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Smackdown: Scenester Clubs

Illustration by Dan Woodger  
  • Le Baron
    André Saraiva’s new three-story Mulberry Street den of revelry.
    32 Mulberry St., nr. Mosco St.
    The grimy strip club turned grimy nightspot.
    75 Clarkson St., nr. West St.; 212-620-0101

    Le Baron: The pink-hued lighting, salaciously clever wallpaper, and comfy couches evoke a brothel minus the sinister undertones
    Westway: The old strippers’ runway and dance floor are what pass for ambience in an intentionally pared-down space

    Le Baron: Pleasantly odd French tunes and pop surprises cut with happy house

    Westway: A bar mitzvah’s worth of crowd-pleasing tracks. So. Much. Rihanna

    Drink Availability
    Le Baron: Two bars on two floors keep lines to a minimum
    Westway: Two bars and generous pours

    Model Approachability
    Le Baron: Tables can sometimes create barriers to introduction
    Westway: A delightfully democratic free-for-all

    The Line
    Le Baron: Tough but reasonable— if you dress well, don’t arrive in a group that resembles a walking frat party, wait patiently in line, and aren’t rude to impossibly handsome, smoldering doorman Will, you may still not make it in, but you’ll be treated with respect
    Westway: Also tough but reasonable. Fancy clothes and commitments to spend heavily are not particularly valued— just be polite and wait your turn

    Cab Coverage
    Le Baron: There are taxis out front, but if you’re there especially late, you may find yourself scouring Pell Street or Doyers Street for a ride home
    Westway: Plenty of cabs on Clarkson Street, plus it’s not far to Greenwich Street or Hudson Street, where you’ll find leagues of cabs and cars fleeing the meatpacking district

    Nothing against Westway, whose seedy, dancy vibe can make for a great night, but Le Baron is a blockbuster: extravagantly envisioned and perfectly executed.

From the 2012 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine