Villa Pacri Descends on ManhattanAugust 5, 2010 By: Sean Evans
The latest offering from the masterminds behind New York’s Bagatalle and St. Barth’s PaCri is Villa Pacri, a five-story tour de force of Euro-inspired evening indulgence, opening floor by floor beginning this August in New York City’s Meatpacking District. With each partner bringing a solid understanding of various nightlife disciplines (Bagatalle partners’ forte laying in the raucous day-party realm and PaCri partners’ prowess being renowned Italian cuisine), Villa Pacri is designed to draw in patrons early in the night and keep them — on one floor or another — until the wee hours of the morning.
The monstrous space, which cost about $6 million to renovate and redesign, bears little resemblance to Merkato 55, its prior incarnation. It’s very light, open and airy with a solid undercurrent of European flair and design aesthetic visible wherever the eye may fall. Italian marble countertops, a custom-made chandelier comprised of 300 wine glasses and 100-year-old wood beams are focal points in La Gazetta, the ground floor café where outside seating is encouraged during warm weather. Head upstairs to the restaurant level, where the décor and mood is all about intimacy. “We have one room off to the side where there won’t be any electric lighting at all — just candles,” says Pascal Ramette, a partner in Villa Pacri and owner of PaCri in the Caribbean. (The rest of the partnership team includes Stephane Courseau, Maxime Paul-Mercier and the Bagatelle boys, Aymeric Clemente and Remi Laba.)
For more secluded meals and events, the third floor will be a private dining area and banquet hall, capable of handling the impending onslaught of eager celebrities that have come to embrace both PaCri and Bagatalle over the years. And capping it all off is the rooftop lounge and garden where patrons can imbibe and nosh alfresco. However, most interesting is what Ramette and his partners have done with the subterranean lounge portion of the building.
“We’re calling it ‘Tzigane,’” Ramette shares. “It’s a gypsy term that is translated into the concept of having a spontaneous party anywhere.” The small room itself has been redesigned and laid out much cleaner than when Bijoux was there. Gone are the odd nooks and crannies where revelers would get trapped when the room became overcrowded. The ceilings are still quite low, but that’s part of the charm of an underground venue. The theme of the 16 table, 120-person-capacity space is based around “the trinity of Cartier: yellow gold, white gold and pink gold,” says Ramette. It’s best manifested in leafed wall coverings in each of the colors, and in the fabric of the low-slung banquettes that reside beneath them.
Tzigane will also be the first bottle service lounge or club in New York to offer wine bottles to revelers. “In most places you usually get the vodka or the tequila, but we wanted to switch it up. You’ll still be able to get those here, but for the people who want to keep going with their wine after dinner, we’ll have a great selection for them,” Ramette says. For those with deep wallets who opt for the pricier bottles of Cognac, whisky and other liquors on the menu, don’t fret if you don’t finish the bottle. “We’ll have a cabinet where we’ll take your bottle, put your name on it, and keep it on the shelf for the next time you come back,” Ramette says. The club is slated to open during the middle of August for a soft launch and then full steam ahead for September’s fashion week.