Lit Lounge Not Closing! Todd English to The Hotel On Rivington! And the End of Mega-Clubs?

All of a sudden it’s freezing out. After a cruel hot blink of a summer, fall and all it’s realities has arrived. The club scenes boosted by Fashion week are awash in new colors and hopes. On the reality front it seems Lit the wonderful East Village hang is doing all it can do to open up in Bushwick but there seems to have been a rethink on the Manhattan space which was to close. Now it seems after some spit and shine the wonderful lounge will live on. “Lit Lounge 100% intends on opening an amazing space in Bushwick and is currently under construction,” the owners told me. “Lit Lounge in Manhattan will restart operations after a short but necessary maintenance.” Meanwhile the Rivington Hotel is entertaining suitors for it’s food and beverage program. All sorts of heavy weights have been hovering around in attempt to give Paul Stallings’ L.E.S. vision a new vision. Paul’s Marcel Wanders-created uber-modern design seemed way ahead of the curve when he built the property in 2005. It proved to be so. Success came in waves with all sorts of new operators and energies thrown at the property. Now it seems the neighborhood has caught up with the place and it will get a new boost from a high end team. I hear that Todd English with veteran promo/operator Corey Lane have the inside track and that a deal may be in place by the end of the week… or so. Sources tell me it’s a chicken concept ” like a chicken sandwich on a small plate concept.” This seems like a great fit and i wish all parties involved great luck.

On the Brooklyn tip I worked for a couple months on the old Redstar space at the corner of West and Greenpoint Avenue. Alas, I found the owners to be of a variety best left out of my life and probably yours and Valentine the 24 hour restaurant I was creating will not happen. I hear instead the always steady Josh Cohen of Jimmy’s fame and like 5 or 6 other joints is conceiving a Brazilian themed joint. I wish him well as well although with his boorish partner’s luck may be necessary.

The Good Room, a place I designed and named, is thriving under the direction of my pal Greg Brier. It was  awarded Best Nightclub honors by New York Magazine . I only mention it because I still have to walk the walk if I’m gonna talk the talk and I have something to say. The mega club formula of booking big DJ’s by paying big bucks and milking a big crowd seems to be faltering. Sources close to the top of the heap of giant joints say “it isnt working so well anymore” and “something has to change”. Good Room, a mid-size venue is doing well with moderate door fees and drink prices but the mega clubs are seeing vastly reduced profit margins. Rumors persist that we are now in a game of musical chairs and that a monster joint or 2 may need to rethink strategy.

This Wednesday Pacha will host a benefit for the family of Rob Fernandez the promotional guru behind Pacha’s raging success. Rob’s sudden passing this summer hit hard. A zillion Dj’s and friends will seek to remember him well. He was from an old school world where it wasn’t ALL about the DJ but also a social fabric that held the club nights in place. His creativity will be missed at Pacha and his vision missed as all the big clubs navigate a new era. With Tiesto playing the smallish Lavo this past Thursday a great divide between the haves and have nots became even more profound. It is not unusual for circuit DJ’s who command 6 figure fees to play bottle service venues but the lesson is not lost on those paying the fees. A Lavo with national and even international booking partners can route a big DJ through its many venues. Lavo of course is part of the ever expanding Strategic Group which operates Marquee in NYC and Vegas, Avenue NYC, Tao NY ( up and dontown) and Vegas. Lavo in Vegas as well and lots of other joints and a little birdie tells me about to launch 10 more. They have the loot to route DJ’s and enjoy the profits. Those profits come in a greater per head spend than the mega clubs can garnish. Tables that spend $20,000 and up are common in the bottle boites when big names entertain. They aren’t just doing it for show or PR value, the bottom line is always the bottom line. The mega clubs are reliant on door fees and frankly they are as high as the market can stand and on any given night every large club has a competitive large DJ.

Avenue, a Strategic Group show piece, is hosting veteran doorman Wass Steven’s birthday. I’ve know him forever and have no idea how old he is but he seems to be peaking. Wass is a famous bon vivant and actor. He has key role in the Ed Burns ,TNT series,Public Morals and frankly I think he steals the show. I asked my pal if he will finally give up the ropes now that he is such a star and he couldn’t really answer. He said”how can I? It;s been such an important part of me for close to @%$X# years.” I’ll ask him again on September 29th when i Dj at his birthday bash at Avenue. Jonny Lennon my favorite Dj who isn’t called Paul Sevigny will follow me and destroy my reputaion. Last but not least is congrats to long time club persona Danny A Abeckaser who has had a great success with his movie The Life.  Friends of mine have called me from all over the land and from overseas as Danny A, as he is known, included some images of me and other nightlife “legends” in the closing credits. The Life is a loose look at the vacuous yet extremely profitable world of club, bottle service. It’s great fun.

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