October 2, 2023
Out With Dr. Bill – A Chelsea Speakeasy, A Barefoot Beach Disco, and Toasting the Art Students League
Dr. William Kapfer READ TIME: 18 MIN.
From Maui with Love: A Prelude to our Hawaiian Adventure
Greetings from the beautiful shores of Maui! This week, I find myself amidst the soothing sounds of Hawaiian waves, with the gentle island breeze serving as my writing companion. Eric, our dear friend Rob, and I have embarked on a brief holiday–a blend of restful moments and community service as we respond to the crippling Maui wildfires that devastated our beloved town of Lahaina. In our own humble way, we're here to embody the spirit of 'aloha,' committed to aiding in its healing and renewal.
While the allure of sharing our Hawaiian adventures is undeniably strong, tales of resilience and recovery will have to wait for the next edition.
For now, let's transport ourselves back to the vibrant heart of New York City. Join me as we step into a time machine, whisking away to a classic 1920s speakeasy hidden in the heart of Chelsea. We'll dance on the sunlit beach at the 5-HTP barefoot pop-up disco, guided by the sensational beats of DJ Joey with the Mustache.
To cap it off, let's raise our glasses at a cocktail soirée in support of The Art Students League of NYC, generously hosted by Wesley Moon in his elegant home.
Stay tuned for stories from these distinct yet equally captivating worlds, as we journey from the city that never sleeps to the island that forever dreams.
Until next week, mahalo and a hui hou!
Secret Sips: Unwinding at Chelsea's Bathtub Gin
Last week, I embarked on an exhilarating journey that transported me through time and space, right into the vibrant heart of New York City. I had the privilege of slipping through the discreet entrance of the Bathtub Gin Speakeasy in Chelsea. As a fellow Chelsea resident, I extend a warm invitation to you to share in the thrill of discovering this hidden gem with me.
Imagine this: nestled discreetly behind the unassuming facade of Stone Street Coffee Company on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea, a truly unique and captivating experience awaits. The moment you step into this charming coffee haven after 5 p.m., you're greeted by a welcoming host who poses a tantalizing question: "Coffee or cocktails?"
Beyond the modest 200-square-foot espresso bar lies the sumptuous and enigmatic Bathtub Gin speakeasy. This hidden treasure boasts an opulent interior adorned with a meticulously stocked bar, plush, luxurious chairs, and seating for up to 75 guests. The atmosphere comes alive with nightly jazz performances, alluring burlesque shows, or the rhythmic beats of a skilled DJ.
A visual centerpiece within the venue is a meticulously designed bathtub, evoking memories of the clandestine moonshining era during Prohibition. The transition from the coffee bar to Bathtub Gin is a delightful adventure in itself, reminiscent of the covert entrances that defined the speakeasy culture.
In the heart of trendy New York, Bathtub Gin and Stone Street Coffee Company have seamlessly blended their distinct offerings, resulting in a harmonious hybrid business model where each establishment thrives while complementing the other.
Here, you have the unique privilege of choosing between the comforting embrace of a cup of coffee or the allure of finely crafted cocktails–all within the confines of a hidden world that pays homage to a bygone era of mystique and indulgence. Picture yourself stepping into an ambiance dripping with old-world glamour, effortlessly blended with a modern, sultry charm.
Our night commenced with the seductive aroma and flavors of Red Sangria. Picture sipping on this radiant cocktail, expertly crafted with Bombay Bramble Gin, a hint of seasonal wine, an infusion of exotic spices, and an assortment of fresh, sun-kissed fruits. It was the perfect beginning to our clandestine adventure!
But that was just the start of our libation journey.
Another exceptional drink we had the pleasure of enjoying: "Not A Penicillin." This exquisite concoction combines the robust flavors of Old Forester Bourbon, Islay Whisky, Barr Hill Tom Kat Gin, sweet potato, honey, ginger, and lemon, all elegantly served on the rocks. It's a true masterpiece for your taste buds!
But the indulgence had only just begun. We savored decadently crispy French fries, drizzled with truffle oil and served with a tantalizing dip of garlic aioli. And those deviled eggs? A culinary masterpiece, adorned with turmeric pickle, salsa verde, and crowned with crispy garlic, creating a symphony on our delighted taste buds.
On that memorable Thursday evening, we were charmed by the impeccable service of two extraordinary individuals, Crystal and Emily (or "M" to her closest friends). The seamless transition as Emily took over our table when Crystal shifted to the bustling bar area demonstrated the genuine camaraderie and unwavering support within the team. Kudos to the owners for fostering such a vibrant team culture!
A toast to Dave Oz, the visionary behind this delightful haven. His inspiration? A tribute to the Roaring Twenties, aptly named after the homemade alcohol of the Prohibition era, discreetly brewed in none other than bathtubs!
The dress code for this adventure? Smart casual attire (leave those baseball caps behind). While walk-ins are warmly embraced, securing a reservation is a wise choice. While we reveled in the allure of New York, a sister haven beckons in Los Angeles, with whispers of a third location on the horizon.
Our Thursday night was painted with the vibrant hues of Disco night. The retro beats had us grooving, evoking sweet nostalgia. On other nights, Bathtub Gin promises an enticing array of live entertainment, from the sultry allure of Burlesque to the smooth serenades of Jazz.
In the heart of our beloved neighborhood, this discovery was nothing short of phenomenal. I invite you to join us on the next occasion and immerse yourself in the enchanting embrace of Bathtub Gin, truly a hidden treasure in Chelsea. Here's to unexpected discoveries and evenings filled with laughter, dance, and delectable indulgence! Cheers!
Joey and the Mustache: 5-HTPLAY Magic
As I strolled along the beach on Saturday, heading from our cozy west-side Fire Island home to the sun-kissed shores of Nautilus Walk, the air was charged with excitement. It was the Fire Island Decompression event, 5-HTPLAY, and the beach pulsed with the rhythm of the music.
The magic of the day was amplified by the enchanting music that filled the air, courtesy of none other than Joey with the Mustache. He's not just an award-winning DJ but also the charismatic host of the 5-HTPLYA party. Joey had the crowd moving effortlessly, accompanied by the exceptional talents of Matt Denton.
Joey is also the heart of 5-HTP, a free, leave-no-trace community gathering on Fire Island Pines, celebrating life, love, and music. Curiosity led me to strike up a conversation with Joey, and he graciously shared his insights and inspirations, making me feel like a welcomed guest in this vibrant community.
What made this event truly exceptional were its five core principles:
• BYOEverything: Attendees collectively contributed to create a sense of shared responsibility.
• Radical Inclusion: Love and acceptance were paramount, ensuring everyone felt genuinely embraced.
• Communal Effort: The spirit of togetherness prevailed as everyone pitched in for the event's success.
• Leave No Trace: A collective commitment to leave the beach cleaner than we found it showcased our dedication to the environment.
• Gifting: Acts of generosity created a heartwarming atmosphere throughout the day.
These principles united a diverse group of beachgoers, forming one big, joyful family where individuality was celebrated.
And at the heart of it all is Joey with the Mustache–not just your average DJ. Hailing from New York, he's a master of crafting joyous house, disco, and electronic music that resonates deeply. His musical journey began in Texas, where he immersed himself in choirs, bands, and theater. It's his ability to connect with music that ignited his creative spark.
At just twelve, Joey began composing classical music, laying the foundation for his unique sound, seamlessly weaving classical influences into electronic beats. But Joey's story isn't just about music. His iconic mustache symbolizes personal growth, inspired by his father's journey and acceptance after Joey came out as queer.
As the event wound down, something remarkable occurred. When partygoers began breaking up and departing, the beach looked even cleaner than when we arrived, a testament to our commitment to the Leave No Trace principle.
Discover more about Joey with the Mustache and 5-HTP at www.5htp.me.
Join a community that celebrates music, self-expression, and leaving a positive mark on the world. Here's to unexpected discoveries and unforgettable nights!
Art Meets Design: A Stylish Night for the Art Students League
The night before we departed for our Hawaiian holiday, Eric and I had the privilege of attending a captivating event in support of the Arts Students League of New York, hosted at Wesley Moon's exquisite Upper East Side apartment.
Walking through Wesley Moon's apartment was like flipping through the pages of a richly crafted autobiography. The walls were adorned with a captivating blend of artwork, seamlessly bridging classical and modern styles. This space was more than just a showpiece; it was a vivid glimpse into Wesley Moon's life journey, each element thoughtfully curated to reflect the passions and experiences that have defined him. It provided the perfect backdrop for an evening of art and design.
As we explored the art on the walls, we couldn't help but notice the presence of many familiar artists. In fact, Eric and I were pleasantly surprised to find an identical silkscreen in our own collection–a 2023 Red Dot Award-winning piece by Ron Chereskin. This connection deepened our appreciation for the artistry on display and added a personal touch to the evening's experience.
As the evening progressed, we delved deep into the profound history and lasting impact of the iconic Arts Students League of New York. The gathering not only illuminated the League's storied past but also emphasized its pivotal role in shaping the art world, not only in New York but globally.
A Storied Legacy
The Arts Students League of New York, commonly known as the Art Students League (ASL), boasts a history that spans well over a century. Founded in 1875 by a group of artists determined to create an environment of artistic freedom and education, the League quickly became a beacon for emerging and established artists alike.
Throughout its history, ASL has played host to a dazzling array of renowned artists who honed their craft within its hallowed halls. Pioneers such as Jackson Pollock, Georgia O'Keeffe, Mark Rothko, and Norman Rockwell all passed through its doors, leaving an indelible mark on the art world. The League's commitment to nurturing artistic talent has made it a hallowed institution among artists, collectors, and enthusiasts.
The Artistic Vision
At the heart of the Arts Students League's mission is a dedication to fostering artistic growth, self-expression, and creativity. The League's educational programs offer a unique blend of tradition and innovation, allowing students to explore a wide range of artistic disciplines, from painting and sculpture to printmaking and digital art.
The League's teaching philosophy champions the idea that art is best learned through practice and mentorship. Esteemed artists serve as instructors, guiding students through a curriculum that encourages experimentation, exploration, and the development of individual voices.
The Event's Illumination
During the event, we had the privilege of learning about the League's enduring contributions to the arts community. It was a captivating journey through time, highlighting ASL's role as a wellspring of artistic talent and a catalyst for innovation.
From its inception, the League has fostered an environment of collaboration and artistic exploration. The League's open studios and shared spaces encourage the exchange of ideas and experiences among artists, fostering a sense of community that transcends generations.
A Vital Contribution
As we learned, the Arts Students League of New York continues to be a driving force in the art world. Its commitment to accessible and affordable art education ensures that artists from all walks of life can develop their skills and find their creative voice.
In an era where the arts face various challenges, institutions like ASL remain crucial in preserving the legacy of art and nurturing the talents of tomorrow's visionaries. The League's impact extends beyond New York City, touching the hearts and minds of artists and art lovers around the world.
Looking Ahead to the Arts Students League Gala 2023
As we gather to celebrate the Arts Students League's legacy and contributions, we are also gearing up for the Art Students League Gala 2023–an evening of cocktails, dinner, and entertainment at the Museum of Modern Art. This gala aims to raise funds to support scholarships and all League programming, ensuring that the tradition of artistic excellence continues to thrive.
Honorees for the Gala
This year's gala will pay tribute to two exceptional individuals who have significantly contributed to the world of art and culture:
Larry Poons: An American abstract painter, Poons studied at the Art Students League of New York and taught at the League from 1966 to 1970. He currently teaches at the League (since 1997), leaving an indelible mark on the institution.
Beth Rudin DeWoody: An American art patron, collector, curator, and philanthropist, Beth studied at the League in 1969 as a teenager and bought her first work from an instructor there. She serves as President of the Rudin Family Foundation and sits on the boards of several prestigious cultural institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
To sum up, the event at the Arts Students League of New York served as a poignant reminder of this institution's enduring legacy and continuous contributions to the world of art.
It left us with a profound appreciation for the League's unwavering commitment to artistic excellence and innovation. As we eagerly await the Arts Students League Gala 2023, where we'll continue to support this vital institution and its mission to empower artists from diverse backgrounds.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to the event hosts, including Michael Hall, Wesley Moon, John Kneapler, Howard Goldfarb, and Ron Chereskin. Your efforts made this evening even more memorable.