Every time we sit down for a dream job interview, it’s bittersweet. Most of these guys have a life we want (like this one) or a life we wished we could handle (like the bomb squad technician). Ed Norwick used to be the General Manager at the the-greatest gentleman’s club in the nation, the Penthouse Executives Club. Unsatisfied with the level of erotic luxury, he moved on and re-opened the iconic Scores in Manhattan. It turns out, it’s not all fun and games. But, you know…it is mostly fun and games.
Tell us about what your up to now, Ed.
We opened about 14 months ago, Scores had gone out of business, we purchased it, renovated the building – the place is gorgeous – and reestablished the best gentlemen’s chain in the country. We resurrected what it was and then exceeded what it was – back to what it should have been. Prior to Scores, I had the same position with the Penthouse Executives Club, which was the best gentlemen’s club prior to reopening Scores.
What kind of changes were made to step up your game?
It’s not the changes you make, it’s that you bring things up to the expectations of the public. We have Robert’s Restaurant – it was rated by Bruni in the NY Times as one of the best steakhouses in New York. All the alcohol in the club is top shelf; our well liquor is Greg Goose. We have 29 plasma screens at Scores so you can watch all the games there, and we have the most beautiful women in the country working at Scores. So, really, you have the three B’s: the best beef, the best booze, and the best boobs.
It’s a meat market, baby.
If you think about it, if you could find a place for a guy to scratch in public, it’d be Heaven. The expectation of the public has always been: the best. The expectation of our clientele and the level of the clientele has always been the best. And we provide the best.
It’s a warm, intimate, and dynamic – which is almost a contradiction in terms – but the design of the club, the way everything is laid out is very intimate. It’s very warm and inviting, but it’s also very dynamic. You know, it gives you that Vegas feel to it. We brought lighting in that you couldn’t get in this country. We brought lasers in that you could only get in Europe. We ripped out the stage when we bought it, and we put in a new stage during the renovation with 8 plasma screen TVs on it. It’s an incredible looking club; it far exceeded my expectations. I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m really proud of the way it turned out.
How has an upscale club been doing in the recession?
Incredible. It’s been incredible. The interesting part is that you have a certain demographic, and the recession…you’d have to be an idiot to not realize there’s a great impact. But, the only thing is that at a certain financial level, the impact is far less. New York is an anomaly. In relation to the rest of the country and the rest of the world – at a certain price point – you know, not to sound pretentious…
What is that price point? What’s your average customer?
You can’t. The average customer is a businessman, but we do a lot of bachelor clubs. It’s not a stuffy club, it’s a lot of fun. But, it’s not a place where you go for (pause, then, imitating) “i-need-a-shot-and-a-beer!” This is not a place where you sit around the stage and throw a dollar on the stage. It really isn’t. By comparison, there’s nothing wrong with driving a Chevy, or a Ford, or a Volkswagen. But it’s a lot more fun driving a Bentley or a Maseratti (Ed. Note: Love my Silverado). There’s nothing wrong with that – there’s a market for everything, and there’s a market for everyone. But it does feel better sitting in a Ferrari than it does to sit in a Chevy Malibu.
Speaking of good-looking curves, how do you pick the girls?
(laughs) Very subtle. But they actually come to us! Girls come in to audition. Initially, when we were opening, I made recruiting trips. I went to Florida and a bunch of other cities just to let people know that we were re-opening Scores and that it was us and that it was me. That it was based on my reputation in terms of how we work. So when we opened, we already had people coming in to audition. Once we open, then they come to us. …My life doesn’t suck, B.J. it’s not a bad thing to be me. But, we actually turn away far more than we hire.
Howard Stern is a big Scores fan. Get a lot of celebs?
We do get a lot of celebrities in with the restaurant and with the club, but we have a lot of business people and bachelor parties, too. It’s a whole amalgamation of people. Celebrities are great. Celebrities are fun and good for the ego. But your core clientele are people from all over the country. Remember, New York is the business Mecca of the country and the world. New York is the focal point. And you get people from all over the world. Celebrities are fun, but the basis of your business men are the local business men and the parties. Just for your edification…do you know who Danielle Staub is?
Yes. She was at our launch party in New York.
Danielle is having her birthday party and the launch party for her new record – it’s going to be at SCORES.
Excellent. So, what is your typical day? What do you do 9-5?
Well, first of all, my life doesn’t go 9-5. My life basically goes from 10 to whenever. Probably 10 to 7. That’s 10am to 7am. It’s not that interesting at the beginning – I go to the same place for breakfast, read three newspapers, and then start my phone calls. It’s an ongoing thing, though. It’s really a 24-7 job that’s very input-oriented. Talking to girls, talking to vendors. Making sure that the club is right operationally. It opens at 5 o’clock in the evening, so there’s a lot to do prior to opening. Then, my real day begins at the club – dealing with clients and dealing with the girls.
Dealing with girls. Hm. What is your advice to the readers of Made Man as to how they should act in your club?
The real thing – what I try to explain to people – is that the people that walk through the door become my friends. It’s a gentlemen’s club. It’s a place to relax and it’s a place to have fun. You know the Dos Equis commercial? The Most Interesting Man in the World? I want every person that comes through the door to feel like that character. That he’s the most interesting man in the world or that she’s the most interesting woman in the world. Because it’s a very gender-friendly facility. Even though it’s a gentlemen’s club, it’s still very gender-friendly.
Do you have a lot of women coming in?
We get women as clients in also, yes. We get couples. Part of it is having the restaurant at the level that we have. We have a lot of couples coming for dinner and hanging out. But, we also get groups of single women coming in – we do bachelorette parties. We even have classes. I mean, I don’t like the ‘s’ word. I almost never use the phrase strip club. But, for bachelorette parties, for women, we do classes on how to dance suggestively for your significant other . So, in essence, we do striptease classes. We take the girls in a separate women and teach them to be provocative. So, it’s very gender friendly. And we really just want everybody to walk out with that feeling that they’re the most interesting person in the world. Even if it’s for that short period of time. Whether its’ for an hour or six hours, it doesn’t really matter.
There is a stigma, though, with being associated with this business. Do you experience that?
No, because part of it is the reality of an industry. And what you see on the movies and that are two different things. There’s people that are street vendors that sell hot dogs, and then there’s Robert’s and La Cirque, and you don’t let the street vendors that sell hot dogs impact your life if you’re one of them.
There’s really two different issues here. Part of it is what you see on TV and how it’s portrayed in movies is not the reality to begin with. That’s theatrical. You know, Harry Potter isn’t real. That’s what I never use the ‘s’ word. So is there a negative impact? Not really. Also, this isn’t Jack Ruby in Vegas in the 50s and 60s. Time Squares has been cleaned up, so we’re not talking about that type of stuff either. There is a market for blue-collar titty bars. That’s just not us.