Waiting was the name of the game at subMercer last night. The underground lounge is nestled under the Mercer Hotel, through a door only marked by a suited bouncer and, tonight, a horde of impatiently pouting girls. “All of my friends are inside!” one insisted. “I texted the DJ and he said I could go in!” begged another. A futile effort, considering there were 23 DJs on the bill for last night’s party, the last one before the club closed for the season. A flustered doorman waved these girls to the side as another pair of heels and manicured nails pounced on him. “Wait, I don’t get it. Why is subMercer closing for the summer?” “Because everyone’s at the Hamptons, of course.” Of course.
As far as the door is concerned, your best bet is to look moody and important. Tell the bouncer who you know (always know someone, or at least pretend to), take a step back, and you’ll be ushered in within minutes. A huge freight elevator awaits patrons once they’ve made it past the bouncer; exactly one floor down and you’re in the hotel’s wine cellar, following a short, maze-like pathway surrounded by caged bottles of wine (we’ll bet you wonder if you can get away with stealing one). Finally, a red door marked with an “M” leads into the dungeon disguised as a lounge.
We arrived at 11:30 to an overflowing party — the kind where getting a drink is essential if only to keep from passing out from dehydration. The lounge can’t have a capacity of more than 50 and was max’ed out in the most ridiculous of ways. The room is divided into three sections: a narrow, darkly tiled bar that runs the length of the room, an archway-lined seating area that looks over the bar, and a DJ booth nestled in a tiny corner lined with red cushioned seating. On this night, every nook was filled with foreign accents, and wasted girls propped up on their dates or falling all over each other. One such girl tackled me by the DJ booth — it was hard to tell whether she wanted to throw up on me or kiss me on the mouth. Turns out she was just fascinated by my glittery eyeshadow and needed a closer look. Yeah.
There were DJs, of course, though it didn’t really matter. During our hour-long stay, Cosmo Baker, Stretch Armstrong, Eli Escobar, and Prince Language contributed their 15-minute sets, with music ranging from funk to house to ’80s jams. Approximately ten people (and one especially effervescent Asian girl) cared to dance, and we suspect they made up some part of the night’s bill themselves. An hour was about the same amount of time it took to get a drink from the stunningly handsome but equally as miserable bartender who seemed unwilling to serve anyone he didn’t personally know.
Tonight was a far cry from subMercer’s usual mellow Wednesday nights, but that’s what happens when you make a Facebook event for an otherwise exclusive lounge. They even advertised a couples costume contest with prizes that included a free night’s stay at the swanky Mercer Hotel itself. No one really participated, and those that did were in on the joke. In the bathroom, an Australian tourist squealed in delight at a girl dressed as Poison Ivy — fancy makeup and thigh-high red boots included. “Those look like sex boots! Where do you even get sex boots like that?!” she slurred. “At a sex shop,” replied the supervillain. On our way out, we ran into Unemployed Lloyd and a friend, dolled up as “The first black president and his white mistress.” I may be wrong, but I’m willing to bet that these people will not be in the Hamptons for the summer.