OMAR HERNANDEZ: The Alchemist of Celebrating Life | The Wizard of The NYC Nightlife

The attraction to the romance of New York shall never get old. The innovation and high speed of the digital era never managed to alter the city’s magnetism. People strive to achieve the American Dream in a city of this caliber. Behind the madness there is heritage, and there is the nostalgia for those times when fashion and entertainment ruled the NY nightlife.

Although the hospitality industry is changing at a rapid pace, a striking figure continues to reinvent and dominate it: Venezuelan-born global citizen Omar Hernandez. The fashionable stunner with looks and style reminiscent of Lawrence Olivier is the ever-youthful patron of New York City nightlife. Poised to continuously transform its DNA while skillfully mixing the concepts of food, lighting, music, dancing, and decor, he relentlessly pursues excellence and facilitates human interactions via his restaurant Omar at the Vaucluse. “The key is to remain as authentic and genuine as possible. For me, it is consistently reinventing the core of my business model. Getting closer to the new consumer’s expectations. Innovate. Evolve. Deliver,” says Omar.

Once inside his space, the guests are instantly transported into a different era, suspended in time somewhere between the Parisian Belle Époque and NYC’s Studio 54. This space is a magical fairytale setting where people from the arts, publishing, film, finance, music, advertising, and other industries gather to celebrate unique moments and relish feeling like stars of a glamorous, exclusive New York.

Omar’s journey in hospitality started in the Spring of 2013 with his venture, OMAR’S, a private dining club in Greenwich Village tucked away in a historic brownstone. With his new location on the Upper East Side, he wants “to bridge the gap between Uptown and Downtown. Both areas have very specific pillars they live by, and I learn and get inspired equally by both as I understand and can relate to their different dynamics. The fundamentals don’t change, but they evolve, and I feel is our responsibility as restaurateurs to create fluidity and keep the cultural movement intact.”

What makes Omar at the Vaucluse such a big attraction to stars, socialites, and fashionistas? Most likely, it is Omar’s magnetic spirit and ability to make his guests feel amazing. “I pay attention to the importance of the encounter. It is a very sacred moment. Being present and aware is important. I don’t just look at people—I see them. Everyone is equally important to me, and it’s truly a luxury to be able to do what I do.”

Inspired by the likes of André Balazs, his mentor, and highly regarded figures such as Diane Vreeland and Karl Lagerfeld, Omar perceives hospitality as a cultural endeavor and a tool to serve humanity: “I am a big supporter of keeping New York City in the right cultural movement. Now more than ever, it’s hard to preserve its core values, and I see it as my responsibility to create a story and a brand that does justice to its history.”

New York is ever-changing. Remaining on the cutting edge in this dynamic city is not an easy task. With the passion of an alchemist, Omar reveals that the secret to his success is simple and timeless yet sometimes difficult to accomplish. It’s in creating emotional connections between people and moments they will never forget. It’s obvious that this well-read and eloquent bon vivant will continue to set high standards and leave a bit of his one-of-a-kind modern spirit on everything he does. At the end of the day, he will certainly look back and think, “New York, New York, what a mesmerizing ride it has been…” having left his mark on this magical city of dreams.
words // Virgilia Virjoghe | project coordinator // Rose Newlands | photography // Miguel Quiles | hair & makeup artist // Jalissa Grant