Image courtesy of Toby Beavers
By Amy Phillips Penn

Toby Beavers, who has Social Register’s dream of old New York “la-de-da” pedigrees, rock and rolled into partnership in the Surf Club for one reason and one reason only.

“We wanted to meet women. I wish that it could have lasted forever,” he says, about the years from 1983 through 1990, when the preppy, yuppie, celebrity surprise of a “succès fou” rocked New York’s Eastside night life, and rocked it seismically.

Where, oh where would the Surf Club wave land? Toby knocked on door after door and landed on 1415 East 91st Street, which was then considered to be a bite out of Harlem. The rent was $1,200, rammed up to $2,000 after plumbing parts exploded. A few years and lawsuits later, the rent blew to $20,000. Adios, Surf Club.

What made the Surf Club rock?

“Simple,” says Toby.

There were four partners in the Club: three Beaver brothers (Toby, Angus, and Nick) and John Muller, a model with restaurant savvy.

Between the brothers, they had preppy contacts up the alligator.

They’re collaborative resumes boasted dancing school at Knickerbockers and schooling at St. Marks, St. Bernard’s, St.Paul’s, Salisbury, and Browning.

Do the math, even if you didn’t matriculate from any of the above.

The world was at their prep and call.

Opening night, on Christmas Eve, they were hopeful to host to capacity: 325 in total.

Instead, they were stampeded by over one thousand preppies, stock brokers, and celebrities. The AC couldn’t cope; beer and ice ran out. The Surf Club had arrived in a wowza of a bow.

1115 Fifth Ave 628x808 Vintage Gossip: Surfing the Surf Club
Image courtesy of Toby Beavers

Check out the Surf Club entourage:

“Rielle Hunter was the day manager at the Surf Club in 1989. Her name then was Lisa Druck.”

Toby adds:

I did not have sex with that man!, by way of an explanation.

If that doesn’t do it for you, try this one on.

The many aliases of Lisa Druck are metaphorical for her myriad scandals.

Best known for her affair with John Edwards and having his child, she is said to be the model for Jay McInerny’s novel, The Story of My Life. If that’s not tabloid enough for multi-names to star in, her father was implicated in a horse insurance fraud scandal which involved the intentional killing of horses for insurance purposes.

“Riding that train, high on cocaine.”

Blow happens.

The partners had three limos at their disposal 24/7. They partied hearty, everywhere…and who knows where.

“When we wound up in Coney Island a day later, and no one knew how we got there, no one complained or cared,” says Toby.

“I was in a limo one night with a friend who is a well-known actor. He had done so much coke, that he was turning blue. We drove him to a hospital and were prepared to drop him off. When we got there, the vial of coke was in his clenched hand and he wouldn’t let go. Finally, we forced it out of his hand, his color returned and we dropped him off at home.”

Just another night in paradise.

Mick Jagger arrived, in no small way.

The crowds went wild and Jagger found himself locked in the liquor closet for his own safety.

When he emerged, Toby offered him a one hundred pound keg of beer.

“What am I going to do with that?” Mick questioned rhetorically.

The Beach Boys arrived another night at nine o’clock, which was too early for action; Bernadette Peters made a hasty departure after witnessing a bar fight between a Mafioso’s son and a prize fighter, and the beat went on.

Fun is fun, but enough isn’t always enough.

Nick Beavers overdosed on drugs and left a suicide note, something about money.

“He’d had sex with one of his many of many too many one night stands. She contacted us, said she was pregnant and was after his estate,” Toby says.

A girl with an extraordinary name carries on the innocent beauty of her father, Nick Beavers.

Looking for a movie that makes Animal House pale?

The Surf Club is over-ripe for the screen.

Please leave your spoons, silver or otherwise, at home.

4 Responses to Vintage Gossip: Surfing the Surf Club

  1. Randi Waters says:

    As the mother of the beautiful young woman with the extraordinary name, I find myself compelled to correct one of your facts as well as one of Toby’s.

    What Nick and I had was nowhere near a one night stand. Nick and I had an ongoing relationship that began during his sobriety and ended with his relapse and subsequent suicide. What that relationship was and how we defined it, was and is our business alone.

    Secondly, Toby’s assertion about Nick’s estate is, at very best, misleading. Yes I was carrying Nick’s child. And no, he would never be here on this earth to help to raise her or to be a part of her life in any way. The great tragedy of that truth was hardly financial. But the reality of raising a child.alone is. Expecting his trust/estate to pay child support to his one and only heir, was hardly unreasonable.

  2. derekcrane says:

    I was a DJ at the Surf Club during the first year. Mick Jagger requested that I play a Motown song and Jim Brown (the football player) came in late one weekday night with a beautiful blond and kept handing me $10 bills to play slow songs. Many good memories of the Surf Club. Mike Crane

  3. Jerry Prendergast says:

    I worked withe them all at Heoxter’s Market on Third Avenue before the Surf Club. I actually was asked to be a partner but thought everyone would either go to jail or die form drugs or total craziness. I miss them though. Still Looking for Muller.

  4. Eric Malcome Lustgarten says:

    An insightful and broadstroked article by Ms Amy Penn.

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