It’s ironic how the “be seen” types must gravitate to the hardest-to-find places in New York to actually be seen, slipping past unmarked doors and down shadowy staircases to arrive at the city’s most sought-after oases of cool.
Past the shabby-looking façade at 81 Ludlow (beneath what used to be Casanis) lies Chloe 81, a sceney den with a caché Parisian vibe. Named after an ex girlfriend of the designer (who goes by the name “M”), Chloe 81 is where the scenesters and blasé nightlife prowlers swarm for a night of dancing, lounging, or simply proving they can get past the doorman.
Since its doors opened in 2008 (or shabby white gates, rather), Chloe 81 has been in the spotlight while remaining stylishly distanced from it. It’s not the sort of lounge where you’d find weekly parties saturated with guest lists and promoters, although "The Ivy", their legendary Wednesday night party hosted by NYLON’s Jared Flint, caused quite a stir with its impossible-to-penetrate door policy.
The space is small, upping its value as far as exclusivity is concerned, but Chloe 81 manages to package a bar area, a few red leather booths, and a DJ booth/dancefloor into one highly sought-after package. The décor can be described as brasserie-meets-metro station with subtle elements of art nouveau, giving off the same feeling you’d get uncovering a vintage Chanel clutch at a thrift store in the Marais. When stocked with stylish night owls, the scene is similar to the Beatrice Inn (which it’s often been compared to) or a downsized version of Southside. However, Chloe 81 gives partygoers a little more to chew on (literally) with a menu of French treats like poulet frites, escargots and the French take on the American staple: Le Burger.
The hip factor attached to Chloe 81 can be attributed to owners Brooke Smy (who previously worked at Rolling Stone) and Sebastian Maczko (previously of Casanis) who knew just how to channel New York nightlife’s inner-circle. The allure of partying in a place passerbys might not be aware of, the Parisian vibe complete with stylish clientele, the stiff drinks and the delicious food all come together in just the right fashion at Chloe 81.