Nightlife lovers won't have to wait nearly as long for the debut of Monarck, the newest venture by Francois Safieddine (and it's even tagged with his name). The renovation of the old St. Mark's space at 1416 Market Street is almost finished, complete with a coat of periwinkle-blue paint, and the grand opening is set for August 12, only a week beyond the initial promise date. As marketing director Seana Harvey explains, she and Safieddine "wanted to make sure that everything that got done, got done right." She describes the spot as "absolutely beautiful," replete with dark wood and posh accoutrements lit by traditional Williamsburg chandeliers, creating an aristocratic but welcoming effect.
Planned a step more upscale than current Safieddine venues (Lotus, Mynt, Blue 67), Monarck will begin its reign with a focus on fun, in the form of a regular "'80s Retro Happy Hour" Monday through Friday. That's music to my ears, along with those of my fellow '80s-music fans -- and to our eyes, as well, since the nostalgia-fest will also feature music videos from that decadent era. Of course, accompanying drink specials and various noshables will be available during time-warp hours. After dark, Monarck will emphasize a lush lounge atmosphere, with a live DJ scheduled on Thursdays and Saturdays. In fact, the former -- dubbed Metamorphosis Thursdays -- will transform what will usually be a laid-back lounge into much more of a club setting. So consider yourself warned: At least once a week, Monarck's staff may actually expect you to move, or at least shift positions while lolling about.
Also sporting a new coat of blue paint is Vinyl, the club at 1082 Broadway that was closed by the March 2003 blizzard, after the top floor caved under a load of snow. Rather than give up, owner Regas Cristou embarked on an ambitious rebuilding of the structure -- and the new rooftop patio, which replaces the rooftop patio that was just about complete sixteen months ago, should open any day now. Really. As for the main floor, the goal is by Halloween -- yes, 2004.
-- Catalina Soltero