Yesterday was the grand re-opening of Marquee, which is remarkable both because the club originally opened almost a decade ago and because it brought a significant amount of new nightclub investment to an area that had been left for dead by the rest of the industry. But it also marked the continuation of a disheartening trend in what was once the nightlife capital of the world, where almost every big opening in the past year has been a re-launch of an old concept or importing a club brand from outside of New York. Don't believe it? Let's take a trip down memory lane:
BungalowNo. 8, Goldbar, Pink Elephant and now Marquee reopening after successful runs last decade, and Le Baron (Paris, Tokyo), Lavo (Las Vegas) and Space (Ibiza) have either already opened or will soon after establishing themselves in other places. Heck, even the Experimental Cocktail Club is a rip off of a New York cocktail bar that started in Paris and felt secure enough to open a branch in New York.
The only big openings are the new EMM Group's newest places FINALE and Bow, but even Bow is sort of a re-packaging of Travis Bass's pop up parties from the past two years. Coming later this year is the new club from the Pink Elephant team on East 58th Street (near Tao and Lavo) and the new Tao opening in the Maritime Hotel. There will be small projects here and there, but that's it when it comes to really big nightclub projects.
New York was once the nightlife capital of the world, but the price of real estate and doing business has seemed to make the big, glitzy projects tough to pull off. Now it's easy to argue that Las Vegas has replaced New York as the center of the nightlife universe, with a giant pool of money being poured into new restaurant and club concepts ($100 million for the new Hakkasan at MGM alone) and DJ fees approaching $1 million per set.
This doesn't mean that there isn't fun to be had here, and the booming tourism industry insures that clubs and bars will continue to attract well heeled customers for years to come. But will it still be possible for a newcomer to overcome the nightlife brands that are still hanging around 10 years later? Is there room for new ideas, and more importantly, is there money to turn those ideas into actual clubs?
· Revamped Marquee Ready to Reopen Tonight [~ENY~]
· Nightlife Coverage [~ENY~]