Midtown Looking More And More Like Downtown

by BILLY GRAY · January 29, 2010

    We recently told you about the delightfully stodgy Le Cirque's attempts to gets its groove on with late night parties for a non-AARP crowd. Now, downtown mixology (shudder) and speakeasy pioneer Sasha Petraske is taking his act to the land of the grey flannel suit.

    Petraske's latest cocktail haven will be called Hi-Note (or The Hi-Note). It will open at 39th and Lexington (right by Grand Central and not much else of note) hopefully within two months (he's currently in need of funding). There will be a piano! Naturally, the Mad Men comparisons have already begun.

    Known for his constellation of downtown bars with stiff drinks (Milk & Honey, East Side Company, White Star, Little Branch), Petraske soured on the area after a contentious licensing battle (over a coffee bar no less) with the priggish Community Board 3 of the Lower East Side.

    Anyway, Le Cirque and Petraske aren't the first downtowners who've risked nosebleeds to cross 14th Street. Zany designer (and former Warhol party girl) Betsy Johnson cartwheeled north to a new apartment and told Michael Musto that "uptown is the new downtown." And foulmouthed pig butt purveyor David Change recently extended his Momofuku empire beyond the East Village, to the Chambers Hotel. Not to mention April Bloomfield's The Breslin in Chelsea's Ace Hotel (Chelsea being a nominal midtown neighborhood with a downtown state of mind).

    God knows the area around 39th and Lexington is a bit of a nightlife dead zone, so we wish Petraske luck in 1) getting investors into the party and 2) keeping Murray Hillbilly investment bankers from dominating it.

    (Photos via Fork In The Road and NYMag)