Todd English Cracks the Whip at Libertine

todd1 Todd English Cracks the Whip at LibertineWhat a great week to launch a new restaurant in the Financial District!

“We’re all nervous about what’s happening with the economy, but we’ve got to charge through it,” said chef Todd English, dressed like an urban Johnny Cash in all black, as he celebrated the opening of his latest eatery, Libertine, at the Gild Hall hotel on Gold Street on Wednesday night.

“There’s no right time or wrong time to open a place like this,” added hotelier Jason Pomeranc. “It is our duty as hoteliers and restaurateurs to provide the inns and watering holes where people can celebrate their victories and mourn their losses.”

Duty, indeed! At the party, Mr. Pomeranc and Mr. English arranged for burlesque-styled waitresses to pass out cigarettes – and dish out spankings! – in addition to hors d’oeuvres.

And, no, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was not invited to join the smoky fete alongside such notables as Brandon Davis and Tinsley Mortimer.

“It goes with the concept of the Libertine,” Mr. Pomeranc explained. “We’re throwing our rebellion in the face of the city, but only for tonight. Tomorrow we go back to our regular roles.”

“That’s Jason’s franchise,” Mr. English said of the eatery’s name, joking, “He looked at me and said …”

“What I said to him was, ‘Todd, let’s create a restaurant where we want to hang out, where we want to go, a place that represents the attitude and character of rebellion,’” Mr. Pomeranc said. “We all need to have that double personality, where we have obligations and duties but yet we have individuality.”

“I like it,” said noted libertine Simon Hammerstein, proprietor of the scandalous Box theater, when asked about the restaurant’s licentious moniker. “It’s kind of risqué.

“With the Beaver House, too,” he added, referring to the residential building of dubious branding on the nearby corner of William and Beaver Streets, “the whole neighborhood is changing.”