As You May Have Guessed, Azza Is Only Alright

by SAMANTHA QUEEN · March 2, 2008


    This Friday night I had the opportunity to choose between sitting at home and waiting for a guy to call me, while (of course) wallowing in self-pity, or meeting some friends at Azza, Midtown East’s resident North African-themed restaurant and lounge. What with appearances by Scarlett Johansson and, err, Lance Bass, along with chef Stephen Ferdinand, formerly of Le Cirque and Aquavit, I figured it was a respectable choice for a Friday girls’ night out. I didn’t try the food since I rolled up late-night, but the space is pretty sweet. The décor is high-quality –well-appointed and high on detail – an attribute that is lacking in more than a few similarly-themed places. Décor aside, something about it reminded me of Tunnel, which I frequented in my wayward youth, circa 1996. Maybe it was the pot smoke emanating from a dark corner over yonder; maybe it was the narrow, couch-lined space, which brought back hazy memories of the long, narrow room off the main floor at Tunnel; maybe it was the gaggle of B&T pumping fists in front of the DJ booth. Actually, they weren’t around in 1996. The world was a better place then.

    Aside from the B&T crowd, there was an eclectic mix of people that were good for people watching, if nothing else. Since we were in Midtown on a Friday, there were obviously a few old suits and a random assortment of yuppies, mixed in with moneyed foreigners, hipsters (young and old), and some women who appeared to be in-house prostitutes. I was intrigued by the poker table in the back room (“Are they playing for money?”), as it contributed to an overall vibe of international illegitimacy. Between the gambling, the hookers, the pot, the indoor cigarette smoking, the moneyed internationals, and the exotic décor, there were moments where I felt like an extra in the Bourne Retirement, which we suspect is filming in Midtown.

    Anyway, I’d say that it would have been an enjoyable experience IF:

    The DJ didn’t suck balls. We counted four Brittany Spears songs and four Michael Jackson songs over the course of three hours. I could still count, so clearly I wasn’t drunk enough for the playlist. I can groove to some Michael Jackson remixes, but the strong presence of Brittany crossed a line that no respectable lounge should cross. If I want to hear that shiz, I’ll go to a frattier place on the UES or around Washington Square. *sigh* There’s nothing worse than incompetence in the DJ booth.

    The moneyed foreigners, go-go dancers, and B&T crowd weren’t so big on pushing. I watched a go-go dancer unnecessarily SHOVE my friend away from her pedestal before she climbed up to resume her ongoing hoochie dance. Granted, if I were dressed in nothing but some hot pink spandex that crossed my chest, covering only a small section of my breasts before winding around my body, and finally attaching to some matching boy shorts that rode far up my ass … well, I’d be a rancid bitch, too. But that is not my station in life, which is fortunate for me (as a side note, I was offered a “position” as go-go dancer when I was 15, but turned down the opportunity; hence, why I am particularly thankful for having dodged that bullet).

    The drinks had been more potent than, say, water. I have no idea how much they cost, because I had a sugar mamma for the evening, but I can’t believe they were less than $12 a pop. I realize that $12 isn’t so expensive for Midtown, what with The Fives charging $22 a drink, the Four Seasons charging $20 a drink, and Bryant Park and Hudson Cafeteria charging upwards of $14 per drink. That being said, I still wouldn’t pay $12 for water.

    The B&T crowd weren’t so … B&T. My favorite part of the evening was when two guidettes sat on an ottoman in the middle of the dance floor, grinding on each other and pulling up each other’s tops while their boyfriends took pictures. There’s nothing like idiocy and degradation to harsh my mellow

    So that’s about it. Granted, my experience is limited to a Friday night, so take that for what it’s worth. Would I go back? Not unless I was already in the area and with a group that unwaveringly favored the place. Was it better than sitting at home and wallowing in self-pity? If only for the people watching and the chance to pretend I was an international woman of mystery, yes. Yes, it was.