Fresh off last week's one year anniversary of Chelsea hot spot The Gates, Niteside caught up with the club's owner and co-creator Danny Kane to chat about the venue's inspiration, the success of The Ambassadors program, and what's in store for year two.
What motivated you to open The Gates a year ago? Wanted to do a restaurant that had a late and chill vibe. A place were all my friends could come for a good time.
How did you get the salvaged drawing room from the iconic Biltmore Hotel? The owner had originally brought it over and we were not allowed to remove it. He did it not to make it into anything but more out of a labor of love for marble, brass, gates, etc. Not that we would want to remove it anyway.
How would you best describe your crowd? Mix of everything. I see friends from the '90's and we reminisce about the old days, and then I see the new people on the scene and try not to act like the people from the Studio 54 days did when I was their age and say things like "their era was the best and could never be topped."
One-year on from its inception, do you feel like the The Ambassadors program was successful? The Ambassador program was successful in terms of getting press and had a good hook. There were flaws with the Ambassador program that I have learned from and will be applying to the next place I do. I will use the same concept but the next round of Ambassadors will be micro investors. We still have approx 200 Ambassadors. Overall it was a success.
Do you have a door policy? We really don't have a door policy because we are more of a restaurant with late night activity. A lot of people I know come to visit me and we need to hold the doors to avoid over crowding.
What's been your most memorable night at The Gates? The opening because I combined it with my birthday party -- it was really great.
If you're not at your own place, what other spots would we most likely find you when you're out on the town? Really haven't been on the town much because I'm so busy with The Gates, but I hear Boom Boom Room is really cool. Until recently I would go out with my girlfriend -- who is now my ex girlfriend -- to different restaurants. I enjoyed The Dressler, Upstairs, and Resto.
What's the shelf-life of a club or lounge in Manhattan, and what are ways to ensure its longevity? Elimination of at least 80 percent of all promoters. I started as a promoter and would get paid according to what I generated in terms of revenue. Today, everyone is a promoter and they don't care about anything but getting paid regardless of whether they make the venue money or not. I have never seen anything like it, it's unbelievable. I guess it's because of the supply or saturation of so many places and the fact that the economy is really bad. This is where the idea for the Ambassador program originally came from. Low overhead and a good location will help ensure survival.
What can we expect during The Gates' sophomore year? I'm going to start throwing once a month events. I may take the skin party and do it after dinner at The Gates starting Saturday, August 7, and every Saturday thereafter. Still in talks.