Will Haus Be a Lounge or a Nightclub?

I held this back from the Unofficial Minutes of Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee because I needed to chew on it a bit. And the more I think about it, the clearer it seems.

The owner of Haus, the “mixology lounge” coming to the Canal Room space at W. Broadway and Canal, is Paul Horowitz. (That’s him above, at left.) Here’s his bio, as presented to CB1:

Paul Horowitz of haus bioAnd here’s his Linkedin bio, which I’ll make a PDF because otherwise this post will go on forever. It says he’s “Partner – National Pursuit Leader for Advisory” for PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting. I go into all that because his background would presumably speak to his motives for Haus, which remain rather opaque.

The floor plans (ground floor, first, then basement):

Haus ground floor floor plan Haus basement floor planAccording to the application, Haus will have…

1. A capacity of 348 people, over 3,000 square feet (2,719 in the “dining area & lounge area” and 300 in the “bar area”).

2. There will be 26 tables (with 89) seats in the dining/lounge area, and 21 bar stools in the bar area. That leaves room for 238 people to stand around….

3. They must be standing, because they’re not dancing, because there will be “no dedicated dance floor,” even though Haus will be applying for a cabaret (i.e., dancing) license. As Horowitz’s lawyer said to me the other day, the forthcoming cabaret-license application is just in case people sway a little too much to the DJ’s red-hot beats. That’s my phrase, not his.

4. There will be DJs—in a mezzanine-level booth—and no live music.

5. Haus was asking for closing hours of 4 a.m. every night of the week.

6. Windows open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

7. “Entertainment Level” music, which is different from “Background music,” although I have no idea if it’s State Liquor Authority jargon or just a euphemism for music you can’t talk over.

8. A manager, Carlos Narcisse, who “was the founding partner and creative manager of the very posh AER Lounge located in the Meatpacking District, and the conceptual founder [??? —Ed.] of the Chelsea Room, located within the Chelsea Hotel. Other properties that have benefited from Carlos operational expertise include: Cain, PM Lounge, The Grad, The Empire Room, EVR Lounge, and Pink Elephant NYC.” AI haven’t been to any of those places—my nightlife days are long over—but I’m pretty sure they were all classic nightclubs and not “lounges.”

9. A security plan, enforced by Forte Security, that includes “a five to nine man team of security officers as needed, this number will be dependent on the event of the night, the team will be directed by a Head of Security designated specifically for The Lounge. The rule normally being 1 security officer per 75 patrons.” Are we supposed to take comfort that Haus feels the need for more than the normal security ratio? “In the event that the lounge has a line forming [outside], those patrons will line up on the south entrance so as not to block the neighbor hotel walkway.” I think this means that the line will go south on W. Broadway, toward Pepolino (and right by the Hazelden Tribeca Twelve post-rehab dorm.) “This line will have a ‘break’ or separation in it so that the patron’s line will begin or restart after any storefront not to block neighbors door ways.”

10. Horowitz calls it a “mixology lounge,” but the menu makes it sound like a very Vegas idea of mixology: Appealing Appletini, Candy Apple Martini, White or Dark Chocolate Martini…. A committee member asked if there would bottle service, and the answer was yes. There’s a limited food menu, too. (See below.)

11. A closer look at the floor plans reveals a “cashier” by the front door, and eight private restrooms, along with a “continuous urinal” (with a lone sink…?).

The committee was divided: Some members thought that what was coming wouldn’t be all that different, and possibly nicer, than the Canal Room (despite the shift from live music to DJs and the availability of bottle service); others thought that it wasn’t entirely clear what was coming—Horowitz’s lack of a nightlife track record offered no clues, and the economics of the huge space might very well necessitate changing the business plan from lounge to dance club. Everyone agreed that that slice of Tribeca isn’t very residential at this time, but serving liquor till 4 a.m. seven nights mornings a week made various folks nervous. They voted on it anyway, and the result was two in favor to three opposed, with one recusal. Then they talked about a compromise, landing on 2 a.m. from Monday through Wednesday and 4 a.m. from Thursday through Sunday (Horowitz pleaded for Sunday, saying there are plans for a “big gay party” on that night), and they could come back in nine months to try again. The vote was 7-0-1.

As you can probably guess from this write-up, I don’t buy for a second that this will be anything other than a nightclub, with dancing as the primary activity (along with drinking). Everything about it screams nightclub, and I would venture that the “pod” (their word) in the middle of the ground floor—where the “non-designated dance floor” will be—breaks down like that. Also, can anyone guarantee that they won’t just shift to bottle service at 1:45 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, leaving people to drink on their own for those last two hours? If I’m wrong about all this a year after Haus opens, I’ll eat my hat drink an Appealing Appletini.

Haus menu

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1 Comment

  1. Come on, Erik, no one ever pulls one over with those rubes at CB1. Sorry, did I say rubes, I meant country bumpkins.