You’re known as nightclub guys. So why a restaurant? Birnbaum: A restaurant can last for 100 years. For us, at our age and where we’re going, we don’t want to see a nightclub every day for the next 50 years.
How long has Abe & Arthur’s been in the works? Remm: We started talking about the project two years ago, and we took over this space about a year ago. We were adamant that it not look like Lotus in any way — we didn’t want people thinking, “Oh, it’s just like Lotus, with green paint instead of red paint.”
What was wrong with Lotus? Did you guys ever hang out there? Birnbaum: I lived at Lotus, practically. It had one of the longest runs ever, but no matter how great you are as a nightclub there’s a certain longevity that can’t go past X number of years. It’s just what it is — they come and they go.
So, what’s going to make your two new places stand out? Remm: The synergy between our restaurant with the club downstairs is going to keep it new. The focus will be on the restaurant; that’s where we see nightclubs going — away from the big mega-clubs.
What do you say to people who think the Meatpacking District is becoming too clubby? Remm: What the neighborhood was before was transvestites and crackheads. I don’t know what people could possibly say about the neighborhood that’s better than it is now: it’s safer, it’s got amazing retail, amazing restaurants, and it’s got a great vibe that everybody in the world talks about.
Tenjune’s got one of the toughest doormen in the business, Aalex Julian. Will he be working at the new club? Remm: Yeah. [Laughing.] He’s had someone training underneath him, an intern, at Tenjune. Birnbaum: We asked him to shave his head, the new guy.
Read our related blog: Avenue Doorman Wass Stevens Can See Right Through You