In this city, where nightlife is not just fun but a major revenue-generator and a critical element of what makes New York the greatest city in the world, David Rabin and his partners are guys in the know. As a proprietor of Jimmy at The James Hotel, the Lambs Club restaurant, and the newly reopened Double Seven nightclub, Rabin truly knows the formula for a good night out. He focuses on detail and tries to prevent that half-smile lost look amongst guests in overcrowded, decibel-blasting venues that we're all too familiar with. Double Seven is "sexy" and "sophisticated," and we got an inside look at the newly re-opened Meatpacking spot and even found out what other NYC nightlife destinations Rabin is a fan of outside of his own places.
You just relaunched Double Seven after a three-year break. Did you see a clear opening for a place that reflects "nightlife for grown-ups" as you recently mentioned in the New York Post?
I think we had a pretty good handle on that niche for our area back in 2005 to 2007 during our original run before the building was sold. There certainly are other people who have created venues looking to meet this kind of demand, so all we can do is do what we do best and hope that our clientele “finds us" again. I can say, however, that if I had a quarter for every person who has stopped me when I've been out the last three years and asked "When is Double Seven reopening?" I would have had enough money to not re-open Double Seven.
What are some of the details and touches at Double Seven that support this concept of an adult place to have a good time?
I think the most crucial aspect is the attention to acoustics. It's not an after-thought for us. We want to play really cool "head-bopping" music but without requiring people to yell to be heard or to strain to hear and have to make that fake smiley face like "That's funny!" when they really haven't heard a word of the conversation. Some of it is structural, some of it is picking the right DJs and monitoring their music selections. Some of it is just making sure everyone on the staff understands what we're trying to create, then adding in Sasha's amazing cocktails paired with a chocolate from Debauve & Gallais, and I think we've given people the makings for a special place to hang out.
You are also a partner at Jimmy at the James Hotel and Lambs Club. How do your partners' aggregate experiences in both nightlife and hospitality categories inform your approaches to each place? Is there a central ethos to your portfolio of places?
I think attention to customers and service are what bring people back to any spot. At Jimmy, we've tried to create a relaxed and chill atmosphere, a real respite from the grind of the city--it's really tranquil and beautiful up there to sit and have a drink and look at the skyline. At The Lambs Club, we've created a very adult but not "stiff" in any way vibe, great for business lunch or drinks, and perfect for the after-theater crowd. Double Seven is meant to be that kind of sophisticated, sexy environment that envelops you from the noise and chaos of Manhattan. All these places are influenced by all of our own experiences, both in our own places over the years, but also by the great places other operators have created that we've loved and continue to love.
How do you want your guests to come away feeling from an evening at Double Seven, Jimmy and Lambs Club?
What would our viewers and readers think would be an unexpected thing to know about your and/or your partners?
I've known Will Regan since we were in the same dorm as freshman at Tufts, then he went to Wall Street and I went to law school and practiced law. We made a pact over tequila shots at Nell's when we were 29 to give the restaurant/nightlife business a shot with our first place, Rex, and we still work together on Double Seven.
What's your favorite late-night bite?
Honestly, the grilled cheese or pigs-in-a-blanket at Double Seven (we now serve small bites) or a snack at The Dutch when I roll out of Jimmy.
What are your favorite late-night pairings?
Poker chips and Coke Zero
Where do you like to hang out nightlife-wise, outside of your own places?
In my fantasy life, the one in which I'm not running to visit three venues nightly, I would go to Miss Lily's for a drink, go say hi to Damion Luaiye at Rose Bar or Joey Jalleo at Boom Boom Room or hide away at my all-time favorite, Milk and Honey
What is your favorite thing between two buns?
Grey's Papaya, corner of 72nd and Broadwayz
A look inside the Lambs Club dining room
A look inside Jimmy at the James Hotel
[Pictured above: Double Seven]
63 Gansevoort St
New York, NY 10014