The Lion, the new restaurant on W. 9th Street, has already been stirring up some buzz. Some of it has been good, celebrating former Waverly Inn chef John DeLucie and his partner Mark Amadei; some of it has been less good, grumbling about the preferential treatment the press has been given (and the panting adoration the press has lavished on it in return). I’m not touching that last part! But why would I, when the stuff I really care about—the old-school gossip surrounding the joint—is so good? The former gay watering hole is where, a handful of decades ago, Barbra Streisand sang her first professional notes when she was still hustling New York City; Joel Schumacher was once a humble busboy. And now? Well, at a preview dinner last night, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher were installed in a corner booth—much to my dismay, though, they were not Twittering. Hana Soukupova (whose husband curated the eatery’s artwork), Waris Ahluwalia, Dr. Lisa Airan, Helen Lee Schifter, Zani Gugelmann, and the Sykes Rellies were there, too, as were plenty of editors, co-owner (and Men’s Health ed in chief) Dave Zinczenko among them. Sure, there are kinks to work out—for one, the water hadn’t been hooked up in the men’s room, so one had to make do with Purell and baby wipes. But even that little problem had a chic solution: The owners hired Bungalow 8′s old bathroom attendant to flatter and distract the regulars. Come to think of it, she probably has some old-school gossip too.
With the exception of one crasher, who was bold enough to swoop into the seat between Zaha Hadid and Jeff Koons, it was wall-to-wall VIPs at the Waverly Inn dinner following last night’s opening of the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion in Central Park. “Just my 60 nearest and dearest,” joked host Ingrid Sischy. Julian Schnabel, Kate Bosworth, Bruce Weber, and Amanda Harlech were among those who made the cut. Working the room alongside the former Interview editor was Karl Lagerfeld himself. We spotted him deep in conversation with Leigh Lezark, Lorraine Bracco, and Donna Karan. He was a busy man, one you had to work hard to get the ear of. Blake Lively debated with beau Penn Bagley about interjecting. “I don’t want to interrupt to say goodbye, but I can’t decide if it’s more rude to do that, or leave without saying anything at all.” (She waited a few, and then got in there.) It might have been Sischy’s dinner, but it was the Kaiser’s night. “I came for the ballet,” American Ballet Theatre costume designer Olivier Theyskens said. “But I stayed for Karl.”