The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
B.E.D. It stands for Beverage, Entertainment, Dining.
But let's be real — it's all about the hookup.
Patrons toss the stilettos and dine Roman emperor-style on 400-thread-count sheets, treated to a masseuse and desserts like "Go Deep." The restaurant/lounge hosts SKiN erotica parties and "superfreqy" holiday shindigs and has been featured in Playboy. It's where gossip columnists go to stargaze. It's so Miami. So Manhattan.
So ... Atlanta.
You heard it — B.E.D. is crashing the ATL, more specifically, the downtown Glenn Hotel, scheduled to open Jan. 23. B.E.D. will hold its official opening in February, with a flurry of private parties attended by "friends of B.E.D." celebrities. Expect gobs of beautiful people, though the owners are mum about the guest list. Click model management has offices in the hotel, however. George Clooney, Busta Rhymes, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, among others, have been spied hitting the sack at B.E.D.'s two other locations in South Beach and Chelsea.
A $2.5 million renovation, B.E.D. will span three floors of the 10-story hotel at Spring and Marietta streets. A rooftop bar promises stunning — albeit horizontal — views of the skyline.
Sure, there will be traditional tabletop seating for the less adventurous. But the real draw will be the 14 platform beds, each fit for 10 of your closest friends.
At least they will be by the end of the night.
Apart from the jammies-optional dress code, velvet ropes and "club lust" references, B.E.D. founder Oliver Hoyos insists the lounge is family-friendly. Complimentary anti-skid slippers and white chiffon drapes, which can be drawn for maximum privacy, contribute to the sanctuary effect. B.E.D. is popular with children and grandparents who don't appreciate being confined to rigid seating, Hoyos said.
"Obviously, we don't allow any hanky-panky to the degree that it is illegal," he said.
Revered in nightlife circles as an "ultra lounge," the B.E.D. concept has been copied in places like Hollywood, Chapel Hill, N.C., Rome and Bangkok. The idea originated with Amsterdam's Supper Club, a cross between communal Amish dining and an orgy of showstopping transvestites.
Hoyos, who was born in Austria and lived for a time in the Netherlands, where he organized rave parties, opened the first B.E.D. in Miami in 1999. Within five years, he hopes to open about a dozen more B.E.D.s around the globe under a newly formed partnership. Possible sites include Las Vegas, Los Angeles, London and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Atlanta was "definitely one of the most desirable cities for us to be in," Hoyos said, citing the Buckhead party district, active gay community, fine-dining culture and thriving airport. At roughly 8,000 square feet, the Atlanta restaurant is bigger than Miami's but smaller than New York's. Unlike the other locations, B.E.D. Atlanta will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as deliver room service. The ambience mixes woody blues and greens, distressed leather paneling, strains of acid jazz and glowing floral imagery.
The lounge will be marketed for birthdays, film premieres, fashion shows, even company PowerPoint presentations, Hoyos said.
Today, the closest thing Atlanta has to B.E.D. is club Compound's Ride room, with its smattering of glorified kiddie beds. Patrons turn beds sideways to make a long bench or ditch the cushions to create a runway, said club owner Mike Boles. Some have been observed acting naughty. "It depends on the type of party we're having," Boles said. "It's fun with a capital F."
It's also tacky, according to Steve Lewis, a New York designer who has worked on at least 30 nightclubs. B.E.D. is an oasis of informality in a very uptight society, he said. And therein lies its appeal.
"It provides the one-liner, you know, 'I've been in bed
Hoyos can spot B.E.D. virgins a mile away. They're the ones looking all uncomfortable, perched stiffly atop a mountain of pillows. Within 15 minutes, they begin to sit cross-legged or recline. An hour later, they're splayed out everywhere, basking in the intimacy of the moment. (Sheets are cleaned between seatings.)
Debauchery aside, B.E.D.'s French-American fusion cuisine has earned rave reviews in print. Specialties include king crab open ravioli, marinated frenched chicken breast and pillow steak kobe beef and drinks like the Bed Knob and Heavy Petting (those are the tame ones). Messy pasta dishes and soups are banned, with food served on large wicker trays. On "recovery night," the waiters wear scrubs and dispense vitamins. The average meal, with drinks, can run about $100.
And that's not counting the Tums. Eating while lying down can slow digestion and cause acid reflux, warned Dr. Nicole Gordon, an Atlanta gastroenterologist. She recommended not eating at least two hours before bedtime.
Indigestion wasn't on Ryan Hattaway's mind during his visit to B.E.D. Miami last year. Hattaway, 25, who owns an Atlanta marketing company, worked his business contacts to score reservations. (The restaurant is booked three to five weeks in advance.)
Rewarded with a bed for two hours, Hattaway and his girlfriend supped on seared tuna and filet mignon, ordering drinks with aphrodisiac undertones. Hattaway thinks he caught a glimpse of some of the Wayans brothers. He compared the decadent, exclusive atmosphere to Bluepointe in Buckhead.
Sexual energy is part of the B.E.D. experience, but it's unspoken, he said. "That's what makes it cool."
"If you're on a date, that's obviously where you want to end up," he said. "So why not start there?"
Copyright © Margie Fishman, 2009