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September 26, 2008

Sasha Petraske Hangs at His Own Haunt

Posted at 01:48:12 PM in Bar buzz, Celebrity, Gossip, Just opened, Lower East Side nightlife
by Melanie Berliet

White_star_200_3 Spotted last night: A suspender-clad Sasha Petraske behind the bar at White Star, evoking the spirit of the speakeasy style for which he is famous. Kind enough to converse with me a bit, he mentioned that his minions at Milk and Honey are fully capable and trustworthy, so he can spend most of his time at his new spot. By midnight the place was packed, so I'm guessing his plight to push absinthe on New York is working pretty well so far. Either that, or I was hallucinating.

Photo of White Star borrowed from Yelp

September 22, 2008

Gossip Girl Shooting Right Now at 1 Oak

Posted at 02:12:23 PM in Celebrity, Television
by Justine Goodman

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Our favorite show is currently shooting around the corner from the IAC Building at 1 Oak. They'll be there 'til 10pm, and although we saw only the empty chairs marked "Chuck," "Serena" and "Blair," above, others in our building say they walked by and saw the whole GG cast on 17th Street ...

August 22, 2008

Brooklyn Blues Guitar Legend Plays Free Show in Park Slope

Posted at 03:01:48 PM in Brooklyn nightlife, Brooklyn restaurants, Celebrity, Events, Music
by Melanie Berliet

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Photo borrowed from blog.

It's hard to justify having the blues on a Friday. But listening to the blues is another story listening--especially when it's free of charge. Tonight, August 22nd, Danny Kalb, renowned guitarist and former member of the 1960s band, The Blues Project, performs with Bob Jones on bass and Mark Ambrosino on drums. The trio will do two sets, starting at 9:30pm at Two Boots Brooklyn. There's no drink minimum or cover charge, but reservations at the restaurant are recommended, and since the entertainment's complimentary, you might as well drop some dough to eat, drink and be blue.

For more stuff to do this weekend, check out our Weekly Go List (*formerly the Weekly Hot List).

August 12, 2008

Tommy Chong Book Signing Event in Bryant Park

Posted at 02:18:54 PM in Books, Celebrity, Events, Film
by Melanie Berliet

Cheechchong
Photo courtesy of Reuters Pictures.

Long before Seth Rogen and James Franco were smoking pineapple express in, uh, Pineapple Express, Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin were the original stoner duo, mastering the pot-smoking comedy formula with "Cheech & Chong."

Well, reefer madness is officially back, and Tommy Chong has decided to capitalize on it yet again, with his new book, "Cheech & Chong: The Unauthorized Autobiography." The actor/ comedian/ musician/ writer will discuss and sign copies of the book tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12, from 12:30pm to 1:45pm at the Bryant Park Reading Room (located under the trees on the 42nd Street side of Bryant Park, between the back of the NYPL and 6th Avenue). The event is free and will be hosted by Josh Gilbert, director of the documentary film, "A/k/a Tommy Chong." If it rains, the alternate location is the Library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen at 20 West 44th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)--and yes, that does strike us a totally bizarre yet somehow totally appropriate locale.

For more ideas on what to do this week, check out our Go List.

August 05, 2008

Live Webcast of Raekwon the Chef in Concert

Posted at 02:01:29 PM in Behind the scenes, Celebrity, Events, Music
by Melanie Berliet

Raekwon
Photo borrowed from Impose Magazine

There are so many concerts you wish you could attend, but so many factors always getting in the way. For instance, how will you afford the Wayfarers your hipster self must have after dropping a couple g's on a Miley Cyrus ticket? How will you shake that feeling of self-loathing following your patronage of a Madonna show? And, how will you teleport yourself to LA to crash the party for the launch of The Street Kings DVD to see Brooklyn native and Wu-Tang Clan member, Raekwon the Chef, perform tomorrow, Wednesday, August 6th?

Alas, the former two predicaments are unsolvable--at least by me--but the latter problem is easily remedied. If you don't catch the first live Webcast by Complex Video of the show tomorrow at 11pm, PST (yes, that's 2am EST), you can catch it on their website following the event.

For ideas on events you can actually physically attend in New York, check out our Weekly Go List.

July 30, 2008

The Eldridge: A Few Words With Matt Levine

Posted at 11:43:38 AM in At the bar, Bar buzz, Bar openings, Celebrity, Gossip, Weblogs
by Justine Goodman

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Digital renditions of the Eldridge provided by Matt Levine

Unless you spent last week in the Hamptons or in a coma, chances are you saw something on the interweb about Matt Levine's soon-to-open bar, The Eldridge. Butlers? Laser-engraved cards to get in? Escalade taxis to chauffer you home (well not you, but those who may actually manage to get in)? And all of that on the Lower East Side? Good heavens, no!

The story broke and ballooned out of control; it was madness, even sparking some blogger beef between our friends at Down By The Hipster and Guest of A Guest. The rumors were rampant, and since we're too drunk and lazy busy to waste time speculating, we went straight to the source himself, owner Matt Levine--a man who was hitherto known primarily for his clothing line, Steelo' and his parties. So what's the real deal with The Eldridge? Here's what Matt had to say ...

How long has the idea of opening the Eldridge been in the works? How did it come about?
The Lower East Side is full of culture and character, it's where trends start and style is created. When the location of The Eldridge became available, our concept and vision followed. It's truly the perfect size, perfect location of what is currently missing in New York City.

Was The Eldridge influenced by any of your own favorite New York bars?
As far as my favorite spots go, I'm pretty diverse--from hot spots to wine bars, and speakeasies to hotel bars. The Eldridge combines the intimacy of a date spot, the signature cocktails of a speakeasy, the sound system of a studio, the comfort of a lounge, and the customer service of a concierge. We just wanted to bring a creative atmosphere to nightlife, one that fuses comfort with entertainment. There are not many places in New York City to comfortably enjoy table service and listen to great music, with privacy and intimacy.

Do you have any experience operating a club?
No, I don't have experience with operating a club, but I have been involved in putting together special events for the past several years. But we have brought in an amazing supporting cast. Our general manager, Jason Lawrence, a fixture in the Miami nightlife scene, moved to New York City specifically to operate The Eldridge. Jason has experience in running and operating many of Miami's hot spots, and he is an extremely important part of The Eldridge.

Will you still be involved in running Steelo'?
Yes, I am very hands-on in everything I involve myself in. I still 100% own Steelo', and handle all the creative control and designing of Steelo'. I have signed on to be represented by an amazing showroom, The Green Room. They have a great roster of other brands, and have done a great job since I signed on with them. I still oversee every aspect of Steelo', and although in a showroom, I still approve all the distribution and sales keeping distribution exclusive and limited. You should check out the website--we're shipping to such stores as Atrium New York, Bill Hallman Atlanta, Fred Segal Santa Monica and Traffic Los Angeles (just to name a few) for fall '08.

When exactly are you looking to open as of now?
We are in no rush to open, but really the opening depends on when the staff is fully trained and the signature cocktails are perfect. Our GM, Jason Lawrence, has been training the staff for several weeks now. We have put together an amazing staff--many of our waitresses and bartenders come from a variety of hotels that focus on hospitality and service--like 60 Thompson, Ritz Carlton and The Plaza--which reiterates our goal of quality customer service.

New York Mag reported that The Eldridge would be closed on weekends, since your clientele tends to leave the city on weekends. Is that policy limited to the summer, or year-round?
Closed on the weekends just for the summer. We will be launching weekends with New York Fashion Week.

There's been quite a barrage of press since news of the Eldridge first broke. Is there anything you want to set straight, any rumors you want to confirm or deny?
The Eldridge is not just about Matt Levine, it's also about the support system. It starts with our door staff, and ends with our chaperones, our table attendants, our butlers, our porters, our hospitality consultants, and of course our GM, Jason Lawrence. We have put together an amazing staff that all share the same vision and concept of what nightlife should be, and what is currently missing in NYC now. Most bars, lounges and nightclubs focus on drinks and bottles. At The Eldridge, we focus on customers. It's not the drink you make, it's how you deliver it; it's not about bringing over a bottle, it's how you present it. We are just trying to bring a unique, creative experience to one of the oldest industries, to fuse creativity, privacy, quality, service and sound, and to emphasize that it's not just about a drink and a bottle, it's about the process and the service--and more importantly, the environment in which it is created.

Also, The Eldridge will be the first lounge-only venue to be GRA Certified, part of the Green Restaurant Association, helping us to create an ecologically sustainable lounge.

Will you be making the space available for private parties? Will you have to be a laser-engraved cardholder to rent it?
Yes, The Eldridge is available for private parties that fit into the concept and vision of The Eldridge. All private parties inquiries can be directed to events@theeldridge.com or call 212.505.7600.

What's the most expensive thing on the menu? What about the least expensive?
Drinks are anywhere from $12 to maybe $32 for our signature cocktail, The Eldridge, which uses Armand de Brignac Rose and real golden flakes. Bottle prices are standard. We are using all premium liquor in our well, and all of our cocktails will use fresh fruits and premium mixers. Our staff training has gone to extra lengths to make serving a drink an art form, an experience. The handcrafted cocktail list was created by Charlotte Voisey. She's a famed mixologist who took guidance with the Gorgeous Group in London in 2002 when they opened Apartment 195 together, which was soon awarded Bar of the Year. Charlotte went on to win the title of Best Bartender at The UK Bar Awards in 2004. She has traveled the world showcasing top brands through mixology in Aspen, Las Vegas, Kuala Lumpur, Mexico, New Zealand and New York. Recent consulting projects include The Dorchester Hotel in London and Ian Schrager's Gramercy Park Hotel here in New York. Still competing internationally, Charlotte took silver medal at the World Female Bartender championships in Italy this year.

Other than celebrity DJs, do you plan to have any live performances?
Sundays we will have a saxophonist, Mondays we will be doing a movie night, Tuesdays we will have a trumpet player, Wednesdays we will have a drummer, and Thursdays a flute player. All the live music will accompany the funk, jazz, old-school, R&B, rock, and soul music of our DJs. It's truly a place where we encourage our DJs to play the music they listen to on their iPods, not what they are paid to play at other venues.

As you know, NYC hot spots often have a short shelf-life, even when there's a lot of buzz surrounding the openings. How do you plan to avoid that?
Many venues open up their doors with financial projections and monetary goals. With The Eldridge, it's a business, but it's not about the money. What has been lost in NYC nightlife is that the nightlife scene should be about the people, the experience, and not business about bottles. It's the business of providing an atmosphere and a concierge-like environment for our guests. Most NYC hot spots focus on drink and bottle sales; we focus on quality customer service. The mission of The Eldridge is create a nightlife that provides the highest quality customer service with heightened focus on elegance, luxury and sophistication, while maintaining the strict privacy of our guests instead of the number of bottles we sell.

Free Film Screening in Tompkins Square Park

Posted at 11:27:47 AM in Celebrity, Cheap eats, East Village nightlife, Events, Film
by Melanie Berliet

Filmsintompkins
Photo by Mango Vision, borrowed from Films In Tompkins

So you want to see a movie on the big screen, but you're hesitant to dish out ten-plus bucks for a ticket, five-plus bucks for a popcorn, and another five for a gratuitously large soda. Praise be to Films in Tompkins, which offers free screenings of films every other Wednesday throughout the summer in Tompkins Square Park, weather permitting. The gates open tonight (Wednesday, July 30) at 6pm and the featured movie, "Better Off Dead"--the 1985 cult classic rom-com starring John Cusack--plays at sundown. So pack a picnic and a blanket, head to Alphabet City and seat yourself on the grass alongside your sweetheart. Booze is discouraged, but there's no simpler problem than one resolved by a brown paper bag or an opaque plastic cup.

For yet more opportunities to get free stuff in the city, check out our Unemployed Guide to New York.

July 29, 2008

Secret Free Chris Brown Show Today

Posted at 10:00:00 AM in Celebrity, Events, Music
by Melanie Berliet

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Photo borrowed from "The Sun"

You have at least one thing in common with P. Diddy: You're a fan of Chris Brown. In fact, it's been a year and you still can't shake the image of Brown performing at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. So you won't want to miss him performing live with Julianne Hough and Ne-Yo today (Tuesday, July 29) at 3:30pm, at a free show to take place at an undisclosed location. The event is sponsored by the gum giant Wrigley, and celebrates the three artists' new jingles for Doublemint, Juicy Fruit and Big Red. Buses will depart from three different locales around the city (Rockefeller Center, Macy's and Union Square West) at 2pm carrying the first 164 concert hopefuls to arrive. Better start lining up now...

July 28, 2008

Grand Opening of Country Club Draws Katy Perry, Shwayze, Cisco Adler

Posted at 02:55:03 PM in At the bar, Bar buzz, Bar events, Bar openings, Celebrity, Chelsea nightlife, Events, Gossip, Just opened, Music
by Justine Goodman

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It was quite the scene at the grand opening party for Country Club (formerly Dirty Disco) on Saturday night, which doubled as a birthday party for Gym Class Heroes' musician Travis McCoy. The event drew the likes of Katy Perry (who also happens to be McCoy's girlfriend), up-and-coming rapper Shwayze and his musical collaborator, Cisco Adler, and Simon Rex (aka Dirt Nasty), of MTV / Dyslexic Speedreaders fame--who, it should be noted, is also a co-owner of The Plumm right next door. Country Club's owner, actor Will DeMeo, was also there, and I could have sworn I was on line for the bathroom next to his "Sopranos" co-star Joe Gannascoli (the guy who played Vito Spatafore). The only person who was missing was in fact Travis himself, who was supposedly under the weather.

But the crowd didn't seem to care whose birthday party it was, especially when Shwayze and Adler--best known for his band Whitestarr (which he left earlier this year), his now-defunct relationship with actress Mischa Barton, and his infamous naked photo debacle of 2007)--each grabbed a mic and treated the crowd to an impromptu live performance,  eventually joined by Dirt Nasty. While the rest of the VIPs held down the fort in the elevated stage area, Katy Perry, decked out in one of her signature two-piece jumpers, slipped in quietly and chilled by the DJ booth for most of the evening.

The media was out in full effect, with editors from the "New York Post," "In Style" magazine and other major publications all in attendance (and more than happy to sip on the complimentary bottle of vodka supplied by our hosts). As club launches go, this one was a success. There was no unbearable crowding, no wait for drinks, no skeevy B&T patrons ... no problems of any kind, really. Or at least none while I was there, until around 2am, at which point I realized I was dangerously close to blacking out and headed home.

Will Country Club manage to stay alive though its predecessor failed? We'll have to wait and see. But so far, it seems to be off to a good start.

 

July 18, 2008

Cocktails and Clothes by Catherine Fulmer

Posted at 02:18:55 PM in Celebrity, Events, Shopping
by Melanie Berliet

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Shoppers in a frenzy at the Catherine Fulmer sample sale last night

Why cope with the crowds and commoners in a regular store when there are perfectly good penthouse apartments out there? That’s the question I asked myself last night, sipping a mojito, moseying about an apartment so spacious I forgot for a minute that I was in New York, rather than some other city where rent might actually cost less than the price of a vital organ.

The occasion was a sample sale for clothes by Catherine Fulmer, and the penthouse was in the Gramercy Yoo by Phillipe Starck building on East 23rd Street. Fulmer's a former model-turned-up-and-coming designer who drapes her duds on fashion-conscious celebs like Nicole Richie and Jaime King.

As a woman about town, in calling her clothes “timeless” Fulmer isn’t alluding to their sophistication--she means that they can literally be worn at any time. That kind of adaptability is reflected on the racks, oozing from styles that are just right for a busy day that morphs into a late night of dancing at Beatrice or Socialista--where you’re more than likely to bump into Fulmer at 3am.   

To add some Catherine Fulmer designs to your own collection, visit her on the web or check out the Satine store in Los Angeles.

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