NYC Gets WIP-ped Into Shape. Finally.

If you’re anything like me and are no stranger to New York City Nightlife, what is ed then you probably aren’t easily impressed by the frequent openings, renaming and reopening of clubs New York City has to offer. For the most part, it’s relatively all the same: lots of hype, big name djs, cool-kid promotors, hot bartenders and even hotter bottle girls. The new “IT” club of the week/month will be rumored to be hard to get into and infested with a sickening amount of debauchery captured and posted on the vastly well-known website KirillWasHere.com; where guys will drool over girls making bad decisions in the club. No matter how fun the party was and how much sleep you lost that night, these parties come as easy as the sun breaks and are easily replaced by the next DJ, on the next night.

That is unless it has more to offer… Enter Stuart Braunstein’s newly finished project, “the WIP”.

The W.I.P. Club NYC

Cleverly hidden on the corner of Varick & Vandam St, I arrived by myself meeting friends who were already downstairs. Upon arrival I received several texts in the cab of rumors that the doorman was giving folks a hard time getting in. Granted it was 1:30 AM and I was by myself, a girl with confidence never fails.

Walking up to a small boxed outline under a maroon colored awning, the doorman indeed seemed like a “no-bullshit kind of guy”. Skinny, glasses and a clever little mustache, I have to say did an outstanding job selecting the crowd for downstairs (this I will come back to later).

Entering the doors and making my way to the staircase and painted walls, I was reminded of one of my favorite spots in the meatpacking, Le Bain. Consequently I prepared to welcome anything and everything I was about to witness down those stairs..

Making my way to ground level of my very own trip down ‘Alice in Wonderland’s never-ending hole,’ I had to take a picture of what lay in front of me. Clowns, bright lights, children’s rocking horses, crazy wallpaper…. Is this an acid trip? Have I gone mad? That’s only the first room. The second doorway is bigger, longer and darker..

With furry animals on my left, I began to take in and understand the artistic atmosphere that was so unlike any other club I’ve ever been to. Like a child’s first time at Disney World, I giggled to myself and continued on..

The W.I.P. Club NYC

Despite the situation at the door, the place had perfect attendance. The crowd, a mix of both beautiful and intriguing industry professionals strategically picked by the doorman upstairs cut the original capacity of 250 in half, filling the room with personality, style and an edge.

I walked around this art exhibit of a room enjoying sounds of Behrouz (live) and admiring the art on the walls; a very shock value, rock n’ roll kind of theme. It seemed like everywhere I turned was a new surprise. Being once a manager of a clothing store and a continuous lover of fashion- this is something that impressed me.. the countertop of the bar was a glass showcase holding beautiful pieces of jewelry such as large cuffs, necklaces and more. I ordered a drink from one of the european male model bartenders dressed in a white button down, black pants and suspenders then spotted my friends.

We briefly exchanged approving thoughts about our newest discovery and decided to take a trip to the bathroom to check on our looks.

Happily surprised once again… the bathroom wall was a chalk board where one can actually draw and write comments in the color of their choice. Is this place amazing or what? Inside the stalls lay another surprise, but I want to be the one to give everything away. This I will leave for you to discover on your own.

I think what drew me to this place the most was its ability to push the envelope. Sure the DJ, the crowd and the sound system are important, but truth be told- there are numerous of places where you can find all three. What makes WIP so special is the artistic aura, the ever changing art installations that will continue to change from week to week, that will keep the venue fresh and entice people to come back to see something new.

The W.I.P. Club NYC

As the mind and inspiration behind the WIP, the Box, and Collective Hardware, Stuart Bronstein says:

“You need decadence at a perfect level. It’s hard to achieve that. It’s nearly impossible. One of the things I have always done is build sand castles. You build them, they look great and then a wave from the ocean knocks them down. Anything that powerful and that amazing is going to crash. You can’t keep the energy that high.”

While my hope is for the owners to be able to maintain this type of atmosphere as long as they can, it is difficult to predict how long this vibe actually will. My advice is to check this out as soon as possible. Take a chance, mix with the crowd, and leave all your inhibitions at the door.

The W.I.P. Club NYC


Written by Nightlife Correspondent Pavlina Kovtsun

W.i.P. is located at 34 Vandam St., Manhattan, NY