There was a time in New York City's history, back in the heady days of "a few years ago," when nightlife queen Amy Sacco's life was a worthy item of gossip. She was at the center of an entire universe of celebrities at their most glittering. Today, she's worth chronicling mostly as the living embodiment of the transience of nightlife fame. And a new profile of her in Page Six Magazine (by former Gawker-er Joshua David Stein) can be seen as a grand requiem for Sacco and her Bungalow 8-driven empire. Nothing lasts forever... Sacco's rise to fame is familiar by now. She's just a Jersey girl who came to New York City, worked in the restaurant business, and made some important friends who eventually bankrolled her first club, Lot 61. She hit her peak with the opening of Bungalow 8 in 2001, which succeeded in turning the once-barren area of West Chelsea into the club capital of New York-to the point of destroying the exclusivity and isolation of the neighborhood that helped attract the top models and A-list celebrities to Sacco's clubs in the first place. But Sacco's more recent history is one of unmistakable decline. She opened a Bungalow 8 in London, which received (and still receives) a tepid reception from the locals. Bette, the restaurant Sacco opened as a "neighborhood joint" near her own Chelsea apartment, closed without warning earlier this summer. She got a slew of nightlife and image consulting jobs that, while lucrative, aren't nearly as glamorous as her former life as an NYC tastemaker. And she says she's simply getting tired of it all:
Joshua David Stein brings us some breaking news in Page Six mag: Amy Sacco is no longer the queen of New York nightlife! No one goes to Bungalow 8 anymore; her restaurant, Bette, shuttered last month; and Sacco is now spending much of her time in London, where she dates a British chef and oversees a Bungalow offshoot (which, one of Stein's interviewees says, is less cool than the "club lounge at Heathrow Airport.") But it's even worse than that, according to Stein:
1) The 303's new gallery in Chelsea was christened last night with a performance by The Virgins and partiers Lisa Spellman, Kirsten Dunst, Matt Creed, Thurston Moore, Serge Becker, Anna Sui, Byrdie Bell, Cynthia Rowley, Poppy de Villeneuve, Genevieve Jones, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld and Magnus Berger (left), Jessica Stam, Marilyn Minter, Sean MacPherson, and Rogan Gregory. [PMc/FWD]
Amy Sacco, the former NYC nightlife queen whose reign on top is now (we believe) pretty much over, still has a bunch of fans at BlackBook magazine. In a new interview-one that describes Sacco in glowing terms that would have been more appropriate three years ago-she talks up her Bungalow 8 club in London. Sure, it had a rough start, and hasn't gotten the greatest reviews, but she points out that "we have a hundred more bathrooms than in New York, so, fabulous!" Ha, [cocaine joke]. But what do Sacco's customers in London have to say in their own reviews?
Is this the end of Amy Sacco? We're going to say it is. The onetime NYC nightlife queen's restaurant Bette in Chelsea—formerly considered a complement to her club Bungalow 8, a food-and-fun empire that would never be destroyed—is closed. No big to-do; just a lock on the door, and the end of an era. What happened?
1) At the Harold Pratt House, the New Yorkers For Children Fall Gala was previewed with a Tuesday night gathering of Campion Platt, Andre Leon Talley, Jeffrey Kalinsky, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Dayssi Olarte De Kanavos, Douglas Hannant, Kate Schelter, Katie Lee Joel, Derek Blasberg, Debbie Bancroft, Joy Bryant, Daniel Benedict and Andrew Saffir, Annelise Peterson, Jamee Gregory, Fern Mallis, Jennifer Creel, Fabiola Beracasa, Oscar De La Renta, Thakoon Panichgul, Tom Florio, Zac Posen, Zani Gugelmann, Lauren Santo Domingo, Phillip Lim, Heather Mnuchin, and Peter Som. [Guest of a Guest]
Bungalow 8 founder and Manhattan nightclub soothsayer Amy Sacco is being humble! "Most everything's overrated [about NYC nightlife]," she says. "Even I'm overrated!" She thinks that London is now "much more interesting than NYC." Funny, because last time we checked in on her London branch of Bungalow 8, local reviewers were calling it "empty." Surely those days are past? Well, recently they haven't been calling it empty, exactly—just overpriced, overcharging, and helmed by an ill-mannered doorman!:
Amy Sacco's launch of a branch club in London last year was taken as another perfectly-timed move by the designated "queen of New York nightlife" (Vanity Fair). The neighborhood of the Amazonian entrepreneur's original Bungalow 8, in the 20s of Manhattan, has been overtaken by cheesy megaclubs, and celebrities have defected to newer, less obviously wanky spots, like the Beatrice Inn. Escape to London, the world's hot megacity of 2007? Brilliant! Except the nightclub business is local; Sacco's London network is thin; the charismatic hostess is rarely there; London's suffering as much as New York from the credit crunch; and the British offshoot, at the St. Martins Lane Hotel, is dead, according to our London friends.
Amy Sacco, mother of Bungalow 8 and once the Glenda the Good Witch of nightlife, not only recently bought a penthouse in a new financial district condo complex called District, she'll create its "lifestyle backbone," according to the sales manager. With units going from from $700K to $4 mil, there better be a lot of backbone—more than just dayroom and free cereal. The sales manager also mentioned mysterious "talks" with restaurateur Steven Starr to open a restaurant in a 12,000 square foot space. When Sacco opened Bungalow, she brought striped shirt FiDi ass-vacuums to Chelsea. Maybe now at least they'll be staying down south where they work—and maybe we'll see just how much Sacco likes them swarming under her window. —Josh
As Amy Sacco either A) fades into middle age and social irrelevance (soon she'll be just a Wikipedia stub) or B) plans a second legendary take-over of the world of nightlife, her underlings are graduating from beneath her. One underlord in particular, the "irrepressible" Bungalow 8 doorman Armin Amiri—protector of the realm and accused bruiser of p(r)etty boy Fabian Basabe—is set to open his own spot, called Socialista. It will apparently juxtapose Castro kitsch with Veblenian conspicuous consumption, down at Jane and the West Side Highway. "I believe in a healthy balance of capitalism and a socialism," he tells Spencer Morgan. So chin up, Amy Sacco—in case you ever need it, surely there's a dacha for your dotage in the offing.
Remember when we gently ribbed Bung 8 owner Amy Sacco for ranting to New York about how "cash is king, and I'm an ATM machine. Amy takes money. I've done enough charity. I've supported. I need to get off the broom and on the G5"? We didn't know quite what she was getting at then, but a juicy little missive in the tipline this morning has cleared things up a bit: