Sushi With ‘The New Yorker’; Pad Thai With ‘Allure’

Another December night in New York, another round of company Christmas parties. Last night our roving party reporter Julia Allison hit The New Yorker's annual fête — where she was allowed inside! — and Allure's far more subdued affair. After the jump, her reviews, complete with our four-category, scale-of-1-to-5, vaguely Zagatian party ratings. (Spoiler: The New Yorker won.)

The New Yorker threw its annual holiday party at Lure Fishbar in Soho last night, and the venue was the perfect size — just crowded enough to feel celebratory but not crowded enough to suffocate. Tweed-attired literati mixed with young-Turk assistants, long-serving editors, perky ad reps, and loopy cartoonists, and everyone was in extremely high spirits, perhaps buoyed by the more-than-liberal flow of alcohol (or perhaps by the two separate oyster and sushi bars). "It's the only event the entire year where advertising and editorial get together in the same room," one guy noted. "We don't have much to say to each other." We spotted Malcolm Gladwell and his hair from across the room; he was dressed in a black suit and gray striped tie and clutching a glass of water. How did this party compare to his other holiday events? "I have nothing intelligent to say," he insisted. We were skeptical. "I haven't had anything to drink yet." Two convivial cartoonists who clearly had sat howling with laughter at a banquette. What would a cartoon of the party look like? "Beetle Bailey lying down, with Xs over his eyes and champagne bubbles from his lips," said one. Both dissolved into giggles. Anything noteworthy about the party? "I tried the clam chowder, but I noticed that as I ate the final clam, it turned to Wrigley's Spearmint gum," said the other. Talking to New Yorker cartoonists is like reading a New Yorker cartoon: It can be difficult to figure out what the joke is. One lanky guest said he'd just confessed his admiration to Lillian Ross. "She said, 'Do you? Because the last person who said that spilled an entire beer on me.'" The party's scheduled 10 p.m. end came and went, and still they partied on. "It's not like the dinner dances they used to have at the Plaza," sniffed a 30-year vet. "But it's pretty good."
Verdict: Food: 5 (if you like raw fish; if not: 1); drink: 5; venue: 3.5; debauchery: 4.5 (for nerdy types; for anyone else: 2); exclusivity: 4

• Over in the meatpacking district, beauty-tip loving Allure employees mixed at Double Seven, the same club that will host brother pub GQ later this week. (Did Condé — uncharacteristically — go for a volume discount?) With under a hundred guests — "80 percent women, 18 percent gays, and 2 percent me," said one apparently straight male guest — and strictly limited to employees, very little rambunctious behavior ensued. Indeed, some groused that it wasn't enough of a "scene." "It was a typical meatpacking-district, loungy bar, very dark," one Nastie said. "It wasn't crowded, and there were no celebrities — really just people who work at the mag." Editor-in-chief Linda Wells, perfectly blonde and perfectly dressed, held court while her staffers, apparently "not drinking much," munched on pad Thai and beef salad served in boxes with chopsticks. "It was very sedate, very mellow," said a guest. "Although it was a schmooze fest." Aren't they all?
Verdict: Food: 3.5; drink: 3; venue: 2.5; debauchery: 1; exclusivity: 3.5