There is really no way to talk about the hotel and hospitality industry as we know it without mentioning Ben Pundole. As the VP of Brand Experiences for EDITION Hotels, Pundole is the one who helps create the vibe that has made the EDITION hotel brand the go-to for the cool kids.
Pundole got his start in the biz at London’s famed Groucho Club over 20 years ago and has been working in the Lifestyle Hotel industry ever since, many of them with EDITION Hotel founder Ian Schrager both in their current venture and at Schrager’s Morgans Hotel Group. You can also thank Pundole for helping to make Montauk a popular weekend escape from NYC: he opened Ruschmeyer’s in 2010.
Somehow, Pundole has also found time to create AHotelLife.com, an editorial site with a focus on hotel reviews and insider scoop. There’s no doubt that someone as well-traveled and connected as Pundole will surely know what’s what in cities around the world.
So without further ado, let’s do Drinking With Ben Pundole.
State your name + position + where you live for the record.
Ben Pundole VP Brand Experience – EDITION Hotels
How did you get started in the biz?
I worked as a cellar man at the Groucho club in London when I was 18 (1992). It was my gap year. I ended up working there for 4 years and not going to University. I was a bartender, waiter, assistant manager and loved it!
Most memorable nightlife moment?
When Bono asked me if he could have a lock-in at the Met bar so that Kate Moss could DJ for her friends (1998)
Coffee or tea? How many a day? Any special spot?
Organic Genmai Cha in the morning at home in Brooklyn.
Your current go-to drink order?
Mezcal (preferably Gem and Bolt)
Your current go-to place to drink?
The beaches of Mexico!
Favorite cocktail program in NYC?
Dante in the West Village. Naren Young is a gifted man!
Best hangover remedy?
Fave spots in NYC for:
Hidden gems/hole-in-the-wall: Faro in Bushwick
Classic NYC spot: The Loyal. Though it opened recently it feels like it’s been there for years. Instant classic!
Best hotel bar: Bemelmans at the Carlyle
Where to go on an expense account: The Aviary
What do you miss about old school NYC nightlife?
Nothing, I think it’s the best it’s ever been. The parties happening in Brooklyn on a weekly basis are better than Manhattan ever was!
What do you think are the next trends in drinking/nightlife in NYC?
I think there’ll be a lot more eating drinking, dancing immersive experiences like in Tokyo or Barcelona, more innovative cabaret and continued secret parties in Brooklyn.
What are the best lessons about the biz you have learned from Ian Schrager?
It’s all about Alchemy, a sense of surprise and magic. The most successful things are not formulaic.
Any bartenders or drinks-makers you think deserve a special shout out?
Angelo and Dennis at the Matador Room at the Miami Beach EDITION.
Spill it…what’s next?
A conscious industry.. no single-use plastics, composting. It’s our responsibility and our future!
Social media handle, please!