How Is This Recession REALLY Affecting NYC's Nightlife?

by Rachelle Hruska · February 17, 2009

[Balloons fill the dance floor at Nikki Beach, Midtown.  Photo via our Inbox]

With our city well into the recession, it's time to take another look about how it is affecting our city's nightlife.  Many people I've discussed this topic with (including Steve Lewis 5 minutes ago), tend to think that we are on the VERGE of the next wave of decent nightlife.  Marc Jacobs has even caught the trend, channeling the good old '80s at his show yesterday, a time of bold fashion statements and even bolder parties and venues.  "The party last night at Greenhouse (The Tracy Reese after party) was insane.  It was cool, sexy and fresh.  People everywhere are out again, I feel like the clubs are finally becoming "cool" again, like I'm back in 1985." Exclaims Steve.  But what does this recession really mean?

One thing's for sure, nothing NEW has opened for quite some time.  That is an obvious observation.  But here are some other trends that we have noticed:

The smaller bars are staying afloat.  From the local watering holes in Murray Hills that are able to offer ridiculous recession prices on beer, to the college bars around NYU with strong sports followings, to the LES dive bars...if they're serving cheap beer, they are packing in the crowds.  In fact, they are doing better than fine, they are having to TURN PEOPLE AWAY.  Don't believe us? Just take a stroll down Ludlow street on a given Friday night.  People need to drink their sorrows away, and many of them need are doing it via Pabst Blue Ribbon, not at Soho's Blue Ribbon.

The large venues and well established clubs are also doing fine. 1Oak's line is still out the door, people continue to flock to Cipriani's on Sunday nights, and, with the right promoters, even places like Greenhouse and Mr. West are staying alive.  Merkato 55 has done upwards of $75k in profit on a given afternoon.  People are still wanting to go out and party, and they are willing to pay, they're just able to be a bit more picky about where they go...

Which leaves the venues that fall in the middle (like Nikki Beach, 49 Grove, Sway, etc).  Though more research is needed, the fact that there are large promotional gigs happening nightly at these places (the photos below are from "Balloon Night" at Nikki Beach, tell us one thing: They are struggling for guests.

[Bears And Bulls Make Money, Clubs Get Slaughtered?]