Taavo Somer, the Man Behind the Music at the Rusty Knot

Taavo Somer

Taavo Somer of Freemans and the Rusty Knot.Photo: Chris Buck


In this weeks issue, David Amsden steps into the world of Taavo Somer, the designer and dare we say it tastemaker behind Freemans, Gemma, and the Rusty Knot. We hear about his inspirations (the ice machine at Joes Bar and the electric oven at Caf Gitane, for starters), but more important, we find out whos responsible for the music at the Knot! Its not Ken Friedman, but rather the man that Sean MacPherson calls the the patron saint of hipsters.

At Freemans, for instance, theres a ban on anything he deems pussy rock. Anyway, I picked the music, [Somer] says, referring to the jukebox at the Rusty Knot. Ive always been into kind of alternative rock, but that didnt really fit the mood, so I looked for, like, weird classic rock. Bob Seger. Christopher Cross. Jimmy Buffett. And its funny, because now Im kind of into it. Like those guys are actually good, you know?

One person who seems a little iffy on that is Jay-Z, if this story from Ken Friedman is any indicator:

Anyway, so the other night we had a birthday party for the girlfriend of Jay-Zs manager. Jay and Beyonc were here. I love Jay hes one of the partners at the Spotted Pig. So at one point Jay turns to me and he says, Ken, I love this place. Very cool. Nice work. But whats up with the music? So I say to Jay, You know, Taavo is a very visual person. He creates worlds. The music is all part of his thing. Jay kind of took that in. Then he says, I respect that. I was gonna hook up my iPod, but now I wont.

And with that, Billy Joels Big Shot prevailed over Big Pimpin.

Coolhunted [NYM]

Related: At the Rusty Knot, There's a Bass on the Wall and Barracuda on the Jukebox