Fridays are gay night, which is probably their best and least cheesy nite. The bar has a sister bar in the Hamptons with the same name. It was once hard to get into, but now the scene is pretty lame. However if you want to get on the list here is the trick as my treat to you: call them a day before and say you are getting a bottle, that will get your name on the list. The thing is that once you get in, no one checks to see if you actually go to your table. Anyways, what makes the Star Lounge blogworthy, especially around the Halloween season is their VIP, called room 101, which is supposedly directly under the original room 101 of the legendary Chelsea Hotel. So what happened in that hotel room ? Well, that is where Nancy Spungen was found stabbed to death October 12, 1978. Yes Nancy, as in Sid and Nancy. And for those born in the late 80’s or 90’s that is Sid as in John Simon Ritchie aka Sid Vicious, the Sex Pistols’ pretty-bad-boy bassist and “singer”. Ritchie was arrested in connection with the murder, but was later released on bail. To this day it is still not clear who killed Nancy. Sid himself died of a drug overdose on February 2, 1979. R.I.P. Sid & Nancy
Hours: Daily, 11pm-4am
222 W. 23rd St. nr. Seventh Ave.NY 10011 212-255-4646
Another speakeasy impersonation; this one is named after a 1896 law, which among other provisions, prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday—except in hotels. Most men worked a six-day week, and Sunday was the only full day for drinking at saloons. NY State statutes allowed any business to be considered a hotel, if it had 10 rooms for lodging and served sandwiches with its liquor. Saloons quickly found a loophole by adding small furnished bedrooms and applying for a hotel license. Dozens of “Raines law hotels,” often located directly above saloons, opened. This led to the transformation of saloons into hotels, which in turn led to an increase in prostitution.
As for this bar, they really go all the way, from the unmarked entrance and doorbell you have to ring to get in, to the very well done 1920’s looking interior complete with the obligatory tin ceiling. There are no beds, but some tables have velvet couches and black gauze curtains: each comes equipped with a wall buzzer to call your waitress, There is a small garden in back. The weekends can get busy, so this place is better visited during the week. The cocktail list comes from a former Milk & Honey bartender.
Cocktail: Archangel: gin, aperol, and cucumber
Hours: Mon-Thu, 5pm-2am; Fri, 5pm-4am; Sat, 8pm-4am; Sun, 8pm-2am
48 W. 17th St. , nr. Fifth Ave., NY 10011
Since this place (in Chelsea of all places) was opened by the same owner (Leslie Bernard) of the once hot Pravda I was skeptical about is funk authenticity. Did this soul lounge have any real soul? Well, it’s no Harlem joint, but it does manage to attract not just white people, plus the music is good: ranging from Classical Soul, Neo Soul, Jazz, Afro-beat, Underground Hip Hop and Breakbeats. There is food, which is tasty, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call it real soul food. If you go to their webpage during hours of operation you can hear the dj spinning live.
Hours: Mon-Wed, 5pm-2am; Thu-Sat, 5pm-4am; Sun, closed
165 W. 26th St., nr. Seventh Ave. 10001 212-627-8320
One of the best places to be in the summer! Built in 1929, this is a historic lightship (one of 13 remaining from more than 100 built). The US Coast Guard used lightships as floating lighthouses to guard other ships that were too far from land to be served by a lighthouse on shore. The crew was stationed aboard ship for three months, followed by two months of shore leave. It was said to be a job “filled with months of boredom followed by minutes of pure fear”. (Sounds like most jobs right now.) The Frying Pan spent three years at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay before being salvaged and brought to Chelsea Piers. Now it is a blast to explore its barnacle-encrusted interior (complete with catwalks and an exposed engine room). The front quarters often serve as dj lounge while live acts use the stage in the dark belly of the ship. On the pier, a tiki bar serves up booze and burgers, and a 16-foot observation plank offers a fantastic view of the Hudson.
Hours: Daily, 12:30pm-midnight
Pier 66, at W. 26th St. at West Side Highway 10011 212-989-6363
I am reluctantly including this club in the blog, just like the bouncer pretends to reluctantly let cheesy people in. Marquee isn’t quite the celebrity magnet is still claims to be. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll get in if you are just a group of guys. You still have to dress up and wait in line, bring girls and money. You can get around it by using a promoter (Vero’s List or Celebrity Clubber), which is why I think Marquee, like all the other mega clubs nearby, confuse purchasing power with exclusivity. Friday nights are supposed to be the best nights. Upstairs has hip hop and downstairs plays your garden-variety techno.
Hours: Tue, 10pm-4am; Wed-Sat, 10:30pm-4am; Sun-Mon, closed
Cover Charge: $20
289 Tenth Ave., nr. 26th St. 10001 646-473-0202