Steve Lewis catches up with Goldbar and Surf Lodge owner Jamie Mulholland who says he is hard at work developing his next great concept for New York nightlife. How does he decide what he should open? Mulholland explains that it is determined by examining what is missing from the current scene and what is too abundant. It's not a bad theory, but this desire to offer what the nightlife scene is missing is probably the most overused phrase in the nightlife PR world. Everyone from sports bar owners to operators of Halloween pop ups have thrown the term around, and in the past, this may have been true. But is it now?
The last decade of nightlife can be divided into three relatively distinct eras. Following 9/11, there was a five to six year run dominated by the world of bankers and bottle service, where the 27th Street clubs and their brethren dominated the landscape. Things began to change when the Beatrice Inn came onto the scene in 2007 and the recession began to take hold. Suddenly, bottle service was completely dead and any tiny basement below 14th Street became the coolest place on earth for the first three weeks it was open. But owners quickly realized that cheap drinks and small capacities made it hard to turn a profit. A fear of turning back to bottles created a third and final Confucius Era that seemed to come to a close right after the beginning of the new decade.
With the end of the Confucius Era, it seems that for the first time in a long time, there actually seems to be a well balanced variety of nightlife options in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Although the recession did briefly impact nightlife, operators tell us that business has never been better. And it seems to be better for John and Jane Consumer as well because there seems to be a real variety of options out there. The world is no longer divided into dive bars or bottle boutiques, but a diverse and growing number of nightlife options. Both boroughs are full of cocktail temples (PDT, Pegu, Hotel Delano, Lani Kai), beer halls (Radegast, Standard), fancy schmancy hotel penthouse nightclubs (Boom Boom Room, PH-D), house music temples (District 36, Pascha, Lavo), basement lounges (Electric Room, Kenmare), bottle clubs (Avenue, 1OAK, SL), dives and late night dance parties.
Some may bemoan that these clubs are not as good as the glory days before the Giuliani crackdown and cry that they miss the good old days of Tunnel, Life and Limelight. But guess what? That was almost fifteen years ago. It's a different world and a much different city, and despite your belly aching, those days aren't likely to come back. So rather than whine about what we don't have, let's all enjoy what we do. Deal? Deal.
· Nightlife Coverage [~ENY~]