This week, the Observer's Spencer Morgan got with former Bungalow 8 doorman Armin Amiri (right) to chat about Amiri's Socialista, a Cuban-themed cafe and club under construction at 505 West Street (formerly Salon). Despite his occasional-at-best willingness to let us into Bungalow 8, we've always liked Amiri, in large part because the dude really understood his job—let fewer people in than logic would dictate, distinguish regulars from semi-regulars, turn people away quickly, dress well. Now that he's an owner, however, we'll see how it goes. For now, the concept, and the man, are dancing a very fine line between inspired and contrived, and there's little denying the whole place is a study in contradictions. Downstairs is a cafe run by Amiri's money, Mr. Giuseppe "Cipriani" Cipriani. Upstairs is Amiri's show:
"Basically, it’s going to be a Soho House, but more comfortable, with more of a neighborhood vibe,” he added, referring to the Brit-tainted, über-exclusive—albeit a bit naff—club in the meatpacking district....Also of note, Amiri's never been to Cuba; and a place that is designed to attract high-end New York scenesters is slated to open mid-May, just as they're all clearing out for the Hamptons.
“What I’d like to be done is a socialism as far as the door,” said Mr. Amiri, who grew up in Persia and later Vienna, and speaks with a slight accent. “What socialism really means is, I give you this and you give me that. And as the door goes, I’m gonna bring you into this nice atmosphere; hopefully, you’re going to bring your great energy in here. And that’s it—that’s the only even exchange I want with people.”
If you wish to sit down at a table, however, there is the matter of the $600 minimum tab that you and your tablemates will be required to rack up...
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