Day & Night’s Brunch Bash is Back at AnjaOctober 27, 2011 By: Sean Evans
When Day & Night's weekly bacchanal brunch party left the Plaza Hotel’s famed Oak Room amid a flurry of lawsuits and legal strife this May, New York City’s jeroboam-ordering denizens wondered where the renowned fete would end up when it came back after a summer spent on the road (popping up in Montauk, Monaco and St. Tropez, namely.)
Daniel and Derek Koch, the brothers behind the Rose-drenched party, settled on Anja, formerly Buddah Bar, in the Meatpacking District. “The Oak Room could never properly work for a daylife party,” Derek remarks in hindsight. “That room looked like a coffin, and it was almost depressing to set foot in there sometimes. We had to do so much cosmetic work to get it in shape for the party. Unlike here,” he adds, nodding behind him at the Asian eatery.
The duo chose Anja for a number of reasons, but the greenhouse-style glass roof in the middle of the room is chief among them. Sun streams into the room, soaking revelers with a warm glow and making it the “perfect backdrop for a daylife party,” Daniel explains. “We’ve wanted to do it here for a long time. But we can pretty much do it anywhere. The décor doesn’t matter; you’re not going to go somewhere because of the furniture; you’re going for the experience of the party.”
By making Day & Night brunch parties partner deals with venues, they’re saving overhead. The brothers bring in their whole staff, totaling around 180 people manning every position from porter to head chef, but that just means they can have better control over the quality of the product and party. “We’re getting wiser as we grow,” says Daniel, who notes the brand is entering it's third year. “The idea now is to provide our party with as much substance as possible. We’re doing that through themes and décor, but also aligning ourselves with the right partners, like big guest DJs and other nightlife venues, like Pacha.”
However, the motif and themes are subtle. You won’t find stilt walkers breathing fire, or cryo-spewing jetpacks on the staff’s backs here. Instead, when themes such as “Around the World” are employed, flags from various nations that their biggest clients hail from are hung above their tables, while mini flags await patrons in the ice buckets. “We’re not bringing Vegas to New York,” Daniel explains. “Vegas is its own world and must stay out there in the desert. The brunch club originated in France, so we’re bringing St. Tropez to New York.”
The masses have responded well to their take on brunch. While Derek acknowledges that “the weather does affect our sales; rainy days are always the best for attendance,” the party is grossing 30% higher than the prior year. “If you can make people feel appreciated, really treat someone they way they should be treated, then they’ll spend,” Daniel says. Minimums start at $1,600 for an ancillary table and can run up to $4,000 for a booth in the main dining room. For the biggest clients, minimum spends are waived. “We know what they’ll spend,” Daniel smiles. “We don’t need their card when they walk in the door.” For the biggest of ballers, menu items such as the $2,500 omelette — made with foie grois and served with a magnum of Dom Perignon — or $1,000 oysters are valid options. The sparklers that accompany the plates are, of course, gratis.
As for the future of daylife, the brothers are putting their efforts into promotions for the brand they’ve built. “We’ll have recurring themed parties,” Derek says. “We’ll have our Annual Halloween Ball this weekend, and next week is our Neon bash when we wrap the room in neon. And the list continues on.” He also hints that “New York City may be ready for it’s first-ever dayclub. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea?” Yes, but you’ll have one rather large, very yellow competitor to contend with.
“It's never great when clients pull out at the last minute saying, ‘Sorry. The sun just came out, and we’re going to the park now,’” Daniel laughs. “But we’ve got plenty more people who want to come and party with us.” Watching the 10th magnum of Rose wind its way to a cheering table of partiers, that statement certainly rings true.