Armin Amiri, the mastermind behind the now closed West Village nightclub Socialista, is moving on. He’s about to start work on indie flick The Imperialists Are Still Alive, in which he plays the protagonist’s “30-something scruffy, sexy, Middle Eastern ex-boyfriend.” (He also recently played Mickey Rourke’s doctor in The Wrestler.)
The club was shut down in late December for having cigarette butts on the floor and a puddle under the sink, as reported in Page Six. When Mr. Amiri went down to the Health Department to pay the fine, he hit a snag: Giuseppe Cipriani’s name, not Mr. Amiri’s, was on the liquor license, and his presence was required to reopen Socialista. Bad timing; Mr. Cipriani was on vacation, and—what with the recent closure of two of his namesake restaurants—it’s unclear when he’s coming back.
Mr. Amiri—who cut his teeth as the longtime Bungalow 8 doorman—feels that to open Socialista’s doors again would require the exuberance of a “full reopening.” “If the investors were all calling and enthusiastic about reopening it, that would be one thing,” he said. “For me to do it all on my own, I’m not interested in that at all.”
He said that he did not think of Socialista as a failure, and was particularly proud of the design, which was all his own. “I will miss being here at 4 o’clock in the afternoon when the sun starts to set and the light in here”—the club overlooks the Hudson River—“is just incredible. We had some good nights, too.”
In the fall of 2007, the club was at its height; it was the exclusive locale of choice for Fashion Week after-parties. “The peak?” he said. “The peak was the hepatitis night. Every celebrity was in here. What are the odds?” Hepatitis night was last Feb. 7, Ashton Kutcher’s birthday party. Madonna, Salma Hayek, Kate Hudson and Bruce Willis were all there. Unfortunately, so was a bartender who was diagnosed with Hepatitis A the next day.
Mr. Amiri hopes that the economic crunch will continue to drive prices down so that nightclubs of more substance and less hustle can open. “It’s all promoter-driven now,” said Mr. Amiri. “The only clubs I go to are the Beatrice, Rose Bar, Bungalow and the Box. At least you go to those places and feel like there is still some substance.”