I was invited to hear a friend of mine's friend sing at a new cabaret/piano bar Sunday night starting after 10PM. I usually don't go out that late on a school night, especially Sunday, and I almost declined the invitation. But then I said to myself, sometimes life is a cabaret old chum, so I came to the cabaret. I didn't know the singer or the venue but I liked the mystery of that. Would it be cute and corny or was it going to be gay and glamorous? Luckily it was the latter, and the singer's name was Caroline Nin and the place was L'etage, located on the second floor of the new restaurant Les Jalles.
Les Jalles is on a deserted street off the Blvd. Capucine right by the Opera and I had to walk through the restaurant, which was a beautiful but pricey affair to go upstairs to L'etage, the cabaret space. It was a cozy, dark room with low sexy lighting, comfortable, plush club chairs, a long bar, and a black lacquered piano. It was decorated in a faux Art Deco style but it almost passed for a real Art Deco nightclub except the only thing missing was a sultry chanteuse. Well, my wish was soon fulfilled when Caroline Nin took the microphone: she was long and leggy, smashingly dressed in a tuxedo with sky-high heels and sporting blond hair. Very modern day Dietrich. She had a smooth, crooner style voice and jumped from Cole Porter to Fats Waller to Edith Piaf effortlessly. I also liked that her singing didn't overtake the room or demand your full attention and I didn't feel uncomfortable chatting my friend during the performance.
There was an impressive cocktail menu and apparently the mixologist is highly regarded. Soon as I sat down I was served a glass of ice water with lime even though I said I was waiting for a friend. Service was off to good start and it was attentive and caring all night. I had some non-alcoholic concoction with a strong ginger tang to it with fruit juices. There was a small bar food menu but they were out of four of the seven items I ordered which I found annoying since it was not that late and I was hungry. They were able to eek out three dishes and although they were good they were too precious and puny. A charcuterie plate for 9 euros consisted of 10 paper-thin slices of only one type of sausage. Not my idea of a real charcuterie platter.
What I liked best about L’etage was that it was an informal place to drop by and hear some soothing music, enjoy a cocktail, and relax in an intimate space, all without a cover or minimum, which is rare in Paris these days. Sunday night is not the most exciting night in Paris but Caroline Nin at L'etage is changing that.
You don't have to eat at the downstairs restaurant to get into L'etage. L'etage is open 7 days a week till 2AM.
Caroline NIn will be appearing at L'etage the rest of June at 10PM on the following dates:
June 10, 11, 12,17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26
For more info on Caroline's performances at the bar go to www.carolinenin.com
L'etage at Les Jalles
14 rue des Capucine, 75002
Metro: Opera or Madeleine
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I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotteís professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
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