Location can make or break an establishment; and it certainly affects the business plan and marketing. Long before The Meatpacking District in New York City became a prime location it was a place for destination joints and places off the beaten path.
New York’s most fabulous braved the rancid cobblestones which smelled like meat to party in decadent boites. One of the most notorious of these late '70's, early 80's spots was the amazingly named gay after hours haunt Crisco Disco. Thriving without a liquor license; patrons bought drink tickets to circumvent the laws.
After its closing, 408 West 15th Street lay dormant for 30 years while the Meatpacking District was transformed. The area is now filled with thousands of well-heeled revelers out for a good time; and with dozens of hotspots there’s something for everyone. And soon the sleeping Crisco Disco will have new life, a new look and a new crowd.
Its rebirth underscores a transformation that has taken three decades. With Eric Marx and Lisle Richards at the helm, Monarch Room the first half of their massive and elegant restaurant/club hybrid is already open. Now, their adding Gilded Lily with managing director Adam Spoont.
Nightclub & Bar caught up with Eric Marx, Lisle Richards and Adam Spoont to find out all about the new nightlife space.
Nightclub & Bar (NCB): Did you find any remnants from Crisco Disco?
Adam Spoont: The only forlorn sign of Crisco Disco was an old Budweiser can we found in the basement.
NCB: What were the challenges of redeveloping a space that was unused for so long?
Eric Marx: The space was completely vacant except for some old cars that we pulled out. We ended up gutting all of the floors all the way down to the wood joists. Some of the challenges we were met with were structural; however we added a big poured in place cement staircase among other things to fix these issues.
Gilded Lily - Photo Credit: Maggie Wall
NCB: You’re located in one of NY’s most vibrant hospitality areas - the Meatpacking District. What are the advantages of its location?
Adam Spoont: I think it’s a great neighborhood to be in and we are just off the main neighborhood. During the day 15th Street is a busy industrial street with Prince Lumber next door to us. At night we are one of the only venues operating on the street which helps bring you back to what the meatpacking used to be.
NCB: Where does the name come from?
Lisle Richards: The idiom of "gilding the lily" is to adorn unnecessarily something that is already beautiful. Another definition is to cover something with a thin layer of gold. We have taken a beautiful raw space and literally dipped it in gold. Once someone sees the venue they will understand the appropriate nature of the reference.
NCB: The design is beautiful. How do you as an operator interact with the design team to make it functional?
Eric Marx: Roman and Williams is really great at what they do. We worked closely with them showing them areas that needed to be operational and how we needed them to function. They worked on blending these areas into the design. One important thing about the energy is that it is created by the movement; some of it by operations such as the kitchen on the second floor and the oyster bar on the main floor others by design pieces.
NCB: If the project could be described in one sentence what would it be?
Lisle Richards: A dream for all of us brought to life.