Gawker Hates Holidays and the ‘Observer’ Hates Everyone

Having gorged on the fantasia of Marc Jacobs, it was time to relax, have a beer, and forget all about the holidays. So off went exhausted party reporter Julia Allison to document the anti-holiday Gawker party and the gayer (in both senses of the word) Observer event.

• In nondescript basement of the Belgrade Bar, beneath the newish Soho-Nolita restaurant Martignetti, Nick Denton and his caustic crew of Gawker bloggers (plus alums, groupies, and stray comedian Jim Norton) gathered to celebrate their mordant wit with multiple glasses of alcohol. Though we weren’t quite invited, we did have the address. Since Denton’s parties aren’t exactly known for their tight security, we weren’t surprised that the rest of “getting in” required opening a door and walking down some stairs. “Seventy percent of the people at this party don’t work for this company,” said one disoriented blogger. “Although,” he reconsidered, “everyone’s at home — so even if they did work at Gawker, I wouldn’t know it.” One whiner complained about the lack of holiday cheer. “I’ve been to company parties in the past,” he said, “but this just feels like a night at the bar.” Exactly, said managing editor Lockhart Steele. “The goal was really just for Gawker staff to drink together,” he told us. Pretty high expectations for a company that mostly works remotely. “No, I wouldn’t say we love each other,” said one employee. “But we can’t avoid an open bar hosted by British gay mafia.” Fair enough.
Verdict: Food: 0; drink: 4; venue: 2 (3.5 if you like dark, unventilated spaces); debauchery: 3.5; exclusivity: 1.5.

• Several avenues west of boozy Gawker, the slightly-less-soused-but-infinitely-more-cagey Observer staff came together to celebrate — what else? Their hot new boss! Or, fine, their paper’s “new vision.” The infamously sardonic prepsters crowded onto the purple-velvet couches at 49 Grove for the main event, followed by a (highly attended) after-party at the gay bar Nowhere. Purple velvet and gay bars? What was our favorite salmon paper trying to tell us? A new vision, indeed! With a bouncer still watchful and our party-crashing A-game lagging, we actually waited while a gang of rumpled, tweedy staffers argued in hushed tones over our entrance to the almost-empty event. We finally ignored them and busted downstairs, looking for lanky, baby-faced new owner Jared Kusher. Spotting the Kush among the handful of guests still milling around, we asked what he thought of his very first holiday party as the boss man. “This is fun — people behaving,” he assured us. “But the after-party is where the action really starts.” We went to the after-party. No action appeared to be starting, but perhaps we missed it because we spent two hours listening to George Gurley talk. He was appointed event spokesman by editor Peter Kaplan, so only Gurley would speak to us. We’re not quite sure what he said — something about “If not for Jared’s Christmas party, I would have gone back to Kansas to become a dishwasher”? So Happy Holidays, everyone!
Verdict: Food: 2.5; drink: 4 (4.5 for George Gurley); venue: 3; debauchery: 3 (4 for after-party); exclusivity: 4.