Nightclub & Bar’s 2012 Nightclub of the Year is Ready for MoreFebruary 16, 2012 By: Megan Hernandez
1OAK Makes Plans for Upgrades, Expansion
Established by hospitality entrepreneurs Richie Akiva, Scott Sartiano and Ronnie Madra, Nightclub & Bar’s 2012 Nightclub of the Year is a 6,000-square-foot lounge inspired by Manhattan’s social scene in the 1980s and ’90s. Located at the crossroads between Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, 1OAK strives to create an environment that is amicable and unpredictable, celebrating creativity, energy and individuality rather than wallets full of cash.
“You cannot buy your way into 1OAK,” Akiva says. “We are returning to a time when people enjoyed going out without the pressure of spending money.”
Opened in 2007, 1OAK has enjoyed a long, healthy life by New York nightlife standards. The club has not only survived but thrived for almost five years, even in the midst of an economic recession when patrons nationwide have understandably tightened their purse strings.
“I think what sets 1OAK apart is that (Akiva, Sartiano and I) have had a collective influence on the way the nightclub business is approached,” Madra says. “We didn’t pigeonhole (1OAK) into being a commercial venue or being too cool; it would have closed within a year. We’ve perfected our craft. We are proud of it, very proud.”
Of course, no nightclub can remain at the top of its game without a little nip and tuck. Originally designed by Roy Nachum as a mysterious kingdom with a black marble and glass bar, original murals, Brazilian woods and gold embellishments, 1OAK’s recent facelift has included new lighting, sound equipment, bathrooms, floors and upholstery.
“It was a beautiful venue from the get-go, but after five years, wear and tear sets in,” Madra says.
Akiva, Sartiano and Madra have no intentions of letting 1OAK rest on its laurels, however. To continue the venue’s success in 2012, the trio plans on reconfiguring the club with a new DJ booth that’s more conducive to the clientele’s current obsession.
“Right now, the world is going gaga over DJs,” Madra says. “DJs are modern-day superstars. We have to refocus the venue on housemusic and DJs.”
The entrepreneurs also plan on furthering the success of the 1OAK brand by heading west and, eventually, south. 1OAK Las Vegas, a visually stunning and meticulously detailed 16,000-square-foot venue located in the Mirage Hotel and Casino, opened on New Year’s Eve to rave reviews.
“We brought the New York cool and edge to (1OAK Las Vegas),” Madra says. “1OAK has more billboards (in the city) than I’ve ever seen for a blockbuster!”
Additionally, the team has set its sights south of the border. A deal recently was inked for a third 1OAK installation in Mexico City, Mexico; an ambitious target date of May/June 2012 is in the works. But the brains behind the brand might have world domination in mind: 1OAK venues could pop up in such far-reaching corners of the globe as Brazil or even Moscow, according to Madra.
“We’re still pushing the envelope,” Madra says. “There’s no other way than to keep moving forward and be successful. (1OAK) is a constantly evolving brand.”