In the past couple of years, New York City club life has rolled over and played dead in terms of raw house music. The one time mega-club haven home to all-nighters and e-tards has since handed off the baton to nightclubs in Miami and across Europe, while (insert word for hipster) hangouts like Santos and the Bell House have occupied the spotlight in Williamsburg and downtown Manhattan.
For those ravers and techno-music junkies still craving the sounds of deep European dance music and a floor pulsing with heavy-hitting house, Cielo remains.
While uber-intricate décor and seizure-inducing lightshows draw the attention at the few remaining mega-clubs in New York, the space that is Cielo keeps music as its centerpiece. The chic square space, found between 9th and Washington in the Meat Packing District, focuses on a centrally located sunken dance floor – the main attraction for the dancers and music lovers this place attracts. Tan, suede seating outlines the dance floor, making room for bottle-serviced VIPs wearing Barbie doll mini dresses and six inch stilettos –those who didn’t come prepared to keep up with the true blue club kids in the center of the dance floor donning flats and a whole lotta sweat. The space is simple, with a bit of a ‘70s playboy feel and a rowdy Ibiza flare, with nothing but house music and those who adore it filling the room. While bright lighting illuminates the walls covered in thick padded rolls (resembling oversized cigars or the interior of a log cabin), the pros swarm the dance floor, eyes closed, waving their arms and bobbing their heads to sounds pumped through the club’s world-renowned Funktion One sound system. A simple disco ball dangling from the ceiling is the cherry at the top of this tasty beat-centered cake.
“I wanted the space to feel safe and cozy to counteract all the anxiety in the world,” said the club’s designer Stephane Dupoux (Pearl, Nikki Beach) back in April of 2003. Perhaps this mentality was the reason this club sustained the turmoil of years past, keeping 5 a.m. city streets filled with content, worn-out patrons and velvet ropes fastened tightly.
With no VIP section inside the club, all admitted inside should feel privileged – after all, this is and has been for years, one of the toughest doors in the NYC scene. But having a tough door isn’t the reason why this place has won so many awards. From 2004 – 2009 the posh party haven has racked up tons of titles, including “Best Deep House Club” (New York Magazine, 2006), “Best Club” (ClubWorld, 2008) and “Best Party” for Dance.Here.Now (ClubWorld, 2009). Perhaps it’s the world-famous DJs this club attracts or perhaps it’s the reputation that continuously propels Cielo’s success. Either way, it doesn’t look like another mega-club will knock this one out of its first place spot any time soon.