The Cutting Room,
New York City




Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kid Rock,
Vanessa Carlton, Sandra Bernhard, Mini-Kiss and many more
have performed here; guests have included David Bowie, Ralph
Fiennes, Ethan Hawke, Chris Rock, Kelsey Grammer, Steve
Buscemi, Edie Falco, Russell Crowe and Toby McGuire.

Co-owners Chris Noth (Sex and the City, Law & Order) and
Berklee College of Music alumnus Steve Walter have created an
intimate space for established performers and a hospitable
environment for new music of all varieties. The club also hosts
screenings, photo exhibits, performance art, literary readings,
showcases and parties.
An elegant lounge and music club in the
heart of Manhattan's Flatiron District, The
Cutting Room is a comfortable venue for
eclectic music and food.
The Cutting Room opened in late 1999, with a
state-of-the-art sound system in its live venue, the
comfortably cozy back room, complemented by
the front lounge with its dark mahogany bar, velvet
curtains, Queen Anne chairs and leather couches.
The overall effect is unique and intimate, akin to a
spacious living room. "Both Steve and I had to do
with the aesthetic of how the place looks; I even
brought in some of my own furniture!" Noth
laughs, pointing out a funky lamp on the bar and a
'fertility statue' in the window. He explains the
origins of the club: "In a gradually teenage-ified
city where hip-hop rules, we wanted to have at
least one place where you could go where that
wasn't going to be the name of the game; there are
so many other places for that.
The Line
The Cutting Room's Celeb Gallery
"We wanted to put in all the music we grew up with - which I define as
emotional, political and artistic - a wide and diverse selection, from
some of the musicals that were influential, to jazz, soul and rock, even
some folk and country, if it's applicable...and to have an
eclectic-enough jukebox so that people would be pleasantly surprised
when they come." He adds that the Cutting Room was intended as "a
place for a more adult crowd, although we do get a lot of youngsters
on the weekends. I think younger people now are turning on to the fact
that music's an emotional experience. The live music room is a place
where the voices of aspiring musicians could be heard - among other
things."

While Noth points out that "Steve does the real hard labor," Walter.
who played and worked on the Jersey club circuit for years (sometimes
doing the lighting for a local dude named Springsteen) - says it's all
worthwhile when "special nights happen, like when Stanley Jordan
plays, or Stephen Stills and Graham Nash show up...and Stephen does
a reggae version of 'Love the One You're With' for twelve people at 2
AM on a Sunday in August. When I see a room filled with people who
are just loving the music - that's why I do it. When I was spackling and
painting the ceiling and wondering if we'd ever open, on a night when
Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock and Gwyneth Paltrow play, it's like: 'Yeah,
this is why I did it, this is why I went through the hell.' That makes me
happy."

Even the food is special; some people come to the Cutting Room just to
dine. "We have a real chef," Walter notes. "Everything is made to order;
there are no frozen French fries. You can eat healthy here; you don't
have to, but you can!, meticulous enough to create his own
condiments, once served as sous-chef at La Reserve (awarded four
stars by the New York Times). He went on to act as consultant to Wild
Edibles and caterer to celebrities on private yachts. As Bowes says,
"The food is part of the whole experience; the Cutting Room feels like
that 'place that nobody else knows about,' like your own club or secret
hangout. We wanted people to be able to come, have all that they
wanted and not feel like they had to go somewhere else to eat. So we
have well-prepared global cuisine, excellent world-class musicians and
the best jukebox in town (that's Chris's baby). You can really say it is
not like any other place in New York City, and be telling the truth."

Let Walter have the last word: "Chris is totally into the music, and that's
why he hangs here, because we have great music. You can relax, it's
not pretentious; it's comfortable, like sitting in your home. You can
make out in the corner, play Pac-Man, order a burger, catch a
sword-swallower, have your Tarot cards read, and choose your own
tunes on the jukebox. You'll never be bored here."
The New York Optimist
January 2009
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