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How The Mighty Club Hath Fallen

Just how bad is the club business these days? Let us count the ways.

  • Club owners don't like to say the word club anymore.
  • Bottle service is now taboo. Table service is in.
  • Club owners are turning old clubs into restaurant spaces named after old men.
  • Revenues at Marquee, the best run nightclub in NYC, are down 22% in 2009.
  • Revenues at Room Service, a non-descript club, are down 40%. They peaked in November 2007! 
  • The hottest bar in New York is SuperDive, home to live blogs and keg service.

This isn't an article from the Onion. It's from the Paper of Record, and shows just how desperate club owners are to find a winning formula after the bottom dropped out from their tried and true business model. We say small and exclusive always works, and maybe offer some killer deals to random customers to keep them coming back when the fun times return. Most importantly, it behooves you to Be Different! The lesson of SuperDive is that its better to be original and fail miserably than to copy a successful model and be middle of the road.

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Reader Comments (11)

It kills me to admit this, but you just described the Eldridge, and from what i heard its doing pretty well.
- not a "club"
- table service instead of bottle service
- small and exclusive
- being different
- better to be original

July 13, 2009 at 03:23PM | Unregistered Commenteradmit

Table service = bottle service.

July 13, 2009 at 03:40PM | Registered CommenterDBTH

places like rose bar, eldridge, avenue do table service, not bottle service, people can order drinks and cocktails, that is table service. places like 1Oak do bottle service.

July 13, 2009 at 03:59PM | Unregistered Commenteradmit

gold bar was ahead of the curve on this one (eldridge is a poor imitation), but you could always order drinks at tables in 'bottle sevice' places. i like beer and would order coronas, but they would still make you order bottles, which is akin to charging a very high cover. not much has changed her- it's still nightlife and club owners aren't the smartest. it's all symantics. you're not buying a $275 bottle of vodka at marquee, but rest assured, two rounds for you and three friends at a table with 'table service' will run you the same amount at avenue.

July 13, 2009 at 04:15PM | Unregistered Commenterstua

Wow! How revolutionary! Table Service!

Is this a joke or something? The Eldridge isn't even rthe first bar on Eldridge street to do this. Sasha Petraske was doing this ten years ago at Milk and Honey (and is probably still the best at it).

July 13, 2009 at 08:05PM | Unregistered Commenterteabiscuit

no big deal. people are just trying to figure out how to keep making money in different times is all. no shame in that.

July 13, 2009 at 10:06PM | Unregistered Commentercrumpet

Table Service is just a different way of saying you need to buy bottles. It used to be that they would say ok you have 15 people you need to buy 3-4 bottles ($1500). Now they tell you that each table has a minimum depending on how many people you are and where it's located.

July 13, 2009 at 10:50PM | Unregistered CommenterMoney Making

I agree. Goldbar is the only place that is lasting and still strong. The Eldridge is a joke. The owner with his fake mohawk and ridiculous sweaters could never compete with that place.

July 14, 2009 at 01:32PM | Unregistered Commenterbeeninthisgameforyears

Have you been to Goldbar on a Sunday night? It has turned into Lotus on Sundays, super urban hip-hop crowd. And Goldbar has been losing its luster and door policy seems to be lacking. I am not a fan of Matt Levine, but The Elridge has celebrities there every night, and always a great crowd, sometimes packed, sometimes not a lot of people, but always good, and music is on point, can't hate on that. Goldbar has done its thing, Randolph down the block has good cocktails, but Elridge seems to have the formula.

July 14, 2009 at 03:28PM | Unregistered Commenterto beeninthisgameforyears

I havent been to Eldridge, nor do I really care about going... But it seems to me that it has survived a long enough time that it must be doing ok. Considering that it opened -- when-- last September? And has taken the brunt of the worst economic storm pretty well. I think if it can make it through these times it must have a pretty decent model. Unless of course, it closes in the next few months.

July 14, 2009 at 10:53PM | Unregistered CommenterMaybe Eldridge is Ok?

You have to be open for at least 5 years to be called a success. Being open and on C.O.D for your liqour is not something to brag about. Goldbar? ask the investors how "great" goldbar is doing....

July 16, 2009 at 11:29AM | Unregistered CommenterReality check

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