Riding the Mechanical Bull With Curbed, Eating Shrimp With Gothamist, and Senior Rock and Roll With ‘The New Yorker’

Santa
Photo: Photo Illustration: Everett Bogue;
Photos: Getty Images (santa), iStockphoto (suit)

This is a big week for office holiday parties, and it kicked off last night with events for Curbed, Gothamist, and The New Yorker. Both Web parties took place downtown, both had open bars, but only one was kind enough to actually invite us — we stopped by both nonetheless. For the New Yorker party, a spy sent us a brief report to slake our endless thirst for weak specialty cocktails. After the jump, our continuing coverage of your most revealing moments, honest conversations, and miscalculated flirtations. For what is an office holiday party but the corporate equivalent of overhearing someone you know having sex?

Gothamist. When we slipped into Ideya to crash the Gothamist.com holiday party last night, we were shocked to run into not one, not two, not three, but zero people we knew. Which is sad and all, because we work in a similar field. But we were quickly cheered by the open bar of sangria, assorted cocktails, and bottled beer. Since everyone seemed to be drinking a Presidente (so Caribbean and fitting!), we snagged one at the bar. "Sometimes, I plant errors in posts just because certain people go crazy," we heard a guy confess behind us. "That's me!" replied a girl with a cocktail. General laughter. "An open beer bar forgives a lot of sins," the lady blogger sighed. Bottoms up! In the back, by the coat check, a table of food had been nearly eviscerated. Delicious, pickly Cuban sandwiches sat on a tray near some wrap sandwiches, right next to what appeared to be the dregs of a giant shrimp cocktail. Bloggers, always suckers for a shrimp. Every table had a generous plate of nachos, which angered us (where are all the fucking free nachos when we're actually paying to eat in Soho?), and the small restaurant was packed to the brim with twenty- and thirtysomething multiethnic revelers. When a Gothamist photographer noticed that we were standing suspiciously alone at the bar and began taking pictures, we bolted for the door. As we hurried out, we were impressed. Aside from a cute Asian dude in the back on his BlackBerry, everyone was so wrapped up in happy conversation, they didn't notice the creepy tall guy trying to eavesdrop. The hallmark of a truly fun party!

Verdict: Food: 4 (yummy sandwiches, hearty passed hors d'oeuvre); drink: 3; venue: 3 (cute but perhaps too small?); debauchery: 1; exclusivity: 3 (no one at the door — what if a non-blogger wandered in??).

Curbed. It was with no small amount of irony that the Curbed Network — consisting of the city-specific blogs Curbed.com, Eater.com, and Racked.com — chose to host their holiday celebration at Mason Dixon, the Lower East Side's chilling new bar that boasts a mechanical bull. While the venue is precisely the sort that prompted Curbed to nickname the neighborhood "Hell Square," the company put its prejudices aside just long enough to enjoy the open bar and complimentary bull rides. The crowd spent much of the night suspiciously eyeballing the bull, and whether or not one was going to go for a ride made for a constant conversation topic. But once the drinks were flowing and company management subjected themselves to a few rounds atop the bull's unforgiving back, several partygoers found themselves lined up for a ride — including venture capitalist Fred Wilson (his wife Joanne is a Curbed investor), who proved himself to be a surprisingly talented cowboy. Gawker's Joshua David Stein was the only rider to land on his feet, however, in a night of many physical and emotional face-plants.

Verdict: Food: 0 (best to ride the bull on an empty stomach); drink: 3 (your basic selection, no frills attached); venue: 3 (points awarded solely on bull-ride basis); debauchery: 2; exclusivity: 1 (invite-only, but no one checking a guest list at the door).

Bonus: The New Yorker. So we didn't actually attend the New Yorker party at Hill Country, but we did have a mole on the inside, who reported that Malcolm Gladwell's "holiday hair was of average height" and that "they were passing trays of margaritas and Lone Stars." The hors d'oeuvre were just fine — sausages, guacamole, chicken taquitos — then there was a full buffet of salad, coleslaw, mac 'n' cheese, green-bean casserole, baked beans, corn bread, and all kinds of meat. And then cupcakes and mini pecan pies for dessert, which sounds lovely. The after-party was at Old Town Bar and the after-after-party (The New Yorker, who knew?) was at Blue Ribbon Sushi. Also, a band called the Defibrillators played. A brief Internet search explains that they are a senior-citizen country band who will "keep you Dancin' and Hummin' all the way to your next colonoscopy."

Verdict: Food: 5 (four points for thematic choices and one point for "all kinds of meat"); drink: 4; venue: 4; debauchery: 2 (we can't vouch for the wild and crazy late-night sushi extravaganza); exclusivity: 4.

Earlier: Inside the Viacom Holiday Party: Screw It, Let's Get Wasted

Update: As was astutely pointed out in the Comments section, the band was not, in fact, the Defibrillators, but actually the DEFIBULATORS (you can understand our confusion). We apologize for the error!