August 27 2014

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5 posts tagged "Don Hill’s"

Don Hill’s Lights Up For The Night


The invitation for yesterday’s late-night fête hosted by Cole Haan read: “For one night only at Don Hill’s.” It’s no surprise that such a tagline would draw a cast of nightlife veterans along with Brad Goreski, Hilary Rhoda, and even David Schwimmer to the venerable nightspot that shuttered its doors last April. Known for its graffiti-splashed walls, gritty live performances, and raucous parties, the Greenwich Street haunt reopened its doors yesterday promising one last dance party. By midnight, the bash was in full swing with Omaha-based band Icky Blossoms rocking the stage for a head-banging set, causing Goreski to quip, “Every time I step into Don Hill’s I feel like a hipster. There’s always some weird band playing here.” Tucked away in the DJ booth were Ben Pundole and girlfriend Chelsea Leyland, the latter who waxed nostalgic about being back at the old Soho boite. “I used to come here a lot but this is my first time deejaying here, so I’m really excited,” she told As for her fashion week detox plans? “I’m going to get a massage tomorrow and drink as many green juices as I can.” Unfortunately, Leyland only got a chance to spin two songs—by 1 a.m., cops shut the party down due to music complaints, spurring the crowd to quickly filter out the door and head to the next party. Guess when it comes to Don Hill’s, some things never change.


Don Hill, R.I.P.


Thanks to a timely reboot from Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny—and the welcome reintroduction of a little good old grit to New York’s occasionally fussy nightlife scene—a new generation of party people discovered Don Hill’s, the west Soho club that’s once again a fixture of the fashion circuit. (In earlier days, it hosted Leigh Lezark and the Misshapes’ weekly party; before that, it was a rock stronghold.) The club that bears his name soldiers on, but Hill himself (left, with Sevigny) reportedly passed away last night in New York. Twitter is already streaming tributes and remembrances from friends like Moby, Bebe Buell, and drag eminences Miss Guy and Murray Hill, all of whom have passed through Hill’s doors. They’re still open—the legacy lives on.

Photo: David X. Prutting /

Send Off 2010, Sealed With A Bow


If you haven’t made your New Year’s plans yet, there’s still time—sure, the big night is a little more than 48 hours away, but news of new parties just keeps spreading. Nur Khan will be hosting events both at Don Hill’s (where the Misshapes’ Greg K will be among the DJs, and model Cole Mohr one of the hosts) and at Kenmare, where you can nosh on burgers along with your bottles. On Top of the Standard, English rock legend (and occasional Stones paramour) Marianne Faithfull performs at a black-tie bash, while DFA Records hosts a rager until 6 a.m. at Le Bain next door.

Of course, a New Year’s party is only as good as your New Year’s outfit—and we can’t think of a better way to send 2010 packing than sealed with a bow. In a perfect world, we’d be dancing the night away in these bow-embellished Valentino pumps—available in patent and, for those obsessed, like all the editors this year, with Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli’s punky moments, a peep-toe, studded version, too. Both are available now at Net-a-Porter.

Photos: Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

Now, Girls Allowed


The noise was deafening, the room was packed, and Alice Glass of the Canadian electro outfit Crystal Castles was throwing herself around the stage like a rag doll—but compared to the star-studded ragers Don Hill’s has been throwing all fashion week, last night’s launch party for fashion mag The Dirty Durty Diary was actually pretty low-key. Larry Clark had been meant to host, but it was Irina Lazareanu who was holding down the front table with Nur Khan—literally. The crowd kept surging back into it, endangering their tequila. (But on the evidence of all the bottles DeLeón keeps on the wall to tout its sponsorship, there’s plenty more where that came from.)

Khan likes to say that one goal in rehabilitating Don Hill’s was to make it more “female-friendly,” and Lazareanu agreed that makes sense. “Nur has loads of female friends,” she chuckled, adding that even rocker chicks prefer clean bathrooms—”and we don’t like when the seat is up. With Babyshambles, touring with the four boys, I’d go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and fall right in the fucking bowl every time.”

Incidentally, Lazareanu is taking the stage with Doherty and Sean Lennon in Paris on October 4 for the show she says would have happened in New York last June, had Doherty not had been turned away by immigration authorities at JFK. “Apparently the French laws are not as extreme as the American ones,” she said. And the bathrooms? We won’t touch that one.

Photo: David X. Prutting/Billy Farrell Agency

Welcome To New York Gritty


Hey! Fashion week! You ready to rock? If Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny have their way, this will be remembered as the season of reverb and the sticky floor, as the duo reopen legendary nightspot Don Hill’s with a roster of parties-cum-concerts that will have fashion weekers moshing in their kitten heels until the wee hours. Tonight, a certain ripped-ab rock god plays the Pop party, and certain other heroes of the New York City art rock scene are set to blow the doors off the Another Man do next week. Khan’s ambition is no less than to bring the gritty back to the New York party scene. If anyone’s up to the task, he and Sevigny are. Here, Khan (left) sounds off on the noise, the new, and (no joke!) the ladies’ room.

So, first off: Why Don Hill’s?
There are a bunch of reasons, actually. First of all, it’s kind of the last old-school rock ‘n’ roll place left in New York, now that CBGB’s is closed. I remember Don Hill’s in its heyday, and it was brilliant. I used to own Sway, across the street, and there was always a back-and-forth; I guess I’ve been friends with Don for about 20 years now. So it felt natural. And beyond that, I’m such a music fanatic—I’ve been doing shows at Rose Bar for a while now, intimate performances by everyone from Rufus Wainwright to Guns N’ Roses, and I wanted a venue where I could do those kinds of spontaneous gigs, but bigger, with a full setup. This place is fully loaded from a production standpoint.

But this isn’t a concert venue—this is a nightclub, correct?
Correct. I think of it as a rock ‘n’ roll dance club—I’ve got the opportunity to host gigs when I want to, but that’s not the whole point. The point is really to bring back that New York I miss, back when uptown was uptown and downtown was downtown, and there were places like Don’s, and CB’s, and Max’s Kansas City, that were cool and creative and down and dirty. There was no formula to it, just musicians and artists hanging out. I feel like New York needs that now; it’s been about lookalike bottle service places for too long. Paul and I figured it was time to bring back cheap beer.

The last place you guys opened was Kenmare. Do you see Don Hill’s as a complement or a contrast?
I think they relate to each other in lots of ways. The idea with Kenmare was to create a place like Indochine used to be—and still is, to a degree—and like the old Odeon and Mr. Chow’s. I know I keep saying this, but people really need to understand, it was fucking cool that there were these downtown places where cool people could go and hang out, and not feel like they were in some kind of contrived club. Iggy and Bowie would run into each other at Max’s, Jean-Michel and Andy would be at Indochine, and it was chill. I think when you create an environment like that, where interesting people can hang out together, cool shit happens. People collaborate; they start bringing new ideas to the table. I’ve been looking around New York City for a while now and wondering, what happened?

You and Paul have something of a Midas touch when it comes to New York nightlife. Is it as simple as asking yourself where you’d want to hang out?
Well, I do think we’re both people who ask ourselves, what’s missing? We’re not herd-mentality people—everyone else goes right and we go left. But it’s, like, you’ve got to tap into the sensibility that’s floating around at a particular moment. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to open another bottle service place now, in this economy. That’s not the mood. It’s almost, like, offensive. I feel like what people are looking for is a place that’s unpretentious, where you can let loose. I want Don’s to be that place.

You’ve been renovating. What should people expect?
We’ve preserved the essence of the place—it’s still gritty Don Hill’s. But female-friendly. New booths and bathrooms. I’m not kidding, the ladies’ room was a major focus for us. I mean, you probably know this better than I do, but if you were a woman hanging out at Don Hill’s, it was hard.

I can indeed attest to that. What else are you bringing to the space that’s new?
Well, Paul and I are both artist-conscious people; we’ve got a bunch of friends who are coming in and doing work for us. Like, Sante D’Orazio has his own little area he’s curating—we’re calling that “Sante’s Inferno”—and Harif Guzman is doing the walls in the main room.

How did you and Paul meet?
Man, I’ve known Paul since…since I owned a music venue in Connecticut. It was this little rock place I opened back in 1990, and I was booking bands like Nirvana, Radiohead, before they were huge. Paul is from Connecticut, too, and at some point he came in and worked on an event, and we’ve been in touch ever since. He used to deejay at Sway. We’ve got a similar style, a similar point-of-view, so it made sense for us to go into business together.

What’s next?
We’re still figuring that out. We’ve got a restaurant, now we’ve got our rock club, so the next thing, I don’t know, maybe we do both, at our own hotel. All the big nightlife players these days are the guys with the cool hotels. We’ve brought some people onto the team with that expertise. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, you’ve partnered with MAC + Milk this season. What’s that all about?
It’s a collaboration among friends. We’re doing Kenmare dinners up in the penthouse and bringing some of the bigger things over here, to Don’s. I’ve known [Mazdack] Rossi and Jenne [Lombardo] for a while—they’re both rockers at heart—and I wanted to support what they’ve got going on over there. It’s good karma, helping young designers. And the karma comes back to you—I mean, we’ve got some amazing people playing at Don Hill’s this week, and these aren’t paying gigs, you know? It’s just, bands miss being able to play a room like Don’s; they miss that energy, too. We’re all feeling that same thing: The moment’s changing, it’s time for something else.

Photo: Albert Michael / Startraks Photo