Pink Elephant, New York



Above Pink’s center a tweeter, mirrorball and light fixture peak out of the ceiling cavity – one of the last remaining pieces of crobar’s former Prop Room.

Lounging in fetal position.
By Chrissi Mark
Photos by Kristopher Clark

You had to figure with all the Hollywood pregnancies dominating the gossip glossies, clubland would find a way to follow suit. And so it has. In the womb – the space formerly known as the VIP Prop Room – of crobar New York another venue has been born. The new lounge, Pink Elephant, is actually a transplant, already well-known for the bottle service, bongo drums and house music of its former 2,500-square-foot incarnation less than a mile south of its new home.

But why would Pink’s owners choose to relocate their successful, independent lounge to a space within a mega venue like crobar? The local press hit the nail on the head when they quipped that demand for nightclub real estate on Manhattan’s West 27th Street is so fierce club owners are literally building one place inside another.

A Sound Conception
Owner David Sarner (Chaos, SpyBar) freely admits he wanted Pink Elephant to be “with everyone else” on the bustling-by-night block, but there were also other incentives for embedding his lounge in the 20,000-square-foot superclub.

“The crobar deal is a joint venture,” he says. “It’s completely separate from a customer base, there’s no crossover traffic between the two clubs, but there’s a lot of [shared] infrastructure. There’s a lot of advantages to having the backbones already in place here: sharing accounting and a purchasing department, an IT department, and an art design department.”

Pink also inherited the audio contact of Steve Dash, well-known in the industry for his work with Phazon at Twilo and crobar itself. Now part of the Integral Sound ( team, Dash designed a system of more than 30 JBL VRX, MS, and Control series speakers, plus nearly a dozen of Dash’s own custom JBL-loaded subs, to aurally enhance the 5,000-square-foot lounge. The result is rockin’, but surprisingly low-key, a perfectly appropriate system for a lounge where red velvet banquettes and tiny white leather tables twine around a slight center space, the room’s closest thing to a dedicated dancefloor, in front of the raised DJ booth.

“We picked a speaker that was physically sized right, and powerful enough for what they wanted to do,” Dash says. “But we beefed it up a little bit more because they always say we’re just a lounge and next thing you know they’re blasting it.”

There were other perks, too, in the decision to literally dig an underground tunnel to Pink Elephant’s entrance on the other side of the block from crobar’s: The new venue would add space, and give A-list DJs a new playground. “A lot of the bigger room DJs want to spin in a small, intimate environment,” Sarner says. “And to this point they’d been spinning essentially at Cielo. Nicolas [Matar, owner] does a great job over there, but it’s nice to have an alternate and mix it up.”

Though crobar’s weekend headliners may play off nights, late nights, or surprise spots at Pink, the sounds of the two venues remain separate thanks to extra soundproofing. The overhead acoustic treatment resulted in a lower ceiling, which pleased interior designer David Graziano of Icrave ( “I wanted to keep the intimacy [of the former Pink Elephant],” he says, “making the room feel like it’s small, even though it’s a larger space.”

Pink’s curves and showy chandelier.

Pink’s hedge-lined, garden-scented tunnel is a path under crobar’s main floor.

Nasal Cravings
Maintaining the theme of Pink’s first rendition, Graziano also included warm, organic elements like vines behind the trellises that curve against brick walls, as well as a multi-path layout, facing seating, and dance platforms on the “real estate” behind banquettes.

Graziano added new elements as well, drawing from his own eclectic taste and Sarner’s notion of the lounge as a living organism: glowing “ribs” on the ceiling; low white tables with shelves for purses; garden-like wrought-iron ornamentation; and a striking $11,000 bead-covered chandelier.

Motivated by a desire to make the space a delight for all of the senses, Graziano even found a way to enhance the smell of the room. “That moment in the night where you’re giving everybody 15 seconds of energy – where you boost the song up, the lights go nuts and we honk the horn and make it snow – that was the original idea of the scent machine,” Graziano says.

They pulled it off with a large device inside the lounge to waft scents, which, for now, remain so subtle they’re barely detectable to the untrained nose. “It’s not meant to overpower, it’s meant to tease in some sense and stimulate in others,” Sarner says. “It will also be very helpful for product launches of perfumes, and we can put on the Dunkin’ Donuts smell at five in the morning like a last call.”

There’s another, smaller unit seeping a garden aroma along the hedge-lined tunnel. The tunnel itself became a focus of design when the original plan to plow it straight through crobar morphed to burrowing underground. The tunnel seems to be a welcome addition, allowing weary clubgoers to escape from the velvet ropes lining the block outside, a hidden passage to a secret rendezvous. And thanks to the dbx ZonePRO, the walkway clears the aural palate as well: It seduces patrons with lower music, or as Graziano suggests, something entirely different, like opera.

Breaking Through
After walking up the steps of the tunnel’s second half, you’re not sure whether to expect a garden, a restaurant, a country club or what, and those who remember the Prop Room are disoriented entirely.

“I wanted the room to feel like a lounge, and I wanted it to also work as a nightclub,” Graziano says. Speakers line the upper corners, hanging boxes are half-tucked in ceiling cut-outs, and subs are embedded below the DJ booth and into the furniture. “But I didn’t want all these massive lights hanging down from the club,” Graziano says. “So I split the ceiling down the center and left a channel of the existing ceiling. It’s almost also a little respect; I wanted to leave just a hint of the Prop Room.”

An exposed beam gives another hint of nostalgia above the floating bar, which was placed so that customers would be able to look at the party rather than a wall. From the bar, the light fixtures are nearly invisible, but lasers and effects – like a LeMaitre hazer, an American DJ mirror ball and Martin Professional Mania SCX600 and Atomic strobes courtesy of XS Lighting ( – are bouncing around the room. If you wander a curvy path to the slightly sunken dancefloor and look up, you’ll see the mirror ball, the tweeters, and the lighting fixtures which emerge slightly below the cavity on modest moving truss arms.

The Pink Elephant story doesn’t end here, however; it’s only just beginning. From day one, branding has been a priority for the Pink team, and their path to global domination begins with a location opening soon in the Hamptons, followed by Las Vegas, and implantations in all of the crobar locations.


14 - JBL MS28 speakers
10 - JBL VRX932LA constant curvature arrays
8 - JBL Control 128 in-wall loudspeakers
6 - JBL VRX mounts
6 - SDX subwoofers
2 - JBL SRX728S subwoofers
2 - SDX tweeter arrays

4 - Crown MA-3600VZ amplifiers
3 - Crown MA-5002VZ amplifiers
3 - Crown CTs 3000 amplifiers
1 - Crown CTs 1200 amplifier
1 - Crown CTs 2000 amplifier

Signal Processing
3 - dbx ZonePRO Controller volume controls
2 - BSS Audio opal fcs-966 equalizers
1 - BSS Audio fds-366 digital processor
1 - dbx ZonePRO 1260 digital zone processor
1 - dbx 1066 compressor limiter
1 - SDX 3000 crossover

DJ Booth
2 - Crest Amplifiers (Pink Elephant)
2 - EV Delta Max 1152 speakers (Pink Elephant)
1 - EV processor (Pink Elephant)
1 - Rane MP 44 mixer
1 - SDX console

6 - Martin Professional Mania 600 SCX600 scanners
4 - Applied Electronics HD four-foot box trusses
4 - Tuff-Edge Eye-to-Eye slings
2 - Martin Professional Atomic 3000 DMX strobes
2 - Martin Professional Colors (for Atomic 3000)
1 - 3M MicroTouch M170 17” LCD monitor
1 - American DJ M101 22” mirror ball
1 - Coemar iSpot 150 moving head projector (Pink Elephant)
1 - Dell 19” rackmount computer
1 - Elation Professional DMX-BRANCH/4 DMX distributor
1 - LaMaitre Neutron XS hazer
1 - Martin Professional LightJockey controller
1 - Martin Professional Fingers controller
1 - Martin Professional Detonator remote control
1 - Samsung SyncMaster 730b 17” LCD monitor
1 - XS custom YAG laser
*Hoists by CM Prostar


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Copyright 2006 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2006 TESTA Communications