An old saying in the nightclub business is "all's we're selling is air and booze and for restaurants throw in some food." That may have been true in the last century but increasing costs across the board have made operators look for other revenue streams and interesting ways to stand out amongst the competition. Some places incorporate live shows and charge an entertainment fee while other operators expand their hours of operations with highly promoted brunches or late night menus.
The typical restaurant often tries to be less typical to survive. Restaurants expand their basic bar by incorporating lounges in an effort to be a one stop food and social shop for their clientele. DJ's are common even if the music is often played softly as the live aspect is more appealing than programed music. Places like NOIR are more than restaurants however less than a club. They are a fusion between a lounge and an eatery created in order to cater to customers in multiple ways.
Nightclub Confidential caught up with NOIR owner, George Iordanou, to find out about this fusion trend.
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): At 10,000 square feet NOIR is more than a typical restaurant with a lounge; it’s more of a complex. What marketing steps are you utilizing that a smaller place isn’t or can’t?
George Iordanou: We think of NOIR as an entire experience, a high-concept space laid out to encourage a progressional experience. Guests start the night at our bar, situated immediately upon entrance; they can dine on Michelin-quality food in a gorgeously appointed space on the main level or enjoy our tasting menu in the glass encased tasting room; they may then choose to experience the rest of the night upstairs in our lounge, sipping craft cocktails or punch bowl by lauded beverage director, Adam DelGiudice, and listen to a DJ spinning the latest hits. The atmosphere reflects old school hollywood glamour, evoked through the design by Andres Escobar. My goal was for our guest to really feel the history of the space, which was once a supper club with Desi Arnaz as the house band leader, but also enjoy a modern nightlife experience with each component executed at the highest level.
NCC: Has bottle service developed a stigma as more and more people embrace it? How has Adam DelGiudice's concept changed bottle service for NOIR?
Iordanou: The punch bowl menu, along with NOIR’s craft cocktails, is from industry aficionado Adam DelGiudice. In addition to the punch bowls, a specialty spirits cart serves a selection of top shelf scotches, whiskeys and cognacs, table side, and are weighed and purchased by the ounce, complete with perfect spheres of ice, made on the spot. I wanted Adam involved because his style is all about modernizing the best of the classics, an ethos I embraced in concepting the entire space.
NCC: With the lounge and the restaurant, how to the two entities help to market each other?
Iordanou: As I mentioned before, we think of NOIR as a full experience, a way to enjoy a progressive evening without needing to leave. Not only can guests come enjoy cuisine by a Michel-starred chef, they can continue their night upstairs with an after dinner drink or dessert wine, as well as a nice change of scenery. As the lights dim and the evening progresses, the dinner scene seamlessly transitions with DJs spinning the latest tracks through the state-of-the-art sound system. Guests can venture to the upstairs lounge and sip hand crafted cocktails. The space is innately built to feed itself, cross-promoting based on what you're feeling at any moment.
NCC: Tell us about Jean-Yves and the menu at NOIR.
Iordanou: I first met Jean-Yves years ago when he was running a hot spot on this same block before NOIR opened and when we didn't have a food component. I tasted his food once and knew he would be capable of bringing the high-end concept that I had envisioned to life when I was ready to create the platform to do so. As one of France's most renowned chef's, and owner of JYS, a Michelin star restaurant in his hometown of Colmar, France, he combines his classic French techniques with fresh and seasonal local ingredients that reflect the beauty and upscale atmosphere of NOIR.
NCC: NOIR is right in the middle of the action, yet not necessarily a traditional destination. Is the restaurant drawing clientele from all over the city or are the local businesses and residents your bread and butter?
Iordanou: We love that NOIR is in the center of midtown Manhattan because we felt like it’s a concept that didn't previously exist and needed to be part of the evolved nightlife scene. People have a different definition of nightlife now, as opposed to the traditional nightclub experience. The restaurant is drawing in clientele from all over the city who are looking for the Michelin quality cuisine and craft cocktails that we provide in a gorgeous setting. NOIR is a something that I have been conceptualizing for years, as I was running a series of successful nightlife venues here in the heart of it all. One51, TAJ and later partnering with Nikki Beach, I know this neighborhood and what people are looking for. I believe that NOIR offers a sophisticated environment with delicious cuisine and memorable cocktails and service. NOIR serves as a versatile venue that appeals to gourmands and those looking for a lively lounge scene.