Young and Hungry

Sidecar at P.J. Clarke’s Becomes Members-Only and Bans Photos

Apparently, it's trendy to make it difficult for people get into your restaurant or bar.

This morning, we wrote about how Dupont's new Russian restaurant Mari Vanna is giving a small group of people keys to its front door for access to Monday night VIP parties. Last week, we took a look at Harold Black, which doesn't publish its phone number and only accepts reservations via text message.

Now, Sidecar, the basement bar and dining room at P.J. Clarke's, is becoming a members-only club. No photos will be allowed, either.

While Sidecar already has about 1,000 members, other diners could previously grab a drink at the bar. Now, it will be restricted solely to members and their guests. To join, you must be referred by a current member or receive an invitation from one of the "Sidecar ladies" (the dining room's three managers). Either way, it's free to join. There's also an application, which asks for basic contact info as well as your preferred drink so the bartenders know it.

Director of Private Affairs Emily Hines tells Y&H that Sidecar decided to become members-only because members requested it. "They wanted a place to call their own," she says.

Among the member perks: If you call before 10 p.m., Sidecar will hold the dining room open and keep a bartender, server, and cook on hand until as late as 2 a.m.—even if there's just two people. Membership also gets you into Sidecar locations in New York, Las Vegas, and Sao Paulo.

As for that no photos policy, Hines says it's to ensure the privacy of the members. "They're appearing in so many publications and constantly on TV, this is the one location they can come to and not be bothered," she says.

How will they enforce the new rule? Well, there will no longer be photographers at any of Sidecar's private events. But as for unofficial paparazzi? "If a guest takes a picture on a iPhone? There's only so much we can do."

Photo courtesy P.J. Clarke's

Correction: This post originally misidentified Sidecar as Sidebar in several places.

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