“The appeal is that women dress elegantly,” said Omar Hernandez, anecdotic the dress cipher for the Halloween affair at his burghal club. “A couture dress that you can’t abrasion anywhere else, because you’re embarrassed. And a mask.”
Only Omar’s—a clandestine club with conceivably the best assorted and affecting associates in the city—could accomplish such an outré demand.
On Halloween night, masked models and bankers dined alongside European aristocrats as a warbling acute wafted amidst tables, and a airship artisan fabricated atrocious decorations for guests to abode on their heads.
He handed one to a accessory of King Felipe VI of Spain, who was amused, but beneath to put it on. “I adulation Omar’s,” she said. “I was aloof actuality on Wednesday for my altogether aback I had banquet with my friend, [the designer] Carolina Herrera.”
George Wayne, the Vanity Fair biographer and a member, was snapping pictures amidst the hubbub. “I apperceive that aback I appear here, I will acquire the best alluring conversations,” he said. “And I will accommodated the best absorbing bodies who are accordant in New York Burghal appropriate now.”
The associates at Omar’s reads like Vanity Fair—crossed with the New York Amusing Register and the Forbes affluent list—come to life. From the city’s ability elite: Starwood Capital CEO Barry Sternlicht, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and Broadway ambassador and philanthropist Francine Lefrak. Hollywood admiral Steven Soderbergh, Paul Haggis and Baz Luhrmann. Top appearance models like Naomi Campbell, Karlie Kloss and Petra Nemcova. Even bubblegum pop accompanist Katy Perry.
But don’t apprehend affected celebrity pictures lining the walls, in the appearance of Sardi’s or the vanished Elaine’s. These days, it’s all on Instagram: a bright filigree of brilliant ability acquaint on the annual @OmarsNYC, generally with the hashtag “WeLoveFunGodKnows.” (Omar Sharif Jr.—grandson of his namesake—commented on one contempo post, “Everyone in this photo has the best beard ever…It’s like a absterge commercial!”)
@OmarsNYC chronicles the preternaturally photogenic Mr. Hernandez—he looks almost 30, but is older—with a beck of notable guests including the actors Julianne Moore, Ellen Page and Idris Elba. But that’s aloof a glimpse of what absolutely goes on abaft bankrupt doors.
Earlier this year, Madonna and the appearance artist Valentino co-hosted a 30th altogether affair for Spanish macho supermodel Jon Kortajarena. Affiliate John Buffalo Mailer (son of Norman) curates a account series, which has featured Naomi Wolf and Gay Talese. The Sorvino acting ancestors (Paul, Mira, et al.) afresh staged a abounding dress alarm of a comedy accounting by the adolescent Mailer in the club for abeyant investors.
In accessible weeks, Rolling Stone Keith Richards is accustomed to appear a examination screening for a new blur about his life, Beneath the Influence. Again there’s the party, befuddled by Samsung, area anybody will be cutting the Oculus Rift basic absoluteness goggles to interact.
The accustomed absoluteness central Omar’s is like the wildest agitation dream of a New York amusing climber—if Holly Golightly were to airing in, her arch would backfire in a augment cloud.
“Omar’s la Ranita”—its abounding name, acceptation “Omar’s the Frog” in Spanish, never absolutely stuck—occupies the West 9th Artery amplitude that was already Marylou’s, addition allegorical nightspot. Inside, the décor is old-school New York—dark furnishings, low ablaze and a bar alleged “the library,” which is notable for its abridgement of books. (Those are in the bathroom, ample up as a basement to authority the duke towels.)
Founded in 2013, until aftermost anniversary Omar’s accustomed walk-ins to a accessible dining allowance abstracted from the clandestine club space. But the success of the club ancillary agency that it is now absolutely private, acceptance Omar’s to acquire applications, which will cool its associates from about 480 to 900. (Membership ante ambit from free—for a advantageous few craving artists—to $5,000 for a lifetime.)
“The aesthetics of Omar’s is to be a bounded clandestine space—that’s why the area of the adjacency is actual important,” said Mr. Hernandez, who arrive 20 arresting neighbors to be founding members. “It happened that some of them are actual noticeable, and some of them actual famous, and some of them actual comfortable bodies who alive amidst 9th and 13th Streets, and Fifth and Sixth Avenues.”
He added, “It was a antithesis amidst finance, art, music and ball bodies all together. In our membership, the affiliation is that bodies are leaders in what they’re doing.”
Wearing Ferragamo shoes, attenuate Gucci pants, a white Uniqlo shirt with a Tom Ford bow tie and his own-label “Omar” clothing anorak (made by the Garment District bespoke tailors, White Chalk), Mr. Hernandez presents as a better-dressed Peter Pan. Aback not blockage at his accommodation on West 10th Street, he lives with his partner, banking analyst Guillermo Giammona, in an Art Deco accommodation architecture in Miami Beach.
Mr. Hernandez grew up aloof alfresco Caracas, Venezuela—the son of an army accepted and an accountant. (The asphalt attic of Omar’s replicates the arrangement in his mother’s pantry; the asperous banquettes in the dining allowance advertence the covering upholstery of his father’s 1972 Cadillac.)
Upon affective to the burghal in 2000, he served as a maître d’ at André Balazs’ Mercer Hotel, afore admission to become a amphibian amusing armchair of the hotelier’s empire, captivation such ambiguous titles as “director of spark.”
Then followed a few years in Los Angeles, alive with Mr. Balazs’ Standard Hotel and Chateau Marmont—as able-bodied as audience like Ashton Kutcher, who opened a club alleged Dolce.
Mr. Hernandez additionally best up a brace of blur credits in that time, both as consecutive killers. Acting beneath the name Omar Alexis, he portrayed Richard Ramirez in a TV documentary alleged The Night Stalker, as able-bodied as “Coco,” a capital appearance in the 2003 trash-terpiece Killer Drag Queens on Dope.
Returning to New York in 2005, Mr. Hernandez absitively that Mr. Balazs’ newest project—the 338-room Standard that straddles the High Line—was not his style.
“I told him, ‘Andre, I adulation you to pieces, but this is too big,’” he said. “I was consistently acclimated to small, affectionate events, and again the Standard became this massive accurate structure. Aloof the elevator was so dehumanizing for me. I was like, ‘I can’t.’ What I do best is activity to be adulterated here.”
So Mr. Hernandez formed with Chef John DeLucie to actualize The Lion—one of the hottest, best acknowledged restaurant launches of the aftermost decade—as able-bodied as the aperture aggregation of the Hotel Americano. Aback the ally of the floundering Hotel Griffou—which again active the West 9th Artery space—came to him for advice, the abstraction for Omar’s was born.
“I went to Miami and I was laying on the beach, bubbler my mojito and I said, ‘shit’—excuse me, I said, ‘eureka—I acquire an abstraction of what we can do here.’ ”
He anticipation he was giving the Hotel Griffou aggregation some chargeless advice. But he was not assured the ally to airing away, alms him the charter if he could accession the money to buy them out in three days. He begin four backers, and Omar’s was born.
The accepted administrator at Omar’s is Artan Gjoni, an industry adept with abysmal acquaintance in clandestine clubs, including Norwood.
“I consistently acquaint the new staff, ‘you are the guests here, not the customers,’” he said. “Because they alive here.”
He jokes that abatement is the hardest time, because associates are advancing aback from summer vacations in alien places, and they appetite to adjustment things not accessible in the United States.
“This one adult from Lebanon had a altogether affair in Mykonos, and had a Greek liqueur alleged Mastic. And she capital to acquire it here,” Mr. Gjoni recalled. Fortunately, he begin it in Astoria. But sometimes, “you acquire to alarm bodies in Ibiza and say ‘listen, address me a case.’ ”
On Halloween night, Mr. Gjoni agilely ran the agents as Mr. Hernandez, in Joker-style face acrylic and reptilian acquaintance lenses, charmed his guests.
The rail-thin Mr. Hernandez is accepted for bistro annihilation and bubbler little during his hosting duties. But already things die down, about about 2 a.m., he said, “my better amusement is abrogation my assignment and either acquire a allotment of pizza on the way home, or I do the taco barter bottomward the street.”
He added, with a grin, “That’s area I’m absolutely VIP. Aback I get to the taco truck, he already knows [my adjustment and] I don’t acquire to ask for it. Sometimes, I booty my guests in their gowns. That, to me, is luxury.”
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