NEW YORK — Exclusivity, it seems, is the key for nightlife impresarios these days as yet another lounge boasting a restrictive guest list — 49 Grove — enters the fray on the heels of Frederick’s and NA.

Nestled in the basement space of a West Village building that used to house Halo, 49 Grove was born out of founder Aram Sabet’s veritable disgust over the city’s nightclub scene. “I grew up in New York City, I’ve been clubbing my whole life,” explains Sabet, who also co-owns Pacific East, a restaurant in Amagansett. “But I just got really fed up with how we were being abused and treated at the clubs. The bouncers are getting ruder and ruder, and there is no discrimination at the door anymore.”

After all, the monied Manhattan set has an appreciation for private clubs with a members-only mentality. It saves them from having to hobnob with anyone other than their own kind.

To that end, the lounge will have a “master guest list” featuring socialites, celebrities, VIPs and the requisite bevy of alluring lovelies.

Sabet finds clubs that insist on dues-paying memberships often lose their cachet, so he’s opting for a more relaxed — yet still private — approach.

“It’s exclusivity in a Bungalow 8 mentality. It’s guest list only, and once you’re on it, you’re on it.”

The lounge’s luxe decor features navy velvet banquettes, oversized ottomans, gray silk drapes and rich wall coverings. Sabet insists on a dress code because he doesn’t want clients to look like they just rolled in from the gym. No track pants, sneakers or wife-beaters here. The other edict: an unimaginably polite waitstaff.

“It’s small, it’s intimate,” Sabet says of his new lounge, which opens this week. “I don’t want it to be jam-packed, 10,000 degrees and a million people at the door fighting their way to get in and you can’t get a table, you can’t get a drink. It’s about service, quality, elegance. It’s about having a good time and not being pressured.”

This story first appeared in the December 6, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

NEW YORK — Exclusivity, it seems, is the key for nightlife impresarios these days as yet another lounge boasting a restrictive guest list — 49 Grove — enters the fray on the heels of Frederick’s and NA.

Nestled in the basement space of a West Village building that used to house Halo, 49 Grove was born out of founder Aram Sabet’s veritable disgust over the city’s nightclub scene. “I grew up in New York City, I’ve been clubbing my whole life,” explains Sabet, who also co-owns Pacific East, a restaurant in Amagansett. “But I just got really fed up with how we were being abused and treated at the clubs. The bouncers are getting ruder and ruder, and there is no discrimination at the door anymore.”

After all, the monied Manhattan set has an appreciation for private clubs with a members-only mentality. It saves them from having to hobnob with anyone other than their own kind.

To that end, the lounge will have a “master guest list” featuring socialites, celebrities, VIPs and the requisite bevy of alluring lovelies.

Sabet finds clubs that insist on dues-paying memberships often lose their cachet, so he’s opting for a more relaxed — yet still private — approach.

“It’s exclusivity in a Bungalow 8 mentality. It’s guest list only, and once you’re on it, you’re on it.”

The lounge’s luxe decor features navy velvet banquettes, oversized ottomans, gray silk drapes and rich wall coverings. Sabet insists on a dress code because he doesn’t want clients to look like they just rolled in from the gym. No track pants, sneakers or wife-beaters here. The other edict: an unimaginably polite waitstaff.

“It’s small, it’s intimate,” Sabet says of his new lounge, which opens this week. “I don’t want it to be jam-packed, 10,000 degrees and a million people at the door fighting their way to get in and you can’t get a table, you can’t get a drink. It’s about service, quality, elegance. It’s about having a good time and not being pressured.”

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