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Monday
Feb232009

An Evening At: Above Allen

A boutique hotel in the Lower East Side with an exclusive lounge that is in soft opening mode now, soon to be open only to guests and card carrying members. Been there, done that. But we decided it was our duty to check out Above Allen, the new lounge at the Thompson Lower East Side, to see if this was just more of the same, or if the space could distinguish itself as unique in a crowded field. The verdict? Dare we say a success? We dare. The greatest aspect of the lounge is its location 7 stories above ground, allowing its guests to seemingly hover above Allen St (get it), with breathtaking western views of Lower Manhattan and Midtown. The music was good, the scene was lively late into the evening, and the drinks, while on the expensive side, were certainly not eye gouging ($6 beer, $11 cocktails).

The hassles were relatively minor. Getting inside was a chore, because the doorman was perched in the lobby and had to lead every approved party upstairs in a crowded elevator. Tables were reserved, but loosely, in that we sat at several throughout the night when they were not occupied, and were never asked to leave. Coat check was mandatory, although there were people with coats everywhere.

But all of these things can be filed as growing pains for a new club that will soon transition into members mode. So we suggest you make an effort to head down to Allen and Houston before they pull the member lever, at least to experience the view. And stay for a drink or two while you're at it.

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Reader Comments (11)

i was there on a thurs night 2 or 3 weeks ago. i had diner at Shang and wanted to check out the space. No one at the bar or restaurant on the 2nd floor had any idea if it was open or not, or how to get access. Same goes for everyone in the lobby. I finally just asked a housekeeper to swipe her card in the elevator to get to the 7th floor (which she probably shouldn't be doing, but did anyway.) When i got in it was a little after 11 and there was a total of 3 people there, yet they had velvet ropes set up. in my opinion the space was fine, nothing to write home about and not worth the gymnastics it takes to get in.

February 23, 2009 at 03:05PM | Unregistered Commenterreally?

New Year's Eve was fun there. Neil Aline and crew spin there on Wednesdays (seem to have moved from 105 Riv to Submercer to here?)

February 23, 2009 at 03:58PM | Unregistered Commenterwell...

HAH...! Another membership lounge, ask how that worked out for Eldridge and Milk and Honey. Good time to limit your revenues to people who may or may not pay a membership fee in the depths of a recession. The inestors will be happy to hear about this one. They better be getting used to the 3 people sitting at the bar rather than trying to keep a velvet rope and card access to the 7th floor. Give it 3 months before they open it up when they see everyone flocking to the thousand other rooftops lounges once the weather warms up.. what dont these people get!? nobody gives a shit about private memberships anymore..

February 23, 2009 at 04:39PM | Unregistered CommenterKingAdRock

Its tough to have a club operating on the 7th floor with eventual B&T wanting to get inside every Friday and Saturday night. It's not a real revenue generator, or hopefully won't need to be, when the hotel is fully operational and is charging a lot of money for guests. It's not their for cool factor, it's there to be the hotel bar.

February 23, 2009 at 05:08PM | Unregistered CommenterHotel Member

yea cause the hotel guests are going to want to spend their entire stay inside a hotel and not trek out into the manhattan scene... your going to get the pre dinner rush, be dead from 9 oclock on... and maybe get some straggelers coming in all drunk after a night out. Good job.. way to forecast.

February 23, 2009 at 05:39PM | Unregistered CommenterKingAdRock

KingAdRock, while I agree in some circumstances with your point I think you slightly misinterpret what Above Allen was designed to be, that being something that is more analagous to 60 Thompson's rooftop bar (which has remained a members only bar since inception) rather than the Eldridge, hence why they intend to close early and remain more of a lounge where one starts their night than a club where one is more likely to end it. Those lines are blurry, granted, but if you never set out to have people buying bottles in the first place and aren't hiring promoters and the like you are inherently creating a very different sort of venue.

February 23, 2009 at 06:24PM | Unregistered CommenterColin

this place looks straight outta the 90's...what's up with the furniture? I'm sure the picture doesn't do it justice...at least I hope that's the case!

February 24, 2009 at 12:50PM | Unregistered Commenterplatinumgirl76

I stopped by here a few weeks ago to check it out and the place was empty. The music was some sort of lounge/elevator remix, and the decor seemed very outdated and in bad choice. I had to comment on this since I can't imagine why anyone would want to go here...ever.

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