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The Velvet Rope

So you've checked out all the chicks at your local dive and exhausted all your options. They're all crazy anyway. Grunged-out girls with greasy hair and pigeon gaits. Time for a new class of crazy. Check the lines outside any city's hot spots. It's like a trail of temptation in tight skirts and tube tops.

But you're not getting in like that.

We talked to doormen from some of the country's most impenetrable party scenes. Take note.

Week 1: Frank Martinelli, Tenjune NYC.


Tenjune's renowned as one of the toughest doors in town. Why so?

Tenjune has earned the reputation over the years for having the best crowds, so now it’s our job to make sure people are getting what they expect out of the experience. We want our crowd to be successful, stylish and interesting.

Does that make you hardest doorman around?

I think I’m among the hardest, and I’d say I’m definitely one of the most selective.  After a few years there’s still a line around the block, so I think I’m doing my job.

What’s the hardest night to get in?

Tuesday is our most selective night.

And how many hopefuls get the old heave ho?

Probably around 80%.

Damn. Why so tight?

Tuesday is more of an industry night at Tenjune – the crowd is mostly actors, models, artists and musicians.  We’ve worked really hard over the last three years to build a high-quality brand and establish a certain sexiness for the room on that night.

Do you take any pleasure in seeing the sorry souls you’ve sent packing about turn, tail between legs in the bitter winter cold, dressed to the nines, and head for home?

No I definitely don’t take pleasure in that at all.  That’s not who I am and it’s not who I want to be. There is nothing worse than seeing nice, polite people get turned away and not understand what they’ve done wrong. It’s just that our venue only holds around 200 people and not everyone is going to be in that 200.  That said, when someone is a rude, waving money in your face, stomping up and down like a child, screaming and yelling, then turning them away can be a real pleasure, not to mention entertaining.  You know who you are, people…

Is that the main reason people get dissed?

People get denied for a number of reasons: they’re impatient and rude, they aren’t dressed properly, or they just aren’t the right fit for our room. It’s really not personal and that’s what people need to understand.

Does a guy’s style affect his chances of getting through you?

Does a girl’s breath affect if you are going to kiss her?  Of course style matters.

Not if she's Katy Perry. To get into the club, what are your Style Dos?

My style dos aren’t easily defined. You need to be yourself and exude confidence and personal style – don’t just follow the trends.  If you feel good in your own skin than there’s a good chance you will look good too. Unfortunately those two things don’t always go hand in hand haha.

And what are your Style Do Nots?

I only have a few: don’t look like you just stepped off the set of the Sopranos, or a Kriss Kross video - baggy jeans and jerseys are a definite no no.  And if there is one way of guaranteeing your not coming in, it’s having on a pair of whack kicks!!

Is there any fail-safe style?

No there is no fail-safe style because there are other intangibles as well. Nothing you wear is going to guarantee you entry into our establishment.

Devil! How about if the guy looks like a hobo, but the chicks on each of his arms look like the Girls Next Door, how about then?

Not a chance. For starters no one wants a hobo in the club, and to be honest we aren’t looking for the ‘girl next door’.  It’s so generic, how boring is that? We look for an eclectic crowd from all walks of life.  Race, age, creed, and profession don’t exist in our business; if it did we would be a social club.

What other things can a guy do to guarantee access?

Being polite and patient goes a long way, and being dressed well won’t hurt either.  It’s just a matter of making yourself presentable and understanding social etiquette.  You would be shocked how many people have none of the above.


No no. We wouldn't. How would you describe your personal style?

I have a few different styles.  My favorite outfit is a great pair of broken in jeans, a white v-neck t-shirt and a pair of boots.  But I also love wearing a custom three-piece suit. I feel comfortable in a lot of different things, it’s just a matter of how I’m feeling that day.

Does that reflect how you judge potential patrons?

Yes and no.  Yes, because I am a bit of a fashion whore so I am always looking for inspiration and I really like seeing what our guests can put together and bring to the table.  And no, because I am not going to judge a person’s personal style. There are so many things that I would never wear but other people feel comfortable in and pull off. Like I said earlier it’s a matter of being yourself and wearing it well.

If a guy tried to get by you wearing the same jacket as you, would you let him slide, or bounce him?

This is a funny one because it happened recently, only with shoes. This well dressed gentleman came up and had on a pair of Lanvins that I also own and went to the end of the earth to find. I contemplated not letting him in and I told him that, but I wasn’t wearing them that night so I let it slide. Haha, it rarely happens though, because I try hard to make sure I’m wearing things that no one else has.


If another you rocked up to your club and you were on the door, but you didn’t know you, would you let you in?

That’s not even up for debate… but wait, are we wearing the same clothes? Haha.

How about if a group of hot chicks in tight dresses turn up, would they ever be rebuffed?

Yes it happens all the time.  Just because you’re wearing a tight dress doesn’t mean you should be, or that you look good in it. Again, Ill take a woman that is covered up from head to toe and looks sexy, classy and confident over three naked chicks with bulls eyes on their lower backs any day of the week.

Next time I come to your club, will you let me in?

Uuhhh…………what was your name again? Haha.

Ha. Ha. See you Tues.