If you haven't checked out this week's NY Magazine cover story The Half-Hooker Economy you are severely missing out. Using the story of Tiger Wood's mistress as a starting point, Lisa Taddeo explores the modern nightclub scene as a meshing of the worlds of geishas, pimps and prostitutes into a respectables places where the rich and powerful men go to get laid by young, hot, women looking for gifts and brushes with celebrity.
If you’re looking for whales, you go out on Thursday night. Bankers go to Avenue and 1Oak on Thursdays. Mainly, these guys just want a girl for a night. Possibly a long weekend in Vegas or Miami. To meet these guys, a pretty girl just needs to hang around their table or wait for a VIP host or a bottle waitress to pluck her from the bar and say, Come on over and drink at this booth. The girls who are more experienced at this game will already be at a table with other men. Possibly, they will be looking to trade up, from traders to hedge funds or from hedge funds to celebrities.
As someone on the fringe of this world - often hanging out with friends who rolled in - I think the piece pretty much captures what creates the mystique of the club world. I've seen models pimped to celebrities, bottle girls entertain clients, hedge fund managers pull girls with their money. Not to the level described (I'm not even that close to cool), but even just being close to it was exciting. Unfortunately, the exposé itself only serves to re-enforce the world it aims to expose. That is the celebrities,club owners, promoters, bottle girls, models etc do engage in plenty of what is described in the article but if a club only had that to survive on, it would be out of business. That world creates the mystique that draws in everyday folk (and I mean this in the broadest sense of the word) looking to be "cool." Part of the idea of bottle service is that anyone from a carpenter who has been saving money to a lawyer can experience one night like a celebrity. They may have to be attractive. They may have to have money (or saved money). But it can be done. And I think that after reading about the possibilities of this world - even in a negative light - those everyday folk will be more likely try to attend. Hell, the article even feeds to those people in the breakdown of the current NY nightlife scene
In New York, the current clubs for the rich and famous and those who want to meet them are 1Oak, Avenue, Provocateur, and SL. Rose Bar and Boom Boom Room don’t do bottle service and are thus considered on the outskirts of its culture, though the latter, with its notoriously tough door policy, is the most exclusive late-night venue in town. Greenhouse, Juliet, Tenjune, and the rest are middle-of-the-road. Former hot spot Marquee is virtually off the radar for the cool crowd, having been all but replaced by its owners—Noah Tepperberg and former Uchitel beau Jason Strauss—with Avenue. Clubs have a short life span, and generally the owners of one that’s gone stale will open another instead of revamping the old, keeping the old one around to make money off the people who couldn’t get in when it was hot.
A couple of years ago you could have found me at Marquee or Suite Sixteen or wherever, but it became just much work to go out like that in the end it wasn't all that much fun. Now, when on occasion I dive back in, I do so almost as a tourist out to watch an incredibly manufactured and well run system at work. Anyway, check out the article if you've ever been part of or interested in the club world. It's like your own private tour and you don't have to spend three hundred bucks on a thirty dollar bottle of booze.