Clubstaurants all started with Tao in 2000. Remember that scene in Sex and the City when Carrie catches Mr. Big on a date while on a date with her new jazz musician boyfriend, Ray King? That was the original Tao.
They’ve since spawned a Tao Downtown.
It seems like almost every episode after that found the girl group at the opening of a fancy new, larger than life restaurant buzzing with people, music and martinis: SushiSamba, Balzac, Buddakan. This was the boom of the clubstaurant — a fusion restaurant with a nightclub vibe. It’s a place where you could order wasabi tuna sliders while being gawked at and grinded upon.
And if it hasn’t already, a clubstaurant is probably coming to a city near you, if New York is any indication (which is almost always is).
Right now, NYC is seeing a resurgence of the real life Tinder of 15 years ago. NY Daily News points out that the comeback started with “a trio of hot hybrids” that opened in September, “including Megu being reimagined in the Meatpacking District; the massive four-story, ’70s flashback called The VNYL opening in the East Village; and Squares debuting in Nomad.”
Zagat Editor Kelly Dobkin’s take is that clubstaurants never really went away — they just fell out of fashion.
Due in large part to the financial crisis.
And while the clubstaurants of yesteryear were more about the scene than the food, this new crop is said to be focusing on food and ambiance equally, though it might take some more convincing.
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