Around age 16, I became actively aware of the concept of a Gentleman’s Club. To my young mind, this was a mythical heaven where all the joys of life – cigars, alcohol, and naked women – came bundled together, with soft leather seats and dubious pop music (which, at 16, was my genre of choice) as the trimmings.
I’ve found somewhere that not only sounds better when described, but actually lives up to its full potential when visited; unlike the sticky seats and dank smell of the aforementioned clubs.
Imagine, if you will, a large, underground, open-plan room. Give it some nice carpeting, and throw a well-stocked bar with interesting and tasty beers right by the entrance. Make sure there’s a yummy apricot wheat beer on tap whilst you’re at it. We’re just getting started.
Beyond that, place a whole bunch of sofas that you stole from people’s grandmothers’ houses in the dead of night. Not tatty ones covered in cat hair mind you, but the kind of sofas that you can fall asleep in if you relax your guard for so much as a second. In front of these sofas, leave a few board games out – Scrabble, Go, Othello – whatever takes your fancy. Make sure the sofas are arranged so anyone playing a game is pretty much forced to make friends with whoever is sitting nearby. That’s phase 2.
Next up, we need something for the less casual gamers. Paint the remaining tables with chessboard markings and put a bunch of chess sets behind the bar. Throw in a shuffleboard table, a whole host of pool tables and a few ping-pong tables behind some netting. Take a moment to admire your achievement.
We’re still lacking something though, music. Time to sort that out. You see that little area you’ve got to the right that’s currently empty? Throw a stage up on there and get some world-class jazz performers in every night: the $3 cover charge and admirable bar takings should more than cover their fees. Don’t forget the amateurs though: how about a jam night led by a talented and ever-changing house band that runs from half midnight ’til 4am every night of the year? Perfect.
Add a mixed crowd, a great pizza place across the street and you have my new favourite hangout. Fat Cat, Greenwich Village, New York, New York.
I’ll see you there.