The subMercer, a bar/lounge that opened last month in the Mercer Hotel's basement, has become a downtown destination of late. Margherita Missoni's pals held a surprise going away party for the fashionista a few weeks ago (she's moving to Paris) and it's also played host to fetes thrown by Radar Entertainment and Me magazine.
It's actually the second coming of the subterranean spot, which enjoyed buzz back in the late 90's (when the Mercer opened) and closed in 2001. The boite is not a total blast from the past, however, with the twist of a cyber-bouncer: would-be guests must email email@example.com to request a reservation, detailing the time and date they'd like to visit and their "relationship to the subMercer."
Once you get past the doorman, you take the elevator down to the basement and walk down a creepily quiet hall. You pass through a heavy red door and a wine cellar to get to the main event. Brick archways divide the lounge area from the tiny dance floor; patrons can duck under a low hanging eave to sneak cigarettes in a tiny room behind the DJ booth. The place feels like a glossier, less-kitschy version of the Beatrice Inn.
The other night, a friend and I met the very congenial Ed Westwick, who plays villain Chuck Bass on "Gossip Girl." He was sporting a Chelsea Football Club jersey, torn down the front to reveal a hirsute chest. "Please state the trend!" he enthusiastically shouted in a heavy English accent upon learning I worked for a fashion publication.
Photos by Phillip Angert