Around the SceneJune 11, 2009 By: Bryan Bass
It’s too soon to tell what the new economy will bring to the swanky Hamptons nightclub scene on Long Island, N.Y., but the Strategic Group has landed another branding masterpiece with a deal that has turned the popular Dune Nightclub into the Axe Lounge for the entire summer season. After a Memorial Day Weekend launch, party-goers found Axe branding — as in the seriously strong scented brand of body wash, spray, etc. — present from the DJ booth and bathrooms to valet and even an Axe-themed drink. Axe has paid the club for the promotion and will not participate in any revenue, although it is responsible for bringing in talent such as Nick Cannon and LMFAO. By supplementing its revenue before the summer season even started, maybe at least one venue in the Hamptons will celebrate success. Look for an update in a future Nightclub Confidential.
In May, former New York City party promoter Brantly Martin and publishing company Miss Rosen Editions released Pillage. While Martin insists the book — a satirical look at the Big Apple nightclub business and the bottle-popping elite, models and socialites who inhabit it — is totally fiction, he allows that it may be more truthful than he would like to admit. Fellow New Yawker, club designer and in-the-know nightlife columnist Steve Lewis poked around and believes he has identified some of the decadent personalities featured in the book. With his knack for being in the know, we’ll follow his expertise on this one. According to Lewis: The Fireman is new Griffin honcho Adam Hock, Lark Taker is former Lotus and Mansion NY owner Mark Baker and The Reverend is Martin’s former partner in crime and fashionable party-promoter-turned-water-activist Scott Harrison. Pillage is available online and in a bookstore near you.
There is a lot of talk in Las Vegas about what might be replacing Ivan Kane’s former Forty Deuce space at Mandalay Bay, and the one thing that’s for sure is it will get an all-new look with its new ownership team in place. The project, rumored to be helmed by key personalities with ties to several major Las Vegas nightlife companies, is anticipated to keep the original stage and still offer some kind of entertainment, with whispers ranging from a more dressed-down or buttoned-up version of Kane’s burlesque show, depending on who you hear it from. Rumors also have the interior walls knocked down to reveal a more open and welcoming venue, the multiple levels being more accommodating and the formerly isolated merchandising space getting reacquainted with the venue’s original footprint.
Speaking of Kane, with his burlesque days behind him and both Forty Deuce outlets shuttered (Los Angeles being the other one), Ivan Kane’s newest venture Café Wa s (a play off of the only letters not burned out of his neon Always Open sign) is having intriguing success with its Flask Menu, which replaced the pre-recession, omnipresent bottle menu. The menu features 375 ml spirit bottles, served in a brown paper bag and ranging in price from $58 - $72, including all fruit garnishes and mixes.
Porn legend Ron Jeremy is making a venture into the nightclub business. Well, sort of. The infamous hedgehog has announced plans to open Ron Jeremy’s Club Sesso in a 133-year-old historic building in downtown Portland, Ore. The “private, members-only, upscale swingers nightclub” will be open to couples and singles 21 and over, with a membership of $100 per year and varying door charges. When asked why the City of Roses, Jeremy responded: “I love Portland. Every time I am there, I am struck by how accepting people are of others' sexual diversities. When we began to brainstorm Club Sesso, I immediately wanted to have Portland as our first location." Club Sesso opens later this month.