NOTO NightClub Opens in Philly – The Preview Weekend

I’ve covered most of the grand opening’s of nightclubs in my ten year’s doing PhillyChitChat, (yes 10 in July, I know crazy) starting with G Lounge, which debut shortly after someone dubbed Philly the “6th Boro”, remember that fall out, then after hour clubs like Recess came along, and Whisper, and EDM club Rumor with it’s multiple rooms of music, then Coda with it’s EDM DJ’s, and live entertainment, all of which were great additions to the nightlife in Philly.  Now we welcome NOTO to the family of nightclubs; thanks James De Berardine and Micheline De Berardine for choosing Philly for your premier dance club.

(courtesy of Best Western Plus – center. NOTO is on the right)

I’m so punctual, I saw that the party started at 9PM so that’s when I got there. No go, no one was there. I chatted with the doormen, who were very nice, most came from top clubs in Philly, a few moved to Philly from NYC to work at the club, they suggested I come back in an hour. I went across the street to Brick and Mortar (in the Goldtex apartment building) and had a delicious dinner.  While there I ran into the most fashionable Brian Taylor, and friends who were meeting up before heading to NOTO. Brian is just about to open a lounge in Philly, at an old familiar place, Shampoo, in the coming weeks.

NotoThanks to Brick & Mortar Executive Chef Michael O’Mara for surprising me with this delicious dish
Veal Napoleon. So delicious, it’s a special. Buy off the menu I had a Caesar salad. The chicken was amazing and a Mike Jerrick really
has to try it Lobster & Crab Nacho’s.  (See pix on my instagram)


I returned at 10:30PM and it was quite a scene. The general admission line is to the right, the VIP line is to the left.
The cover charge to get into NOTO will range from $20 to $30 cover depending on the entertainment.
The dress is nightlife chic, it’s safe to say dress shoes for guys, but check out the photos to see who got in.
vip bottle service (Custom)On the far left of the VIP Line is the VIP Bottle Service Line. All the entrances were nicely decorated, but the VIP Bottle Service Line has a separate nook, where you were guided to your Bottle Service area.

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The upstairs bottle service are overlooks the entire club. The VIP VIP booths are on either side of the DJ booth to the right. This would be a bucket list place for me to hang out someday. On the first floor underneath the mezzanine level are more bottle service areas.

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HD1_6108 (Custom)The downstairs bottle service area

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To the far left of the dance floor on the Mezzanine Level, is an open space for everyone to mingle and look on to the dance floor. There’s two staircases that lead up to the mezzanine level
This shot was taken about midnight.

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This is the Dance Bar, which is located just beyond the lobby of the club. That chandelier is made of old perfume bottles salvaged from a hotel in London. it’s amazing.

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 DJ Ruckus kept the dance floor packed on Saturday night. Note again the VIP DJ Bottle Service areas.
What is Bottle Service you ask?

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It’s renting a space to party with your friends inside a club, and the price includes drinks, mixers, water and everything else you need for a good party.  This is a shot of the 2nd floor bottle service area. There are 24 bottle service spaces at NOTO. Bottle-service tables I read  run from $600 to $1,500 to multiples of that for the VIP DJ Bottle Service Booths.

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When you arrive to your area there is already a set up with ice, glasses, mixers, and napkins. Then your server brings out
the bottles for consumption.

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Gone are the “flares” they used to use. NOTO uses these lighted sticks (lit longer, less smoke), and other lit signs including the LOVE sign. It’s quite a production

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Another presentation

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Then there was the production bottle service for one of the VIP DJ Bottle Service Tables

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It was really great to see old friends, and a lot of PhillyChitChat followers, you made my night.

Congrats to my buddies Ryan Dorsey, co-owner of Recess Lounge, co-owner of Dos Tacos, and former GM of Swanky Bubbles and Zee Bar, Marc Mattera, co-owner of Recess Lounge, Zach Seidman, formerly VIP services of Fillmore Philadelphia, Atlantic City’s HQ Beach Club, HQ Nightclub, Dusk and Whisper,  for being part of a team opening a premier club in Philadelphia that I know both had longed to do for a long time. I’m really happy for them.



Philadelphia Distilling Is Now Open – They Have The Cutest Gift Shop Too

Bluecoat American Dry Gin, Pennsylvania’s first craft spirit of the modern century, welcomes guests to its new 15,000 sq. ft. state-of- the-art distillery in Fishtown celebrates it’s Grand Opening Today February 20th from 1pm-9:30pm. (you’re off from work go on over.)  The distillery will be opened to the public four days a week, Thursday through Sunday; and is available for rental for events 7 days a week. Thursday night they held a friends, family and hospitality party where their famous gin was served along with lite bites.


Andrew Auwerda, president and co-founder of Philadelphia Distilling, makers of Blue Coat American Dry Gin and Abby King, writer at Huffington Post.  Instagram and FB followers of mine might remember the story of the women who lost her engagement ring at Little Lion or at 18th and Walnut Sts. You all went to work looking for it. She eventually found it at home, but we’re forever grateful for your concern.

Distilling Combining old school craftsmanship with evolving modern techniques to create a unique portfolio of premium spirits, the distillery floor features hand-hammered 2500L copper pot stills from the fifth-generation Forsyth family in Scotland, and four open-top wooden fermentation vessels, constructed by the Hall-Woolford Tank Co., an iconic Philadelphia-based family business using the building technique since 1854.

Kendall Pagano and Nicholas Pagano

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The elevator which leads to the 4th floor event space with the killer view of Philly, which wasn’t ready yet on Thursday night. Two more weeks they promise. I can’t wait to see the view.


Rob Thompson and Gracie Foreman

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Meredith Z. Avakian-Hardaway, Bar Association, Ian Michael Crumm on point with the grey hair and Rosella LaFevre

Artist Distort

Artist Distort

WOGL Radio Host Marilyn Russell and Laura Baddish.

WOGL Radio Host Marilyn Russell and Laura Baddish sign the Phila Distillery Declaration

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Philadelphia Distilling has a gift shop.

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In addition to the production floor, the historic building houses a tasting room, cocktail bar and lounge, private event space, outdoor patio, and retail store, offering a $3 merchandise credit with every used full sized Philadelphia Distilling bottle return. HD1_5767 (Custom) HD1_5770 (Custom) HD1_5772 (Custom)
Tours & Tastings kick off February 23rd and will be available to book every: Thursday 4pm & 6pm, Friday 4pm & 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 2pm, 4pm, 6pm. For more information or to book your tour, please visit HD1_5775 (Custom)
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There’s also a time capsule they’ll be sealing today filled with product and newsworthy material noting the day.
Meet me 2/20/42 to watch the opening and try 25 year age gin and whiskey.

Philadelphia Distilling is located at  25 E Allen St, Philadelphia, PA 19123 or as I like to say, it’s right next door to
The Fillmore, and there’s plenty of parking.


Insider Fun Tidbits of the Filming of Untouchables in Philly

The movie Untouchables (or Untouchable cause it’s been written both ways in the press) rolled into town the first week of February, which was perfect timing for me as it gets slow around these parts for me in the winter months between social seasons.

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The very first day they set up shop filming scenes inside the former Family Court soon to be a Kimpton hotel, a friend was nice enough to tip me off and off I was running, literally. I was in the middle of lunch with my friend Phyllis, at our favorite Little Pete’s. I didn’t finish lunch, I dropped a twenty and I was off. Not knowing the schedule, I wasn’t sure if this would be the only time I would catch the stars, Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston filming, and so it’s important I get them as soon as I can as to reference them for the rest of their stay if I needed too. Fans photos are great, but I like to use my own when possible.  The first thing I noticed was the security for the set was much more relaxed than in years gone by, which was great. There’s nothing worse than being constantly harassed and threatened by security. I’m there to get a few shots, and then I’m gone, as is most photographers that wander onto the scene. Usually the actors are wearing the same outfit for the entire day, so you only need a couple shots. Kevin Hart obliged, and was a nice guy to boot.  That’s his assistant next to him, and a film PA or production assistant behind him.

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Here are the extras having lunch. Casting was done by Heery-Loftus, so if you want to be in a film shot in Philly, contact them.

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Over the weekend a reader was nice enough to tip me off to Monday’s filming. It was going to be a car scene on Broad Street and 16th Street. Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston were in the scene. Untouchables is one of those movies set in NYC, but filmed in Philly because we have, and we are trying to keep our Film Tax Credit (FTC). Sharon Pinkenson, and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office have done an awesome job at procuring films for our area. The FTC are a real value to our are as moving making generates jobs, as well as the local economy as cast, crew and others need hotel rooms and food.

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Monday I headed to the set at 730AM, which was a job in itself as I am a night owl. I went to Broad Street, and it was quiet. There was no sign the road would be closed so I started questioning myself if this was really happening, because if you don’t have “The Call Sheet” which spells out the days schedule, then you are relying on tips. I did see the no parking signs, so that was a good sign. I remembered that in the afternoon they were filming on Arch Street so I ran over there. Yep there were cars lined up to film a driving scene. This is my favorite photo.
Kevin Hart is driving the car with Bryan Cranston in the passenger seat. Kevin made a left from Arch onto Broad Street. The guy in the middle of the street recognizes Hart. It was so great.

It was hard to shoot the celebs as they stayed in the car the whole time, and the sun was streaming on half their face. I wonder if they’re going to re-shoot these scenes. See the camera on the dashboard, then it was transported via wifi to the camera van that was driving behind their car. I got a good work out chasing the car down Broad and up 16th street, enough that Kevin Hart and his team noted I was the energizer bunny. It was amazing to see how they filmed this scene without closing the road. Two police cars, which the production pays for, lead the Ferarri, and then 2 vans followed the car as they made the loop City Hall to right on Spruce, then right on 16th to Market and another right back to Broad Street.

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In the evening it was easier to get shots of the two as they were filming them exiting and entering the car


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Although one serious moment ensued when during the filming, note the extra on the right, a real life Fed ex delivery guy didn’t realize they were filming a move and walked right into the scene and opened the door to make the day’s delivery. It was fairly obvious that a film was filming there but you know neither snow or rain will stop, oh wait ….

HD1_4025 (Large) (Custom)Kevin Hart and Brian Cranston were so awesome on the set.

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Posing for the photographers, a paparazzo actually came down from NYC as well, selfies with fans, and signed for grafters.

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OH boy another crazy funny thing, this autograph seeker brought photos for Kevin Hart to sign, except one of them was of Meek Mills. Kevin Signed it “I’m not Meek Mills” and also signed it with his own name. That’s unique. The graph guy said it was just a bit of deslexyness cause the duo had just taken in the Sixers game the night before and he accidentally grab Meek’s picture as well.

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Kevin Hart’s wife Eniko Parrish stopped by the first day

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Pia Mechler

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she plays the art gallery owner,

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which is where the Monday night shoot took place in the Center for Architecture

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Monday night Julianna Margulies arrived on the set, it was a surprise since she wasn’t listed on the IMDB, which is the official list of who’s who in the movie. But I was ready as I had heard she was coming.  (They’re just like us, they carry their own luggage)


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Tuesday and Wednesday filming moved to the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Thanks for the great photo.


Kevin posted this shot to his instagram, it’s a scene from the movie. Did you know that Brian Cranston’s character
is in a wheelchair and Kevin Hart is his caretaker, Dell. This scene is in the classy XIX restaurant. Also in this scene is Julianna Margulies
who goes on a date with Cranston’s character Phillip.

As I mentioned on the CBSPhilly piece, men’s photos don’t get picked up as much as the women’s. The NYC paparazzo did get a placement in People Mag online of Kevin and Brian from Monday’s shoot in Tuesday column. And here is my first placement in the celebrity column SandraRose. I do this for the local press, to keep my readers informed and. When I worked and things were going on outside, I definitely was curious, so it’s exciting for me to be able to satisfy curiosities. I know people want to know how much these photos are worth, anywhere from $50 to $100 if you can get a placement in People or a magazine of that level. Photographer’s make their money on repeated sales.
There are photos I took years ago, that still sell.

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CBSPhilly called me last week and wanted to do a profile on me and the film, and insider secrets.

Thanks Mike for your awesome camera work.

I told them it would be a long day, but Tori Woodill was a willing participant and I think the piece was amazing. Nearly 5 hrs of shooting paid off with a Brian Cranston interview. Interviews of cast during the filming of a movie are nearly impossible to get, but she got a fun tidbit.



So fun

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Here are a few pixs that didn’t hit the airwaves. The extras leaving the set and heading to “Holding” for lunch.

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Brian Cranston doesn’t have handlers or an entourage. He locks his own trailer.

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Kevin Hart wasn’t on the set that day, I only saw Brian. And although Juliana was on the set I never saw her.


I was nervous about Thursday’s shoot with the 6 – 10 inches of snow predicted. But it never happened. It was cold as heck though. My instincts told me to head to the set about 9AM, I wanted to catch extras roaming about, but most stayed inside. I got two, here’s one grabbing a smoke.


Across the street at the minor stars trailers, a PA was sweeping the snow off the trailer steps. In the CBS segment you saw Desi and Lucy, they are the middle doors in the trailer.


Anther extra. On Thursday they filmed an opera scene with Kevin and Brian. Extras tell me it was hysterical, and the shoot went a little longer
than usual as some of the scenes seemed to be ad libbed, and Kevin was playing comedian, not a far stretch, to Brian’s straight man. They loved it.

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After about 30 minutes Kevin exited the Kimmel Center to go back to his trailer, and I was able to grab this shot. I left right afterwards cause I saw the snow in the trees, and it was also freezing.

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Friday afternoon and evening the Untouchables headed to Kensington. Production was slow as the neighborhood turned out to greet Kevin Hart. Often times during the filming people would shout out their love for Kevin, and production would have to stop. The crowd would get quiet, but then it would happen again. The production folks tell me it wasn’t a problem, and it was a great shoot. Kevin tried to pose with as many of the fans as possible through out the day.


This past week the production moved to NYC to film exteriors. Here they are at 60th and Park. They also filmed in Tribeca, and in Central Park at the Ice Skating Rink. They’re still in NYC til the middle of next week when they return to the Philly area. Nicole Kidman who is also in NYC this week filming with Kevin and Brian, will be here to film her scenes, but not in Philly, in Bucks County, then at Sun Center Studios. I have heard they will be returning to the streets of Philly to shoot three more times. Then they’re done, but what fun I had. It’s great to see PhillyWood’s bright lights.


Best Valentine Day Posts This Year – Babies, Eagles, Cookies and Sweethearts

Good Thursday day, instead of the usual Philly Gossip I thought it would be fun to post some of the best Valentine Day Posts I saw this week.

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In addition to Happy Valentine’s Day, happy birthday to Jill Rizen


OMG looks so delicious. This month’s notable cookie at Insomnia is Red VelevetValentine

One of the original members of the Philadelphia Passion – Legends (Lingerie) Football League.
Remember those games, wow.Valentine
Eagles player Jon Dorenbos and his fiance Annalise Dale should be getting married any day nowValentine

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Did you know that CBS3Philly’s Anita Oh has a really great lifestyle blog – Oh, AnitaValentine 2-14-2017 5-29-57 PM (Custom) Valentine 2-14-2017 5-30-38 PM (Custom) Valentine

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ValentineMost importantly Happy VDay to Me

I’ll see you Friday for the insider chat on the movie The Untouchables, which filmed all last week in Philly. This week and a little bit of
next week they’re in NYC, then it’s back to the Philly area for shooting with Nicole Kidman.
Then Sunday it’s back here for Philly Gossip Sunday Segment.
Have a great day, HughE


Philly Cooks Up a Storm at Sheraton Hotel Downtown Last Week

Philadelphia Magazine held it’s annual Philly Cooks at the Sheraton Hotel Downtown Wednesday, February 8, 2017. A sold out crowd tasted signature dishes from Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants, chatted and took photos with the chefs who created them and enjoyed cocktails from the city’s top bartenders. There was a raffle with fun prizes, where the proceeds from the sale of the tickets went to The Food Trust.


Chefs: Peter Woosley of Bistrot la Minette, Jason Cichonski, Ela and Rakesh Ramola, Indie Blue,

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Lou Bird chef Natalie Maronski preparing

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grapefruit, poppyseed, Buttermilk Tart,

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For what you pay the tastings are a nice size


Kayli Moran and Nakia Jones


Ulrich Kempf and Lauren Michel with Kiley Schroeder and Brian Stevenson.


Kelly Reilly and Pat McGowan


Todd Berry, Marlo Dilks and Madison Mileno of Slice Pizza with their heart shaped pizza which was a huge hit yesterday, but you can order them anytime throughout the year.


Christal Watson, Anheuser Busch and Falio Leyba , Breakthru Beverage Pennsylvania


Chefs: Christopher Campbell and Bobby Saritsoglou, Opa

Kate Jacoby, Rich Landau, Lauren Hooks, Miranda Burns, Juillanne Wesley of Vedge, V Street and the new kid – Wiz Kid on 19th Street. They served the most delicious vegan cheesesteak. As a carnivore I couldn’t even tell there was no meat in it.

Ciani Legette and Kwame Craig

Ciani Legette and Kwame Craig

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Tim Landa and Andrew Kochan – Chocolate Fois Gras Truffles

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Outside it was a spring like 60F, and all night long Little Baby’s line was as long as Sweet Charlies on a hot summer night.

Elise May checks out the raffle items, proceeds benefitted The Food Trust
Elise May checks out the raffle items, proceeds benefited The Food Trust


Michael Sultan, Revolution Taco, serves up mini empanadas, which is a new menu item at the popular eatery in Rittenhouse Square