Friday, March 03, 2006

20 Pine, Moran's, Back Room

A good antidote for the mid-winter doldrums: Crash a lavish downtown party. We did just that last night, witnessing the crowded coming-out of 20 Pine: The Collection. Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, people dressed more stylishly than us, and the odd celeb sighting. Upon entering, I saw Liev Schreiber (preparing for his turn as Macbeth this summer), and others claimed to have seen Naomi Watts and Nicky Hilton, but those were unconfirmed. Oh, and John Legend sang a few songs (fuzzy shot above).

Random moment at the bathroom: Woman #1 starts talking in Italian on her cell. Very good accent, probably native. Woman #2, behind me in the line, starts fawning over her. Woman #1 hangs up and #2 comes over to say how much she loves hearing Italian spoken, how beautiful it is (as if hearing someone speak Italian is such a rare, rare thing in this international city). The native speaker brushes it off implying something like Americans love to hear any foreign language spoken well. But #2 insists that Italian is so sexy, to which #1 finally retorts, "You should learn it then."

Before and after, we hit up bars that happened to have roaring fireplaces. Moran's at 103 Washington near Rector (in NoBatt, a joke of a mashup), just down the street from The Pit in the Financial District. Warm, well-kept Irish pub with a bar and nicely set tables. I had Blue Point Lager from Long Island for the first time and enjoyed the free bar snacks (a rarity, I've noticed, in this city) while our group assembled. Later: The Back Room, at 102 Norfolk on the LES. Down a flight of stairs from the street, along an outdoor passageway and up another flight to the lounge with a speakeasy vibe and a business card that says "The Lower East Side Toy Company" on the front. Bottled beer in brown paper bags (above), cocktails in white tea cups, dark-hued old-boys'-club furnishings, and a back-back room hidden by a bookcase and protected by a password complete the retro feel.

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