by elle eichinger and meg mathis | October 1, 2013 | People
ON LUKE (LEFT): Navy blazer ($1,990), slim-fit dress shirt ($370), and trousers ($730), Salvatore Ferragamo. 645 N. Michigan Ave., 312-397-0464. Tie ($195) and pocket square ($100), Ermenegildo Zegna. 645 N. Michigan Ave., 312-587-9660. Tie bar, David Yurman ($250). 40 E. Oak St., 312-787-7779. ON DAVID (RIGHT): Suit ($1,195) and shirt ($295), Versace. Saks Fifth Avenue, 700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-799-5211. Tie, Ermenegildo Zegna ($195). SEE ABOVE. Carrera 1887 Chronograph watch, TAG Heuer ($5,400). Macy’s, 111 N. State St., 312-781-1000. Seat belt loafers, Prada ($530). Saks Fifth Avenue, SEE ABOVE.
THE DYNAMIC DUO
With three hit nightspots launched in four years, this entrepreneurial pair has the nightlife world at their feet.
At 32, Luke Stoioff and David Rekhson of DineAmic Group are among the young guns of Chicago’s after-dark scene—but they’ve already been in the business nearly a decade and are behind three of the hottest spots in River North’s Hubbard/Kinzie corridor: sports bars Bull & Bear and Public House (which opened in 2009 and 2011, respectively) and this year’s breakout Italian spot, Siena Tavern, whose kitchen is manned by Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani.
With a charismatic celebrity in Viviani and two handsome businessmen behind the scenes, it’s no surprise that Siena is one of the epicenters of the evening action downtown. On a typical Saturday night, it’s packed with people who have waited months to get a reservation—Viviani’s authentic Italian cuisine is flawless—but after the dinner rush, the focus takes a decided turn toward cocktails. Stoioff and Rekhson sip drinks (Stoioff an old-fashioned, Rekhson a vodka soda) as they ostensibly entertain friends and guests, but their eyes and ears are everywhere: on the food as it comes out of the kitchen, on the volume of the music, on the dimness of the lights. (“It’s a business of little things,” Rekhson points out.) And their social chatter is spiked with entrepreneurial ideas: Even as they bask in the success of Siena, they’re looking ahead to a future steak restaurant project, as well as spin-offs of Siena Tavern in Chicago and nationally.
For two guys who opened their first nightclub at the ages of 23 and 24—the Gold Coast spot Stone Lotus, which they have since sold—the pair has proven its mettle in the industry. “Looking back, it was like walking on a tightrope,” Rekhson says about taking that initial risk. “But if we’re going to do something,” adds Stoioff, “we’re going to do it right.”
Jacket ($995) and shirt ($295), Versace Collection. Saks Fifth Avenue, 700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-799-5211. Trousers, Salvatore Ferragamo ($1,760). 645 N. Michigan Ave., 312-397-0464. Tie, Dior Homme ($190). Saks Fifth Avenue, SEE ABOVE. Pocket square, Ermenegildo Zegna ($100). 645 N. Michigan Ave., 312-587-9660.
When it comes to wowing the crowds, Parliament owner Matt Deichl is a real pro.
Perched on a white crocodile leather banquette, 34-year-old Matt Deichl takes a slow sip of a Grey Goose and water (“with two lemons”) and surveys the crowd at Parliament, the approximately 10,000-square-foot nightspot he’s created in an unassuming building on Chicago Avenue. “Check this out,” he says, tapping at his iPhone. Suddenly, the crystal chandelier in the center of Parliament above Table 44, Deichl’s favorite seat in the opulent house (and an homage to the number 4 he wore while playing baseball at the University of Iowa), flickers with a violet glow. Heads turn to catch the haze, but the moment is fleeting and the lights dim, signaling the crowd to return to its revelry.
Deichl calls this—along with the intentionally slow glass elevator that leads to Parliament’s rooftop bar, The Kensington—Parliament’s “wow factor.” The space is a departure from previous Deichl projects Cuvée and Enclave, and that’s intentional. “We build to who we are,” he reasons. “I want a big, beautiful space where I can have a drink and not get bumped into. It’s a lot of maintenance, but you have to paint that picture to fill expectations,” he adds, gesturing to the growing crowd of 20-and-30-somethings moving through the racetrack-like layout. “As long as you give them the environment, they’ll come.”
ON ARTURO (LEFT): Velvet jacket ($1,195) and pants ($325), Versace Collection. Saks Fifth Avenue, 700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-799-5211. Slim-fit button-down, Burberry ($250). 633 N. Michigan Ave., 312-787-2500. Shoes, Boss by Hugo Boss ($345). The Shops at North Bridge, 520 N. Michigan Ave., 312-321-0700. ON BRAD (CENTER): Black wool and silk peak-lapel suit, Dior Homme ($4,100). Saks Fifth Avenue, SEE ABOVE. Window-plaid shirt, Perry Ellis ($70). Macy’s 111 N. State St., 312-781-1000. Self-winding Jules Audemars watch, Audemars Piguet ($20,700). Swiss Fine Timing Atelier Jewellers, 645 N. Michigan Ave., 312-337-4700. ON BILLY (RIGHT): Tie, Ermenegildo Zegna ($195). 645 N. Michigan Ave., 312-587-9660. Flyback Carrera watch, TAG Heuer ($7,900). Macy’s, 111 N. State St., 312-781-1000. Suit, shirt, hat, and shoes, Billy’s own.
THE SCENE MAKERS
Rhe party never stops for the trio behind Rockit Ranch Productions.
It’s late on a Saturday night in August—or early Sunday morning, depending on your perspective—and Billy Dec, Arturo Gomez, and Brad Young are on their game: They’re spread out and working the room at the Underground. The trio that makes up Rockit Ranch Productions (as CEO/founder, president/partner, and chairman/founder, respectively) has just reopened its showcase venue after five months of renovations, which resulted in a new, wide-open layout, sexy lounge, and 40-foot HD video wall. Inside, the club is packed to capacity; on the sidewalk above the subterranean entrance, another thousand people are waiting to get in.
“It’s similar to a play or performance,” says Dec, the ringleader of the three. “As soon as the lights hit, it’s about everyone else’s perception of the place and of you.” For more than a decade, these gents have reigned over Chicago’s nightlife scene, transforming River North into a destination for the young and beautiful, starting with Rockit Bar & Grill in 2004, then Rockit Burger Bar, sizzling Asian spot Sunda, barbecue joint Dragon Ranch, and newcomer ¡Ay Chiwowa!, an upscale Mexican hangout at Chicago Avenue.
The three are usually spread out among the venues, but they’re spending these first hot summer nights with their newly reinvented club and the celebrities that frequent it. Since reopening (and thanks to Dec’s celebrity social circle cultivated from years on the scene), the club has already hosted stars like Robin Thicke, Michelle Williams, Aaron Paul, and Anthony Rizzo.
The lights go up around 4 am, and the night owls stick around a little longer before heading home for what little sleep they can squeeze in. (Notes Dec, “People don’t realize that there is such a thing as a 22-hour day.”) There’s a lot more to be done tomorrow, back above ground—and the trio is ready for it. “In the nightclub industry, people think you just show up and open the doors at night,” Young says. “But our workday starts like everyone else’s. In the morning, seven days a week.”
ON BRIAN (LEFT): Shirt, John Varvatos ($268). Bloomingdale’s, 900 N. Michigan Ave., 312-440-4460. Gray vest, Rag & Bone ($325). Neiman Marcus, 737 N. Michigan Ave., 312-642-5900. Pants, Theory ($245). Neiman Marcus, SEE ABOVE. Star Quantième Complet watch, Montblanc ($5,000). The 900 Shops, 900 N. Michigan Ave., 312-943-1200. ON CHIREAL (RIGHT): Tweed jacket, John Varvatos ($498). Bloomingdale’s, SEE ABOVE . Blue shirt, Giorgio Armani ($495). Bloomingdale’s, SEE ABOVE. Tie, Gitman Bros. ($139). Haberdash, 607 N. State St., 312-624-8551. Pro Master Diver watch, Citizen ($395). Macy’s, 111 N. State St., 312-781-1000.
These pinball wizards have created the ultimate nightspot for the arcade generation.
With a final flick of Chireal Jordan’s wrist, the Metallica Premium pinball machine he’s playing flashes its lights, blares heavy-metal music, and prompts a victory dance by Jordan as Brian Galati looks on, drinking a Colette draft.
“I never played arcade games,” Galati admits. “It’s not my thing.” But Galati is all in when it comes to Headquarters, the first project from Capacity Bar Group, which he formed with Jordan and Mark Kwiatkowski in the summer of 2012. Inspired by a Williamsburg arcade (“It was the first time we saw the demographics just getting along,” says Galati, “from suits, to bros, to hipsters, to yuppies”), the trio created the 1,200-square-foot Lakeview beercade over 16 days last October. Tapping into the nostalgia for arcade hits like Frogger, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong, the venue was such an immediate hit that Headquarters added a 6,000-square-foot pincade in May. On average, the space welcomes 6,000 customers per week, and this fall, Capacity will launch its newest concept, Brooklyn-inspired restaurant and bar Kings County, adjacent to Etno Village Grill.
For now, though, Jordan is at home in Headquarters’ pincade, where he’s determined to conquer the pinball machine of another beloved rock band: AC/DC. “I’ve been playing this six days a week,” he says, laughing. “Once we finally close at 3 am, I try to find the secrets of the game.”
photography by billy rood; Styling by Rebecca Neenan; Grooming by Heather Schnell
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