While New York nightlife tends to be more fickle than Britney Spears’ mental stability, there are a few mainstays whose impact makes them worthy of dedicated visitation. And should you prefer to steer clear of the gaudy sequin dresses and surgically enhanced figures of the Meatpacking District, your choices are even more limited. This is why the West Village’s Beatrice Inn continues to be subject to simultaneous scrutiny and idolization, while maintaining one of, if not the strictest door policies in Manhattan. To the smug pleasure of her patrons and to the dismay of those who meet Todd or Angelo with a, “Sorry, private party,” Beatrice has continued to reign somewhat effortlessly since her inception. Most would agree that the time has come for Miss Beatrice to face a worthy opponent, and dear readers, that moment may be upon us.
Opened in August of this year, Chloe 81 has become the Eastside’s Biggie to the Westside’s Tupac in an epic battle of the hips. Though the two typically entertain the same clientele―a veritable who’s who of young fashion types―the variation that Chloe provides seems to be a welcome addition to its habitués. This Lower East Side hideaway first gained notoriety with the increasingly popular Wednesday party The Ivy, hosted by NYLON’s Men’s Market Editor Jared Flint and Ethan James Group founder Mike Townsend. Though they remain faithful friends with their Westside foe, these gentlemen realized that having only one viable destination for beautiful people, fun tunes and some serious liver exercise was becoming a tad dull. The Ivy was christened during Fashion Week, and has since met with an overwhelming response among hipsters of the night, thus adding to Chloe’s growing credibility.
Those who favor Chloe’s mid-week bash attribute its popularity to the intimate ambience and the caliber of its clientele. “Chloe feels like a really nice Parisian metro station, whereas Beatrice has that awesome crazy-uncle-secret-lair thing going on,” Flint reveals, while photographer Brantley Gutierrez says of Chloe, “I don’t run the risk of losing my table to Lindsay Lohan, and I don’t smell like Andrew Dice Clay's ash tray when I leave.” In an act of welcomed treason, NYLON’s Molly Williams, an Ivy regular, attended an event at Chloe thrown by none other than Anthem, where she noted Chloe’s relevant ease of assembling chic partygoers. “For me, [The Ivy] is a party of people that I work with in the industry where no one is ‘working.’ When Anthem did the party, I don’t think they felt as if they were working. It was more, ‘Hey, we have our name on this, come party with us.’”
And party they did and continue to do on 81 Ludlow between Delancey and Broome. Despite the rage surrounding this new locale, its regulars are hesitant to write-off Beatrice as a has-been Inn. Flint says, “People have been looking for a new Beatrice since the old Beatrice opened. We should have more than one cool nightlife option, and Chloe has its own thing going outside of the Beatrice model.” In fact, it would appear as though the various outlets that report on this feud stand alone in crowning Chloe as the reigning champ. “We still love it there, but after three years of going to the same lounge, it was time for a change. Chloe is a melting pot of the social scene, with a combination of Beatrice kids, Dark Room kids, Annex kids, and more,” notes Morgan Collett, Sales Manager of the Want Agency and coveted Chloe DJ. Townsend adds, “I believe that New York will never have enough nightlife options; one bar doesn't dethrone the other. Beatrice is a totally different bar; dingy and rock ’n roll with a regal undertone, kind of like Mick Jagger pissed on it.”
With the much-deserved attention this clandestine cavern is receiving, the already rigid door policies at Chloe have become more taut than Janice Dickinson’s visage. However, those who can and frequently do make it past the velvet rope (and by velvet rope we mean Kevin the doorman) are not necessarily ready to share their secret with the world, or Manhattan for that matter. Steven Rojas, of Archetype Showroom, doles out some much needed advice for potential patrons. “If I say Chloe is better than Beatrice, every 'Joe the Plumber' will try and get in, and considering it's much smaller than Beatrice, it would just be a mess. With that said, everyone should go to Beatrice Inn at 285 West 12th Street at West 4th Street, and say hi to Todd the door guy for me.”
81 Ludlow Street
New York, NY 10002