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The exclusivity arms race in New York nightlife has been getting a little ridiculous lately, so when we saw this, we knew it was either the beginning of the end times or an exceptionally clever PR hoax. Having pondered it, we’re ready to say it’s the latter.

(Fair Warning: we’re about to get very local.)

El Baño has made waves masquerading as an exclusive New York club, but they’ve been very cagy about their location even as they’ve publicized their existence. We’ve seen people pull off the secret club before, and this isn’t how it’s done. They don’t list opening dates, they don’t post menus, and they certainly don’t have drink lists as thin as the one El Baño is sporting. The shelf life of this sort of stunt isn’t going to last more than a few weeks, so we imagine they’re going for something a little more immediate. And if you think their opening date during fashion week is a coincidence, we’ve got a bridge to sell you.

This is a stunt for fashion week, probably organized by Syndicate PR. The best hint is the QR code used in one of the early posts. The codes are a kind of real world hyperlink, directing cellphones that scan the image to a webpage. They’re more common in Japan, but in the U.S. they’re mostly used by tech-savvy PR firms and fashion houses. In other words, they’re just another breadcrumb El Baño is dropping in the run-up to fashion week.

We aren’t quite sure where the ruse is heading, but we’d be very surprised if it had anything to do with a nightclub.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom