Avenue Remembers Spy Bar's High Bar

by BILLY GRAY · February 19, 2010

Noah Tepperberg and friends packed Avenue last night to toast Spy Bar's 15th anniversary. And although some revelers were too green to have experienced the Soho classic firsthand, the "old faces" were happy to fill them in. Unsurprisingly, the wizened vets had the best time of anyone there.   

Tepperberg fondly recalled earning his nightlife stripes at Spy Bar, the dearly missed hangout that informed his subsequent ventures like Marquee, Tao and Avenue. He wasn't the only one wowed and influenced by the venue. "Spy Bar was the place we all hung out when we were 21 and getting out first grownup taste of New York," he told me, the "we" referring to him and peers like Lizzie Grubman (who got her start in PR at Spy and tottered into Avenue last night encased in the most form-fitting miniskirt this side of a Beyonce video).

Another Spy Bar alum's nostalgia was lost on a willowy young Russian brunette sharing a smoke with him outside. But he echoed Tepperberg's sentiments about Spy Bar's utter domination of the mid-'90s night ("There hasn't been a singular place to be like that since") to other nearby chimneys who were eager to listen.

Back inside, music ranged from Bob Marley to Ke$ha to Prince (Sidenote: Do not accuse a man claiming to be the DJ as he cuts ahead of you in the bathroom queue of lying unless you are really sure he's not the DJ. Sorry, DJ.)

Hefty drink prices ($19 for Maker's on the rocks) did not recall the '90s. But nightlife fixtures like dandy doorman Wass Stevens (gatekeeper at Sky Bar, Marquee and others and co-star of World Trade Center)  and Tepperberg (who, peering through Avenue's entrance window to pick who among the clamoring crowd would get in, recalled Steve Rubell and Spy Bar co-owner Kelly Cole in equal measure) made the scene feel timeless.