Restaurants, bars, and clubs don't just shut down these days. They "close for renovations" for a few weeks or months. Then they announce that they are not, in fact, planning to reopen and they've been shuttered for good. Below: a few recent examples of what is sometimes the result of a series of unexpected events, but is often a face-saving public relations technique.
The folks at Guest of a Guest forwarded us a statement from Pink Elephant regarding the bankruptcy filing we reported on earlier. They'd like to make it clear that it's just the Southampton outpost of Pink Elephant that filed Chapter 11. Since it's a franchise operation, the club in Manhattan (as well as the one in São Paulo) won't be affected by it. So if you were concerned you'd no longer have the opportunity to meet the sort of sweet, down-to-earth girls you see pictured, don't you worry. You will!
Looks like the party may be ending soon at Southampton's Pink Elephant. David Sarner's nightlife company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, listing more than $2 million in debts, including $776,000 in back taxes. The crisis in clubland continues, clearly. You can peruse the bankruptcy papers—and long list of creditors—for yourself after the jump.
Zagat's new nightlife survey has some details on how the city's bars and clubs have been faring amid the downturn. Roughly half of the 6,000 New Yorkers surveyed reported going out less often because of the economy, although 67 percent said the nightlife scene was "the same as it ever was," which is nice to hear, of course, but may come as news to people who remember the days when no one knew what HIV was, the idea of a smoking ban would have been laughable, and clubgoers had yet to figure out that the obsessive use of cocaine can kind of screw up your life. According to the survey, the Lower East Side is NYC's "hottest nightlife neighborhood," while the meatpacking district was named "most over-rated/or over-hyped." As for "the growing trend of bars with master mixologists," more than half of the people surveyed said it was "an excuse to charge more for drinks." You've been warned, Sasha Petraske.
There's a new Hamptons venue you'll want to add to the list of places to stay miles away from this summer. Actually, it's not new. It Dune in Southampton, which is sporting a new name this season—"The Axe Lounge"—as part of a silly marketing scheme concocted by, yes, Axe. The stunt is the brainchild of Mike Heller, the nightlife promoter-turned-entertainment marketer whose stellar resume includes putting a smoke-free tobacco product called Ariva in the hands of Lindsay Lohan and connecting America's Next Top Model's CariDee English with Raptiva, which is apparently a psoriasis medication of some sort. (He's the one crouching down in the photo, by the way.)
When Wall Street began crumbling yesterday, the rich bemoaned the loss of their money. Everybody else in New York immediately said to themselves: "Jiminy Cricket, could this be the end of mandatory bottle service in shitty clubs full of rich pricks?" I mean, it was the universal response! Bottle service rules require the purchase of a wildly overpriced bottle of liquor just to enter a club. But early indications are that Manhattan nightclubs may already be putting the $450 bottle of Grey Goose to rest. Dare we even hope?: (What I generically imagine are) Shitty one-syllable clubs Quo, Myst, and Prime didn't wait even a full day to send out this press release to Alex Geana:
Olympic gold medalist and American hero Michael Phelps never stops training. In this photo you see him strengthening the grip of his championship hands by squeezing the firm, champion buttocks of a dancer at the Las Vegas Playboy Club last night. The picture was snapped by roving Radar nightlife reporter Neel Shah, who selflessly pursued this journalistic scoop in the face of Olympian opposition:
There was a time in New York City's history, back in the heady days of "a few years ago," when nightlife queen Amy Sacco's life was a worthy item of gossip. She was at the center of an entire universe of celebrities at their most glittering. Today, she's worth chronicling mostly as the living embodiment of the transience of nightlife fame. And a new profile of her in Page Six Magazine (by former Gawker-er Joshua David Stein) can be seen as a grand requiem for Sacco and her Bungalow 8-driven empire. Nothing lasts forever... Sacco's rise to fame is familiar by now. She's just a Jersey girl who came to New York City, worked in the restaurant business, and made some important friends who eventually bankrolled her first club, Lot 61. She hit her peak with the opening of Bungalow 8 in 2001, which succeeded in turning the once-barren area of West Chelsea into the club capital of New York-to the point of destroying the exclusivity and isolation of the neighborhood that helped attract the top models and A-list celebrities to Sacco's clubs in the first place. But Sacco's more recent history is one of unmistakable decline. She opened a Bungalow 8 in London, which received (and still receives) a tepid reception from the locals. Bette, the restaurant Sacco opened as a "neighborhood joint" near her own Chelsea apartment, closed without warning earlier this summer. She got a slew of nightlife and image consulting jobs that, while lucrative, aren't nearly as glamorous as her former life as an NYC tastemaker. And she says she's simply getting tired of it all:
Jetsetting nightlife trend update: It's not just Dubai that's the hot new destination for NYC club owners bored with drab Americans. Egypt will soon be an attractive stop for money-burning Eurotrash wastrels as well! Undaunted by the country's Islamic system of law and taboos against homosexuality, intoxication, and women doing things (party!), we hear that the Pink Elephant club moguls are building a club aboard a 26,000-square-foot, $100 million party boat that is scheduled to sail the Nile river this coming New Year's eve. I hope they have all their government payoffs in order.
Sam Nazarian is "a rich kid from Beverly Hills" who spent his 20s becoming a Hollywood club mogul, hangs out with Salma Hayek, bought a house next to Leo DiCaprio, and played himself on an episode of Entourage. Now he's 32, and he's determined to bring his special brand of awesome party magic-which "draws such names as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan"-to Las Vegas. He's gonna make Ocean's 11 come alive again, baby, yea! And his PR team demands you respect his hustle:
Friday brought to this city a wave of gays from across the country looking to party in anticipation for today's Pride Parade and related festivities. It also conveniently brought a police crackdown on gay-friendly nightlife venues. Marquee, Pacha, and Splash were all raided Friday, according to tipsters, with Marquee and Pacha shuttered until further notice.
Is this the end of Amy Sacco? We're going to say it is. The onetime NYC nightlife queen's restaurant Bette in Chelsea—formerly considered a complement to her club Bungalow 8, a food-and-fun empire that would never be destroyed—is closed. No big to-do; just a lock on the door, and the end of an era. What happened?