I visited a tiny NYC nightclub that has a $150 cocktail and was designed to look like a water tower, and it didn't take long to see why it's a hotspot for models and influencers
Katie Warren/Business Insider
- I visited The Water Tower in Brooklyn, New York, a brand-new rooftop lounge and nightclub designed to look like a water tower.
- Cocktails start at $20 - and one special white truffle-infused beverage costs $150, while a grilled cheese sandwich will run you $70.
- But although the views were stunning and the space was beautiful, I don't see myself ever going there because of the high prices.
One of New York City's newest bars is perched on top of a Brooklyn hotel and designed to look like one of the many industrial-looking water towers that dot the borough's rooftops.
The Water Tower, which opened in November 2018, is super-exclusive: it's reservation-only and seats only 45 people. Cocktails at the club, which is open from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and features a rotating set of international DJs, start at $20 - and one specialty drink, infused with white truffle, will cost you $150.
The food menu includes items such as a $70 white truffle grilled cheese, an $80 seafood platter, and caviar service ranging from $95 to $525.
Berton Rodov, the club's creative director, said they aim to cultivate a specific vibe at The Water Tower.
"We have a fun, diverse crowd," he told me when I went to check out the club one afternoon. "Honestly, we try to curate the experience here, being that it's a small space and it's the most luxurious extension of this brand."
But, he added, that's "not saying you have to be rich to come in." He said the crowd tends to be, "cool kids, models, people just here to have fun," and they "try to look out for locals, too."
After visiting the club one early December afternoon, I can't say I was entirely convinced that their target audience isn't just rich people.
Here's what The Water Tower looks like inside.
The Water Tower is perched on the rooftop of Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn, which already includes an outdoor bar and a pool.
It was built as an "homage" to the iconic water towers that dot many Brooklyn rooftops.
Rooms at the Williamsburg Hotel start at around $200 per night, according to its website.
I took a small elevator directly up to The Water Tower. The space felt a bit smaller than I was expecting, but it was decorated with plush velvet and leather sofas.
The section of the structure facing Manhattan consists of floor-to-ceiling glass panels. Combined with the high ceiling, the space felt airy and open despite its size. Quirky pop art lined the walls on the other side.
The artwork wasn't what I expected to see in a swanky lounge, but it seemed to be made for Instagram.
The Water Tower is reservation-only and seats 45 people, which seems about right for the size of the space. Walk-ins are accepted if there's enough space, however.
The club's nightly entertainment includes a rotating list of international DJs.
They also plan on doing quite a lot of private events, which will cost somewhere in the $20,000 range.
The small tables scattered throughout the space range from an industrial wood style to shiny metallics.
The views of Manhattan are pretty great — and they only got better as the sun started to set.
It was freezing on the day I visited, so I didn't spend much time on the wraparound terrace, but I imagined it would be a great spot to hang out on a warm evening.
I could see New York City landmarks including the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and a glimpse of the Brooklyn Bridge.
The empty pool didn't look particularly appealing in early December ...
... but in the summertime, it looks like the kind of place models and influencers would hang out.
I asked The Water Tower's creative director, Berton Rodov, about the club's vibe.
"We have a fun, diverse crowd," he told me. "Honestly, we try to curate the experience here being that it's a small space and it's the most luxurious extension of this brand." The Williamsburg Hotel is owned by hospitality and real estate duo Toby Moskovits and Michael Lichtenstein.
And as for the crowd frequenting the place so far, it includes "cool kids, models, [and] people just here to have fun," Rodov said.
On one recent night, the crowd included actor AnnaSophia Robb celebrating her 25th birthday.
The club has been getting a lot of international interest, with many inquiries from London in particular, Rodov said.
Rodov says you don't have to be "rich" to come party at The Water Tower.
But the prices — ranging from $20 to $150 for a cocktail and "snacks" that include $525 caviar and a $70 grilled cheese — seemed pretty high to me, even by New York City standards.
The bar is tiny and tucked away in the back corner of the space.
The beverage director, Rael Petit, was preparing for the night ahead.
Petit told me about The Water Tower's $150 specialty cocktail: the "Heart of Gold." It's made with Patron Gran Platinum, Carpano Antica, and white truffle-infused Aperol. Petit said he sold 12 of these in the first two weeks the bar was open.
The mix of ingredients in this drink sounded questionable to me, but a publicist assured me none of the flavors are overwhelming and the Aperol shines through. So if you like the Italian Spritz cocktails that have become ubiquitous in NYC lately, you'll probably like this one.
Other cocktails on the menu range from $20 to $28.
A cocktail called "Les Gnomes," made with Absolut Elyx vodka, Singani 63, Ancho Reyes, ginger syrup, and lemon juice, is apparently served in these whimsical gnome-shaped tankards.
The bar also serves a cocktail called "Purple Rain" that includes CBD oil.
Bottle service starts at $500.
This glow-in-the-dark bottle of Champagne, Dom Pérignon Luminous, costs $795.
The cheapest drink available is a bottle of Brooklyn Lager for $10.
The food menu, created by executive chef Nicolas Caicedo and which Rodov describes as "super high-end bar bites," includes a $70 grilled cheese with white truffle shavings.
A seafood plateau with a chef's selection of local and wild shellfish along with seasonal accompaniments is $80, and caviar ranges from $95 to $525. The cheapest food item is a crudites plate with market vegetables and olives for $20.
As it got darker outside and the city lit up, they dimmed the lights in the lounge and I started feeling some serious ambiance.
I couldn't take my eyes off the Manhattan skyline across the river.
The creative director insists The Water Tower is not pretentious and it's not just for rich people. "We know it is expensive but we try not to be pretentious up here," Rodov said. "We want people to contribute to the vibe of the place. No wallflowers."
But I can't say I was entirely convinced.
While it's a beautiful space for the type of crowd they're looking to attract, I don't think I'll be getting a $150 drink or a $70 grilled cheese there anytime soon.
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