Party Expert

Matthew Pipes

My girl Kate is a schoolteacher who spends her entire week coloring inside the lines. So, I decided to show her some fun this weekend by taking her to the grand opening party for Vapour Lounge’s new Italian restaurant, Cibo. The space at 5252 E. 82nd St. is already famous for its top shelf booze, and gorgeous people. Their decision to open an upscale restaurant seems like the next logical step in appealing to all the senses.

Kate and I pull up at 11:30. A massive blue pillar with the word “Vapour” emblazoned on its side serves as our beacon, drawing us in like gnats to a bug zapper. Late for dinner, we walk upstairs to start our liquid diet. The second floor is a small martini bar that offers an overhead view of the restaurant below. Cibo is a stunning space with white drapes covering the floor-to-ceiling windows and red teardrop chandeliers falling from the roof. The décor sets a mood of Italian elegance and transitions nicely for the Naptown party scene.

Kate hears her favorite song wafting from a side staircase and with me in tow, she follows the beats to the third floor: the Vapour Lounge. The place is dark, but I can make out the usual components of a great nightclub: a crowded bar to my right, some dance enthusiasts to my left and many levels of VIP seating to my front. The club has three stories, each harder to enter than the last. After a chat with Kyle the manager, we are donning our yellow bracelets and sipping free Balinis from the top tier of the club. Did I mention their great service?

From above the crowd I spot my friend Bryan who never misses a VIP event. Kate and I descend our throne and make our way to the marble dance floor, where Bryan praises his meal at Cibo. We dance like our social lives depend on it and only leave when people start taking our picture. I walk over to the bar. It’s made of ice to keep the liquor cold and, as I found, to keep the elbows off. Beth, one of the bartenders, hands me a gin and tonic just in time for Kate to give me a hug and a whispered, “Thank you,” before pulling me back onto the dance floor to release some more steam.

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