CP Spotlight: Cain Luxe NYC

by Luiza Oleszczuk
01.06.2009

From Christianity to Zombiism, the cult of resurrection strikes a popular note. So when resurrection involves booze and scantily-clad women, boy, are we believers. Because West 27th Street, as many greater things, is supposed to rise again—at least according to Jamie Mulholland, the owner of Cain Luxe and the foretelling purveyor of Goldbar and The Surf Lodge.

Mulholland managed to extend his nightlife kingdom to the Bahamas (with a twin of Cain) and to Long Island’s refuge, Montauk, with the posh Surf Lodge (which was dubbed by the angry locals as “the mistake by the lake”, but eventually became a huge success). In fact, he went as far as Dubai, the new high-brow recreational hotspot, with his slick lounges on the World Island and the Palm Island.

So if a man who revamped a lounge in the midst of economical crisis says that “West 27th Street will be hot again”, well … we believe him.

Former regulars of Cain might feel struck by a déjà-vu when entering the “new” Cain Luxe: the safari-themed old décor was replaced with what Mulholland describes as “Paris meets South Africa,” changing a sunny trip through the savannah into a rough Gaullic Cape Town rally raid. 

The African feel is mostly conveyed by the larger-than-life faux tusks ornamenting all the pillars and eyesore zebra-print fabrics ensconcing the walls and the DJ booth. Nevertheless, the Pigalle Square verisimilitude is summoned by dim light and all shades of red and purple fabrics, making Cain Luxe slightly more bordello than safari. The interior manages to merge the ethnic with the modern in a stylish way—something many places overdo (we’re looking at you, Buddakan and Nobu). 

And even if the Robert McKinley-designed décor is rather refreshed than new, at least the state-of-the-art sound system used for spinning standard club soundtracks is fresh off the shelves. Most importantly, Cain Luxe’s reorganization is a boon to the space in its entirety. The 5,000 sq-feet Cain got rid off the multiple dividers, freeing up the flow of the crowd and music. Nothing separates you from the dance floor of mini-skirted girls and gelled-up guys allowing solicitous peeks of their hairy chests (guys, please). And, more importantly, nothing stops you from stumbling towards the centerpiece catwalk where the dance troupe Raising Cain—six beautiful and, according to Mulholland, carefully selected dancers—heat up the crowd with their lithe bodies.

Though embodying something closer to a peep-show than cabaret, this sexy group was a spot-on idea. You don’t have to be a club mogul to know that gorgeous women attract men with money, and money sustains nightlife industry during a recession.  Most of the populist nightlife hotspots figured it out long ago, but Cain Luxe also proves that at least go-go dancers are little likely to be sacked during the upcoming hungry years.

Those ladies might even make you want to splurge on champagne—Cain Luxe’s house drink. But more importantly, they compel partiers to stock up on the bubbly. That’s the spirit! Perhaps what Chelsea needed was a fresh breeze of anything, even a faux-renovation—some graceful fiction that would lift hopes of faltering clubland. Sometimes all people need is to believe.


 

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