The name Nur Khan is pretty much synonymous with New York City nightlife. He is currently the man behind the exclusive hotspot, Electric Room at the Dream Downtown, an intimate oasis in the city serving specialty cocktails and high end spirits (and known to house numerous celebrities during special events). Khan’s former ventures include Kenmare, Hiro, Rose Bar and Don Hill’s and he has no plans to slow down anytime soon. Manhattan with a Twist had the chance to talk to the man of the hour about the Electric Room, the biggest misconceptions about nightlife, and his favorite spots to frequent.
How did you get started in nightlife?
I renovated an old decrepit movie theatre in Connecticut originally. It held like 1,500 people; it was a live music/dance club. I had Ron Delesenor, who was promoting concerts at Roseland Ballroom and The Academy Theatre, route the bands up to me while they played those venues. It was a great time for music. 1991 with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. all breaking out, and I had them all play my club. Then I moved to New York, quit Wall Street trading and opened my first bar, Wax, in NYC, which was a smash hit –small and total VIP–that place was amazing!
What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions about nightlife in NYC?
That it’s playtime. It’s a hell of a lot of daytime work and programming, etc. to keep the nights interesting. You get out at night what you put in during the daytime. It’s not all fun and games, it’s a hell of a lot of work!!!
Why do you think the Electric Room has garnered so much success?
I spend a lot of time in Electric Room, and I pay attention to everything. It’s a very small room so I can control the crowd and I don’t have to sell out just to put bodies in seats. I’m very particular about who comes in, so to keep my customers “safe.” I make sure they feel like they are home…make it home base…and it works. People love it–it’s got a little bit of every place I’ve owned in it in some sort of way. This formula really worked well, and because of the size, I see Electric Room having “legs” and lasting a long time.
If you aren’t at one of your own venues/parties, where do you go out in the city?
I really only go to my own venues because I’m neurotic when I’m not there and I like to listen to my own music, not someone else’s. It has to be perfect and I like keeping an eye on my venues…so really restaurants, not bars or clubs. My staples are Raoul’s and Omen.
What’s your favorite city to go out in other than New York?
London, but I prefer to be out in the UK countryside with my friends actually, better than the city itself.
Drink of choice?
Hands down Sake! It’s pretty much all I drink.