I met Kein Cross two and a half years ago when he was my Parisian of the Month in July 2011. Kein is a highly successful interior designer and entrepreneur based in New York who also has a home and personal care products website. When I met him he had recently rented the most adorable, tiny house in Paris right down the street from me. We have become friends and we see each other frequently.
Forever the creative entrepreneur, last summer Kein told me he was working on an exciting new project: a piano bar and nightclub. He invited me to see the space located on a quiet side street off of rue Montorgueil. It was a grimy, rundown former warehouse on two floors with harsh fluorescent lighting. Kein walked me through every inch of the space relating to me in full detail about how he was going to design the club. It was hard to imagine a glamorous nightclub would emerge from the rundown mess.
Tuesday night Kein invited me to come to the finally finished club, his baby. I walked through the doors remembering the unkempt mess from the summer and was knocked out: Kein had meticulously transformed the space into a super glamorous club reminiscent of the Art Deco clubs you used to see in 1930s movies. Kein has been obsessed with wide black and white stripes since he was a kid and uses them freely throughout the club on the banquets, napkins, plates, pillows, the waiters uniforms, the urinal in the men’s room, right down to the wrapping on the bathroom tissue rolls. In fact the club’s name means striped in French.
The focal point of the room is the white lacquered grand piano and the excellent player played some of my favorite American standards including Here’s That Rainy Day and The Days of Wine and Roses. What’s clever about the piano is the mirrored wall and ceiling behind it, so no matter where you are sitting in the room you can view the piano player.
My friends Michelle Lollo and Caroline Nin joined me and Kein sat our table. I am not a cocktail drinker but I indulged and had a Pisco Sour, a concoction of pisco, lime juice, bitters, and egg white. It was light and refreshing with a citrus tang and light foam on top with not too much alcohol.
Kein sent his London based chef Simon Bannon to New York to train at Kein’s favorite Italian restaurant Rafele. Kein generously had the chef send out some of the signature dishes from Rafele including the scrumptious arancini (fried rice balls) and delicate rolatini (eggplant leaves stuffed with cheese).
The pricing of the cocktails is very fair at 12 euros each, as many other bars, especially the ones at the high end hotels charge 18 to 25 euros and almost all the small plates were priced at 10 euros.
Kein, Michelle, Caroline and I spoke at length about how almost all the piano bars in Paris had disappeared over the last decade and how there were no intimate, sophisticated places to go anymore, especially in the Montorgueil area that had mostly casual cafes. We all agreed RaYé, was the solution.
Downstairs inside a 13th century cave that was once a nunnery is the Kafka Bar, the more intimate lounge used for private parties and receptions.
What was supposed to be a quick drink from 6:30 to 8PM and then back home stretched till about 11PM, as Kein insisted we have more drinks and food. As we were heading home to crawl into bed after more than efficient amounts of booze and food, Michelle and I ran into some friends a block from the club and they insisted we come with them for a drink on the spot. We returned to Club RaYé and we practically closed the joint at 12:15PM. A super fun evening was had by all.
26, Rue Dussoubs, 75002
Open Tuesday to Thursday, 5PM to 12AM, Friday 5PM to 1AM, Saturday 7PM to 1AM
Kein and partner Jane Sudler
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 210 euros for up to 3 people, and 70 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
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 Charlotte's 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.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am happy to announce the sale of a new set of prints of my Eye Prefer Paris Photos. I am offering 20 of my most popular and iconic images for sale including my doors, architectural details, statues, and monuments. They will make great gifts for all your Francophile friends, relatives, and colleagues but don't forget to buy some for yourself.
Click here to see photos and for full details including sizes, prices, and shipping. Here is a sample of some of the photos.