Scroll through Jon Bakhshi’s Instagram page and you’ll find a bevy of famous faces posing for snaps with the nightlife impresario. That’s because Bakhshi (or Jon B, as he’s often called) has a knack for creating the ultimate celebrity hotspots. Take Beautique, his most recent venue, for example. On any given night, the posh subterranean space could be studded with stars like Mick Jagger, Liam Neeson, Billy Joel and Jennifer Lopez (who chose the spot to celebrate her birthday this past summer).
“There’s something very unique about Beautique,” Bakhshi says. “It’s exactly what I wanted it to be—a one-stop for the night where you can have a really good meal, grab a drink at the lounge and not have to go someplace else.”
Here, Bakhshi shares the secrets to attracting well-heeled clientele.
Design a sophisticated space.
“Beautique’s ambiance is upscale and the décor is very sexy. Celebrities feel safe and comfortable here, and that’s why they come.”
Hire experienced staff.
“Our team is always in touch with people in the industry, so we know when someone is leaving another venue and could be the right fit. Both of the maître d’s from Le Bilboquet now work at Beautique. They left there and came to me.”
Create standout food and beverage menus.
“We launched a new menu recently, as well as happy hour and brunch on the weekends. There’s a $86 cocktail that’s offered and diners order it all the time. It’s that good.”
Expand in the right locations.
“We chose the East End for our second Beautique outpost because a lot of our customers are Hamptons-based. Abroad, I’m currently looking into London and Dubai because the crowd base there is very trendy.”
Get the word out.
“I think word-of-mouth is still the best promotion. When someone comes in for the first time, the goal is to give them a reason to come back again and tell their friends to do the same.”