Friday, September 28, 2007

Break Down: Upstairs Bar Part II

We already Broke Down where Upstairs is. Now, based on a little note we received, we will breakdown why you go there and just how to get in. Let's begin.

Why You Go:
1. To AVOID commoners.
2. This club is for the elite. IF this is you, then GO.
3. The club is small, intimate and PACKED with six-foot runway models.

Those are all great reasons on why to pick Upstairs as your drinking establishment of choice. We hate commoners. But we love you. Now, to the second and more important breakdown.

How You Get In:
1. Call the doorman Wayne. He is black and really cool.
2. Call Wayne at 11:30 and tell him you are Danny A's friend.
3. Tell him you met Danny -A- at a model party a few weeks ago.
4. Don't get a table.
5. Go at exactly 12:30 and you better be dressed HOT and COOL.
6. If you are a guy you MUST have at least one tall woman with you OR YOU WILL NOT GET IN. Two women are better. Two or more men together WILL NEVER GET IN.
7. You should ONLY go as a couple the first time you go.
8. Go in, have few drinks, and then come down later and hang out a bit and get to know Wayne the doorman.
9. Give Wayne $20 at some point.

Lordie. That's a lot of rules. And it seems like an awful lot of lies to tell just to get in to a bar. We hate liars. How about this? You open a bar, check ID's, play good music and serve good drinks at a reasonable price. Then, and only then, we will think about coming by to hang out and spend money.

Upstairs: Really, Really Ous't

Not to beat a dead horse, but is there anything lamer than a secret club trying to get more customers by hiring promoters to promote the club's secretness. Answer: No. Another email begging us to come to Upstairs came in, and this thing is truly next level.

If you don't know who Danny -A- is or don't want to Google HIM do not try to get into this club. I was there last night and he was blowing out losers and short people. We were hanging out with Leonardio DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Shakira and a room full of runway models. This is where these people go to AVOID commoners.

It is a PRIVATE club. It is above Cafe Bari on the corner of Spring and Broadway. The doorman is a stocky, really cool black guy named Wayne. His PERSONAL phone number is 646-515-^&*(removed). Call him at 11:30 and tell him Danny -A- gave you his number and you are going to stop by in a little while. If he asks, and he probaly won't, tell him you met Dannay -A- at a model party a few weeks ago. If he asks if you want a table SAY NO, that you are just stopping by. The club opens at midnight. To get in go at exactly 12:30 and you better be dressed HOT and COOL. If you are a guy you MUST have at least one tall woman with you OR YOU WILL NOT GET IN. Two women are better. Two or more men together WILL NEVER GET IN.

You should ONLY go as a couple the first time you go. Go in, have few drinks, and then come down later and hang out a bit and get to know Wayne the doorman. A $20 tip will help him remember you. He is really cool and KNOWS EVERYONE he lets in. This club is for the elite. IF this is you, then GO.

The club is small, intimate and PACKED with six-foot runway models. If you want to whine and say sour grapes and that this is not for you, fine DON'T GO. Otherwise, to continue to get the passwords for the two other SUPER HOT new NY clubs, send us a report AFTER you get in to Cafe Bari. Once you go to Cafe Bari and give us a report, we will send you the info for the other two new super hot clubs in town.
Oh man. Someone really wrote this? A human being? This is just too much for us to handle. We have hired 3 interns to parse through all the details. But now we know, Upstairs is really, really ous't.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Central Standard Time

The Standard in New York City still isn't ready, but Andre Balazs’ hasn't put the rest of his expansion plans on hold. The next location? Central America baby. To be more exact, Costa Rica. Sir Andre will probably look to apply some of the spa-rific lessons he learned with the Standard Miami in this new venture, even though Costa Rica is so over. Very lovely, but over. You would expect the first international Standard to be somewhere a bit more exotic, but this is the safe play. Or the Standard play, as it were.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ins't or Ous't: Upstairs

Time for a brand new feature here at DBTH: Ins't or Ous't, where we tackle the state of New York City nightlife establishments and decide whether they are worth your time. Get it? Got it.
Place: Upstairs
Neighborhood: Soho
Status: Ous't

It was just a few months ago that Upstairs burst onto the scene, wowing the hipserati with is semi secret location (above Cafe Bari), A-level promoter and over-abundance of curtains. Shockingly, no one really cared. And if you thought it was over before it got started, we are ready to confirm it. You know why? We recently got hit with this email:

Okay, so outed the new -A- list only hot new Soho hot spot, now we have the inside info for you... Danny A , New York's hottest promoter has opened a small private club and now you can get in. Last week Shakira, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg hung out here. Just send send an email request to [super awesome party list] and we'll give you the address and the secret password to get in....Compliments of The Balsin.
We actually hurt our finger trying to respond to this offer. Thanks for letting the public in on this secret. In less than 2 months, Upstairs has gone from a secret club for celebs and insiders to being open to bloggers and anyone else with an email address, complete with the tease that we may just get to see Leo et al. Egggh.

Just like that, Upstairs is officially ous't.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Quick Hits: Weekend Restaurant Wrap Up

Time for another Quick Hits, a very special feature where we hit you. Quickly. Ka-Pow.

1. The Kingswood recently opened on the inner edges of the West Village. A Little Birdy checked it out on Saturday night, saying, "the Kingswood: lousy service, lousy food, good music." Great report. One out of 3 ain't bad sometimes. This time it is though.

2. A Little Birdy says, "Market Table is now serving dinner." Boring.

A Royale Price Raise

Royale on Avenue C had so much going for it. Outstanding burgers. An outstanding backyard in which to enjoy those burgers. Acceptable juke box. And most importantly, $3 cans of Butternuts , specifically Pork Slap Pale Ale, a super malty beverage brewed in upstate New York. Butternuts is one of the few beer makers to use the can these days, and we salute them for it. It is a clean taste, not too thin and not overpowering, despite the heavy malt, and at $3, you knew you were getting value. Until now. A recent trip to Royale revealed a price increase to $4! When asked, a bartender replied "we should have done it a long time ago." Is that so. $3 is the perfect price for a can of beer, about $1.50 over the distributor's price and not so much that you would question your choice. But $4, now that is a head scratcher and enough to have us looking at the menu for a beer pulled from the tap. Consider this developing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

On the Circuit: Unforgivable Woman

What: Unforgivable Woman
Where: A private townhouse on West 67th street

Unfortunately, we can't be everywhere. Last night was one of those times where a conflict kept us away from an event. Luckily, we had a Little Birdy to pick up the slack. Attending the P. Diddy/Sean John event for his woman's line, Unforgivable Woman, our LB filed this breathless report.

Packed 3 story townhouse on west 67th street. Line down the block to get in. Serious door and cops. Videos of the UW ad playing around the house. Full-on red carpet with many media. The venerable Aretha Franklin was addling down the stairs as I got there. Saw Fabian Basabe and beard wife. Jay Z and Beyonce graciously took pictures with fans on the way out. Ashton Kutcher walked in with small entourage and tried to find the elevator so he didn't have to push through all the people. Zac Posen and several groupies made their way out while criticizing outfits. Puffy and entourage eventually made it to Marquee which was bumping when I left.
Nice work LB. Sounds like you had a grand old time. We love how you slipped in the Marquee afterparty as well. That's how you roll. Take note haters: The Puffy One can still throw it down. Indeed.

Quick Hits: La Esquina Booked Up, Boulud Doing it Doggy Style, The Iron Pig

Time for a very special restaurant edition of everyone's favorite, Quick Hits. If you have ever wanted to hit something quickly, please do let us know.

1. La Esquina may be open once again, but that doesn't mean you can get in. A Little Birdy writes, "What's the deal with La Esquina? I called at 10:00 AM the day you announced they reopened, and I can only get tables at 6 or 11:30. It doesn't matter what size my party is, or the day of the week. They only have 6 or 11:30. Ridiculous." That is ridiculous Birdy. Stop saving tables for your VIP list and let anyone book a table.

2. As our friends at Eater point out, Daniel Boulud is planning on bringing his oh so famous uptown hamburger to his new downtown spot, DBowery. When it opens of course. But friends, countryment, Birdies, please do not overlook the hot dog. You know why? A Little Birdy tells us, "Boulud is planning on reinventing the hot dog in the same way he reinvented the hamburger at DB Bistro. It's going to be over the top luxurious." Luxurious hot dog, that's crazy.

3. Finally, a quick word of good luck to one of our favorite chefs, April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig, who is stepping into the battle zone known as Kitchen Stadium this morning to battle the Iron Chefs. We would think she would be a natural against Batali, but he is gone so who knows? A burger and those pasta things that are made out of 100% cheese should do the trick, no matter what the secret ingredient is.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tao Heads South

Hypothetical. You own and operate the most successful restaurant and nightclub in the United States. Your New York City flagship is wildly popular with expense accounters and celebs. Your brand has broken through to become a hospitality institution. What is left for your to do? Head to Miami of course. That's what the folks at Tao are planning to do. According to a Little Birdy in the know, "they have signed a lease for a space on Lincoln Rd. off Washington somewhere. No timing yet, sounds like its going to take a while." South Beach get up! We asked our Miami Seagull, who isn't too surprised, saying, "big, open space that has been vacant for years. It was kiss steakhouse, which was 'owned' by Janet Jackson." And we all know how that worked out. Or maybe we all don't. No matter, sometime next year we will all be able to enjoy swordfish skewers by the beach. Delicious.

On the Circuit: Hard Rock Hits Vegas

What: Hard Rock Hotel Hits New York
Where: Stereo, West 29th Street - Chelsea

The good folks from the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas brought their show to New York, hoping to say hello to their New York high rollers and maybe pull in a few new ones. We decided to check it out. Uh, mistake. May we suggest not walking in to Stereo while the sun is still shining. Thank you. On the plus side, the drinks were free. The negatives? Just about everything else. The crowd was 100% suits, mixed with 10 female casino hosts imported for the affair. Thus, said suits spent tried their best to woo the out of towners. (Evidence above) The success rate seemed to be pretty darn low. The drinks came in the Stereo's customary plastic glass, and they were passing around some sort of apps. But really, who is eating anything out of that kitchen? Not us. When having a party, it is pretty hard to achieve negative authenticity, a setting so contrived it reeks of contrivity. We have to hand it to them, because they did in fact achieve it.

After 30 minutes, we had seen enough. We bid adieu to our group and moseyed on out of there. You really can't win them all.

Don't forget to check our Flickr page, full of fresh intelligence.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Papa's Got a Brand New Store

Dulces. Or as the sign says, Tienda de Caramelos, Artesanos. That's candy to you and I. And we ain't talking Bolivia. This time we are talking gourmet candy, hand made by some real candy experts. We're talking Papabubble. The Barcelona treat has settled on a location on Broome St, just east of the San Gennaro. The storefront is still papered over because some modern day Oompa's are hard at work getting this place ready for a late October opening. Hopefully. Because we all love candy. And we all love you.

Monday, September 17, 2007

BREAKING: La Esquina Reopens

A note came over the Hipster Wire Service so important, we deemed it worthy of an evening post. Little Birdy says, "The downstairs at La Esquina has reopened. I ate there last night before I went to the Box. Both were fun." WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW. The downstairs at La Esquina is back in action. We confirmed it ourselves early this evening just to be sure. Give them a call tomorrow between 10-5 to make yourself a reservation.

The Next Ones

Speaking of DJ's, a little intertube discovery, straight from Japan. Where else could you find DJ Sara, age 8, battle scratching DJ Ryusei, age 5? Maybe Williamsburg. Wanna-be celeb DJ's best beware. Sara and Ryusei don't play.

Quick Hits: Vital Talent, Daniel Boulud Update

Monday morning Quick Hits? Why not?

1. Chaotica and TCA, two music agencies with all-star DJ clients, have merged to form a DJ mega-agency, Vital Talent. That leaves AM Only as the only other agency with a comparable roster. If you want to throw a serious dance party, you are going to probably wind up calling one of them.

2.Master chef Daniel Boulud is bringing his fancy act to the Bowery, joining a few other fancy fellows. Very nice. According to a Little Birdy, the working name (but not 100% official) for his new space is DBowery. And according to DBTH, the food will probably be very expensive.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Over the Hill Country

We recently paid a visit to Hill Country. Very smart move. But we aren't here to discuss the food. Others much more experienced than us have already done that. No, today we are here to discuss cocktails. Hill Country has them, and they are pretty special. And that's what makes Hill Country very special. On top of the kick ass cue, they went the extra mile and pulled together a kick ass drink menu, featuring Tito's vodka (from Texas, where else), bourbon and tequila based drinks that are interesting and tasty. And at no more than $10 a pop, not wallet busting either. All of this without mentioning the expansive bourbon, whiskey and tequila selection, Lone Star beer and ice tea in a mason jar, live music in the basement bar etc etc. You begin to get it. Hill Country is good.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Flea Market Hotel

Soho. Once the mecca of downtown cool is now more of a quaint outdoor mall with some nice restaurants and very nice housing. We're fine with that. But what about that weird flea market on the corner of Howard and Broadway, just one block north of Canal? It's one of the few blocks that actually dead ends, with Howard being halted by Mercer to the West. Call us crazy, but it seems weird that this prime corner lot, surrounded by all that valuable property, would be used as a low end flea market. Well apparently, the owner of this lot agrees. The flea market's days are pretty much numbered, with the owner planning to build a hotel on the lot. A luxury hotel to boot. What else would you expect? Said owner/developer is in discussions with some heavy hitters about the restaurant and bar space, but no deals are in place. What's more, the adjacent buildings are either vacant or severely underutilized, meaning that we could be looking at much more than just a little boutique number.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Healing Tonic

What is the new cocktail trend that is sweeping through Manhattan's finest cocktail establishments? Tonic water. Yeah, we know that tonic has always been around, but (relatively) new to the market is Q Tonic. Made from Peruvian quinine and sweetened with organic agave, Q is quickly becoming the go to tonic for the City's top bartenders. The product got some early buzz when it was introduced last fall, but it only recently has broken into the market. Example, Freeman's has just begun using it in it's tonic based drinks. Sweet. In fact, naturally sweet. After tasting it ourselves, we find it to be much improved over the traditional Schweppes tonic. The unnatural aftertaste is gone and the flavor blends nicely with a high quality gin. But it is still tonic. It doesn't really jibe with what we like to drink.

DBTH will never shill for anyone. EVER. When we find a product worth mentioning, we feel a duty to share and share alike. If there are any questions regarding this policy, please feel free to let us know.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

British Love Them Some Box

A few issues with the City haven't stopped Simon Hammerstein from conducting his bidness. A Little Birdy on the other side of the pond dropped this British Bombshell, saying , "Simon Hammerstein is in London taking meetings with local nightlife heavies. He is there scoping out places for the Box." Taking the vaudeville act international. Now that is some bold thinking. It's tough to know how the Brits will react, but judging from the international contingent that frequents the Box's NYC location, we think it may be a big hit.

Monday, September 10, 2007

An Evening Afternoon At: Bounce Deuce

Like we said, summer is over. It's fall. That means football. And sometimes that means headed to a bar to catch all the action. You know we like bars. We also enjoy football. So we joined some friends who had made a reservation at Bounce Deuce in the East Village to enjoy a day of NFL action. We showed up for the early games and this is what we observed.

1. Every game in HD - nuff said.
2. Above average food - especially for a sports bar in the City, they took it to a higher level. Let's not go crazy now. It wasn't next level, but still pretty good.
3. Super tall 3 foot beer keg things - A nice touch. You could order beer once and not need the waitress for at least 25 minutes. Which as we will explain, comes in handy.
4. Reservations - A nice touch, especially since this place was jammed from wall to wall.

1. Noise - This place was beyond loud. The volume for the main game was pumping through the place at level 11. You had to scream at the waitress to order.
2. Service - Not the best. Expectations are never high for a sports bar on a busy Sunday, but this certainly didn't meet the minimum requirements. Misplaced food, slow delivery and a bit too much confusion for the staff.
3. Temperature - Uh, it's still 90 degrees outside. Where was the AC? Requests to turn it on went unfounded.

Overall, the negatives outweighed the positives. Despite the rowdy crowd having fun, the heat and the noise made it hard to interact with our table. Alas, we have 16 more weeks to get it right.

Photo Courtesy of Peddler of Bombast/Flickr.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Quick Hits: 50 Flips Out, Grand Street Hotel, Prada Party

Wrapping up the week with another killer edition of Quick Hits. Got a hit? Feel free to hit us.

1.Speaking of the VMA's, we just got our invite to 50 Cents Vitamin Water, Absolut Vodka VMA party in Vegas. If we had any clue how to work this thing, you would be seeing video of the flipping. We try.

UPDATE: We took it Lo-Fi, you can see still motion capture of all of the invite goodness. We are so handy.

2. More adventures in How to Name a Hotel. A Little Birdy checks in with an update from the new glass number going up on Thompson Street, saying, "the hotel in Soho from Brack Capital is going to be called the Grand Street Hotel. $200 million budget, 200 rooms." At least the guests won't get lost when they tell the cabbies where to drop them off.

3. Not tired of Fashion Week yet? Tonight is the big Prada party at their flagship store in Soho, and we hear that oh so super cool and oh so can you please play our Fashion Week party band LCD Soundsystem will be performing. Have fun kiddies.

On the Circuit: White Party

Ok Ok. We know it's Diddy. We know it's coming way way late. We know everyone including the Today show has talked about this. We know. But when a Little Birdy sent us this shot from the White Party, we decided to let it fly. Look at those 3! Get them a TV show or a record deal or something. Our Little Birdy says, "Even though everyone likes to rip on Diddy and the White Party, we had a blast. Great food and drinks, some good looking people, and the production quality for the event was through the roof." So it's a few years past it's prime. Like Tyra says, so what? If people are having fun, who are we to judge?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

La Esquina: When Can You Get Downstairs?

The abrupt closings of The Box and La Esquina's downstairs took everyone by surprise. But hey, these things happen. And last week, we told you that the Box reopened, which is good for someone. Still, there has been little news on La Esquina, the place to see and be seen if you can get in. Well, a Little Birdy just told us, "they are still saying they are closed due to a water main problem. You can't even make a reservation for next month. But the women who I spoke with said they should know on Monday when they can reopen and if they can start booking tables." Sounds serial. Super serial. Even though we love it down there, it has to be some kind of crazy fire hazard if something were to go wrong. Crazier things have happened. We are guessing it may be a bit longer before they reopen.

VMA's to Fashion Week: Suck It

The next week is a non-stop bonanza of activities here in NYC. But don't forget about that old New York event, the VMA's, which shifted to Vegas this year. What's the impact? According to one Little Birdy, pretty large. What say you, fluffy birdy?

With all the hype surrounding fashion week, I am going to go out on a limb and predict that this will be one of the dullest fashion weeks in recent memory. The primary reason being that this weekend is the vma's in vegas. Not only is mtv taking over the entire palms resort (both towers), but there will be off the hook parties at every bar, restaurant and nightclub in Sin City. I am also predicting that all the celebs that make fashion week oh so fabulous will be in Vegas and not NYC.
Bold Little Birdy. Very bold. But you do make a strong case. MTV lives or dies by its celeb wrangling (which is a whole other story), and the VMA's is their most important event. And it is Vegas. Add to that the lack of new club openings in the City, and you may just be right.

As always, your thoughts are welcome in comments and squawk box.

On the Circuit: W Magazine

What: W Magazine Fashion Week 2007
Where: Chelsea Arts Center

Strolling up to the still under construction Chelsea Arts Center showed a large crowd trying to negotiate with the clipboard cabaret. You know how this goes. DBTH, right this way. Of course. We walk into the lobby and pop into the elevator. It's up to the 19th Floor, PH level, and the door opens onto the party. It's on. Beautiful types and those that work with them were everywhere. You could even say the place was over-flowin. No matter. We grab a specialty cocktail that wasn't that special and head out to the terrace. Views of the Hudson and Lower Manhattan twinkled our eyes, as celebrity DJ Steve Aoki dropped a low key corporate mix. It still sounded good.

As the event wore down, some starlets started showing up. We hear it was Jess Jess and Bon Bon. Don't forget the Calvin designers and the myspacers, the people that really make the week move. But alas, these things can't go on forever. Most of the time, that's a good thing. It was back down the elevator, grab the gift bag and head off into the night. Thanks W magazine. Good job.

Don't forget to check our recently updated Flickr box for more shots.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Update: Sakaya

A quick update from Sakaya, the soon to open specialty sake store in the East Village. Store owner Rick Smith checked in to say, "We were approved for our liquor license in mid-July and are moving forward on our build-out...During the construction phase we'll also be doing some things in the shop window to begin to create the feeling of what we'll be about by treating passersby to a bit of sake imagery and info." Sounds good to us. Don't forget to check out their semi-regularly updated blog as well. Kanpai!

On the Circuit: Animal Collective

What: Animal Collective Listening Party.
Where: K&M Bar, North 8th Street, Williamsburg

Just because it's Fashion Week doesn't mean there is nothing else happening in the City. The night before departing for a fall tour of the U.S., Avey, Panda, Deacon and the Geologist made their way to K&M Bar in Williamsburg for a listening party for Animal Collective's upcoming album, Strawberry Jam. When we arrived, the bar was loosely filled with patrons enjoying the $2 beer and shot special. Choice. But at promptly 10:00, the DJ hit go and the first notes of Peacebone screamed out. Like bees to honey, the bar suddenly was overflowing, with heads moving to the first official playing of one of the most anticipated albums of the fall. The reaction, judged by the heads that were bouncing, was overwhelmingly positive.

After the last notes of Derek, the crowd gave an enthusiastic cheer. We joined in. The DJ then struck up the next track and the party continued. At a dollar a drink, can you really blame it? We said our goodbyes and slid out the front, knowing another party loomed on the horizon.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Blogging for a Flogging: The Spotted Pig

Thought you could pull a fast one on us, Little Birdy? Thought we wouldn't find out? Guess what? We know. We know everything. Here's how. After reading last week's post on the new restaurant by the folks from the Spotted Pig, a Big Birdy clarified a few things, saying "The seafood version of the Spotted Pig is not going to be ready until Spring of 2008. It's name is also the John Dory, not the 10 Spot." Well, that takes care of that. But waiting for Spring 2008? We want it to open now! And for you LB, if we ever see your beak around here, we'll make sure you never sing again.

A One of a Kind Delay

Fashion Week 2007 has arrived. We are so excited we barely slept. But alas, we may have some bad news. It appears that not everyone is as ready for The Week as us. Remember we told you about 1 Oak, short for One of a Kind, a few months ago. We know Page Six remembers. Well, a Little Birdy says, "1OAK is going to miss all of fashion week, which is a very big deal and will affect their opening. One of the parties they lost was a huge Justin Timberlake party." Oopsie. That's no good. Anyway, Superfriends Richie Akiva, Scott Sartiano, Jeffrey Jah and Ronnie Madra's new club just won't be ready in time, meaning you JT fans will just have to settle for watching his HBO special a few more times.