listening to it now, and I’m smitten. It’s not available on iTunes, but her other CD, Miss You, is. My favorite song is her rendition of Shakespeare’s Sonnet #30. It’s haunting. (Especially when you are hung over.) When she finished up her final set last night, and John and I left, she even gave me a hug! I was pathetically flattered.
I gave up on sustainable drinking after that. The next bar, Pheobe’s, didn’t seem like the kind of place to carry organic vodka. I had gin tonic instead, and then dimly remembered I hadn’t had dinner. Whoopsies. You can imagine what happened next … I went home.