Since it was announced some time back, much has been written about Out NYC, the planned gay nightclub/hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Not all of it nice.
But we pass by the space almost every day and have watched it blossom like a flower from an abandoned motel into something that might just change the face of New York’s gay nightlife scene. (Something‘s gotta!)
Our friends at Next magazine got a peek into the club, XL—where finishing touches are being applied in advance of the opening party, Rockit, on January 27—and spoke to the nightlife veterans putting their name—and their money—where their mouths are.
Next‘s Andrew Erikson writes:
We breeze by the restaurant—at this point little more than a covered door—and past the hotel’s lobby into the lounge area of XL. Voss shows me where videos will play on an upside-down pyramid screen above the bar during happy hour. We move to the entrance of the club where, because their neighbors happen to be the NYPD, they’ve devised a way for the club’s line to be moved inside. They quickly show me the bathrooms. Lights still hadn’t been installed—or at least they weren’t on—but they seem to live up to the fish-tank enhanced johns of the old XL. Finally, we move into the main cabaret stage/dance-floor space. It’s really not different than any other dance space in gay New York—except that it’s enormous.
Say what you will about new version of the classic club and its accompanying hotel—and some vocal opponents have—the venture isn’t what some have made it out to be. Yes, The Out NYC will probably be full of out-of-towners, but what hotel in New York isn’t? Yes, the name is a little cheesy, but most of us missed the point: “out” is actually a clever reference to both the hotel’s gay status and the fact that every room has outdoor access. To their credit, Beto Sutter, John Blair, Ian Reisner, Brandon Voss and Tony Fornabaio have done what so many bar and club owners in gay New York are trying to do these days: open a Hell’s Kitchen location. And they’ve done it on a massive scale.
Now we practically live on the U.S.S. Intrepid, so a venue on the far west side of Hell’s Kitchen is perfect for us. But will queens, both international and local, trek those few extra blocks for a new, untested nightclub?
“You know, when we opened the original XL [in West Chelsea] was nothing—the Maritime Hotel [was] not even open, it was still the Covenant House—and everybody said [we were too far west],” Sutter says. And Voss reminds me that when he and Tony Fornabaio opened Club 57 at Providence, it was a trek for gays. “Who would have thought we could get all those gays all the way to 57th Street?” he reminisces. “I think it’s time we gay up 42nd Street a little bit,” Sutter laughs.
Thank God—we can’t do it all ourselves you know!
We’ll be doing our own preview of XL and Out NYC next week—and will be sending one of our minions to cover the opening party on Friday—so check back soon!