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Bottle Service Is Apparently Back, Kind Of

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Remember during the height of the recession, when it was considered gauche to drop a few thousand a night on three bottles of vodka and a carafe of cranberry juice? Harrowing times those were but today brings some heartening news. Despite the fact that a whole bunch of New York-based financial services hacks are about to get laid off, it's once again considered socially acceptable to buy bottles marked up 100% so ladies will be open to talking to you/using your table to sit down. At the MeatPacking district's Gunbar (named and designed as "an homage to rock clubs past" and also because while there you'll probably wish you had a gun), $300 bottles of vodka "unapologetically sit atop almost every table" and people "party like it's 2007," or "like peacocks" rather than the "pigeons" of 2008-2009, a patron claimed recently.

According to nightlife operator Jamie Mulholland, whose livelihood is based on this statement being a fact and not bull shit, “When the economy crashed, everyone stopped doing it...But now, there’s definitely a resurgence.” Investment banker Chris Silverman agrees, to a point.

At his 6-month-old Park Avenue South nightclub Riff Raff’s, Michael Stillman says big spenders no longer fear being tarred and feathered for their extravagance, though some may feel more comfortable drinking pricey fruity cocktails with giant plastic flamingos than magnums of Cristal. “People may come out and spend, but they want to do it in a fun way more than a showy way,” says Stillman, who offers “Tiki Service” priced from $200 to $2,000.

Chris Silverman, an investment banker who frequents Riff Raff’s, hedged his bets last weekend with a $425 bottle of vodka and a $250 vat of “Flock of Flamingos” rum punch. Silverman agrees with Stillman that Riff Raff’s, like his other hangouts, Kenmare and Le Bain, isn’t about trophy bottles. “New York nightlife used to be more show-off,” he says, as statuesque beauties dance on banquettes and wave sparklers. “No one here is trying to show off.”

Fun vs. showy-- do you see the distinction? Let's hope so, otherwise you might embarrass yourselves out there.

Bottle Service Is Back, Baby! [NYP]