26 rue Dussoubs
Opened a few years ago by New York transplant, Kein Cross, Club Rayé fills Paris’ piano bar void. Here, Sheldon Forrest tickles the ivories of the white baby grand and accompanies local talent such as the lovely Carolin Nin. Regular musical events (with no cover charge!) include piano, jazz, open mic nights and a gospel jazz brunch.
This club’s retro aesthetic has been carefully considered and crafted by Kein himself thanks to his background in design. “Rayé” is the French word for “Striped” and he misses no detail when it comes to pulling things into his theme of black and white stripes – even the pasta & popcorn.
Behind the bar, Maestro Marco (as he is called by Kein & crew) creates a range of cocktails, from classics to stripy drinks. He also plays with molecular trends like caviar and foam. On my first visit, some time ago, I had a well-made martini and appreciate their selection of gin (Monkey 47, Citadelle, Bluecoat, No. 3, Mombasa, Sipsmith, and I believe they’ve just pulled in Audemus Pink Pepper.)
Marco also works with tea, which can be tricky due to the tannins. He created a Tea & Coffee Cocktail menu with 10 options at 14 Euros from a classic Irish Coffee to a Cup of “Teanee choices with tea infused gin bases.
The cocktail selection changes by season with the current being their “Flower Power” menu that celebrates springtime with floral flavors. The selection of 13 warm weather choices at 16 Euros ranges from the Orange Blossom Martini (Vodka, Triple Sec & Orange Blossom water) to the Violette (crème fraiche, violet liqueur and cognac.)
In the 13th century basement, the Kafka bar carries through the stripes and serves as a space for private parties and special groups (like our Monkey Shoulder meetup a few months back.) Kein is working on a member’s only entry card that allows regular customers the option of slipping into the secluded space with their own private key.
Other things of note: whispers hint that there may be an additional private-private bar opening on the 1st floor that continues in the ebony and ivory tradition. Summer evenings will make the terrace that much more enjoyable (and it may even expand).
Unlike many places in Paris, Rayé opens at 5 o’clock (as any self-respecting bar should do.) And, they offer up a lunch, brunch and dinner menu – but a everyone’s favorite is the plate arancini.
Club Rayé is your one-of-a-kind answer to where to go for sophisticated soirees of sips and songs.