The scene at Merkato 55.
Further to our profile of the brunch scene at Merkato 55, the Times checks in with neighbor Bagatelle, where the doorman is a little stricter so the Champagne poppers are a little … classier. For instance, there’s the laid-off gossip-magazine reporter who says: “It’s like, ‘What recession?’ … Look around. Do you see a recession?” A cocktail waitress adds: “You always think, ‘The economy is hitting today.’ By 7 p.m., you’re like, ‘What crisis?’” But let it be known, investment bankers are feeling the effects. Says one of the gatekeepers, Remi Laba: “Instead of having the $10,000 to $15,000 to spend on a Saturday afternoon, they might spend $2,000 to $3,000. Which is fine.” Indeed one banker is coping heroically: “If you’d asked me in October, I’d say it’d be a different situation, and I don’t think I’d be here. Then the government gave us $10 billion.” Aww. Remember the ending of Bright Lights, Big City, where the harsh light of day makes the laid-off editorial assistant see the error of his ways? These days, dude would’ve crawled straight to Bagatelle.
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