Red Eye partner Taylor Shubert. Photo by Wilsonmodels
Red Eye partner Taylor Shubert. Photo by Wilsonmodels

Nightlife keeps booming along with everyone’s hormonal levels, as the Roaring Twenties revival that I promised you starts becoming a drunken reality.

Downstairs at the popular glam Chelsea restaurant Elmo is a new hangout, Coby Club, named after Coby Yee, the late owner and star exotic dancer of Forbidden City in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The place looks like an upscale opium den, all sexy and plush, and it features a mixed crowd, nibbles, and pop-up entertainment by chanteuse extraordinaire Marissa Rosen and others.

Over yummy comfort food sent down from Elmo, owner Bob Pontarelli told me that one of his other hotspots, the long-running Chelsea gay bar Barracuda, is undergoing a renovation that will bring about a new bar, stage, lounge furniture, and HVAC system.

“Make no mistake, it’ll still be Barracuda, not a fancy bar,” he assured me, “but it was time. It’ll reopen when you can really open and be flush against each other without masks.”

And on August 25th, he said, a lot of the drag queens that started there (which is virtually everyone who’s ever tucked) will come in for the 25th-anniversary gala, where the sequins will really fly.

Red Eye partners Samuel Benedict and Daniel Nardicio. Photo by Wilsonmodels
Red Eye partners Samuel Benedict and Daniel Nardicio. Photo by Wilsonmodels

By the way, Pontarelli and I agreed that Mayor Bill de Blasio said lots of NYC venues can start up again as of July 1st because he doesn’t want Pride–the last weekend of June–to become too big and cause a health hazard.

That’s OK with me, partly because I don’t want gays to be blamed for yet another plague and because I’m again appearing in the Lavender Effect’s Virtual Pride Parade, which will stream live on YouTube on Sunday, May 30th, to help kick off the next month’s safe and fabulous festivities.

Update: After de Blasio’s pronouncement, Governor Andrew Cuomo one-upped him by weighing in that New York State can reopen on May 19th, within guidelines. But that still doesn’t mean there’ll be a Heritage of Pride parade, just virtual events, plus a few in-person happenings, like the PrideFest on Sunday, June 27th. On the same day, there will also be the third annual in-person Queer Pride March, done by the Reclaim Pride Coalition, and it will employ “risk reduction strategies” while being wonderfully corporation-free.

Coby Club: photo by Erick Huertas
Coby Club: photo by Erick Huertas

In Hell’s Kitchen, on 41st and 9th, a queer conglomerate consisting of Daniel Nardicio, Taylor Shubert, Samuel Benedict, Adam Klesh, and Gil Neary is coming up with Red Eye, which will be a cute coffee bar by day and a buzzy club at night, atingle with caffeinated booze drinks and dancing.

It will also have a virtual TV studio, Red Eye Studios, which will allow them to add a live streaming element to the shows and offer live podcasts on various pop culture topics. DJs will include Nicky Doll (from Drag Race), Ty Sunderland, and Johnny Dynell. Nardicio says he’s mostly working with “younger, prettier partners, which sort of makes me Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life. They’ll be running around and I’ll be yelling, ‘Girls!’ to keep them in line.”

After a proposed soft opening in September, the place is angling for an October opening, and that’s good because in that gayborhood, Therapy, Posh, Barrage, and Ninth Avenue Saloon have all shuttered (though a new owner has taken over the Therapy space for renewed life). So here’s to a whole new chapter in fun-despite-it-all.

Let’s party till we’re red-eyed. Girls!

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