The Classicist: The Biltmore Rises Again at The Gates
An historic landmark has been reborn in New York, "marking the intersection between decades of nightlife expertise and over 100 years of luxury design." Located in a circa 1865 building in the heart of the city's most famous nightlife neighborhood, The Gates features an interior salvaged from the art nouveau masterpiece the New York Biltmore Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Upon the hotel's demolition in 1984 the most impressive elements from the lobby and bar (including an original bronze and marble telephone booth) were rescued and re-established in the Chelsea space which has since become one of the most iconic rooms in the city.
After laying empty for several years and having fallen into a state of neglect, The Gates (formerly the Biltmore Room) was recently brought back to life by nightlife impresarios Danny Kane and Rod Surut. The lavish space, featuring floor-to-ceiling Carrera marble walls (valued at $2.5 million alone), is kept private from the street by a pair of stunning brass gates from the original hotel, which give the venue its name. A VIP room complete with a fireplace and crystal chandeliers, a full kitchen and bar catering to 285 people, a state of the art sound system, DJ booth and the refinement of the bar room to its previous glory are the key elements breathing new life into a storied space.
"We were working with a room that had such a strong personality, it was great to play that against all the innovations we were making to create one of the most unique spaces in the country," Kane notes. The project felt like the "re-emerging of a character who's played such an important part in the social history of New York City." The New York Biltmore Hotel, opened in 1913 with nearly 1,000 rooms, was a landmark luxury hotel designed by Warren and Wetmore, who also designed the adjoining Grand Central Terminal. Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald honeymooned there (and were asked to leave on account of rowdiness) and the Biltmore figured in several of his stories as well as in J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.
Gallery: The Gates
Kane and Surut have brought in chef Jesi Solomon and master mixologist Paolo Votano to create a cocktail and food menu that's as iconic and lavish as the famed venue itself. Solomon reconstructed American classics with the most luxurious ingredients to create a modern menu. These reinvented classics include Veal Sliders with Foie Gras Mustard, Flat Iron Steak Skewers and Lobster Grilled Cheese, all traditionally Mid-Atlantic with an added element of surprise. The cocktail list offers drinks that Voltano says "speak to the history of New York City but have very definite modern flavors." Embracing the current trend of edible cocktails that blur the line between drinking and dining, Votano created a menu of drinks mixed and garnished with a selection of organic fruits and spices sourced daily by The Gates. "It was important the drinks were unmatchable, not just in the way we mix and present them, but in the flavors themselves," he notes.