Who knew? Women prefer drinking amidst phallic symbols, stilettos and pills
After checking out Provocateur, the nightclub attached to the Gansevoort Hotel, we were so intrigued — and a bit confused — by the club’s supposed “female-friendly” concept that we decided to get in touch with Mike Satsky, the club’s co-owner. While the boite’s décor is more Jacqueline Susann (lingerie and faux prescription pills, anyone?) than Gloria Steinem, its luxe vibe and top-tier European DJs make it an appealing place to party in New York — It girls like Rachel Weisz and Brooklyn Decker recently stopped by. Getting in might be the only obstacle: “You have to be on the guestlist to get in, and the only way to get on the guestlist is to go through the owners,” says Satsky.
How did you get the idea for the club’s female-oriented vibe?
It was something that had been on my mind for the past few years. It’s funny- society has gone so much in a metrosexual, female first direction. Even the men are more interested in fashion, they’re more interested in growing old slower. And they’re more interested in watching female-friendly shows on TV. So it’s kind of a mixture of all that into one that kind of gave me the idea of wanting to do a fem-type of nightlife venue.
Sorry did you say doing a “fem-type of nightlife venue”?
Yeah, wherever you go, any other venue you’ve been to, you feel like it’s built for men by men. I feel like at this point, the men will follow where the women like to be. In the nightlife business that I feel like I’m in, that’s the kind of trend that I wanted to set.
What aspects of the club make it friendlier to women?
You walk in to this surreal, David LaChapelle-inspired art type of dollhouse. And all the banquettes are different dollhouse rooms and there are a lot of phallic symbols in them. You may look to the right and you’ll see a closet that has stilettos and dresses, and on the bottom it has prescription pills and lingerie. You’ll look to the other side of the room and you’ll see a bedroom with a white monkey in a cage. If you really look closely at the detail in the room I feel like it’s a female driven design.
Scott-Vincent Borba built the drink menu. His business is making women’s skin firmer, making anti-aging combinations, hair growing, so all those vitamins and antioxidants he’s implemented into the drink menus. Every specialty cocktail has some type of fem-nutritional value in it.
How would you describe the crowd?
First and foremost, it’s a fashion crowd, designers and heads of brands. We get a lot of people from Milan, London, Madrid, those luxury type of international travelers that have migrated here in the past ten years.
Did you work with a particular designer to come up with this the concept- dollhouse, phallic symbols, prescription pills, et cetera?
I did. The designer that I worked with is this guy Lionel [Ohayon], and his company is ICRAVE. It came to life well because we think alike, and he’s very metrosexual himself.
And do you consider yourself a metrosexual?
It’s not that. I just feel like I’m on the pulse in general. If you’re on the pulse you have to know what women like, what men like, what children like.
Have you noticed any trends in New York nightlife lately?
There’s nothing that excites me to the effect that it’s super-different, trend-wise. People are afraid to take risks, and therefore trends aren’t going to change until people are prepared to take risks. When there’s a lot of money involved, it makes it more difficult to do that. We have taken a huge risk, and we’re hoping that it pays off.
What is your biggest challenge as a club owner?
Making everybody happy.