Ten Years Later 1 Oak New York Is Back and Better Than Ever

Richie Akiva and Ronnie Madra

Brand-new look, same great party! Let’s be honest — Rihanna, Madonna and Justin Bieber can walk past any velvet rope in the world, but there’s a reason all of Hollywood’s A-listers look to the Butter Group owners and nightclub experts Richie Akiva and Ronnie Madra for the hottest spot to party. Akiva tells Us, “We want to create a place where celebrities and people from all industries can really let their hair down.” Akiva has hosted the world’s most exclusive ragers, like Rihanna’s famous Met Ball afterparty and the amfAR Gala’s Cannes afterparty. “The last two Met Ball parties with Rihanna, the Weeknd and Naomi [Campbell] were more epic than New York has ever seen,” he says. Akiva and Madra have hosted almost any celebrity you can think of at this point in their careers. “These people aren’t celebrities,” Akiva says. “They’re our friends, and we want to create a safe space where they can let loose.”

What is the formula for drawing in all of Hollywood’s elite? Says Akiva: “I grew up in New York at places like Limelight. They always had drag queens, graffiti artists and skateboard kids mixing with Wall Street guys and movie stars. That’s the vibe that I want to create in my nightclubs.” And that vibe has definitely worked. 1 Oak and Up&Down are the go-tos for celebrities after a big awards show or just a night out with friends or, of course, to hook up. “There are a lot of celebrity couples that have met at one of our clubs, whose current husbands or wives they’ve met because they were seated next to each other,” Akiva reveals.

Rihanna
Rihanna at the afterparty for the Costume Institute Benefit Gala on May 5, 2014, in New York City. NCP/Star Max/GC Images

The hosts for every A-lister’s afterparty are about to step up their game once again — 1 Oak New York is getting a whole new look. “We wanted to create a place that all the tastemakers in New York would want to go to, as well as the younger crowd,” Akiva tells Us. And he says that there will be changes: “We wanted to move away from sparklers and too many flashing lights and things like that. We’re trying to bring New York back to its roots.” Madra agrees and adds, “We wanted everything to look sophisticated, we’re wiser now and know how to create a place that goes back to the roots of New York City nightlife and is more aesthetically pleasing.”

And if you can get through the front door, your social media will be #elevated! “We want to use materials that are very right now,” Akiva says, “all the design aspects, like stone. We’re modernizing the whole club, and there are little touches all over the club for photo ops. Social media plays such a huge part in nightlife now — we wanted to create places that people are excited to share on their social media.”

As for getting in the door without being on the arm of Hollywood A-lister? Akiva’s advice is “Don’t give up!”

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