Finally, signs of life at Le Baron, Chinatown! Ok, so it doesn't look like much yet. But trust us, come November, you'll be dying to get into this place.
When Eater reported signs of activity at 32 Mulberry, we took the opportunity to run down and check out the digs ourselves. It's not too flashy so far, but we can't wait to see those stoplights in action. Will they be used as a signal to patrons, flashing Green when it's ok to come in, Orange when there's a line, and Red when it's closed for a private party? That seems like a good way to avoid disasters a la Jane Street, though Chinatown is hardly the sort of neighborhood to produce such haughty complaints.
When Le Baron does open, it's sure to be an instant success. The original was opened by Andre Saraiva in Paris, and has been one of the most exclusive and sought-after clubs in Paris, attracting everyone from the international jet-set, European Royalty, and, perhaps most importantly, no-named hipsters whose presence gives clubs credibility these days. (Think, Don Hill's.)
Following the success of Le Baron in Paris, Saraiva opened a "Le Baron Paris" in Tokyo, which has been equally popular. We have a suspicion the Chinatown version will be the most popular yet: Saraiva's got friends in high places in New York, from DJ's to socialites to nightlife big wig Andre Balazs.
Let's see how the Paris and NYC site locations compare....
Le Baron Paris
Neighborhood: 8th arrondissement, just a 20 minute walk from the Arc de Triomphe, on a fairly unassuming street.
The Building Used To Be: An upmarket brothel (really!)
And Now It's: The hottest speakeasy in Paris, attracting the likes of Mary-Kate Olsen, Leigh Lezark, Erin Wasson, Derek Blasberg, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, and the most beautiful clientele in France.
Le Baron, Chinatown
Address: 32 Mulberry Street
Neighborhood: Chinatown. To call it "unassuming" would be the kindest of euphemisms; there's nothing down there. On the plus side, there's a park across the street, perfect for crowd overflow, and Wo-Hop, the best food in Chinatown, is around the corner.
The Building Used To Be: In the 40s, it was an Italian restaurant called "Moneta's" (hilariously, the neighborhood wasn't even cool back then...). More recently, it was a Karaoke bar.
Capacity: We're thinking more than 150--but not much more.
And Now It's: Well, we can't really tell. But we'll be stopping by frequently, so check back for pictures!
The "Moneta's" sign from the 20s and 30s is still visible on the building, but it might be painted over soon...
The view from across the street.
Wednesday, May 22
We sat down with Anne Pasternak for a few questions about Creative Time's past and future, as well as the importance of having an awareness about public art in the city.