No. Sorry, you can’t come in – you’re not on the list.
For decades this phrase has struck terror in nightclub goers across New York City. Regardless of the night, getting in at the best spots in town without having to beg the doorman was a veritable benchmark of proving one’s connectedness, social status and ‘cool factor’. Failure to accomplish this feat became an indelible mark on one’s reputation and inevitably solicited sideways glances of smug disdain from those trendier souls who breezed in with a congenial flurry of hugs, high fives and cheek kissing.
In NYC, no one understood this dynamic more than guys-about-town Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano. As two of the city’s hottest young promoters, they knew that the door, not a person’s spend inside, was the ultimate social litmus test. Doubling down on this insight they opened their own club, Butter, and imposed a seemingly impossible entry policy – only those in the inner circle need attempt it.
Butter was a resounding success and the parties were legendary; drawing in the likes of J. Lo and Jay Z along with a flurry of socialites and press. But it was really their next venue 1OAK that cemented their place among New York’s heritage of great nightclub hosts like Studio 54’s Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell and Limelights’ Peter Gatiens.
1OAK (short for ‘1 Of A Kind) was a runaway success. Almost immediately it became the centre of NYC’s nightlife – dominating the gossip papers and late night cocktail party conversations across Manhattan. Jay Z met Beyoncé there, Leo (di Caprio) had a regular booth usually accompanied by a troupe of VS models, Kanye was inducted into Rock-a-Fella Records inside, P. Diddy was arrested outside after a scuffle and Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani both practically lived there.
It was legendary and quickly expanded to multiple locations across America, taking on Aspen, Hamptons, LA, Vegas and even sites across the globe (last year, it was rumoured London was next, at the site of the historic Windmill strip club in Soho). After 15 years in hyper growth, the brand seemed untouchable.
It seemed nothing could go wrong; then there was the rupture. Partners Scott and Richie disagreed on finances, leading to Scott selling his shares but kept a bitter taste in his mouth claiming that his equity had been undervalued. The relationship devolving into a full blown lawsuit which continues to this day.
Since then, both men have moved on to other projects, equally admitting that the hey-day of the club they opened 15 years ago had passed. Social media and the changing times (not to mention a global pandemic) had shifted the cultural paradigm to exclude the old fashioned NY club culture. Now, although Akiva continues to own the profitable 1OAK brand, he also has a foot in wellness – opening Davide an organic ‘clean eating’ Italian restaurant and food market in the Meat Packing District and BIA Force, a luxury gym in NoHo, complete with leather boxing bags and marble bathrooms.
For his part, Sartiano is zeroing in on the member’s club market with Zero Bond, probably the hottest project happening in NYC right now. A quintessentially NY take on the traditional model imported from London’s Soho House – Zero Bond promises to be bigger, sleeker and brazenly more expensive.
Located in a 20,000 warehouse that once belong to Brook’s Brothers (and is next to where Keith Haring’s original studio was) this two story mega club will have a roof deck (essential for any NYC venue), a grill room, a Japanese omakase bar, a whisky bar by Baccarat, a sushi counter, a library by Assouline and a cafe. The emphasis is on style, comfort and connection between carefully vetted members.
Founding members reportedly include pro athletes as well as famous singers, artists and filmmakers from all backgrounds and races. However the one common denominator among the thousands of hopefuls in the waitlist (they will only accept 1000-2000 members in total) is that they can afford it.
At $3k + a $500 initiation fee the cost is steep to just get through the door (by comparison Soho House costs $1k for local and $3.5K for global membership). Sartiano assures everyone it’s worth it and perhaps it is, the buzz across the Big Apple has now extended across the globe to those with their ear to the ground making 0B the latest membership symbol of status (alongside DDW’s Founder membership).
To bring this huge vision to market Scott raised capital (just the interiors reportedly cost $15M) from seasoned investors including 5 Hertford Street’s Jamie Reuben, Equinox’s Greg O’Hara and socialite Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris. We have no doubt their investment will be well rewarded, by all accounts the membership department is already overflowing with requests and rightfully so – in a city that can no longer socialise at late night, perhaps the daytime is the next big frontier.
Predicted launch dates are still in flux but we will be keeping a close eye on social scene chatter for the much awaited opening party. Don’t forget to get your name on the guest list and see you there…