1. Studio 54
City: New York
Address: 254 West 54th St.
And you thought the bouncers you've encountered were picky—in the late 1970s, the individuals working the door at 54 could make or break your entire social standing. If you passed through the velvet ropes, you were royalty, one of the anointed. But if you didn't... Well, those who didn't make the cut became quickly desperate. Stories of potential patrons tearing off unapproved clothing are common. Some folks even tried to sneak into Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager's iconic play place via the air ducts.
Michael Jackson, Calvin Klein, Andy Warhol and Jack Nicholson are among the endless list of music, fashion, art, and Hollywood heavy hitters that paid visits to this be-all and end-all of nightspots, free-flowing drugs and wild orgies reigning supreme. The space was infamous for its "rubber room," where all surfaces were covered with rubber, allowing any fluids to be more easily wiped away.
Say what you want about the spot, but it's hard to fathom a nightclub that's generated more discussion (or bitterness) in history. That's the mark of a job well done.