The New York City nightclub that was shut down shortly after Chris Brown and members of Drake’s entourage got into a June 14th brawl reopened for the first time Tuesday night. The fight was in the basement lounge – WIP and spawned a $20 million dollar lawsuit from NBA star Tony Parker who suffered an eye injury in the fight. WIP is set to reopen tonight (Wednesday).
On the eve of the reopening, Examiner.com spoke with Anessa Desarno, a nightlife marketing veteran based in New York. Desarno does not work for Greenhouse or WIP and is not speaking on behalf of the venue, management or staff of the nightclub. She does, however, bring a unique perspective to the conversation about the Drake-Chris Brown fight – as she suffered a broken wrist in a bar fight in which she was not involved in 2004. “While an incident like this is extremely rare and unfortunate, the heightened attention to this specific altercation is shedding an out-of-context light on nightlife and the nightlife industry as a whole – but I am confident that we will return to the positive culture that nightlife is meant to highlight and reflect.”
That’s exactly what the owners of Greenhouse were hoping for when they reopened their doors Tuesday night. Desarno talked with me about the Greenhouse opening and if she’d feel safe going back to a club where there was a brawl.
MV: What’s your current association with Greenhouse and WIP?
AD: Barry Mullineaux, owner/operate of both venues and I have been friends for nearly 10 years. We have been doing business together in various capacities about that long as well. Currently I am working with him in a consultative role on marketing, events and sponsorships. We have other projects not involved in the clubs that we are also partnering on.
MV: The clubs have been closed for nearly a month now -following the June 14 fight- with last night’s reopening what’s changed?
AD: From what I understand there will be acrylic glassware, extra security – as a preventative measure – and customers/bags will be searched at entrance.
MV: You were once hurt in a club fight – would you feel safe going back into that same club if they had implemented the same changes Greenhouse and WIP for tonight’s reopening?
AD: I actually have been back to that nightclub I was injured at many times over the past 8 years – yes it is still open! I even do some business with the owners and promoters there also. The thought to sue that venue never crossed my mind, even though looking back there was no security around in the near vicinity of the packed dance floor – they didn’t even break up that incident! They stepped in afterwards to see me out the door and into my college roommate’s car. They suggested she take me to the ER. The mentality I had at the time was that no one could have controlled a fight breaking out with me standing in the middle. I was hurt and it was unfortunate but no one’s fault but the men involved. I definitely have a heightened sense of awareness since I was hurt but have never felt unsafe Barry’s venues. In fact, I have joked with friends and clients that the safest places for me in all of NYC were Greenhouse and WIP. I believe in my experience – professionally and personally – that you cannot stop these incidents from happening. Illegal weapons weren’t smuggled in. Unfortunate situations can only be handled as quickly as possible with the least amount of damage done.
MV: Nearly 250 employees were ‘laid off’ when the club was shut down – what does the reopening mean for them? Do they all have jobs back?
AD: It was actually a little over 300 employees affected by the closure. I am sure they are all welcome back. Also, Barry has worked out deals with other events and venues over the past few weeks to keep his staff working as much as possible.
MV: How is Greenhouse celebrating the reopening?
AD: Club is business as usual – and focused on providing a safe and fun environment for patrons – but I am sure NYC will be giving the space a warm welcome back.
Credit: Melissa Viscount, Examiner