Here’s a theory for creating buzz at a party: Invite one big-name guest, only one, and simply have him just kind of hang around (or her, obviously, I mean, it’s 2008).
That theory was put forward to me last night by a publicist at the opening party of Apothéke, Albert Trummer’s new medieval-medical-treatment-themed bar in the very unlikely location of Chinatown on the little-known street of Doyers, which juts off of Pell and dumps out onto Bowery.
It’s a solid four blocks away from Winnie’s, which Thrillist’s David Blend guessed was the closest bar.
Four blocks might not seem far away if you don’t live in New York, but if you do, and you’re out drinking late at night, four blocks could be another planet.
So it’s a destination bar. Good thing Albert Trummer’s a famous cocktail maker — famous as cocktail makers go, at least.
The party was reasonably well attended as far as I could tell, mostly with people I didn’t know who were younger, taller, and better looking than I, which is what you want at a bar. A bongo player was doing his thing off to one side, riffing off of the canned music that was not quite drowning out conversation.
I hope the air-conditioner was on the fritz, because the last party I’d been to that was so stifling was the Beard Awards after-party at Bar Boulud.
And that’s interesting, because the one big-name guest (or the one that I recognized — maybe there were famous supermodels or DJs, or actors that I didn’t notice) was chef Daniel Boulud.
Coincidence? Well, yes. Of course.
A very tall and stupid blond woman stepped on me as I was trying to get a drink, but those are the perils of Fashion Week, which starts today. And really it was a friendly crowd, the drinks were creative and the bouncer was British. That, Daniel and a bongo. What more could you ask for?
Air-conditioning, I suppose, but nothing’s perfect.
Besides, I was already well-fed and slightly buzzed, having dined at Felidia with the publicist from the Peanut Advisory Board. She loves the chef there, Fortunato Nicotra, and he often submits recipes to her annual contest (recently he entered a dish of penne pasta with speck, radicchio and peanut pesto). We sat at the bar and basically ate the entire bar menu, plus whatever Fortunato felt like sending out, including a sort of peanut-butter-and-jelly flatbread topped with chocolate-cured foie gras.
Chocolate and foie gras might be a trend worth looking into. Pichet Ong was doing that at P*ong when I ate there recently: Foie gras with pineapple and an almost burnt dark chocolate crisp.
Fortunato also sent out seasonal things like batter-fried squash blossoms and stuffed zucchini, and cured ham with a mustard-peach sauce — obviously a play on traditional mostarda and something Fortunato does often, changing the fruit according to season.
Apothéke had seasonal drinks, too, including a watermelon Margarita — although I had watermelon-and-vodka instead because he was making that for a wafer-thin model who said she couldn’t “do” tequila.
She was a very nice wafer-thin model, who passed on to me a cocktail that had peppers and dill and other things that she deemed simply to be weird.
That was good news for me, because the bar had just run out of ice.