The Times dips its toe into the Superdive pool today with a hefty piece on NYC's new, low-key nightlife mantra. The article begins at a new bar called Superdive. Shall we?
Superdive is pretty much nothing. And nothing is as hot as anything these days.
Superdive, which opened in late June, is a much blogged-about bar on Avenue A in the East Village that has deconstructed nearly every imaginable pillar of the over-the-top New York night life scene.
The bathrooms have plywood stalls, a scrawny doorman checks IDs but little else, and instead of bottle service, Superdive offers keg service — tableside.
“Since everything else is so chi-chi,” the manager, Keith Okada, said while pushing a plastic cup of beer toward a young woman at the bar last Monday night, “we thought, ‘Why not offer keg service?’ ”
At a table, a group of men in their 20s and 30s shared a 5-liter keg of EKU Pils beer to celebrate what they call “Manday,” a semiregular male-bonding night out.
Superdive suited them more than a noisy club with menacing velvet ropes and $400 bottles of vodka, said David Sitt, 32, a Manday regular and psychology professor at Baruch College.
“When you watch the Flintstones and they are at the Water Buffalo Lodge,” he said, referring to the homey clubhouse where Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and pals partied, “they don’t have bottle service there.”
“We’re in a period where a snotty attitude is not helping people feel better about themselves,” he added.
Super fancy is out. Revenues are down 20 to 40 percent in the last year at those throbbing Manhattan nightclubs that flourished by catering to Wall Street guys who casually swiped their credit cards for four figures, club owners said. Many once-hopping clubs, like Lotus, Mansion and Room Service, have closed or are being remodeled.
At Marquee, the West Chelsea club and gossip-page fixture, revenues are down 22 percent so far this year compared with last, said Noah Tepperberg, one of the owners.
“Three or four years ago it seemed like every bar in New York had a rope and some imposing looking guy,” said David Rabin, an owner of Lotus and the president of the New York Nightlife Association.
Now, he said, haughtiness is as stylish as a balloon payment.
Club owners are searching for a new night-life formula, something that jibes with the culture’s low-key mood and yet shakes free whatever is left of the city’s disposable income.
Ideas differ, but the owners agree on one thing: the word “club” has about as much cultural relevance as the Macarena. And they go to lengths to avoid the word. Mr. Tepperberg, for instance, is calling Avenue, his newest endeavor that opened last month, a “gastro-lounge.”