Being a bootleg Tricia Romano at the Voice has its benefits, like going to events when the Club Crawl czarina doesn’t feel up to it. Enter Ted Zagat, the young face of Zagat responsible for their nightlife guide. A few weeks ago, before the hell, Romano tapped my shoulder to join him and a pack of journalist types in a stretch-limo jaunt to hotshit nightspots for complimentary cocktails and snacks. Schmooze buddies were to include the managing editor of Paper, a reporter for Entertainment Weekly (EW), and George Whipple, that NY1 dude.
After rushing home to transform myself into p.m. urban scenester, I slinked to meeting point, APT (419 West 13th Street, 414-4245), pronounced “apeytee” by our très cool guide. In chunky pink knit beret, retro top, and leopard print skirt layered over plaid polyester pants, I was feelin’ like a motherfuckin’ Hilton sister. But I was FOA y’all, Freak-on-Arrival. All was muted New York chic (curse thee, black pants!). I had also missed libations, thinking PR gal said APT was on 19th. I had stood in front of the projects like, “Damn! This spot is in the cuts! Supa underground!” Calling to inquire which nondescript doorbell would initiate entrance into the covert hot spot, I found myself six blocks shy of “hot.” Oh well.
We limoed it to unaffordable booze heaven SUGAR (311 Church Street, 431-8642). I swore the bartender had wings after chugging his angelic root beer martini ($12) with fresh whipped crème spooned on top (for her pleasure!) and his blood orange cosmo ($12), slightly thick and smooth as Bill Clinton. For a bottled-water type, I was downin’ my 80 proofs. An appetizer plate looked amazing, but I managed to get only one genius shrimp tempura from the greedy hands of my cohorts.
Next was THE PARK (118 Tenth Avenue, 352-3313)—not a new place for me and too trendy for my blood. However, their signature potion (sigh, another night of signature offerings . . . ), the apple martini ($11), won me over with its seductive sucker punch. It whispered in my ear, “You sssexay bitch . . . ” I was getting crunk—and loud—up on their expensive roof deck. Spilling drink on my shoes, I drawled, “Geeeettin’ druuuunnk . . . “ EW Alice giggled in embarrassed empathy. Fabulous fashionistas and handsome types seated at outdoor tables ignored me, pretending they were back in the ‘burbs at Daddy’s mansion.
Zagat’s all-stops-out finale was BUNGALOW 8 (515 West 27th Street, unlisted), an elitist, VIP-only bar described in the guide as one of the “hottest scenes in town.” What town? Whipple was getting lecherous as we reclined (slouched?) on patterned couches below fake palm trees in the kitschy environs. Nearby, our aggressive hostess was surrounded by friends promoting her fashion line. When they cleared, she helped a smirking Whipple change flight reservations (one of the many services offered at Bungalow 8). I was busy sucking down my Brazilian Casting Couch ($14), a minty brown concoction of rum, lemon, sugar, and champagne. By that point it tasted like Snapple, so don’t trust my judgment. “Fuck this place,” I anticipated writing, “who needs these corny bastards securing modeling contracts over crappy $10 grilled-cheese sandwiches?” There are some things real people will always do better, like grilled cheese and music.
As I left, the pretty doorman said, “I like your outfit, baby . . . a little busy, maybe.” “Honey,” I said, “I’m a busy woman; the outfit has to keep up!” At least, I slurred it 10 minutes later on the walk home.
FYI, Nightlife Zagat: All four bars made me “really, really sick” when “I got home”!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 25, 2001