Bar Artisanal and 675 Bar aren't the only new venues making splashy debuts at the Tribeca Film Festival. On May 8, Danny Kane and Rod Surut (Naked Lunch, Gemini Lounge) will reopen one of the city's truly lavish spaces, the former Biltmore Room (the marble walls alone have been valued at $2.4 million) as a "super luxury restaurant/bar," the Gates. Promotional director Redd Stylez (Home, Guest House, Cain) is overseeing an "ambassador" program that awards keys (the lockets double as pens or bracelets and don't actually open the front gates, which used to belong to the Biltmore Hotel in midtown) to 125 members of the "New York City elite." (Names of charter members aren't being released, but model Jessica Stam is having her birthday there.) Those ambassadors can use a computer program (which Kane says took 2,000 hours to build) to add five to ten "members" who will then be allowed to show up with guests.
During a recent pre-opening party for HBO's Grey Gardens, Kane (who compares his place to GoldBar, Rose Bar and a "mini Capitale") told us, "We're going to try to take as much guesswork out of the doorman as possible," meaning the gatekeeper (who we're assured will be one of the city's top five) will give preference to members (they'll carry a golden swipe card that allows them to earn back money, or generate donations for charity, as they spend -- eliminating the need for promoters).
As for the food and beverage program, waitresses in Maggie Norris corsets and pencil skirts will serve $16 drinks such as "the Ambassador" (the cocktail consultant is Paolo Vodtano). The bar will be open Tuesday through Sunday for after-work drinks, and Kane issues a familiar line about bottle service: "We're going to offer it, but we're not going to be driven by it." He says he wanted the food menu, below, to be "very simple, like the Royalton lobby menu." Here's what you can expect to eat if you make it past the gates.
Bacon and Oyster Hushpuppies, Tabasco Tartar Sauce
The Gates High Tea Sandwich, Martini Pickled Cucumber, Whipped Mascarpone and Caviar
"Lobster Thermidor" Grilled Cheese, Smoked Cheddar, Green Apple, Tarragon Mayo
Flat Iron Steak Slider, Roquefort Aioli, Crispy Shallots
Mac n Cheese Lollipops, Champagne Gruyere Fondue
The Gates, 290 Eighth Ave., nr. 25th St.; 212-206-8646