Volume 80, Number 16 | September 16 - 22, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Jesse Malin, right, and The St. Mark’s Social jammed at the John Varvatos 10th anniversary party on the Bowery.

At the Varvatos anniversary, from left, Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats, Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators, fashion designer John Varvatos and Steve Bonge, Hells Angel and photographer.

Photos by Clayton Patterson

At the Don Hill’s opening party last Thursday, from left, singer Lorraine Leckie and her husband, Billy Leroy, talked with Chloe Sevigny, whose brother Paul is now a part owner of Don Hill’s.

Rockin’ around town; Knockin’ out a club wannabe

By Lincoln Anderson

Don Hill’s held its reopening party last Thursday night as it celebrated its operation under an expanded ownership.

“It’s a merger,” explained Don Hill, owner of the eponymous, 19-year-old music club at Greenwich and Spring Sts. Paul Sevigny and Henry Smilewitz, both formerly of the Beatrice Inn, are two of the new partners, along with Nur Khan, formerly of Wax and Sway, and Hill.

“It’s a rock venue, it’s just been remodeled,” Hill said. “When you’re there, you might see some local band, or a mega-band.”

Punk legend Iggy Pop and the Stooges performed last Friday night. Art rockers the Yeah Yeah Yeahs played this Tuesday. The Dead Weather, with Jack White, brought their glam blues rock there a month ago for the soft opening.

Meanwhile, over on the East Side, men’s fashion designer John Varvatos celebrated the 10th anniversary of his fashion line with a party on Sept. 12 at his Bowery store, in the former location of CBGB.

Sevigny’s Beatrice Inn on W. 12th St. was considered “the hippest place in town,” but was also the subject of neighbors’ noise complaints before it closed. During Fashion Week, the street in front of the place would be completely flooded with people. However, David Reck, president of Friends of Hudson Square, who lives across the street from Don Hill’s, said, “They’ve been fine. There hasn’t been any increase in noise so far.”

The real concern of Reck — and also Hill — was a mega-club that was planned at the same intersection by Carlos Tellez Bortoni, the operator of Santo, a disco in Miami.

Noting he has “a great reputation in the neighborhood,” Hill said he didn’t want to catch flak over the newcomer’s noise. But, according to Reck and Hill, news broke this week at Community Board 2’s S.L.A. Licensing Committee meeting that Bortoni’s application for a liquor license has been pulled, meaning the club owner is probably now searching for a different location.

“Clearly, they never were going to make it through the community board,” Reck said. “The guy lied to us. He kept saying, ‘Restaurant, restaurant, restaurant.’ But the restaurant space was very small, and they had a large lounge space and live music and a DJ.” Reck said Santo in Miami is known for Latin music, such as salsa.

The bar watchdog now has his eye on Marlowe, a self-dubbed “art studio,” named after the 16th-century English writer, that’s planned nearby on Vandam St. The applicant says the place will feature an artist painting a canvas on the wall nightly, creating a “funny, bawdy, funhouse mirror” of the scene. But Reck fears, like the aborted nightclub, it’s a hot spot in sheep’s clothing.

“How many art studios do you know that have a full liquor license and lounge?” he said. “After a month or two, we’ll be left with a bar/lounge.”

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