The Best New York Nightlife of 2008

imageIn an ocean of end-of-year lists, I’ll put my three cents in:

Best Clubs: I don’t think you can compare Mr. Black at Rebel to Rose Bar, so I’ll list them both as the best. So it’s Rose Bar, Mr. Black at Rebel, Cielo, 1Oak, Santos’ Party House, Lit, Apothéke, and that Korean joint named Circle. Maybe some people go to more than one or two of these, but I feel comfortable at them all and think these are the joints. Not only are they all committed to excellence, but they also achieve it very often.

Best DJ: I don’t even know what that means, but I like Lily of the Valley, Miss Guy, and just about everyone they book at Santos’, Cielo, Webster Hall, and Pacha. These joints have committed to great music and insane sound systems, and the music drives the scene. I heard a DJ Cassidy set the other night and Mark Ronson as well and really believe in what they are doing. Then there’s Q-tip, Victor Calderone, and if you were at Tiesto, well you know. I hope and believe that Junior Vasquez can find his way to the top where he belongs in 2009. DJs — today’s rockstars — are becoming more and more important, and in 2009, clubland will be defined by which joints have the best of them. Oh yeah, DJ AM killed me the last time I saw him, and Etienne Deyans is real cute also.

Best Party: For me it’s Sundays at Greenhouse with Suzzane Bartsch and Kenny Kenny, but the Q-tip Friday at Santos’ and the Butter Mondays are undeniable. After seven years, Butter Mondays still rule, which proves that it’s the energy that people put into ideas that sustain excellence.

Best Nightlife Blog: Guest of a Guest. Sure, sometimes Rachelle is a bit wacky, but she knows that, and it’s so much a part of the charm. I also read and enjoy ChiChi212, Brittany Mendenhall’s gossip girl approach to the scene. I read it and almost always smile, and that’s ok.

Best Trend: That would be a retreat from the bottle-service mentality and the return to music as a real driving force. On the other side, the Worst Trend is the movement to a more pronounced class system as the remaining rich and fabulous retreat to super-private smallish places, and the rest of the scene is relegated to a peasant class. I have no doubt that the Haves will slum with the Have-Nots, and some fabulous mixed and mixed-up joints will occur. I am also aware of continuing breakthroughs and cooperation between the New York Nightlife Association and the NYPD and the other powers that be. The dialogue between those who represent and fight for the rights of clubs and those who regulate it comes at a time (probably no coincidence) when clubs can provide much needed tax revenues and jobs. The redefinition of the 500-foot rule, the bright new folk at the SLA, and the citywide retreat from the condo-world mentality all mean a better attitude for those who still want to invest loot and create a joint or three. The New York Times reports $5 billion worth of construction is on hold; the city needs to let the clubs breathe and provide opportunity.

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