It helps that Paul Sevigny and his Beatrice crew have taken over Tuesday nights at the just-opened Chelsea venue. Last night the playlist was the same as the Beatrice -- retro pop staples like "Laid" by James and The Knack's "My Sharona" -- and regulars like Purple's Olivier Zahm, actor Brady Corbet and artist Aaron Young mixed with hordes of young models and bearded chaps in Panama hats. The only thing missing was charm. Perhaps it was the slickness of the place, billed as a "lounge" to avoid the usual tired bottles and banquette associations. (The club is the latest venture from Noah Tepperberg, the guy behind Marquee and Tao). True--the tables are open for all comers, but the Beatrice regulars I was with complained about Avenue's $12 Coronas and generic feel. Whereas the Beatrice had the feeling of a nook-and-crannied gentleman's clubhouse gone to seed, complete with armchairs belonging to Sevigny's father, the super-sized Avenue is stuffed with brand-new leather club chairs, slick lighting and a glass balconied VIP area for better people-watching.
---What nightspot do you think will end up being the successor to the Beatrice Inn? Comment below. ----
And the bathrooms -- legendary loci of misbehavior at the Bea -- are fiercely guarded at Avenue by an attendant who hands you a single paper towel to take in with you. Communist bloc chic? (Not that I minded so much that she kept things in order in the queue).
So far, Sevigny and his staff have been able to draw their loyal and curious crowds. Whether they'll come back remains to be seen.
UPDATE: Apparently Avenue is actually something called a "gastro lounge," according to reps for the new hotspot. The difference between that and a nightclub? Well, a nightclub has a cabaret license -- which legally allows dancing -- and doesn't serve food.
Hungry revelers at Avenue can order up miso-glazed Chilean sea bass, Angus filet of beef skewers, lobster rolls and tuna tartare. But by the looks of the crowd on Tuesday, not too many people are wasting their time eating.