Navigating the Venue Search
There are 800 nightlife venues, including 130 nightclubs, operating in Manhattan. With such an expansive list of choices, how do top event maestros select the perfect setting for the hottest parties and bashes? Andrew Saffir, founder of the smashingly successful Cinema Society – which hosts New York’s most exclusive A-list movie screenings and premieres – breaks down the criteria he considers when booking a nightclub for a private screening afterparty.
Nightclub Confidential: You’ve had some seriously notable bashes at clubs. Last year, you had a New Moon party at The Box with stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Then you had Penelope Cruz’s Broken Embraces party at the Boom Boom Room at the Standard. How did you decide on those venues specifically?
Andrew Saffir: One of the first things I look for is if a place is brand new. That’s always a plus. So when we did Broken Embraces, Boom Boom Room had opened just recently and it was such a spectacular and luxe location. Penelope hadn’t been there yet, so she was very excited about the venue. She’s lush and sexy so it made sense to have a place that’s equally stunning. With New Moon, The Box wasn’t new at that point, but it felt right because it’s dark and mysterious, and that’s in perfect sync with the film. And it also has a sexy side to it, just like the movie. I always look for a venue that somehow harkens back to the film, or melds with the talent involved.
NCC: Why do you use nightclubs as the backdrop for some parties versus a restaurant or private penthouse hotel room, which you’ve also used for Cinema Society events?
AS: I choose based on location and proximity to where we’re screening the movie. I look at the size of the venue and whether it’ll be large enough for our needs. The aesthetic is important, so is the sensibility of the venue. I don’t go into the process with a preconceived idea.
NCC: You have ultra A-list talent at your events. Are there special considerations you have to be conscious of because of the caliber of celebrities?
AS: Absolutely. We’ve done several things with Madonna and getting her and other top talent in and out of a venue safely and quickly is of the utmost concern. So things like back exits, the ability to have extra security, special VIP areas all come into play. More than anything else, I try to create an environment that the celebrities and talent feel completely comfortable in.
NCC: Are clubs and operators more willing to accommodate those special requests to get the powerful names inside?
AS: I think nightclubs are all very keen on celebrities and the talent we work with. Celebrities are a desirable demographic and easily create a buzz so venues do make concessions for us, whether it’s closing early, offering certain menus or easy access in and out. And, after an event, I always get positive feedback. The level of people we typically attract and the level of press that ensues helps further the A-list status of the venues that we choose.
NCC: These places must be beating down your door by now, trying to get you to book with them. How big is your Rolodex for venues?
AS: (laughs) It’s pretty extensive at this point. I have quite the list going.