Nightlife veteran Jon B. is a pioneer in the clubbing business. He started-off in the industry working as a promotional and marketing consultant and then as a promotional director for successful venues like Au Bar, Life, Spa, Chaos, and Rehab. Then Jon B. hit the jackpot with two wildly successful endeavors—Home and Guest House—in West Chelsea. Undeterred by a floundering economy that has unmoored the nightlife industry, Jon B. recently unveiled a new spot, Greenhouse, with a contemporary premise: a club with a conscience. The bi-level 6,000-square-foot Soho nightclub is the city’s first L.E.E.D. registered eco-friendly nightlife destination. We caught-up with the nightlife guru to see how he came-up with this concept, what club-goers can expect, and more…
The first thing on our mind when we found out we were going to speak to one of the Club Row pioneers was what his take was on the evolution of West Chelsea since he first opened his groundbreaking spots. Jon B. told us that while things have obviously changed due to the ever-increasing roster of new clubs and lounges, he sees the concentration of nightclubs as an advantage that “gives people a destination to choose that provides multiple options.” That said, Jon B. chose Greenhouse’s Varick Street location in order to branch out into a different area. And as both Bouley and Trump opening up in the Soho-Tribeca vicinity, Jon B is quickly becoming the Keith McNally of the nightlife biz.
Greenhouse has already staged a number of high-profile events in the United States and abroad: at the Sundance Film Festival, Paris Fashion Week, Cannes Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival where celebrity attendees have been as varied as U2, Al Gore, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Bruce Willis, Jodie Foster, Felicity Huffman, Mary-Kate Olsen, Colin Ferrell, Michael Keaton, Steven Soderbergh, and Benicio Del Toro.
The space also has VIP sections which are slightly raise above the rest of the club to offer an elevated view of the dance floor and a bit more seclusion. While getting past the doorkeepers isn’t the easiest feat, Jon B says that even if “the entrance is at the doorman’s discretion,” his ultimate goal is to allow everyone to experience Greenhouse.
The all-inclusive premise stems from the entrepreneur’s passion for spreading information about everyone’s carbon footprint. “I thought of it around two years ago during Passover,” says B. “I was sitting on a beach in Florida looking at the sky and the ocean and the sand and thought, why not do something with the environment? I think it’s important that we all do our part to reduce our carbon footprint; the club business should be no different.”
Among the eco-friendly touches you’ll find are fabrics made from recycled materials, regenerative bamboo floor and wall coverings, LED lighting, FSC wood from sustainable forests, recycled glass, and Kohler WaterSense products. Greenhouse also utilizes a carbon-offsetting program to counter energy used in the construction and operation of the venue.
Alcohol is no exception to Greenhouse’s good deeds: 360 vodka, an eco-friendly liquor packaged in a reusable bottle, will be a highlighted offering at the bottle service-heavy spot. In response to clubgoers’ hand-wringing over the death of bottle service in the wake of the recession, Jon B. scoffs. “I don’t think it’s going anywhere, to be honest. I think the people who still want a table are still going to get tables. They might not buy as many bottles as people used to because of the whole economic factor, but I still think bottle service will be prevalent. ”
Would he ever venture to open a non-bottler service spot? “That’s a hard question. Bottle service is something consumers have come to expect, so it’s difficult to imagine opening a spot that doesn’t offer it.”
And like his other ventures, Greenhouse delivers when it comes to music – a well-culled mix of hip-hop, rock, 80s, house, along with high-profile DJs on Friday nights. Jon B. has plans for opening a Midwest version of Home in St. Louis, but for New Yorkers looking to find shelter during the recession while reducing their stiletto footprints, Greenhouse provides a lovely haven.
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