Proprietors: Keith McNally (owner of Odeon), Lynn Wagenknecht (his then-wife), and Nell Campbell (tap-dancing nymph from The Rocky Horror Picture Show; on piano, pictured). Nell presided in transparent shirts, performing cabaret acts. She stood at the peephole and dictated who could enter.
Music: Disco into new wave. It turned into a hip-hop club in the nineties.
Way In: $5 cover on weeknights; $10 on weekends. A limited number of $200 black membership key rings were available.
Crowd: Prince, Bono, Warren Beatty, and Calvin Klein were regulars.
Design: Modeled to look like a glitzy, old-time gentleman’s club.
Scandals: In 1993, Tupac Shakur was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his hotel after she orally pleasured him on Nell’s dance floor.
Proprietors: Noel Ashman and celebs including Chris Noth, Damon Dash, and David Wells. The fast-talking Ashman, a clubgoer since he was 13, used to hit Nell’s “five nights a week.”
Music: Resident D.J. Mark Ronson spun hip-hop, pop, and rock.
Way In: Membership was $1,086.25. Members were allowed to sail past the line. Cover for line-waiters: $25.
Crowd: A-meets-B celebs. David Blaine, Ivanka Trump, Vincent Gallo, Mischa Barton, Carson Daly, and Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Design: Leafy plants, chandeliers.
Scandals: NA closed last summer after a public power struggle between Ashman and two junior investors turned nasty.
The Plumm (Opens later this month)
Proprietors: Noel Ashman returns! Michael Ault, owner of Spy Bar, Pangaea, and Chaos, gets in on the game too.
Way In: No cover! Semi-private membership list, like NA, but without a fee. “My ideal mix would be an underground kid from Williamsburg, some models, a few European aristocrats, socialites, and a hip-hop mogul or two,” says Ashman.
Design: Lots of, um, plum-colored things.
Scandals: Check back after it opens. Next: A CPA Walks Into a Bar…