ECC had an abysmal reception when it opened in London
The reality is that this "We decide if you come in" schtick may play in cities with no great cocktail culture, but wont play in NYC, London or anywhere else where there are lots of alternative venues to get a drink without having to encounter a bunch of complete knob heads at the door.
I am not sure about the NYC location, but I know there are at least a dozen places near the London branch where I would prefer to go and drink. They will change their policy soon or be gone in a year.
I think that flies in the face of the existence of the entire meatpacking district. Why are we assuming that this place is meant to cater to people who are interested in a great cocktail? I am 100% certain that in all of its incarnations, especially in London, this bar was intended to provide cocktails to what we can impolitely term "Eurotrash." Sohohouse hasn't ceased to exist yet...
The whole thing is driven by how "French" it is.
PS The cocktails are decent, but definitely nothing special.