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That Number Melissa Barnes of Lotus Just Gave You? Probably Fake

"Guys will tell me, 'Find some hot girls and tell them we just bought Champagne.'"Photo: Melissa Hom

For the past year School of Visual Arts student Melissa Barnes has been a server at Lotus. The fashion and design major hasn’t met Jessica Stam there — she says the former hot spot has become “a tourist attraction, basically”—but the club has done something for her budding fashion career. “During Fashion Week Lotus has a bar in the tents,” she says, “So the bartenders that work there make friends with the security people. This year the security guys let us go into some of the shows.” So how does one sneak past the velvet rope at her place of employment? “It’s not hard to get in at all,” Melissa confesses.

So does Lotus get as many boldfaced names as it used to?
It’s not that place anymore. A lot of the Giants and Knicks come in. Lindsay Lohan used to come in. She came on Christmas Eve — we thought, Why isn’t she with her mom?

Do you still get models?
The promoters bring a lot of hot model girls. It’s their job. But it’s not like you’d know their names.

So the door isn’t as tough as it used to be?
The party has to be a pretty even ratio of men to women. That’s the only requirement.

How do people respond to your Tuesday-night burlesque dinner theater?
This one table was shocked. I think they were from Europe. They were blown away that they were seeing a girl stripping on the stage. They kept asking, “Is this normal? What’s going on?”

The city is freaked out about hip-hop violence. Has your Sunday-night party sparked any incidents?
That’s actually the least violent night of the week. It’s the best vibe, the best music, and the most stylish crowd. That’s the night the most athletes come.

Do you make less money off your hipster-geared Friday-night party?
Definitely. But the energy is really great, especially Michael T.’s party. Of course it sucks that you’re not making as much.

What’s the most someone has spent on bottle service?
$12,000. Lotus doesn’t have huge tables like that much anymore. It’s older and is more of a tourist attraction.

Do you see guys using bottles to lure women?
Two guys will get a bottle of Champagne by themselves; within five minutes there’ll be girls surrounding their table. Guys will tell me, “Find some hot girls and tell them we just bought Champagne and round up a crew.”

What’s the best pickup line you’ve ever gotten?
Most guys don’t even make an effort to have a pickup line; they’ll just offer a drink and ask for my number. I wouldn’t date anyone I met here. I usually give them a fake number.

No one ever comes back to the club to tell you the number was wrong?
No.

What song do you hear the most while cocktailing?
They play Fergie a lot.

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