The lounge brings together former night life rivals Nur Khan and John McDonald.
The F train is late. A Chase branch pops up. A bar opens in a hotel. Most barely merit mention, but the Butterfly, a celebrity-friendly lounge that opened at the Sixty SoHo hotel this spring, is a buzzy exception.The bar is the work of John McDonald, the veteran restaurateur known for the Lure and MercBar; and Nur Khan, the Zelig-like night life impresario behind the Electric Room and Rose Bar. Together, they have recreated the kind of glammed-up, velvet-roped scene that ruled SoHo (and the meatpacking district) in the early aughts.
The Place: Butterfly is on the second-floor of Sixty SoHo and takes its name from the three large art works by Damien Hirst on the wall, each made up of thousands of iridescent butterflies. Other specimens were sent over by Mr. Hirst himself.“I had to drill each of those 2,000 butterflies myself,” Mr. Khan said. The rest of the lounge, inspired by the Italian designer Carlo Mollino, is a 12-tone symphony of animal prints, geometric patterns, sofas, settees and discreet booths for necking.A
The Crowd: On a recent Friday, half the cast of “Ray Donovan” occupied a cluster of couches. They were soon supplanted by a coven of models. One wore a camel hair blazer and high-waisted jeans. Another, an oversize 1997 NBA Finals T-shirt and stonewashed jorts. A third, a silken bodycon dress.A cigarette, passed between them, glowed naughtily like a beacon from pre-Bloomberg New York. On the small dance floor, three sylphs swayed to Depeche Mode like pussy willows in the breeze, while a man with a bushy blond beard wafted by, wearing a dashiki.
Getting In: The first line of defense is Racine Sy, a longtime doorman who guards the stairs like a cheery Cerberus. The second is Cindy Saz, a doorwoman with an encyclopedic knowledge of who’s who below 14th Street. The door is slightly less selective before 11 p.m. Reservations can be made online.
The PlaylistA D.J. gazes at a glowing laptop on Thursday through Saturday nights. Typical tunes include easygoing, crowd-pleasing pop like “Falling” by Haim and “Radio Ga Ga” by Queen. “This is for my friends,” Mr. Khan said. “So we can play what we want.”
DrinksButterfly-themed cocktails start at $20 and include the Painted Lady (a Negroni variation) and the Gatekeeper (Johnny Walker Black, balsamic vinegar, date and china-china liqueur). Bottles range from $200 to $3,000 for a three-liter bottle of Ace of Spades Champagne.
Butterfly, 60 Thompson Street (near Broome Street), no phone, butterflysoho.com. Open Tuesday to Wednesday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.