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NYC Nightclubs Are Struggling to Survive During the Pandemic

Plus, Shake Shack announces a new slate of chef collaborations — and more intel

A dark nightclub exterior with a sign reading “Up & Down”
West Village nightclub Up & Down will not reopen, according to owner Richie Akiva
Via Google Maps
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Some of the city’s top nightclubs are either shutting down or converting into restaurants to get through the pandemic

Nightclub veterans in the city including Tao Group and the Butter Group are shuttering locations and paring down operations amid the ongoing pandemic, the New York Post reports. Of its five NYC locations, Tao Group has permanently shut down celebrity magnets Vandal and Avenue in downtown Manhattan. Richie Akiva of Butter Group is permanently closing West Village hot spot Up & Down, he tells the Post, and will be focusing on reopening Meatpacking destination 1Oak when the city allows it.

Tao Group has opened its restaurants associated with two other nightclubs — Tao Downtown and Lavo — while the clubs remain shuttered. Phil Zelonky of Noir in Chelsea has reworked his club into a restaurant, hiring an executive chef and offering a raw bar and sushi menu. The club-turned-restaurant still offers some semblance of a nightlife atmosphere: Noir offers “bottle parades” where masked servers pour pricey magnums of Moët & Chandon champagne directly into people’s mouths while they are seated, according to the Post.

Still, it’ll be a difficult road to recovery for Manhattan’s nightclubs once restrictions lift. Some club owners tell the Post that they are worried about the growing trend of outer borough warehouse parties, promoted over social media, which will likely only grow in popularity in the city’s post-pandemic future. Nightlife advocacy among the city’s elected officials is also key to the industry’s survival. “We need a mayor who will stand up for nightlife,” Tao Group co-founder Noah Tepperberg tells the Post. “Without it, we will lose the city that never sleeps.”

In other news

— Shake Shack is launching a new collaboration effort with a slew of independent chefs in cities across the country, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. In NYC, Atomix and Atoboy chef Junghyun Park is developing a yet-to-be-named menu item with the burger chain to launch on May 8, and Fieldtrip’s JJ Johnson is developing another item to launch on September 28. Part of the proceeds from sales of the collaboration item will be donated to a charity of the chef’s choosing.

— The NYC Sheriff’s Office raided an illegal party at Suenos Americano Bar in Jackson Heights, Queens, last weekend, where roughly 300 people were found partying in the bar’s basement space.

— East Village bakery Sweet Generation has relocated to a much larger space in Bushwick that is opening this upcoming weekend.

— Acclaimed cocktail world star and former Glady’s beverage director Shannon Mustipher is participating in an Instagram Live session on Thursday, February 25 at 5 p.m. featuring tropical cocktail demos, in partnership with Barr Hill Gin’s head bartender Sam Nelis.

— Good morning to this beauty: