He added: “I do think people are tapping into this vibe of New Yorkers wanting to be in somewhat more intimate spaces. There was a time when Crobar, Spirit and Avalon opened at the same time, and I sort of scratched my head and wondered if there were really that many people that wanted to go to these huge clubs.”
Mr. Rabin, at 46, said that he still enjoys a night out on the town and is grateful for the clubs with a more grown-up take on nightlife that have only recently begun to sprout up—such as the Box, the Beatrice Inn and the Gramercy Hotel’s Rose Bar. “You can definitely detect there’s this hunger for nightlife out there, but not to be in a pounding club.”
Mr. Amiri said it wasn’t so much that he was seizing on a moment, but rather on a space. Ten months ago, Mr. Amiri—who has been dreaming about having his own place for years—visited 505 West Street with a real-estate-broker friend. “I saw it and I just saw Cuba,” he said.
Mr. Amiri later allowed that has never actually been to Cuba, but said that he connected deeply with the music and the style of the country. Regardless, he saw something. He said that when he showed the space to Mr. Cipriani, he, too, saw the potential. As did Ms. Styler, who told The Observer: “It’s just what New York needs—a Cuban-style hip nightclub, Cipriani’s catering, the coolest sounds and great salsa.” (Another investor is TV producer Ben Silverman, who oversees hits like Ugly Betty and The Biggest Loser and brought The Office to American shores.)
“What’s great is, I envisioned this, and it’s here n
ow—and that’s a beautiful process of imagination,” said Mr. Amiri. “It’s the same process as with acting.”
Indeed, Mr. Amiri has also been pursuing a career in acting. He had small part in Factory Girl and recently filmed a scene opposite Joaquin Phoenix in Reservation Road. Working the door at Bungalow 8 benefited both of his ambitions, of course, though Mr. Amiri insists that he’s putting his acting career on hold for a while.
“He’s wanted his own place since the day I hired him,” said Ms. Sacco, reached by phone on April 29. “I’m so proud of him.”
“Who better to learn the ropes from than Amy?” said Mr. Amiri. “I feel like she was a pioneer; whether she did Lot 61 or Bungalow 8, she created something new. And everybody capitalized off her.”