Thursday, January 26, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: First Look Inside NYC's New XL Gay Lounge & Cabaret Club

Talk about hitting the freelance lottery... Earlier this week, I got an assignment for a press release covering the opening of XL Lounge, Cabaret and Nightclub.

It's the first phase of the $20 million OUT NYC resort complex, which, in addition to XL, comprises a posh three-story, 105-room boutique
Note that the facade spells "OUT"
hotel with three outdoor courtyards, a 24/7 café and upscale restaurant Kitchen 510, business & conference facilities, a wellness center, and function space for major events and weddings.

The 11,000 sf XL space marks the return of nightlife impresarios John Blair and Beto Sutter (with party promoters Brandon Voss and Tony Fornabaio), who have revolutionized the quintessence of NYC gay entertainment for the past three decades, including the iconic '80s Roxy, Palladium, Tunnel, Club USA, Limelight and Splash, as well as nightlife magazine NEXT, JB’s restaurant and, in the millennium, the previous XL bar in Chelsea (which closed in 2006 after five years when they lost their lease).

Located on 42nd Street between 10th and 11th avenues in the heart of New York’s theater district and flanking Hell’s Kitchen “gayborhood,” XL is the first new NYC gay nightclub in 15 years, thanks to a stranglehold on granting new bar licenses in the city.
The focus of my release was XL Cabaret, Sutter’s lovechild, and I spent a couple hours with him Monday, talking about his vision and getting a full tour of the gargantuan, space-age facility.

Here’s how a visitor’s experience progresses: XL Lounge opens at 4 p.m. Three hours later, a dramatic drape opens to reveal the expansive candle-lit Cabaret space—with seating for 200 and standing room capacity for 650—which provides entertainment until 11 p.m. The setting then transforms into the Nightclub, open until 4 a.m.

There's a lot more to the story, which I'll share after the press release has been approved and sent to the masses. Meanwhile, XL opens this weekend—which I have the pleasure of attending... that is, if I can manage to stay awake until the party gets started... at midnight. *