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The Pit Loft 1 Comedy Clubs Chelsea Tenderloin
The Pit Loft 2 Comedy Clubs Chelsea Tenderloin
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Lost Gem
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Gotham Comedy Club

Gotham Comedy Club was opened in May 1996 by Chris Mazzilli and Mike Reisman. Though Chris had originally planned to be an attorney, he attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and "did men's wear for thirty seconds" before trying his hand at acting school. He got bit parts in several productions, but as he grew frustrated with a lack of steady work, he fell back on his passion for stand-up. It was while performing that he became fast friends with Mike Reisman – a Wall Street banker that moonlighted as a comedian – and later partnered with him to open their own comedy club. At this point, Chris left his comedic ambitions behind and fully dedicated himself to conceiving the perfect addition to New York City's nightlife. Chris and Mike wanted to depart from the "traditional dingy, smokey club" and instead create an "upscale place I would take a date or even my parents to, " Chris told us. Chris scouted out the best local talents he could find and "put all the things I learned from my dad into that club. " This culminated in Gotham's packed opening night, featuring Dave Chapelle as the headliner. "From then on, the comedians, the audience, and the staff knew that this was something special. " Their stage soon drew some of the biggest names in the industry, from Robin Williams to Jerry Seinfeld, which helped build Gotham's allure. In 2005, Chris had the chance to snag a larger space to accommodate the crowd, and he relocated to Gotham's current home in an Art Deco building beside the Chelsea Hotel. After the move, his brother, Steve, joined as a third partner. "With another person who was cut from the same cloth as I was, we were able to really grow the business, " Chris said.

More places on 29th Street

Lost Gem
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American Bartender's School

Approaching almost fifty years, the American Bartender's School, owned by Joseph Bruno, has been teaching mixologists the ‘ology of mixing. Having moved in the ‘80s from their original location on Madison Avenue, the school offers forty-hour courses, with students leaving as certified bartenders with a license issued by the New York State Board of Education. Joseph contends that a bartender’s success is determined by conversation, “no matter how good the drink is. ” That being said, technical skill is far from lacking at this institution. Combining lectures and a “lab” portion, we witnessed students attentively toiling over drinks for phantom customers in a room designed to look like one giant bar. The difference, however, is that unlike a culinary school where one might sample their own creations, students do not imbibe here. In fact, there is no alcohol to be found at this bar. Everything is in the correct bottles and the colors all match their potent potable equivalent. What was explained to us is that everything is about measurements. Students are given a recipe to follow, and provided they do it correctly, they can rest assured that it will taste exactly right in the real world. After decades of experience bartending in and managing drinking establishments, Joseph has seen a new devotion to the craft of mixology. Up-and-coming bartenders have tested innovative flavors, homemade syrups, and the “farm-to-table” use of fresh ingredients. He has taken particular pleasure in the resurgence of drinks not popular since the Prohibition era. Perhaps it is a sign that we still have a chance to relive some of the best aspects of the Roaring Twenties.