Noah Tepperberg (of Marquee, Tao, and Lavo) isn’t slowing just because the economy has. Enter Avenue: his newest New York City nightlife venture, a $2.5 million Chelsea ‘gastro lounge’ as he has coined it, which combines a bar/ultra-lounge with a lot of seating and some serious eating.
Catering to what Tepperberg imagines being a crowd that doesn’t want to club-it every, single night, bottle service is not required. The focus is set first and foremost on food and friends; and conversation should be an integral part of the Avenue experience. The Chelsea neighborhood venue has a DJ booth, but no dance floor. If raucous bumping is your scene, 1 Oak may be a better fit. Though, Tepperberg has mentioned that “depending on the crowd, at midnight or later, the volume can be raised and the lighting can be changed.” The original ambiance being mellow and dimly lit, with seventies, eighties and soul tunes kindly twinkling throughout.
The bi-level venue features 15 higher, taller and wider than normal tables on its first level and six even larger tables on its second level lounge, which overlooks the first. The superior tables conveniently have room for drinks and food. (Translation: for multiple bottles of liquor.)
The small bites are brought to the table in a bento-like dinner box, prepared by CIA-graduated chef. The menu is sure to delight, especially after numerous cocktails, as it encompasses every kind of drunken munchie-treat known to mankind – Spring Rolls, Satays, Grilled Cheese sandwiches, Kobe Sliders, Waffle Frites and Pretzel dogs. Yep, a pretzel dog: ‘a premium beef frankfurter wrapped in pretzel dough and toasted crisp and served with spicy brown mustard & sea salt.’ Even the most loyal vegetarians would have a hard time resisting this piece of edible heaven.
The sweetness does not stop with the small plates menu. The featured cocktails, like the Dom Perignon Bellini and the fruit-infused Belvedere Sex on the Beach prove to be quite the conversation starters.
As with many of Tepperberg’s nightclubs, lasting power is key; which means, the chances of getting through the door within a year or two of the opening are slim to none. (Hell, look at Marquee… it took six years plus before just anyone was let in.) But, this may not be an entirely awful thing; the A-crowd seems to be most of Strategic Group’s peers – so unless you are an industry guru, a celebrity, over the age of 30 or a NYC club hater, it might be a few years before your crowd can hang or even afford the fun. But, Avenue is still sick; so be our guest or, Mr. Tepperberg’s guest, that is.