Is The DL
Nightclub Restaurant Lounge Operating Illegally? Its Neighbors Say "Yes!"
The DL's co-owner Paul Seres (pictured above, in orange)---who is also president of the New York Nightlife Association and a member of CB4 in Chelsea---was present at the community meeting October 3rd, telling folks "we're here to work with you." He says The DL applied for its license as a "restaurant lounge," and that LES Dwellers are operating based on old information that only applied to the space's previous tenant, Ludlow Manor. Despite numerous Yelp reviews to the contrary, he maintains that "we are not a nightclub;" rather, the first floor is a restaurant, the third floor is a private event space, and the second floor is opened up to accommodate overflow.
And what of the suspiciously clubby footage taken at his establishment? "That was the only third party promoter," he replies. "We fired them two weeks ago as a result of the fact that we were told one thing and they delivered something completely different. There was a discrepancy between how the party was promoted or marketed and how we wanted them to." He will not say what the discrepancy was, but the timing of this firing does seem somewhat suspicious, as Dorian Gray had been promoting itself in more or less the same way since early August. Is Seres throwing the freaks under the bus to save his own ass?
At the CB3 meeting on Monday night, Seres faced angry LES residents telling tales of his establishment's frequent dissembling; one young woman presented a printed out stack of evidence that The DL had been violating the terms of its license by hosting open-to-the-public dance parties with DJs, open bars, outside promoters, etc. She brought up the "Everyday People" brunch party as an example. "How many chances is The DL allowed to have?" she asked.
An annoyed-sounding Seres promised to continue working with the community to reduce noise pollution, offering to close the windows after 8 p.m. He admitted to violating the terms of his license by having DJ parties on the bottom floor that were decidedly louder than "ambient," but said he would not hold them any longer. He admitted to not always serving food until within an hour of closing, but said that was now fixed. He also defended himself a great deal, although some of it seemed purely semantic, like the distinction he drew between "hosts," which are apparently kosher, and "promoters," which are not. He blamed reports of unlimited mimosas on an overly imaginative New York Post reporter (wouldn't be the first time!). He also claimed not to know Dorian Gray had been promoting itself as a dance party until two weeks ago, when he fired them. (His final "outside promoter.")
The board has no real authority over The DL's freshly renewed liquor license, but they still voted to note the violations, as well as to compromise with Seres on certain noise-reducing stipulations to be added to the license. They avoided making the futile gesture of a vote to deny.
Pretty much no one came out smelling like a rose; Seres seemed like a bit of a slippery sophist, while the vocal minority comprising the LES Dwellers came off, well, a bit nuts. It bears mentioning that the group recently got its recognition as a block association suspended for communicating with applicants outside of official channels and essentially acting as its own CB. They're also bizarrely committed to harassing board member Ariel Palitz by videotaping her statements and posting them on YouTube with nasty copy appended. Then again, how crazy would you feel if your rent-controlled apartment of many years was suddenly annexed by the vibrating airspace of a triple-decker clurrrrrb? Excuse me: restaurant lounge.
As one might have suspected from the get-go, Seres will continue to operate his "restaurant lounge" relatively unhampered by his opponents in the LES Dwellers Association, with public scoldings the cost of doing business. As for the "fired" club kid party, Zand says DG will be resurrected at nearby Bowery Electric tonight, October 9th. He is hardly worried about its future; if anything, he seems invigorated by the controversy. "Dorian Gray's not going out without a fight," he said. "This isn't the end, it is just the beginning."