By Ray LeMoine
Gawker wonders today “Who Still Gets Laid at nightclubs?,” and writes about 1oak. The post highlights a recent Men’s Vogue article, by Hud Morgan, that details Richie Akiva’s Meatpacking club as the last bastion of Manhattan decadence. Writes Gawker:
But between mentions of a modelizing Leonardo DiCaprio, a sweaty Doutzen Kroes and Jay-Z’s $100 bills, a reader may start to wonder if Morgan’s marquee party boys aren’t getting a bit long in the tooth. P. Diddy, for example, is 39; Venture capitalist Vivi Nevo, 43; supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle, 56. They’re the “old guy in the club,” as comedian Chris Rock has it. Then again, pray they never grow up: They’re probably keeping the club in business.
Coincidentally, last night I was at Akiva’s franchise party—-Butter Mondays. Butter is the club/restaurant Akiva owns in Noho, and for the last 7 or so years he’s run the city’s most notorious Monday night party. More on that in a second…
Anyway, the Men’s Vogue article is made to read like an average Friday night at 1oak equals Jigga, Diddy, Leo and every model on earth. In fact, the event the reporter attended was a celeb-hosted benefit during Fashion Week. Hardly your average night in the city.
A better view of life in the Butter/1Oak post-market crash universe would be last night. No benefit. No Fashion Week. No celeb host. It’s 2:00am; a dozen waiting taxis line Lafayette St, an idling Bentley at the head of the pack. A few Euro bros in all-over print button-down shirts lurk in front of a velvet rope. I’m wearing a really obnoxious tie-dye long sleeve t-shirt (to piss off my neighbor—long story) and am with another dude and a girl but the door girl still lifts the rope. (I guess Butter prefers a hippy to any more Euro trash.)
Downstairs, Butter’s low-ceiling basement space is all bamboo and orange light. And it’s packed. TI blends to Jay Z to Weezy. But a closer look reveals that only half of Butter’s tables are occupied by bottle spreads—you know, the Grey Goose and mixer skyline. And of those tables, I notice Akiva himself is holding down the most energetic at the party. At the table next to him I see another promoter. It’s impossible to say how many of the other four or so other occupied tables were paid for as opposed to comp-ed promoter ones.
Nonetheless, the party is raging. The girls are pretty, exotic, and young; the dudes a mix of black kids, Euros, and downtown post-punks. Akiva’s “ballin out” so I go in for closer look. He’s dancing and downing shots and rapping along to Jay Z, which is actually pretty impressive given that many nightclub owners/promoters just sit around looking bored. I meet a young girl at his table from LA. She’s wasted and drapes herself on me before I get her name. She was a model, but of the far lesser LA breed. Most of the dozen or so girls at Akiva’s table are hot, yes, but only a few would actually fit the traditional NY model definition.
Looking around, I didn’t see any celebrities. Or any iBank types. There was a table of iced-out brothers but none were recognizable. When I leave at 330am it’s still crowded.
Verdict? Butter Monday is still rocking, and Richie Akiva is pretty cool for raging like he did last night, but business was hardly $5000-table-bill booming. It’s surely still one of the world’s best parties to hear rap around hot girls.
To answer Gawker’s question about getting laid at nightclubs, it’s basically fact that the social playing field has been leveled. Without one archetype (banker with big bonus) dominating the scene, female wealth is being spread around. In fact, I’d bet a Gawker or Men’s Vogue writer would get more laid at Butter than almost anyone else save a celebrity. As the stock market’s crashed, everyone who works in a non-banking but interesting field’s stock has gone up. So there are a few upsides to the economic crash.