Thirty-something hospitality king Yosi Benvenisti is no stranger to the nightlife business.
The Chelsea Bounce Sporting Club is one of two sports bars aspiring to be a lounge that Yosi spearheaded with Vero and The Bandit Group. (There is also another location for those uptowners who refuse to go beneath 57th Street.)
Apart from its great food, Bounce Sporting Club is chic enough for even the highest Louboutin heels. So even if you are an avid sports fan, you can now entertain your girlfriend or clients with a more sophisticated environment that even offers tables and bottle service.
And if that isn’t alluring enough, the room is one fluid space with no walls, so the transition from sports bar to nightclub is seamless. Don’t let the VIP library and the wood paneled walls fool you, sports can be not only be hard core, but also sexy and sophisticated.
Whether he’s eating sirloin sliders or truffle mac and cheese or drinking one of the specialty Lay Ups or J Strokes, Benvenisti finds time to chat in the midst of Super Bowl mania about the future of Bounce and his favored Super Bowl team.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Israel, but I was raised in Fort Lee, [N.J.].
How did you get into hospitality?
I started in the nightlife business at 21 years old, and I started working with my partner Benny. I waited tables and even was a bartender. We opened Bounce in June of 2004.
Why did you start on the UES?
A We had a wine bar called Vero on 72nd and Second. The area has transitioned from a great neighborhood to a neighbor in transition with the Second Avenue subway.
Why is the idea of a sporting club so popular lately?
This environment gives clients a sense of entitlement, and they can drink during the day. We took the sports bar model and made it into a high-end restaurant.
What’s your business model?
Our sources of revenues are happy hours and Sunday Funday parties. We really captured the Sunday party market.
How much does it cost them a night?
Thursday, Friday and Saturday is a nightlife format with a $700 minimum and nightclub feel.
What’s an average night going to cost?
A table reservation can be $1,500 to $2,500 a table.
How much does a table cost during Super Bowl?
Our Upper East Side location is moderately priced at $500 for a table for six people and our other Flatiron location can range anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000.
Any thoughts of taking the brand to the next level?
Yes, we currently have deals in the works in Philadelphia and Dallas. Stay tuned
Are you an avid sports fan?
I love the New York teams: Knicks, Giants, Rangers, and Yankees
How do you feel about ARod?
I I think the Yankees have been in the gossip pages a little too much lately, so hopefully they can focus more on the field now. think the Yankees are going to have a fresh start next year. They build up the team and do what they know what to do
What do you wear to work (who are your favorite designers)?
I love Saint Laurent Jeans, D&G Blazers, Margiela sweaters, Varvatos ,and James Perse for casual wear
What other New York haunts do you like?
For restaurants, I love ABC kitchen, Marc Forgione,and Blue Ribbon. For night spots, I love my local spots like #8, Bathtub Gin, and when I want to venture across town I will stop by the Box and say, ’hi’ to my friends over there.
What differentiates Bounce from other sports bars?
A The level of service and the high-energy party format we provide. Also, our menu is a gourmet take on traditional game-day food.
What kind of parties do you have during Super Bowl week?
We have Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Pugh of the New York Giants hosting our Friday Night Party with DJ Irie, and we are producing a poker tournament hosted by [2006 WSOP champion] Jamie Gold. We are also hosting two parties on Super Bowl Sunday: one at the flagship Bounce in Flatiron and ... a pop-up party, Bounce Sporting Club presents Super Sunday Funday at Highline Ballroom with a special live performance by [Run DMC’s] DMC.
Broncos or Seahawks?
A Broncos! Peyton [Manning] had a hell of a year and it would be a great way for him to end it!