As we mentioned earlier his name is Benjamin Maisani and he is the co-owner of gay bar Eastern Bloc. The 36 year old is smart, he's sweet, and he loves to work out. Sounds like a big gay catch.
Nearly everyone who talks about Maisani—whose real name is Antoine—mentions what a nice guy he is. He and spends a lot of time working out at the
Crunch on Lafayette
newly-opened David Barton Gym on Astor Place—someone even said "obsessively"—and is frequently spotted spotting Andy himself while doing squats. He likes horror movies, is an amateur photographer, and doesn't go out much, other than the work at his own bar. He broke up with his last boyfriend last winter and started dating Cooper shortly thereafter. We can't pinpoint exactly when, but most people seem to think it was about eight months ago. The gossip is that the couple are planning to buy (or have already bought) a converted firehouse on West 3rd Street together.
Maisani (on the right in the photo above, taken at Eastern Bloc), who comes from an upper-middle-class Parisian family, came to New York in 1995 to study film for a year, and ended up staying until now. He was a valedictorian with a perfect 4.0 when he graduated from Hunter College in 2000 with a B.A. in art history. He then worked in a museum, but was attracted to the nightlife by the more leisurely hours.
He started tending bar with Gabriel Beaton and Darren Dryden at Barracuda, a popular gay haunt in Chelsea. Legend has it that they found the old Wonder Bar space on E Sixth Street for sale on Craigslist and decided to pool their money together and open their own bar. Eastern Bloc opened in 2005 and is often packed with the sort of hip fashionable gays that hang out in the East Village. It is done up with lots of homoerotic communist propaganda and achieves a vibe somewhere between shabby chic and camp, with stools spray-painted with the words "Mary" and "hooker" on the seat. On the weekends, the small divey joint (that used to have dozens of men's briefs hanging from the ceiling) is often so packed that it's hard to make your way through. They have an especially hip party called Good Times on Wednesday night that attracts a crowd of gay hipsters living it up on a school night.