You might recognize Lauren Mayhew from her sets at LAVO and Marquee in New York City. Maybe you’ve seen her announcing for WWE Superstars or appearing on series like Showtime’s “Dexter.” You could even recall her days as a member of the early 2000s girl band P.Y.T., with which she opened for the biggest names in music at the time, including Britney Spears and NSYNC to Destiny’s Child and 98 Degrees.
The DJ, actor and singer doesn’t just boast an impressive mix of talents, she’s also an expert on New York nightlife. During a FaceTime call earlier this month, we asked Mayhew to share her favorite places to eat, explore and party in New York City—that way we can start making our post-pandemic travel plans.
Take us back to those P.Y.T. days. What’s your favorite memory from touring?
Destiny’s Child used to have these little get-togethers that we’d do when we had the day off. I remember one time they rented a whole roller skating rink. We all went roller skating together; that was a lot of fun.
What brought you to New York City?
New York is a new beginning for me, the best thing ever moving here. I went to school at UCLA, moved [to Los Angeles from Tampa, Florida] when I went to college and stayed there after. I love LA and I love my experience there, but sometimes you’re ready for a new life after. That’s what New York has been to me. I lived here when I was younger and on the soap opera [Guiding Light], when I was modeling for Wilhelmina. I always wanted to live here as an adult, and now here I am.
Where are your favorite places to eat in the city?
Ivan Ramen for ramen and Sugarfish for sushi. There’s a steak and seafood place called Hunt and Fish Club; it’s amazing. If you like a French brasserie, there’s this place called Boucherie that’s awesome. It has a sister restaurant called Olio e Piú, which is also French cuisine; it’s really amazing. I didn’t know I liked French food until I tried their cuisine.
What’s special about New York nightlife?
Here, there’s so many pockets, and it’s so easy to get around anywhere. You can go to anything from a warehouse party, to a massive night club, to a yacht party, to whatever you can possibly imagine—it’s here. The New York night scene is so iconic. In LA a lot of times, it’s so entertainment-driven that people go to sit, look beautiful and have a cocktail, which there’s nothing wrong with. But in New York, people go to parties to let everything go from the work week. The energy here is such an intensity in such a good way. People work their butts off during the week so by the time the weekend rolls around, they’re ready to let loose.
“In New York, people go to parties to let everything go from the work week. The energy here is such an intensity in such a good way. People work their butts off during the week so by the time the weekend rolls around, they’re ready to let loose.“
Where are the best places to party in New York City?
Well, obviously all the places I play at! I’m a resident Tao DJ, so I play at LAVO and Marquee, which are more of the Vegas-style nightclubs. Super big lights, smoke, foghorns, definitely the place you go to get turnt up. I also play at other places a little bit more intimate. I was a resident at this place called Tijuana Picnic, this very eclectic underground Mexican restaurant in the lower East Side. The downstairs area is a really really cool bar/lounge/club. A really awesome place to play. Actually, I just booked some gigs in the Hamptons. We’ll be starting in August because the only places open right now are places that are outside. I’m excited about playing at the Southampton Social Club in August.
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What have you been doing during lockdown?
Since quarantine, I’ve enjoyed biking with some girlfriends doing Citi Bike, which is fun. I love going to all the parks here that we have access to, they’re phenomenal. It’s something I never really did before but now I love. I really love exploring the surrounding areas, the city as well. I’ve gone whitewater rafting, which is in the Poconos. I’ve gone hiking. There’s so much you can see and do, even if you go 45 minutes outside the city. People forget there’s a lot of nature surrounding Manhattan.
When it’s safe, what would you recommend out-of-towners do during a weekend trip?
I definitely would recommend a bougie brunch place. My girlfriends and I love The Horny Ram; it’s so much fun. It’s farm-to-table food, so it’s phenomenal food, bottomless mimosas, margaritas and all things awesome. Go into the High Line; it’s like a park in the sky. It’s not as publicized as Times Square or the Statue of Liberty, but it’s really cool to see. Speaking of the Statue of Liberty, I’d suggest checking it out from Battery Park. Making your own picnic, bringing some Rosé, you have this gorgeous view at the tip of Manhattan. It’s really awesome.
What can we expect from the Dreamworks series ‘TrollsTopia’ you’re working on?
I’m so excited! What’s really cool about that is I’m able to combine not only my speaking voice and acting chops, but also my music. I’m singing in a bunch of the episodes, which is really cool; all the trolls sing. Being able to utilize my singing voice is great. Sadly I don’t know the exact release date of it, COVID’s pushed some things back. But Dreamworks doesn’t do anything half-ass and this is no exception. I’m so excited for the show because already the films are massive, it’s an honor to be a part of the franchise.
Anything else you want to let us know?
I have two Spotify playlists that are pretty popular that I update every week. Friday Night Jams is more chill, party vibe music, [and] Workout Warriors is more workout, high energetic music. I’m always putting new artists I find or new DJs I collaborate with.