This weekend I had two last-minute places to visit for the nightlife section of the Naughty Paris Guide. You’d be amazed at how tempting it is for guidebook writers to include places they haven’t actually visited. Sounds crazy, non? But sometimes, like you regular folks, we read really convincing reviews — good or bad — and make a decision from there, figuring we’ll eventually get around to confirming what we’ve already written.
Except you should never believe a word of what you read in the press these days, since most of it is rehashed PR or shamelessly copied from someone’s blog.
The places I was considering:
– Bobin’o, the city’s newest cabaret, recently opened in the 14th on a colorful street of theatres and sex shops. It promised to be the biggest, sexiest show in Paris. It looked, with its transvestites and tightly packed dining tables….well, silly. Entertaining, oui, but sexy? And maybe I was Googling up the wring tree, but I could find no independent press coverage (just the same PR talk repeated over and over). Different from other cabarets, is that this one becomes a nightclub afterwards so you can stay and dance. That seemed more promising…
– Le Lup, a new restaurant in St-Germain-des-Prés open only at night (9pm-5am), with a sexy boudoir style decor and live jazzy musicians. Now this, I was very excited. Lots of glowing reviews particularly from Girl & the City. Not hard to find someone to join me for a test drive.
So Friday night I went to Bobin’O for Champagne and the show (I skipped the dinner), and I was actually happily impressed (detailed review coming soon in Nightlife section). Sexy and funny, entertaining yet sophisticated. You could say it’s sexier than the Lido and Moulin Rouge, and more entertaining than the Crazy Horse. Afterwards, high on my half-bottle of Champagne (I’m a lightweight), I watched from my mezzanine booth as the house boys cleared away the tables and chairs and the cabaret slowly transformed into a huge nightclub. The tour groups of Seniors filed out, and the part crowd arrived. By 1am it was so packed that I didn’t think I’d ever find my dinner escort (cell phones don’t work very well in the underground space), but I had a good time dancing. The sound system is impressive.
Finally, at about 2am I ran into Fred, the King of Parisian Nightlife. This mild-mannered Frenchman, known only at his UrbanNights soirées as Lord Brett, has rarely been spotted on the Left Bank. "It’s a bit far," he said of the Bobin’O. I, personally, would like him to have at least one party on my side of the Seine, so to convince him that the Rive Gauche wasn’t completely gauche, I figured dinner at Le Lup would seal the deal. So we leave the heaving, thumping cabaret-club and head to St-Germain-des-Prés, just a few minutes’ drive.
Cruising past the doorway of Le Lup at about 2am, it looks….empty. "It’s closed," announces Fred. I convince him it’s open until 5am and that I have even reserved, just in case. We park right next door (that there was a place to park on Rue du Dragon should have been a sign). There are about three people inside, plus about seven staff members. The band, supposedly on until 3am, have stopped, and there is some dance music that would do better back at Bobin’O.
Still, the decor *is* cool, and the food is perfectly acceptable, even for the non-tipsy person at the table (ie not moi, three glasses of Champagne and a whisky-Coke in the hole). "It will be closed in two months if it’s like this on a Friday night," declares the noctambule. The nice waitress said it was busy until about 1am. But every other restaurant that’s open after 1am in Paris would be packed right now.
So…here’s my dilemma: deadline is this week for my text. Do I assume that Le Lup will close (or simply never do well but hobble along anyway) and leave it out? Or do I gamble that it will soon be the cool place to dine after 1am and add it to the guide? (it opened two months ago, BTW). Normally, I would go back a few more times to confirm, or "wait and see", but I have to make up my mind this week…
Have any of you been there? C’mon folks, I give you all my dirt…time for you to give me yours. 😉
King Fred et moi testing out the gilded throne at Le Lup.