VANITY FAIR LOUNGE: Graydon Carter has a hot magazine, and now he has a hot restaurant, the Waverly Inn. The tiny, comfort food-focused eatery is meant to be a cozy neighborhood joint for the owners' friends and West Village locals, but it has fashion, social and media folks in knots trying to figure out how to score a table. So what's the secret?

Well, you can be — or pretend to be — a pal of Carter and his partners Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson from the Maritime Hotel and John DeLucie, the chef from La Bottega. And by the looks of the packed scene Wednesday night, with every table filled with the likes of Damon Dash and wife Rachel Roy, Janice Min, Esther Newberg and Tim and Helen Schifter and another double handful of people at the bar, the quartet has a lot of friends.

Another route is to pose as a potential Vanity Fair advertiser. Edward Menicheschi, the magazine's vice president and publisher, has been taking clients to the West Village restaurant. He was dining there Tuesday night.

Wouldn't it just be easier to call for a reservation? Sure, but no reservation line exists. "There's no official reservations line because we're not open yet," said Carter. As the New York Observer reported, a reservations e-mail address exists, but, upon e-mailing, a response from "Fritz" asks patrons for "a brief description of your relation to The Waverly" since they're "only accepting reservations from friends, family and neighbors."

The Waverly Inn is set to open officially early next year. Meanwhile, Carter said he and his team plan to expand the menu and round out the decor, which includes a mural that tells the restaurant's story from now to its Thirties roots. "We're still tinkering," he said.

Carter chatted about his new venture Thursday as he celebrated a previous one: the book "Spy: The Funny Years" with co-authors and Spy co-founders Kurt Andersen and George Kalogerakis at an American Society of Magazine Editors' lunch in Manhattan's Midtown. Though attendees chuckled at tales of mayhem during the Spy reign, the one moment of tension amid all the congratulations came during the Q&A session, when the Huffington Post media blogger Rachel Sklar pointedly asked Carter the reason he had greenlighted Christopher Hitchens' column on why women weren't funny. Though Carter at first said he had no response, Sklar continued to discuss her feelings about the article at length. Which eventually prompted Carter to reply: "You just proved my point."
Stephanie D. SmithTHE IMAGIN(HEIR)Y EDITOR: In case you were wondering just what trust fund lad about town Fabian Basabe's "Imaginary Heroes" foundation is planning on doing, its new Web site describes the organization as a "philanthropic nonprofit institution that serves as a resource for innovative people and initiatives worldwide. Our mission is to promote universal cooperation, and advance human achievement through support programs in such areas as medicine, education, research and service. With the help of other humanitarian organizations, we will distribute funds to community development efforts around the world."

A biography on the site of its founder says: "Fabian, who once was named one of Gotham's most eligible bachelors, is now happily married and focused on his charity work and television career while still contributing as a celebrity features editor to Glamour and Gotham magazine."

But don't believe everything you read. Reached for comment Thursday, a Glamour spokeswoman said, "A celebrity features editor? No, he is not a celebrity features editor. He wrote one story," a first-person account in the men's issue in August about how he changed his playboy ways before marrying La Perla heiress Martina Borgomanero.

Meanwhile, a $2 million lawsuit the party boy filed against Bungalow 8 doorman Armin Amiri for allegedly hitting him appears to be going up in smoke. On Tuesday, the court dismissed the criminal complaint against Amiri, according to a source close to the case.
Jacob Bernstein

TIME FOR AN OFFER: Though a handful of interested buyers have been named in the quest to buy the 18 Time4 Media and Parenting Group titles for sale, sources close to the deal said few are Time Inc.'s ideal candidates for ownership. Groups said to be in the running include Stockholm media company Bonnier Group; Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist, chief of Active Interest Media, with backing from Chicago private equity firm Windpoint Partners; former Time Inc. executive vice president Jack Haire, with backing from private equity firm Boston Ventures; Leo Hindery, former chief executive of the YES network, and, according to the New York Post, Elevation Partners, an investment group fronted by U2's Bono, who recently bought a 40 percent stake in Forbes and is said to be only interested in The Parenting Group. (Elevation Partners had no comment on its involvement in the deal.)Though sources said Time Inc. would "prefer" to sell the magazines in one lot, it is considering all bidders and deals, including those that break the titles into two groups. Those close to the deal added Time Inc. would consider the best candidate to be a strategic buyer versus a private equity player.

"Time Inc. would prefer to sell to a strategic buyer rather than one who would sell it in three years," said one source close to the deal.

As for price, sources said Time Inc. is seeking about $250 million for the 18 magazines in an all-cash deal.

No matter what the offer, said Reed Phillips, managing partner of DeSilva + Phillips, "Time Inc.'s goal is to get the highest price no matter if you sell them in one sale or two."

But another source added, "Clearly price is important to them, but they don't want to be embarrassed by the deal. They're not going to sell it cheap." Bids from interested buyers are said to be due Jan. 8, with a deal likely to close that month.
Stephanie D. Smith

GOOD SPORT: First twin Barbara Bush stopped by Domino editor in chief Deborah Needleman's party Thursday for the magazine's newish fashion director Lauren Goodman, and told host and editor at large Tom Delavan (who is also Bush's neighbor) that Domino was her favorite magazine. Clearly the young Bush was untroubled by — or unaware of — the fact that Needleman's husband, Slate editor Jacob Weisberg, edited several volumes filled with her father's verbal gaffes.
Irin Carmon

FASHION FIXER: Condé Nast U.K. is going deeper into the Web. On March 8, it will launch the interactive lifestyle and shopping guide The guide will showcase fashion and beauty items from high-street stores to designer boutiques across Britain and provide links to Web sites and contacts for the companies. The site also will include lifestyle editorial features. "Condé Nast was one of the first British publishers on the Internet," said Nicholas Coleridge, managing director at Condé Nast U.K. "The launch will take us to a new level." In a statement, Condé Nast said the site would target women ages 15 to 45, with a potential of reaching up to 13 million consumers in the U.K. alone.
Lucie Greene

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