Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!

The gang at Loungerati wishes you a Happy and Joyous New Year!! The New York office will be representing at Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Station for GMT New Years then Clover Club in Brooklyn til closing time. Expect Turf Number 2 cocktails and slurred stories. Other NY members will be making Strawberry Bourbon Shakes at the Red Room, serving wankers at Pranna, and making the scene at Shanghai Mermaid.

The Kansas City office is playing up their home bar skills while New Jersey Loungerati will be cracking open homemade Rickety Old Wagon wine. Scotch will be the liquor of choice in both locations. They will be imbibing J & B Rare Scotch whiskey on the rocks and Rob Roys respectively.

Elsewhere, the Seattle office will OD on Branca Mente and lamb couscous, while our San Francisco operatives try to barnstorm Beretta in the Mission for one of their fine concoctions.

2009 looks bright, but not end of the night one ever enjoys that experience.

Monday, December 29, 2008

San Francisco cocktail scene on the rise.

by Fredo

The New York Times published an excellent article in Sunday's Travel section about the up and coming cocktail bars of San Francisco. I knew I had to post it when within minutes of arriving at work, my cousin Caterina (who lives in SF) and Loungerati operative "Bacalao" who is home visiting the city by the bay for the holidays sent me the link to the article. They read it and automatically thought, "Fredo would appreciate this" - and I do.

Briefly, I went to San Francisco no less than a half dozen times between 1998 and 2002. In those years, swing was big and I'd would hit Club Deluxe, the Hi-Ball,the Orbit Room, Cafe du Nord, the Red Room at the Commodore Hotel, Bimbos, etc. I drank cocktails, lots of them but there weren't so many choices back then. We kept it basic, Manhattan, Martini, Sidecar, sometimes an Old Fashioned; see no one was serving Pisco Sours or using Carpano Antica vermouth. Unfortunately I haven't been back in a while (which my cousin often reminds me!) and now I look forward to not only hitting any remaining old haunts but the new cocktail circuit too!

Bacalao and Caterina, get thee to Beretta and have a brick oven pizza then a Dolores Park Swizzle, then the Airmail cocktail, then go have an Old Fashioned at Alembic. I want a full report! Anyone else in San Francisco, hit Bourbon and Branch or Clock Bar or Cask, let me live vicariously through you!!

Enjoy the NYT article of
San Francisco's Artisanal Cocktails

(photo of Airmail cocktail at Beretta courtesy of the New York Times)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 Best of Lounge

It is safe to say that 2008 has been a turbulent and surprising year. While the nation witnessed history at the ballot box and in the capital markets, we doubled our efforts and hit every joint, bar, lounge, dive, and burlesque show in an effort to spread the lounge gospel. Loungerati partnered with The Salon and JC Hopkins. We helped promote events and crafted their cocktail menus with the help of top mixologists. We continued to buck the "dress down" (aka dumb down) aesthetic that plagues our society and went out dressed to the nines. We tried new cocktails like the Silver Fizz and old classics like the Martinez (two ways on Repeal Day).

The day after the most momentous election in our lifetime, Loungerati operatives were spotted at the Chelsea Hotel hunting down the Senator (not Obama or McCain but The Senator of Kansas City). Once apprehended (stumbling and muttering down 23rd Street), he was whisked to Flatiron, Daddy-O, and Little Branch. A mini-Summit occurred and the Lounge Doctrine reaffirmed over Penicillin cocktails. A new era in lounge living seemed on the horizon.

December saw Loungerati celebrate its' second birthday on Repeal Day and make the scene at all the top lounges to celebrate holiday cheer. We didn't let the doom and gloom of the daily financial results stop our mission. Sure, our Paul Stewart houndstooth jackets maybe purchase on ebay, but that doesn't mean we cannot be civilized about it all. After all, looking like a million, doesn't need to cost a million. We proved that at Ella Lounge for Holiday Cocktails. What a perfect ending for a banner year. On that note, we would like to bring you our Best of Lounge list for 2008. These selections were hard to make but we believe they accurately capture our year:

Top Lounge Newcomers
Clover Club, Brooklyn
Macao Trading Company, Tribeca
White Star, LES
(Honorable mention: The Jakewalk)

Top Lounge Veterans
Death & Company, East Village
Milk & Honey (sorry can't say)
PDT, East Village
(Honorable mention: Pegu Club, Flatiron Lounge, and Little Branch)

Top Old School Joints
Lenox Lounge, Harlem
Freddy's, Prospect Heights
Arthur's Tavern, West Village
(Honorable mention: Frank's, Ft. Greene)

Top Pubs
Conker Hill, Hell's Kitchen
Chip Shop, Brooklyn Heights
Spotted Pig, West Village
(Honorable mention: The Libertine)

Top Burlesque clubs

Corio Parlor - "This is Burlesque"
The Zipper Club
Slipper Room

Best Seat in the House
The "Mafia Table" at PDT
Seat F14 at Clover Club
Any Bar Seat at M & H
(Honorable mention: The "Regular" seat at EO)

Top Loungerati Hangouts
Clover Club, Brooklyn
White Star, LES
Employees Only, West Village
(Honorable mention: Brooklyn Social, Flatiron Lounge, The Jakewalk)

Top Brooklyn Lounge/Bars
Clover Club
Brooklyn Social
The Jakewalk
(Honorable mention: Weather Up, Huckleberry Bar, Hotel Delmano)

Top Biergartens

Radegast Hall, Brooklyn
Loreley, LES
Franklin Park, Crown Heights
(Honorable mention: Gowanus Yacht Club)

Top Joints for Eating at the Bar
Char No 4, Brooklyn
Jack the Horse Tavern, Brooklyn
Freemans, LES
(Honorable mention: Blue Ribbon and Balthazar)

Best of the Internationals

Curio Parlor, Paris
Tausend, Berlin
Bramble, Edinburgh
(Honorable mention: Experimental Cocktail Club - Paris, Victoria Bar- Berlin)

Best Cocktail of 2008
Paper Plane (Bourbon, Aperol, Nonino Amaro, Lemon Juice) - Sam Ross
(Honorable mention: The Jersey Julep - Giuseppe Gonzalez, Vieux Carre at Little Branch)

Best Bar Food
Lamb burger, Clover Club
Deviled Eggs, Pegu Club
Bar Steak, Balthazar
(Honorable mention: John Delucie's Pork Chop at The Waverly Inn)

Best place for a cigar
University Club private balcony
The Havana Room
Hudson Bar & Books
(Honorable mention: Circa Tabac)

Best place to get a cocktail after dodging an oncoming taxi
Little Branch

Top Bartenders of 2008
Giuseppe Gonzalez, Clover Club
Sam Ross, Milk & Honey
Damon Dyer, Flatiron Lounge
(Honorable mentions: Maxwell Britten, Jack the Horse Tavern, Alex Day, Death & Company, Nino Cirabisi, Brooklyn Social, Jason Kosmas, Macao Trading Co, Igor H, Employees Only, and Ari Form, The Jakewalk)

Best Night to go out

Sunday Night (Death & Company then White Star then M&H - ask for bar seat)
Runner up Wednesday (Tailor then Little Branch then cab it to Clover Club for night cap)

Worst Night
Whenever Senator stumbles into town

Most Sought Liquors for the Home Bar
Plymouth Sloe Gin
Carpano Antica vermouth
Batavia Arrack
(Honorable Mention: Bols Genever, Branca Menta - for our pal Bena)

Best Dressed Loungerati staff members
Eff from Loungerati
Jee Jee
(Honorable mention: Grumpy, Fredo from Loungerati)

Places we want to visit in 2009:
Dutch Kills (to be opened soon in LIC)
Dressler for brunch
Victoria Bar in Berlin
Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans
Woodson and Ford
The Violet Hour, Chicago

Grace - this bar was just one of those place that had a great Whiskey/Scotch selection, consistent food, the longest bar I've ever seen, and a proprietor (Fred M) who remembered your name even after a year. It survived 9/11 and years when Tribeca was no mans land. It closed this year and we will miss Grace. Salute!

Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Best wishes for the holiday season from your pals at Loungerati. A special thank you to all of those who made it out to Ella Lounge last Friday for holiday cocktails. It just proves once again that neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow can keep Loungers from the bar. Let's make 2009 one to remember (as opposed to one you need to drink like the Senator to forget!)

Tanti Augouri,

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy 75th Anniversary of Repeal Day!!!

December 1933 saw a world in turmoil: The Nazis come to power in Germany; the Great Depression was in full swing; America seemed on the ropes and dry as the Mojave. The future seemed bleak, but then something momentous occurred: The peoples' representatives said NO to teetotaling and YES to civilized drinking! On December 5th, Utah became the 36th U.S. state to ratify the Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing the required 3/4th of states needed to enact the Amendment (this overturned the 18th Amendment which had outlawed alcohol in the United States). Yes, even holy, rolling Utah agreed that Prohibition was for the birds.

Well, Friday, December 5th, 2008 marks 75 years since that day, and we at Loungerati are especially excited. See, enjoying decent cocktail forms one of the four pillars of our philosophy. The others being civilized attire, respectful behavior toward the opposite gender, and listening/dancing to great music that makes you say "wow". Incredibly, we couldn't have done it without Utah!

In addition, this watershed date not only has great historical importance to the cocktail-imbibing Lounger, it is also Loungerati's Second Birthday. Yes, on December 5th, 2006, I decided to make a break from the darkness that was a Lounge website called I reached out to fellow disenchanted Loungers who knew that website's promise to be a place where "good taste hardly goes out of style" was indeed as dead as the Sacco and Vanzetti. The place used to be a creative forum to exchange ideas, publish stories, cocktail recipes, and meet like-minded loungers. But like many good things (and no thanks to infighting and lack of leadership) the party ended. Those of us who saw the Lounge living as more than just a "singles pick-up joint" came together and formed Loungerati. As we approached our first anniversary, the Senator proclaimed the now infamous "Lounge Doctrine" at the legendary Algonquin Hotel bar. He reaffirmed it just last month at Little Branch in his beloved West Village. As we go forth into our third year, we will be branching out into a full service website and continue to partner with The Salon and other like-minded organizations and individuals to bring you Lounging, Life, and Libations - the way it should be.

Now get out there and have a few cocktails! Show 'em how Americans appreciate what Utah did! Happy Repeal Day!!

Salute and Bottoms up!

The Loungerati Staff

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Mistakes at Art of Cocktailing

by Fredo

In the past month, the "Art of Cocktailing" series presented by House of Campari with Swindle Magazine was held at several of New York's premier cocktail bars, including Tailor, Employees Only (EO), Haven, and Gallery Bar. The idea behind the collaboration was to mix the art of drink creation (using Campari) with actual art. The featured artist was Los Angelas-born David Weidman, who became prominent in the '50s and '60s in the advertising and animation fields. Weidman's original prints are collector's items, and AoC event goers received complimentary tote bags with a choice of four silk screened prints.

I popped in to Tailor for some Campari aperitifs. In addition to the stalwarts such as a well-made Negroni, I also had the Milanese classic, Sbagliato (pronounced "spal-yacht-oh") which translates to the "mistake" in Italian. Essentially, one follows the Negroni recipe but mistakenly substitutes Prosecco or Champagne for gin. A mistake indeed! Below is the recipe:

4 oz Prosecco
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (we like Noilly Pratt)
1 oz Campari

Pour Prosecco over ice in a rocks glass, add Campari and Sweet Vermouth, and stir. Orange twist is optional.

Meanwhile, molecular mixology fanboy favorite, Eben Freeman, was making the rounds through the industry crowd dishing out Negroni-flavored caviar on silver spoons! After my Campari fix, I tried a few of Freeman's classics, including The Waylon (Smoked Coke, Bourbon) and his WD~50 import, the Butternut & Falernum (Rum, Butternut Squash, Falernum). The libations were spot on and no mistake in taste or originality. On the way out, I picked up a tote bag with a red rooster design, which also contained a Swindle magazine and other swag.

Tailor is located at 525 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013
House of Campari is at 54 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10012

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hendrick's Gin Limerick night at Employees Only

by Fredo

Jim Ryan, Hendrick's unusual man in New York, sent the following note on Facebook:

Come one come all if ever you care,
Employees Only is the locale of our affair,
You shall dress in most unusual attire,
Showcasing our botanicals we certainly require,
Proving Hendrick's a gin most debonair!

So we dispatched our primo gallo della citta, Giancarlo Zanetti to represent Loungerati at the Hendrick's Gin Limerick and Cocktail competition at Employees Only on Monday night. Needless to say the poetry became more whimsical with every passing glass of Gin, whether it be martini, with tonic, or neat! The competition lasted from 4-6 and drinks until sunset. Nostro gallo Giancarlo then made his way to the trifecta of cocktail destinations - absinthe bar White Star, newly private M&H, and nightcapped it at molecular HQ - Tailor. Well done ragazzo...for a Monday!

Giancarlo, I hope in your travels, you enjoyed one of my favorite Hendrick's cocktails, The Mayfair Cocktail (think margarita but with gin!):

2 oz. Hendrick's Gin
¾ oz. simple syrup
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
2 slices cucumber

Wet the rim of a coupe or martini glass with lime.Then dab it in the mixture of kosher salt and dried thyme to "frost" the rim of the glass. Combine the gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and one cucumber in a shaker and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a thin slice of cucumber.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Giuseppe Gonzalez, finalist in the Martin Millers Masters Competition

by Fredo

Congrats to Clover Club's Giuseppe Gonzalez on being a finalist in the Martin Miller's Gin Masters Competition. He appeared with fellow finalist Jake Berger on Friday's edition of CW 11 Morning News in New York.

Below is Giuseppe's recipe for the Clover Club which is one of our favorites:

Martin Miller’s Gin Clover Club
Giuseppe Gonzalez (US)

- 1.5 oz Martin Miller’s Gin
- ½ oz Dry Vermouth
- ½ oz Fresh Lemon
- ½ oz Homemade Raspberry Syrup
- Small egg white

Visit for the Blighty Mojito (Jake Berger's recipe), Clover Club and other classic cocktail recipes.

(photo courtesy of CW 11 News)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lounge Doctrine Reaffirmed after Executive Director mini-summit at Little Branch

by Fredo

Nearly a year ago, our friend the Senator proclaimed an ambitious doctrine which is the cornerstone of Loungerati's philosophy. Last night, November 5th, this platform was reaffirmed at Little Branch over penicillin cocktails.

Delivered by the Senator at the Algonquin Hotel, November 17, 2007

"Loungers, I come before you tonight, drink in hand, with a message of hope.

They said that there was no more room at the bar for us. They said that there was no longer a place where good taste hardly ever went out of style. They said that times had passed us by.

Well, my friends, I have seen how the other half parties and let me be the first to say to them: KEEP ON PASSING.

They can take their smoking bans and they can take their political correctness and they can shove it right up their asses. To you my fellow Loungers I say this: let us never inebriate out of fear, but let us never fear to inebriate.

We say, with not so silent lips – if you are tired, if you are poor, if you’re one of the huddled dancers yearning to drink for free, then you must be refused and your wretched ass must be kicked outside the golden door! On this fantastic voyage, nobody rides for free.

Unless you’re really, really hot.

The Loungers and the musicians, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death bars like Algonquin Oak Room. Even though large clubs of Manhattan and many old and famous lounges have fallen or may fall into the grip of the techno scene and all the odious apparatus of American Idol and that karaoke bullshit, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall drink to the end, we shall drink in the morning, we shall drink in the night, we shall drink in the gutters and the streets, we shall drink in the hills, we shall order wines with growing confidence and growing tolerance in restaurants, we shall order after dinner drinks and digestifs, no matter what the cost, we shall never throw up, and even if we do, which I do not for a moment believe, we shall boot and rally and make it to the last call!

And so my fellow Loungers, in closing, let the word go forth that the torch has been passed to an older generation. Let every dancer, lounger and barfly know, whether they wish us well or premium, gin or beer, whiskey or soda, that we shall pay any cover, tip any bartender, meet any manager or maestro, in order to assure the survival and the success of the lounge.

Thank you, and may God bless the gutter."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Aftermath of The Salon

by Fredo

Twas' the night before Halloween and a group of loungers, artists, musicians, dancers, barflies, mixologists, and burlesque performers gathered at Galapagos Art Space for the The Salon. Some came in costume, getting an early start for what promised to be a mardi gras like weekend in New York City. Others arrived in formal attire, in their best suits, elegant dresses, and their finest duds. What occurred next can only be described in pictures so please enjoy the photo album.

I would like to personally thank my guest mixologists, Giuseppe Gonzalez and Sam Kershaw who helped make the evening an absinthe filled success. Special thanks to the Soluri brothers and JC Hopkins for doing the legwork and Galapagos Art Space for being very accommodating! DJ Swank and the gals of Sugar Shack Burlesque made the night complete!

(Photos courtesy of Will Luong)

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Salon at Galapagos Art Space on Oct 30th.

Featuring the
JC Hopkins Biggish Band
including vignettes from the Jazz, Swing, Burlesque Musical "Underneath A Brooklyn Moon"

SUGAR SHACK BURLESQUE with Legs Mallone and RunAround Sue.

DJ Swank - spinning classic & modern lounge, swing, and trippy go-go electronica for your aural pleasure.

VERGE – a group show of visual artists currated by Tiffany Hunold. Artists include: Dylan DeWitt, Loie Hollowell, Yui Kugimiya, Theresa Marchetta, Hayley McCulloch, Dio Mendoza, Leslie Smith & Katayoun Vaziri.

Additional performances by an eclectic array of some of the best musicians & performers from around town.

Specialty cocktail menu by Fredo from Loungerati and Giuseppe Gonzalez.
Guest Mixologist & Bartender: Giuseppe Gonzalez (8-11pm)

7pm art opening. Live Music starts at 8pm

Galapagos Art Space
16 Main St, DUMBO Brooklyn

$15 at door -- $12 in advance.

For more info and advance tickets visit:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Barfly's Beat: Berlin - The Pleasure of Serious Drinking

I was coaxed pell-mell to Tiergarten by mein host, Helmut, a cocktail courtesan of bilingual ability and veritable repute. Over a grappa in Mitte by the side of the river, we’d chopped through the places to be, because I sought a pervasive drink in the underworld, and didn’t mean a dip in the Spree.

Two minutes later, and up-pulled a midnight blue Mercedes Benz: what followed next was an ephemeral footnote so beguiling, that tracers start and focus ends. Indeed, I recall no more than the opening of a rear window – through which I tossed my bearings away – with the rest of the ride a fever-dream of displacement/fantasy.

Hence, upon braking at 102 Potsdamer Straße and entering the VICTORIA BAR, our host, Beate, had readied her signature elixir: ‘The Hildegard’. Named after Frau Knef, the first-ever German actress to film a nude scene, it is a wham-bam of straight-up Vodka and Champagne that left me whistle-wet and immediately keen.

Part-Mama Fratelli – with forearms of spinach and an inkling of Pro-Dom charm – Beate’s soft-lens eyes shone “available”, though her sonorous yadda raised alarm. Queens of the Court, of course, have the knack and know-how to keep one honest awhile; and a dress-shirt, tie, and apron lent this Ma’am a matronly mercantile.

VICTORIA BAR specializes in pairing strong drinks with interesting eats, but, as enthusiastic as I was, I couldn’t accept the offer of an Old Fashioned served up with Oxtail Soup: Wie sagt man auf Deutsch, "Do I look like a fruit loop?”

Armed with the menu, then, and an express purpose, I pawed through 50-odd pages of what seemed to me a foretold curse. Pile-up sketches (below the Bourbon) and pin up etchings (beneath the Gin) imbedded the bill-of-fare with a memento mori; who knew Raphael Danke’s series of ‘Sex & Car Crashes’ didn’t amount to the sum of a state-sponsored scare story?

Pursed-of-lip, I pointed out the ‘Green Victoria’ as my poison of choice, slipped off my barstool, and made for a meditative moment in the boys'.

Apocalypse in the shape of Stu Mead’s Chinoise wallpaper interrupted me at the rest room recess, though, where motifs of playful narratives decanted water-of-life vignettes. ‘Philosophy’, I came to realize, was not about degrees of artifice, layers of conceit, or grades of misgiving, rather, it was a proposed evincement pursuant upon design: in this case, The Art of Living.

Thus, in a 90-minute sitting, I took that Green Victoria, a ‘Lord Jim’, ‘Sun Ra’, two of my customary Sazeracs, and I’m quite sure I met David Niven.

At some stage, I noticed one of the walls was exposed to look like the swirling cross-section of a tree, laying bare an imprint of transience that moved beyond the quoted starting-point of san soucie (meaning ‘without a care’, it is a nod to the opulent Rococo grace of the 18th Century Potsdam retreat of Frederick the Great).

Loosely, Berlin’s very existence – hung here handsomely and most even-handedly – seems founded on the embrace of discontinuance. Take the late-19th Century REALISMUS mirror reflecting the Ingo ‘Kallo’ Strobel lamps, à la Cabaret, and the mousse-green booth beneath a solitary leather drape, circa 1948.

Nuance, I learned, is the underplayed child of chiaroscuro, and it was borne here by the conceptual artist Thomas Hauser, whose meisterwerk is so big-balled, he must’ve had a sundial down his trousers. Eighteen colors from white-to-black form a continuous piece over five huge frames; a futurist study of an abiding Martin Kippenberger, but I daren’t even attempt to explain.

Jawohl, the owner, arbiter, and aesthetic loner, Stefan Weber (alas, absent during my visit) seems to have cultivated a well-read, and well-heeled class of customer. Ordained by none-other than The Big Willie of Bavarian Bartending, Herr Charles Schumann, the face of Baldessarini – who “Separate the Men from the Boys” – VICTORIA BAR is moments away from cruising traffic, but it's worth the risk just to hear Beate's voice.

Green Victoria: Pisco, Lemon, Mint, Sugar, Champagne

- Graeme

Friday, October 17, 2008

A cigar is so much more than just a cigar ...

A letter from our pal Effervescent written at the University Club:

"Caro Fredo,

Written while skipping out on a Lindy hop, seated in a chair Norman Rockwell himself painted in 1960, while watching rain fall down on Gotham's Fifth Avenue, in one of the damn fanciest rooms my Sicilian ass has ever been in, an ass covered by an English bespoke suit I purchased during a spend economy, that proudly props up the white silk presidential I sported the evening I married the woman, who back when we were first dating, gifted me an elegant tubed cigar, who's seal I would break and who's 30 year wrapper I would smoke down to a nub, outside the Scottish Castle I would marry her in, during a light snowfall at 2AM, though for all purposes it could have been a gifted Cuban, smoked in a historic seaside Victorian town, with salty Atlantic breezes firing up its embers, since either way the smokers would learn that these vanishing cigars with fancy names like Cohiba Robusto and Partagas 160, as they burned down, were simply transforming into life memories, and the timely lesson that, sometimes, a cigar is so much more than just a cigar...


Cigars on the veranda at Congress Hall, Cape May, April 30, 2005

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Y10A: Yehoodi's Ten Year Anniversary

Please join us in congratulating the gang at Yehoodi on their ten year Anniversary. Loungerati will be teaming up with Miss Behave for pre-party "Glamor Cocktails" at Pegu Club on Saturday October 18th. Then heading over to a party ten years in the making!

Here are more details on the festivities:

Jelly Roll Productions is honored to be celebrating Yehoodi's 10th Anniversary, Saturday, October 18th, 2008:

For 10 years now, Yehoodi has been the online home for the lindy hopper in New York City, the country, and the world. Yehoodi has become an integral part of the dance community, including: discussion boards, the radio show, the news items, and local and national event calendars.

Yehoodi's 10th Anniversary Celebration:

Kim Nalley, recently awarded as one of the "Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area," is one of the most lauded, internationally acclaimed jazz singers to emerge from San Francisco, California. Nalley is also a noted actress, producer, jazz lecturer and jazz programmer.

Kim Nalley in looks and presence is often eerily reminiscent of Billie Holiday but vocally she packs a 3 1/2 octave range that can go from operatic to gritty blues on a dime, projection that can whisper a ballad yet is capable of filling a room with no microphone and the ability to scat blistering solos without ever losing the crowd's interest or the intense swing. Her singing is most reminiscent of the former Basie Singers Helen Humes & Joe Williams with a dash of Dinah Washington and occasional nods to Ella, Sarah and Nina Simone.

Danny Mixon and his trio and Duke Ellington alum Art Baron on trombone.

Musicians: Kim Nalley, with the Danny Mixon Trio, with special guests Art Baron and David Glasser. Other surprise special guests will be announced.
Date: Sat, October 18th
Time: 8pm – 12:30am
Location: Sal Anthony's SPQR, 133 Mulberry St (in Little Italy)
Cover: $25 in advance, $20 for students in advance, $30 at the door for everyone.

To Buy Tickets and For More Info:

After hours:

Lucky Skillen, Pippa Tooher, Mr. Swank, Jelly Roll Productions and Yehoodi Present:

Moulin Blues: Yehoodi’s 10th Anniversary Party After Hours Extravaganza

To keep the magic of the Yehoodi 10th Anniversary Party going, we are going all out and celebrating at the world famous Spiegeltent! Spiegeltent is one of the most unique spaces you’ll ever see, including a beautiful tent for dancing and lounging and a bar area that overlooks the Brooklyn Bridge.

Keeping the classy vibe, we’ve got two of the best Swing DJs in the country, Manu Smith and Greg Avakian, who will be playing lindy hop, blues, soul, and whatever else they feel playing to keep the party going. Check your labels at the door!

And we know it’s a late night, so we know you’re hungry. No need to head out to a diner. Free food will be served to keep your energy going. Just come over immediately after Y10A!

Here’s the Skinny:

Date: Saturday Night, October 18th (technically Sunday morning, 10/19)
Time: 1am – 4am
Location: Pier 17, South Street Seaport (South Street & Beekman Street).
Cover: $10 (no advance sales)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mad Men Illustrated

"Casting Call"

Artist Dyna Moe aka Nobody's Sweetheart brings us free illustrations depicting snapshots of AMC's Emmy winning MAD MEN episodes on Flickr. She creates a new cartoon illustration after each episode.

She also adds:"Feel free to download and use any of them as wallpapers or write in your blog or website about them. I give everyone blanket permission to do so... you don't even need to ask."

Grazie mille Dyna! Keep these gems coming!!

"Joan and the Xerox"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Care for a (Classic) Shave?

by Frank "Franky Boy" Dellario

If you're a guy, and love the past like we do, at some point you've thought about the shaving thing. Every day you look in the mirror, lather up with shaving cream fizzing out of a can, scrape it off your face using a plastic cartridge blade with two, three or now five blades, and wonder if the old ways were better.

For me, the answer is yes. Inspired, I looked into it further, and here's what I found.

Multi-Blade Cartridges
It's a classic business model: They offer the razor for free, and make money on the cartridge-blades that custom fit their handle. The problem is they have to continuously outdo their competition, so they add more blades for a supposedly closer and faster shave. But all that seems to do is leave us with more blades per cartridge and a higher price tag. I don't get it. Is five blades really that much better than one?

Besides not appreciating being sold a bill of goods, I've found the cartridges don't give me that much better a shave and don't last that long. You've got to press a bit harder after the first day of use to get a decent shave, and they routinely clog with hair and shaving cream. I think it's time to go back to the past.

Straight Razor
I bought one in a vintage store along with a strop (a leather strip used to fine tune the edge, much like the steels used by chefs), and asked my barber if he would teach me to properly sharpen a straight razor. His reply shocked me. "Don't waste your time," he said. "Even the barbers who are the best at sharpening can never match the micro-thin edge of a machine-made safety razor. And besides, there's a reason why the straight razor's replacement was called a safety razor."

That made sense to me, I have to say. The time it would take to hone a decent blade edge as well as safely use it did not appeal to me. But I didn't want to give up the nostalgic idea of using a classic form of shaving. What was I to do? The answer came to with an heirloom handed down to me by my Dad.

My grandfather’s shaving kit, carried with him during WWI.

Double-Sided Safety Razor
Introduced in the late 1880's and perfected by Gillette, this vintage piece revolutionized shaving. You now had a paper-thin double-sided blade that fit into a weighted razor. No sharpening, no danger of slitting your throat (though it did make the shaving cut a common denominator of modern grooming. But hey, that's part of being a man, right?).

As I looked at this beautiful kit used by my grandfather, I decided to do some research. It seemed to me that, for a man, maybe the safety razor was the ultimate shaving device that was eventually dwarfed by its own business model of newer-faster-better, which morphed into the cartridge razor of today.

I had to try it but could not use my grandpa's kit, that's an heirloom. I ordered a 1.7 oz butterfly style razor (a turn of the handle opens the butterfly-like top to change the blade). It was a wonderful shave. You didn't need to add any pressure; the weight of the handle did the work. (What's the adage? Let the tool do the work.) The handles are even available in different weights to fit your shaving style (1.7 oz, 2.8 oz, 3.0 oz and in-between).

The only trick I had to learn, which was a simple one, is that I just can't plant the razor on my face like a cartridge. I needed to place the safety edge of the razor on my face, tilt it up ever so slightly and then allow the weight to draw it down. It was like shaving butter and very intuitive. Plus, one double-sided blade lasted me a month. At $5 for a ten pack, I think the math adds up.

Now some people may argue that, with a properly heated and lathered whisker, a straight razor will do an amazing shaving job. That may be true in the hands of a master barber, but for me at home, the safety razor is the right compromise between classic style and a tool that works, day in and day out. Thanks for the tip from the past, Grandpa.

How to use a Safety Razor

Brief History of Safety Razors

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Piker Show

by Fredo

In December 2005, I was at the height of my lounger power. I had a home bar that was legendary in Brooklyn cocktail circles, a well read cocktail column in a now defunct website, the deluxe Executair Trav-L Bar, and heck I even got the girl to take the leap with me! So it was in this atmosphere of bon vivant that I arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Bachelor Party sending off a good friend we will call Mr. White.*

However, before I begin this tale of reputation riches to rags, I would like to make clear that under no circumstances will this story violate the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas mantra,” that is central any visit to Sin City. No sir, this tale will side step any sordid details of the bachelor party and focus on the events leading up to and including being discredited in the eyes of all things Lounge.

The bachelor party participants included a who’s who of New York and Kansas City barfly culture. The motley crew included premier drinking talent as the Senator, Grumpy, Baccalao, Mr. White and your author. Running the shindig was Mr. White’s best man aka O’ Toole*, in addition Mr. White’s childhood friend Mr. Trotsky*, and his cousin Mr. Beef* brought up the rear. Since I have been making annual pilgrimages to Sin City for over a decade, O’Toole turned to me for advice on planning some of the entertainment. Eager to help out and give Mr. White an unforgettable send off, I jumped right in and provided a comprehensive list of suggestions. This list included bars, lounges, hotels, steakhouses, activities, and after-hours entertainment. Basically, I did the homework for the O’Toole to run with the ball.

A specific area which O’Toole reached out was my expertise on Vegas entertainment. Mr. White wanted to attend an “Old Vegas” a la the Rat Pack experience. There isn’t much of Sinatra Vegas left so engineering the “Old Vegas” event was not so easy. I suggested going to the Rat Pack Spectacular show at one of the hotels, it featured a live replica performance of the famous act at the Sands. Personal note: No offense to Dino and Frank imitators, I’d rather be partying at the Palms or having a scotch and cigar at L’Hotel at the Mandalay Bay. However, Mr. White wanted old Vegas and I provided a list of old school lounges and options such as actually going to old Vegas - (e.g, Fremont Street, the Binion''s Horseshoe, and drinks at the Peppermill Lounge.) I explained this to the best man and he seemed keen to follow my advice.

I am not sure if O’Toole was just asking me for suggestions to be nice or whether he has ADD, but he managed to ignore every single proposal on my list. Luckily, the places he chose before the fateful night of the Piker Show generally worked out in his favor. The Luxor’s Steakhouse was not my choice but turned out to serve a damn good steak. However, after that great dinner there was a harbinger of what was to come. Namely, the Loungerati set had to make a late night run to the night club Drai’s without the Bachelor because Mr. White and O’Toole decided to go to bed “early.” I surmise that had to do more with O’Toole’s morning gym regime than actual jet lag!!

Overall, the event was going well, the Bachelor suite at the MGM Grand was stocked with booze, and it was great to see all the guys in Vegas. The next day O’Toole handed out the itineraries and I was shocked to see the entertainment that was chosen. I took him aside pleaded that he abort the mission. He stormed off to the gym.

The Dinner & A "Piker Show"**

Piker - 1: one who gambles or speculates with small amounts of money2: one who does things in a small way
; also : tightwad , cheapskate(source Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

According to their website, Folies Bergere at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino, “has everything a great Las Vegas entertainment show should have - fabulous singing & dancing, gorgeous Las Vegas showgirls in barely-there costumes, dazzling scenery, hilarious comedy and sheer spectacle!”

Well it sure was sheer spectacle but great Las Vegas - not so much. Maybe Mr. White thought it was going to be a circa 1950s Shriner junket with burlesque acts. Maybe he thought a topless Marilyn Monroe would pop out of a cake. Neither was going to be the case. So I tried my best to get on board since this was Mr. White’s party, not mine. Then the other shoe dropped. O’Toole had arranged a dinner and a show package deal! As he collected $75 a head, I stared in disbelief. I was in Vegas. This town was home to no less than two dozen stellar restaurants (NoBu, Delmonico, N9NE Steakhouse to name a few) and decent buffets (Bellagio), but we were not going to them on our last BIG NIGHT. No, we were dressed to kill in suits but instead of a memorable dinner and real Bachelor party night on the town at say … Craftsteak followed by Spearmint Rhino we were crossing Tropicana Boulevard on the way to the “stunning and affordable” Tuscan Italian Café and Folies Bergere!!!

Surprise! There was nothing Tuscan about the "fine dining" at the Tuscan Italian Café. This joint made Olive Garden seem like the Four Seasons. It was not the “Italian-style bistro” advertised on the website but rather a glorified food court station that could be found in any Mall. We looked around and sure enough the place was filled with old pikers holding food coupons and nursing diet Coke. Then the server arrived. In addition to Caesar Salad we had three choices – chicken parm, thin crust pizza, or spaghetti and meatballs. What no Tuscan white bean soup??? We tried to order 4 bottles of red wine for the table but the waiter told us they had two bottles of wine in house – generic cheap Chianti!! In an Italian restaurant, only two bottles! The pikers must have thought we were real high rollers in suits ordering wine and actually paying with cash in lieu of coupons. When everyone’s food finally arrived, my personal pizza was missing! Senator giggled. Baccalao chugged half the bottle. Grumpy complained about the chicken. Beef made a face as his meatball crunched. Trotsky sat and stared. Mr. White tried to give me his food but I decided to wait it out. O’Toole couldn’t believe it – this dinner was terrible.

The 10pm show – Since my pizza had to be reheated in the microwave again, we were running late to the show! Comically, O’Toole tried to get part of the meal compt which only added the fiasco. Then he disappeared. Then he came back. No one said a thing as they waited for me to finish. I barely got half the card board with ketchup they considered pizza down and walked silently toward what I knew was going to be a loss of an hour and a half of my life.

The aptly named Folies show was more reminiscent of an off-off-off Broadway production of the Moulin Rouge. The Follies MC, a lanky nerd, made fun of us being late as we made our way through the crowded theater to the front table. Clearly this crowd had arrived very early and probably because of some early bird special discount rate. The dancing began and it was decent but the cheese factor was in the double digits! If only my “pizza” had as much cheese! I was fuming. Plus there was no booze. We actually sat there for an hour and a half in Vegas on a stag doo without a drink!!!

Then I noticed something or rather someone. One of the dancing girls looked veerrry familiar. She looked like Mr. White’s ex-girlfriend, a burlesque dancer named Miss X. But it couldn’t be? No way. I looked over at Mr. White. He was feigning surprise and regurgitating heart break. O’Toole comforted him with a hand on the shoulder. I rolled my eyes – how transparent could this actually get??? So that’s why we are at this Piker Show!!! Miss X out again, this time as a topless flapper, still not seeing us. Mr. White the Libertine choked up. More dancing, some nudity, each era of American history was a new God awful dance routine full of stereotypes and can-can numbers. Mr. White’s cousin, Beef, and our pal Baccalao were literally snoring despite O’Toole’s irritated pokes. Adding insult to injury, the Senator would give an exaggerated standing ovation after every mediocre performance which only egged on the MC on with more lame jokes and made Mr. White shrink lower in his seat.

Finally, the lights came on and a collective roar of creaky bones rose from folding chairs; then the ancient audience hobbled to the exit. I looked around at the rest of the guys. Senator was stone sober. Grumpy was laughing - at me. Baccalao was cleaning the sand from his eyes. O’Toole was mentally running 5K. Mr. White was “broken up.” Trotsky had an ice pick in his eye. Beef looked more like bullion. And I was frigging starving and embarrassed!!! It didn’t help that a rather rotund and elderly female piker with a walker was blocking the aisle to the exit. It took us ten minutes to get out. We filed out of the Tropicana in silence passed bored ushers and chiming slot machines. It was 11:30pm. We walked out into the chilled desert air. Mr. White wanted to go back to his suite. O’Toole kind of shrugged at me with this aw shucks look on his face. Well, I tried to wrap my head around that I had been seen at a genuine piker show. Then the Senator leveled the coup de grace, “Fredo you are so discredited! I can’t believe you let us go to this piker show. You are done in this town!”

Moral of the story never listen to a tool or believe a rake, you may end up in the dirt.

* The names have been changed to protect the innocent,the wicked, and the clueless.
** Piker Show – Loungerati definition – a dinner-show package sold to cheap suckers usually to keep them in the Casino gambling. The ’pikers’ attending the show are usually geriatric and/or former top Loungers named Fredo.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Conker Hill Celebrates 1st Anniversary

Loungerati's favorite Irish pub and Tammany bastion, Conker Hill in New York's Hell's Kitchen is celebrating their first anniversary on Thursday August 21st. So come on down for the perfect pint of Guinness served by the owner Kieron and his crew. There will be plenty of smack talking, dart throwing, and other shenanigans!
How can this possibly go wrong?

See you there! - Fredo

Conker Hill
640 10th Ave (btw 45th and 46th Streets)
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 757-0900

Monday, August 11, 2008


Excellent news from our pal JC Hopkins! Summer may be coming to close but the Autumn fun is just around the corner.

Saturday, September 27th
8pm to midnite
“Assinfully delicious as ‘Man’s first disobedience’ and the most fabulousextravaganza since Adam & Eve had to cover their nakedness!”

The unrivaled arts festival honoring Milton’s birthday and ParadiseLost, the greatest poem in the English language

Featuring the Swinging JC Hopkins Biggish Band with Nicole Nelson

Tickets $40.
Williamsburg Art and Historical Center
135 Broadway, Brooklyn NY 11211

If you can't wait until the leaves turn brown to check out JC and the gang, then head on over to Red Hook for a scorching hot summer performance:

JC Hopkins Sextet, featuring Queen Esther and the provocative Burlesque of Miss Tickles.
Saturday, August 16th, 10 pm and 11:30 pm (two sets)
Annabelle's Bar and Nightclub--- 44 Beard @ Dwight (across from IKEA)
Red Hook Brooklyn
Subway: F,G to Smith/9th St. Bus: B61
Phone: 718-643-1500
Great Food!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bastille Day in Brooklyn

by Fredo

For the second year running, Loungerati operatives took over the Ricard tent at the Bastille Day festivities along Brooklyn's Smith Street.

The scene of the crime was on Dean Street. The object of liberation - a table for the crew. Seat by seat we skillfully took a table and brought in beers from the corner stores and Ricard from Bar Tabac. Among the cognoscenti were The Cad publisher Jack Newcastle and his crew from Kingston 66 and the Fedora Lounge.

This year Lillet and St.Germain (elderflower liquor)joined Ricard in sponsorship of America's largest petanque tournament. Naturally, we had to sample a few cocktails for quality control and research purposes.

Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra provided hot 1920's jazz while jitterbugs danced in the street in a scene reminiscent of a lost generation Bastille Day party.

Thanks again to Bar Tabac, Robin de Bois restaurant, Ricard, Lillet, Saint Germain Liquer, and The Dreamland Orchestra for making the 7th Annual Brooklyn Bastille Day a success!

Stay tune for next year's event!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Barfly's Beat: The Clover Club

by Fredo

I am a firm believer that one cannot accurately review a new establishment based upon one visit during the first week, let alone opening night. Bars, like restaurants, need time to settle in, to work out the kinks. The initial days and weeks involve growing pains, a learning curve, and sometimes personnel changes. Cocktailienne Julie Reiner's new Clover Club at 210 Smith Street in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill neighborhood,is no exception. Since it's late June opening, I have visited "Clover" often twice a week and have witnessed its' maturity. Further, this gin mill is getting better with every visit.

The Clover Club is a 78-seat lounge and private (as in no standing) back parlor which can hold 30 patrons. The decor is Victorian influenced but feels like Brooklyn, with rich dark wood interior, mosaic tiles, maroon leather banquettes, and elegant antique lighting. The bar, where the Loungerati set spend most of our time, is 19th century restored mahogany wood bar, which according to Julie Reiner "was hand-salvaged from a house in an old coal mining town in Sugar Notch, Pennsylvania."

To really gauge whether a cocktail lounge of this caliber is the real McCoy, I start off by ordering OFF the menu. Any mixologist worth their sleeve garters should be able to make the following cocktails: The French 75 (Gin or Cognac), Classic Gin martini, a Daiquiri, a Sazarac, a Manhattan, a Gin Fizz, and the Old Fashioned. Rumor has it that the bartenders at several new high end cocktail joints were only proficient with the cocktail menu but lacked the over all chops to produce the classics. Well let me be the first say this is not the case at Clover Club. Like skilled chefs, the bartending staff not only produced any classic I ordered (including personal favorites like the Gin Daisy and Plymouth Sloe Gin Fizz) they executed the drinks brilliantly and even added their own signature. Once convinced of the classics, I was ready to sample the menu.

The well-rounded cocktail menu is divided into nine categories of both classic and innovative mixed drinks, including Bucks & Mules, Juleps & Smashes, Sours & Daises, and Punches. Here are some of the highlights: The Clover Club based on the 1909 recipe from the original Bellevue-Stratford bar in Philadelphia (Gin, Dry Vermouth, Lemon, Raspberry syrup, egg white), the Bramble (a Dick Bradsell invention, Gin, Lemon, Sugar, fresh blackberry puree), the Bohemian Fizz (Gin, Elderflower, Lemon, Soda) and the Jersey Julep (Applejack, Mint, Maple Syrup). Also, some classic American Punches such as the Algonquin Punch (Jamaican Rum, Plymouth Sloe Gin, Fresh Lemon, and Raspberry Syrup) served in vintage punch bowls for 4 - 6 people. (Disclaimer: I tried all of these cocktails over four weeks not one visit!!)

The cocktail pedigree behind the bar is impressive as the menu. The Lonsdale in London. Pegu Club and Flatiron Lounge in New York. These are some of the names on the resumes of the talented team of bartenders. Flatiron alum Giuseppe Gonzalez assumes the role of head of the class. Despite being an award winning mixologist (last year he won the 2007 Vinos De Jerez Cocktail Competition), Giuseppe prefers to be called a bartender. See the profession runs in the family and he is his father's son. Gonzalez helped design the menu (have I mentioned Jersey Julep?) and delivers his hand crafted cocktails with a smile and without pretension. He represents the vision of the club which is refinement and style without being contrived.

Clover Club also features a selection of small plates. A few highlights include Oysters on the half shell (which were so plump and fresh that they probably didn't even need that delicious cucumber mignonette sauce but I'm glad they included it!), a mini-lamb burger which is perfectly cooked and accompanied by homemade waffle chips, and the Steak tartar (described by Jenny from Carrol Gardens as "Lick your plate good".) And I almost forgot, the Deviled Eggs four ways. Gulp. Nothing make a gin martini go down smooth than "the eggs"!

Nine times out of ten, I occupy the far corner of the L-shaped bar which I call the dug out. I sit next to the lighting/heating panel and move when the managers come to tweak the ambiances. The antique scones and bar lights are adjusted as the sun sets. As Julie told me, "Unlike Flatiron, which is more like a cave, Clover Club has lots of natural light." So as the twilight approaches, the mood of the bar adapts. By nightfall and especially in the back room (yes I was able to secure some seats), you feel that your are in a swank refined club.

The crowd showing up is as diverse as Brooklyn itself. One night a crew of gals who called themselves the "boriqua nurses" were having a good old time, the next it was couples on dates, then vintage clad mods ordering the classics, journalists, bloggers, Smith Street barflies, fellow mixologists from Milk & Honey & Death & Co, and Esquire's cocktail impresario David Wondrich. The next time around a family of Hasidics took over a nearby banquette, which was later occupied by a birthday party of twenty something professionals, and then more revellers from Queens, Manhattan, Bayridge, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Park Slope, Fort Greene, Sunset Park, even bloody Edinburgh, Scotland arrived!

Finally, the back parlor room which seats up to 30 guests, is separated from the front of the house by heavy tapestries and a hostess. The room is decorated with velvety Victorian parlor furniture and I'm sure come winter time, it gets real cozy by the elegant marble fireplace. The objective of the parlor is to allow loungers to enjoy a more intimate experience - a speakeasy in the back room of a that is a curtain I can get behind!

The Clover Club is located at 210 Smith Street, between Baltic and Butler Streets, and is open Monday-Thursday, 5pm – 2am; Friday, 5pm – 4am; Saturday, 2:30pm – 4am, and Sunday, 2:30pm – 12:30am. Reservations are accepted in the parlor room only by calling 718-855-7939.

(photos courtesy of the Clover Club)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Barfly's Beat: A Jewel in the Crown (Heights)

by Fredo

Crown Heights is Brooklyn. It is a multi racial neighborhood which is in the midst of economic and cultutral transition. When tensions flare they make national news but the neighborhood feel of the place is unmistakable. The turn of the century brownstones, the stretches of Eastern Parkway reminiscent of Parisian boulevards, the Hasidic temples, the East Indian churches, and the eastwardly expanding "gentrification" make for a vibrant mosiac. Clearly there must be a place to get a drink in a ward this diverse!

So on the Fourth of July, we decided to investigate the new beer garden called Franklin Park on the border of Crown Heights. The stop was part of a marathon day which began at Egg in Williamsburg for biscuits and gravy and Eggs Rothko, then a pop in at the Murakami exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, and a few more BBQs before trying to make it to New Galapagos Art Space opening in DUMBO.

After spending an hour viewing the "Andy Warhol" of Japan's 3-D Anime,pop murals, and forcibly removing a Murakami designed Louis Vuitton bag from the clutches of the female members of our party, we needed a break. Preferably one that included booze and open air. Well I had heard about a new beer garden off Franklin Avenue and remembered that we were in the vicinity. So we hotfooted the three blocks down from the museum. On the way we passed a Reggae DJ blasting his beats for the entire block, signs warning against "loitering and dealing", the S Train snaking along forgotten tracks, and a sign that offered LOVE at 797-9100.

Franklin Park is more like a refurbished garage with a long drive way that has been converted into an outdoor drinking area filled with long picnic tables. Also unlike the German style gardens in Astoria and Williamsburg, this haus is not trying to transport you to Prague or Munich, it is strictly Brooklyn. Beyond the "garden" area is a cozy little bar whose base is covered in black and white tile and complimented with a wall length wrap around banquette and a half dozen cocktail tables. Above the banquettes were scrapbook like murals as well as a black and white scene of a vintage soccer game. More important than the decor, the bar is stocked with an excellent selection of whiskey, bourbon, rye, and even gin!

"Welcome guys, it's Happy Hour!"

The bartender named Sean greeted us with the good news and I checked my watch. It was barely 2pm, but I wasn't complaining. The lads ordered a few of the 12 micro brews on tap which included several local beers, while the gals opted for the Rum Rickey which Sean was making from scratch. I liked that. The owner was there too, he is also a partner of the live music venue Southpaw in Park Slope but this was a completely different scene. FP is the kind of place you can relax outside reading the paper on a Sunday afternoon or get "loose" at the bar on a Wednesday night. But Sean keeps it under control but in a mellow way (or so he says).

We always stay for three drinks and by the time I was "sampling" Bulldog Gin, it was time for us to hit the next spot - a BBQ on Atlantic & Hoyt where rumor had it there would be scallops wrapped in prosciutto. As we left, the joint was beginning to fill up with an eclectic crowd. Luckily the summer is very long and a visit to Crown Heights's lounging jewel is now on the agenda.

Franklin Park
618 St. Johns Place btwn Franklin Ave. & Classon Ave.
Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Telephone: 718-975-0196

Monday, June 16, 2008

J.Walter Hawkes wins Emmy

On June 14th, musician, friend, and Loungerati contributor J. Walter Hawkes received an Emmy Award as part of the musical team behind Nickelodeon's Nick, Jr program - the Wonder Pets. The Emmy was for "Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition."

Catch up with the award winning master of trombone and his trio tonight at the Ear Inn - 326 Spring Street between Greenwich & Washington Streets - they go on at midnight!

Congrats Walt on quite an achievement!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Return of The Salon

by Fredo

ITEM: After a year and half hiatus, The Salon is back to celebrate lounge culture, jazz, burlesque, dance, and good old fashioned cocktails.

ITEM: Loungerati honchos Fredo and Jee Jee Giles (reknown for the infamous Piano Store parties from the turn of the 21st Century) team up with the Salon's Fratelli Soluri and Biggish Band leader JC Hopkins to bring back lounging in style.

ITEM: The result is a noir-ish affair at the legendary Player's Club on Gramercy Park.


The Salon at the Player’s Club

Featuring the notorious, the noir-ish

JC Hopkins Biggish Band

with Nicole Nelson and special guest Jolie Holland

Hosted by the irrepressible Mel Frye, dilapidated denizen
of the Slipper Room and featuring the illustrious, the talented, Headmistress of the
New York School of Burlesque, Jo Boobs

Tickling of the ivories by Jesse Gelber
accompanied on trombone and tap by Todd Londagin

Friday, June 27, 2008
8:30p.m. – 1:30A.m.
The Players Club
16 Gramercy Park S. (20th St., off Park Ave), NYC

The setting
The legendary Player's Club, founded in 1888 by Edwin Booth, located on the edge of idyllic Gramercy Park.

The scene
Hard-swingin' big band playing all original tunes for dancing, special guests vocalists, piano interludes, and burlesque breaks. Dress to play — sequins, feathers, bow ties and skinny ties, spats, backless dresses and finger-curled tresses welcome.

The characters
Past members of the Player's Club include Cole Porter, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Hemingway, and Harry Belafonte… Feel up to the part?

The Salon
Lounging and dancing with style since 2001.

$20 advance purchase / $25 at the door

Sponsored by Patrick Soluri, Andre Soluri, Loungerati, and Prohibition Productions

Specialty cocktails by Loungerati

See you all there!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Barfly's Beat: Industry Night at House of Campari

Late Sunday, I received an email from a friend in the Hamptons. It read, "what ever you do, be at the House of Campari's Industry Night with Radar Magazine featuring New York Mixologists and a burlesque showcase. This Monday, as in tomorrow!"

Monday night, hmmm - that is a tough sell for a regular office stiff like me. Then I scanned down at the featured NYC mixologists and knew it was fate. I would be dressed to the nines and ready to imbibe. The folks crafting customized cocktails (oh alliteration!) included a whose who of the New York industry: Allen Katz, Director of Mixology of Southern Wines & Spirits, Brian Miller of Death & Company, Dushan Zaric, Jason Kosmas, and Igor Hadzismajlovic of Employees Only, Naren Young of Bobo, and Lynette Marrero of Elletaria. Oh and it got better. The burlesque numbers would be provided by Amber Ray of Light, Ms. Tickle, and the World Famous "Bob." Gulp!

I popped by Balthazar for a quick pre drink bite. I wolfed down my bar burger and headed around the corner to 54 Crosby Street in SoHo. Campari had taken over an art gallery for the show. The theme of the Industry Night event was "Celebrate your Passion" but the party was an installment of the greater Campari sponsored art festival "Defining a Moment: 25 New York Artists." This showcase is a series of events spread over two weeks at New York art galleries, clubs, and museums. The way this crowd celebrated their passion was to drink free cocktails made by some of the NYC's best cocktailians (with Campari natch!)

The Employees Only bar: Jason, Igor, and Dushan were on my side of the bar for a change. Their apprentices were furiously at work making refreshing Waterloo Cocktails made from Martin Miller's Gin, Campari, muddled watermelon, and fresh lemon juice. The drinks were served on the rocks in Collins glasses and imbibed with a straw. Now, I am not a big fan of Watermelon, but it was unseasonably hot outside and with the gallery's air conditioner drumming away at London tube levels, I gulped down their cocktail with gusto. Bonus - no pits!

Next on the Hit Parade, the Bobo cocktail: This tangerine, vodka, and Campari mixture was aesthetically pleasing. The orange liquid was served up in a martini glass and garnished with a violet flower. It was distributed by comely cocktail waitresses who buzzed around the main floor. I had one and chatted up Allen Katz and several industry folks (some of whom were clearly at checking out the competition.) Katz told us to keep a look out for cocktails with Kirschwasser and other l'eau de vie this summer. I made a note Kirschwasser good, drinks with tangerine mehhhhhh.

Upstairs I went and so did the heat. Mind you, I was clad in an impeccably tailored blazer, gabardine slacks, fitted shirt, and a daring tie with the required accoutrement's (deco tie clips, cuff links, in other words - the nines).Unfortunately, the eco-system in the gallery was more conducive to a guayabera or perhaps nothing at all!!

On the second level, I hit a double team effort from Death & Company and Elettaria:
Brian Miller was sorting out a delicious cocktail called the Benjamin Barker Daiquiri. This drink is made from Goslings Rum, Campari, St. George Absinthe, Demerara sugar syrup, and fresh lime juice. You could really taste the absinthe flavor but it did not overwhelm the drink and or overpower the slight bitterness of the Campari (which is the point of using it). The cocktail was served up in a stemless martini glass.

Next to Mr. Miller, the bar was manned by Lynnette Marrero of Greenwich Village restaurant Elettaria featuring veterans of Freemans and Death & Company. My left eyebrow was arched at 180 degrees as I approached. Her cocktails were served in champagne flutes and though I missed the name (Rose something?) I saw the words tequila - which have haunted me since freshman year of college. So I went safe and asked for a Negroni. Ms. Marrero kindly advised me that only the custom cocktails are available. So I shrugged like Jack Lemmon in Glengarry Glennross, my will power deflated, and reluctantly picked up a flute. The first thing that impacts your senses when you take a sip of this delicious concoction is the dried rose bud that is used as a garnish. It is floral yet effervescent. Then the mixture, Campari, reposo tequila, and sparkling wine begin to numb what's left of your resistance. I fell in love with it. I loved that Rosey drink the second and third time around too. She was my bad habit. She was hypnotic. Then I realized I was broiling.

I retreated back downstairs and took a stance near a cool vent like a Gecko lizard. It was strategically perfect. A stone's throw from the EO bar and on route to the bathroom. Everyone walking by naturally started conversation and I met many new friends. Upstairs the burlesque show was going full swing with the Fisherman's Quartet supplying xylophone studded lounge music that Martin Denny would dig. Downstairs the crowd was getting loopy and actually checking out the art for the first time!

What a memorable evening and it was only Monday! If anyone was at the event and knows the name of that Rosey drink, please send me an email. I'm getting no hits on Craiglist's Missed Connections!

- Fredo

The House of Campari
54 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10012

For great pictures of the House of Campari Industry Night check out Patrick McMullen's site.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Michael Arenella featured at the Sartorialist

by Fredo

Loungerati pal and jazz musician Michael Arenella of the Dreamland Orchestra was featured in the Sartorialist's Style Profile this week. Kudos to one of the best dressed men on the town. For more information on Arenella and his music check out his site.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Barfly's Beat: Weather Up and Jakewalk in Brooklyn

Weather Up Brooklyn
by Graeme

It was nearing nine o'clock, and I was topped off on Sicilian cuisine for the first time in over a year, so I was extremely satisfied. A final word then on the authentic ambiance, service, and fare at Ferdinando's: squisito. Thus, our short walk and talk across a couple of blocks, from “Come again,” to “Where to,” settled my constitution. On the corner of Clinton and Union, Fredo hailed a taxi and we motored to Bergen & Vanderbilt, another crossroads, one a fast road, by where Weather Up was situated here or there.

We couldn’t quite locate its brass plate, but so it goes! I’d gotten the tip from my man, Mr. Angus Winchester, forwarded on the note, and Fredo set up the date. Sometimes, that’s how these things work. The finding and keeping, the deal-sealing, that's all part of the precocious puzzle of these most particular pilgrimages.

So we ankled around and about Vanderbilt, and all I heard was, “All right Gee, we’re looking for a church!” Never less than amusingly, we must have walked 100-meters back and forth, to and fro, up and down three or four different cross streets before I started chortling and my charge began moving faster, firing in to some corner joint, a wine bar – me waiting outside trying to catch a light in the wind – but they didn’t know much about the weather. “It’s a good sign,” he opined upon rejoining me, to which I puffed in concurrence, before trying to page Mr. Winchester, until I remembered he was in the air.

After another jaunt, hither and yon, I ducked in to some red brick hang on the other side of Vanderbilt. There’d been nobody about much on the street, but this hold was all flesh and make up. For a minute, I felt overdressed and spotlit, as I catwalked to the bar in my dark grey woollen overcoat – and the by-now revered footwear – I got an answer straight away, “It’s a few doors down, good sir, next to Evelyn Car Service.”

I did my skip, and outside, Fredo is adjusting the driving gloves I gave him back on FA Cup Final day the other year. He’s surrounded by smoking jet particles and the curling scent of hair spray. I don’t stop. No, I smile and go, “Amico. This-a-way!”

Sure enough, just down the doors and windows appeared what looked like an ornamental mausoleum. Inside it felt like a high-end squat somewhere in the subway system. The fellow behind the bar was shaking Boston like he needed an injury to prove his mettle. We eyed the back bar, and there sat the Plymouth Gin. A good start. Along the shelf, Crème de Violette and Luxardo Maraschino. Assured that Fredo would be ordering set an Aviation, I thought I should take something from the five-by-seven inch list, upon which there were eight cocktails, one at $15, the others either $9 or $11.

(Also on there were five wines by the glass, one at $15, the others either $7 or $9; one bottled beer – Coopers Sparkling Ale – and three more on draft). I opted for a La Floridita Daiquiri, and, with no seats open at the bar, I took my cue, and grabbed a pew underneath what appeared to be the fret board of an upright piano.

It took an age to receive our drinks, but as made apparent by the steel stirring spoon straws, the bartender (who turned out to be a James Arnold from Lancashire) was trained by the wee guy with the follicles from Milk & Honey, Mr. Petraske. James had a unique shake, which Fredo calls "the earthquake." Don't try it at home kids - the trauma may bring bodily harm to those not trained in the art of mixology. Once the drinks finally arrived, they were sublime.

Once we'd had a chance to soak in the surroundings – the tables are terrific, the restroom exquisite, and the décor turns this joint into a Victorian place of worship – it was time for another. Encouraged, I took my customary Sazerac, while Fredo opted for the Presbyterian. Again, both were excellent.

Now, normally I prefer to wait a couple of months before checking out a new outlet, but this one, owned by Kathryn Weatherup, one of the original partners of East Side Company Bar, was set to quickly cram. Sure enough, not a second after it was time to go, there were coats thrown on our seat, as we stepped out into the brisk Prospect Heights fold.

At this moment, allow me to indulge you. Fredo wore a brown Knox fedora, a handsome overcoat, a blue blazer with gold buttons, red hounds tooth shirt, his blue Gucci ascot, vintage Brooklyn Dodgers cuff links, and shoes by Ferragamo. Me, I had the lambswool overcoat, the navy Paul Smith suit, the white shirt with gray and turquoise pinstripes by Ben Sherman, tie from Zingaro collection, tie pin courtesy of Vintage Grace, silk pocket square from a French admirer, and Chelsea boots by Kiton. Now back to the review!

We then took advantage of the car service and crossed back to Smith Street to check out another new bar, The JakeWalk. We'd popped in for a pre-opening gawk the previous Thursday, and made acquaintance with the one of the owners, Ms. Michelle Pravda, but by now the word was certainly out around BoCoCa.

So we waited with a couple of mind-numbingly strong something or others for two seats to open up at the bar. Fredo had a port wine Manhattan Cooler, and I the Rum Manhattan (which was far too strong for me, and so we swapped). There were tables freeing up, but the bar is the place to sit, and if you want to sit, you let the hostess know, and she seats you before anybody else. So it goes.

The JakeWalk is a regular-looking hang owned by the same crew who have a cheese store (Stinky) and a wine outlet (Smith & Vine) in the area. Dominated by a gigantic mirror behind the bar, and a featured wall of exposed red brick, it's a simple set-up. There is a small plates menu, a kitchen carvery, and in the restroom, there are colorful stones in the basin.

Once we got seated though, oh my God, did I dig it. Bartenders Mr. Matt DeVries and Mr. Ari Form looked after us very well indeed, making me an exquisite 'Fredo Negroni,' and even setting up an Amaro-tasting for the man to my right, wearing Gucci. So there we were, with pretty glasses of Cynar, Fernet Branca Menta, Amaro Montenegro, and I think a Borelli. I'm just saying, people who run cheese stores and wine cellars should be actively encouraged to open bars. Why? "Would you like to try—"

Weather Up
589 Vanderbilt Ave.
@ Dean
Prospect Heights

The JakeWalk
282 Smith St.
@ Sackett
Carroll Gardens