There’s no Mystique at the LES’ Club Mystique
If I adhered to the adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything,” you wouldn’t be reading this column. Club Mystique will not make next week’s to-do list. It was on this week’s because man about town Terry Casey invited me to enjoy his new party called “Blackout” at Club M. That Club M thing, I guess, was Terry’s way of bringing some mystique to Club Mystique. I first became aware of the place while reading a rather snarky article from my pal Scott Solish at Eater.
He raised more questions than he answered, to the point where the name of the place went from horrible to almost understandable. It was all a mystery: Was it a club? A lounge? A restaurant? A place to go? Who was running it? What new ground was being broken? Scott offered no solutions and he had good reason not to. I’m sure he felt his audience wouldn’t care.
A visit to the website offered me only a very few bits of info. The restaurant’s menu page only showed bottles of liquor for table service and a promise to have a dining menu soon. I found the names of no humans on the site and no press reviews or dates of events except for a “Playboxx Party” party featuring DJ Finesse and a “special live performance by Gliffics along with Sexy Flames and Fire Show.” I looked up Gliffics, as I am obviously a fish out of water here. Gliffics seems to be a fairly credible hip-hop artist with a nice website. He even offered a nice quote in an attempt, I guess, to help us deal with the mystique of the universe. It was offered along with the lucky numbers 4,15,20,11, 7, 1. I’m so confused. His philosophical offering is as follows: “The mind is like a flower planted in a universe with no ceiling, just continuous growth.” Now—that’s entertainment. I double checked to make damn sure that this was the famous Mystique Club in Manhattan, NYC and not the “gentleman’s club” up in Bridgeport that I found in my web search attempt to solve the mystery. By the way, the Bridgeport Mystique has a very clear website with videos and events and even pictures of their bartenders in sexy stripper-like poses. There wasn’t much of mystery about they were offering.
I first eyed the place as I was strolling along Delancey on my way to an event at Hotel Chantelle. I noticed a rather garish building which looked sort of like a massive lit up blue Lego piece. I asked a well-dressed man behind the velvet ropes what it was and was told it was a nightclub. Although the adage “you can always judge a book by its cover” generally works with people, sometimes a club/restaurant exterior can be fooling. I quickly forgot about the joint until these cute little birdies started texting me last night to attend Terry’s opening. I love Terry and always support him. I showed up around 1am and was whisked inside. I was plied with Diet Coke and given “the tour.” I couldn’t believe my eyes. The decor must have been inspired the lyrics, “I wear my sunglasses at night.” It was a time machine that whisked me back to 1981, maybe somewhere in Jersey. A glaring light show obscured the room but I caught just enough to know it was pure cheese. A rather nice fellow offered me a greeting and small talk “Hey Steve, How ya been? Did you design this?” I offered back an “OMG No!” and pondered if I had just hit rock bottom. The crowd, or small gathering of guests, was cute but seemed occupied with text messaging. I think they were all trying to figure out how long they had to stay to be polite to their promoter hosts and Terry and figure out where they were off to next. I didn’t recognize the DJ and the light show and unbalanced sound system had me ignoring the music, while trying to shout over it to talk to friends. I kissed the cheeks of sexy promoters who whispered sweet nothings in my ear like, “this is my last night here.”
Someone wanted to show me the closed Karaoke Room, which I was told was quite nice. There was a mention of some roof that was to be developed and maybe I could help out. I opted out and looked for the exit and civilization as I know it. Although the vision of Club Mystique never gets near mine, I could see that a ton of money went into it. The bar was well-appointed and the staff was friendly enough if not miscast for NYC. I sped into the night. I didn’t look back. I texted Terry Casey and asked him “R U promoting there again? He replied “No, I apologize. I need my own club again and my visions and honestly needed to DJ…that was a disgrace. I delayed it and delayed it and then did it for no good reason except to help a friend.”
He went on, but you get the idea. I hope I have taken the mystique out of what’s behind door number one at that Lego-like building on Chrystie and Delancey. Not every place needs my seal of approval to be successful and I sincerely hope that the good folks over there find their crowd and make money and have fun. After a very brief visit I have decided that it’s not my kind of place, but that can be taken with a grain of salt and a margarita shot at a table in the large main room. There are some who say that I have seen it all, but until last night, I hadn’t seen anything like this. There was a beloved but harsh drama critic from the beginning of the last century named Percy Hammond who once described a new show as follows: “I find that I have knocked everything but the chorus girls’ knees, and there God anticipated me.” He also described some costumes as, “must have been designed by Helen Keller,” which reportedly thrilled miss Keller. I guess I knock Club Mystique on every level except for location. Apparently fully-licensed and in a great location, it could really be something if somebody could rip out the expensive clutter of its design and un-knock all the chorus girls’ knees.