Trends come and go quickly in NYC, so it makes perfect sense that door policies follow suit. One minute a nightclub is hot and the next they’re pulling a free-for-all just to rake in business, but it doesn’t change the fact that there will always be those need-to-drop-a-name doors which define exclusivity in this town. Some clubs boast a strict door on one particular night of the week, while others – like the hot spots listed below – rival the White House for some of the toughest doors around.
Toughest Door in NYC: Provocateur
18 9th Avenue
“The heart of International nightlife,” is what this nightclub-slash-lounge located at the base of the Gansevoort claims to be, and with the duo responsible for Stereo doing the opening, well, they can claim to be whatever they want. The Meatpacking hotspot is fairly new to the nightclub scene with just a few months under its belt, so it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for this place to cool down; but judging by the smooth ride Provocateur has taken, it’s doubtful that the club is going anywhere anytime soon. The music is a bit different – a little more trendy and indie – attracting those who want to be trendy and indie (aka everyone in New York) to this spot. But don’t expect too much of a change – the cocktails are still pricy, the crowd is still pretentious and getting in depends on who you know and how much money you’re willing to spend on bottle service.
Toughest Door in NYC: SL
409 W 14th Street
You might know this place by Simyone Lounge, by its abbreviated name SL or you may not know of it at all because no one you know has been there. Sure, they may have tried, but the only details they've been able to pass along come from an outsider’s perspective: it’s below Abe and Arthur’s and it’s fiercely guarded by former Tenjune doorman Aalex Julian. Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum are the brains behind this tough door and plan on keeping the reputation as is right now: hard to get in, attracts an elite crowd but still makes bank from $20 vodka sodas. Get in and you’ll want to celebrate with a drink – but just one, unless some celeb-utante offers to buy the next round.
Toughest Door in NYC: The Boom Boom Room
848 Washington Street
Getting into the Boom Boom Room will get you a view from the top (and I’m talking about both the top of the Standard, and the social ladder). André Balzas’ chi chi room is one of the hottest places to see a ridiculous view of the city outside as well as a ridiculous view of actors and heirs inside, which is why the door is one of the toughest in the city. Rejection doesn’t mean you’re a nobody, it just means you’re like anybody else – quite possibly even a celebrity or model. Agyness Deyn was rejected at the door a little while back because the bouncer didn’t recognize her. That’s a boo boo for the boom boom, but all wounds should heal once the Black bar across from the hall from the Boom Boom Room opens and allows Agyness access to the 20-person space. Or perhaps it’s just impossible to meet their “standards.”
Toughest Door in NYC: Rose Bar
2 Lexington Ave
This upscale niche in the Grammercy Park Hotel is known to be one of the toughest doors in the city, keeping the frat dudes out and the fashionistas, willing to throw down $20 for a cocktail, in. Designed by artist Julian Schnabel and owner Ian Schrager, the venue cloaks itself in velvet drapery and enough pricy artwork to self-proclaim as a small museum (the prized tableau being their colorful fifteen-foot Warhol print). Schmooze with Manhattan’s upper-echelon, or admire the impressive collection of aged liquor displayed above the bar, along with the aged men at the bar toting models old enough to be granddaughters as arm candy.
Toughest Door in NYC: Avenue
116 10th Avenue
The most impressive thing about Avenue’s strict door is how long it has maintained that exclusivity. Since the gastro-lounge’s opening this summer, and the adoption of the Beatrice Inn crew, the nightclub immediately caught the eye of the city’s elite. A serious number of nightclubs have become trendy and untrendy during the span of Avenue’s reign, and although the hot spot has become a bit more lax on the door policy, Wass Stevens (doorman, actor and human barricade) knows how to keep the big spenders in and the nobodies out. It sounds blunt, but that’s how the nightclub keeps its cool. That’s just how the Avenue is paved.