By now it’s well-known that Pigalle has no shortage of show-stoppers when it comes to cocktail bars. It’s only natural that Parisian cocktail culture would thrive there. While there are still plenty of sex shops and libertine ladies, this hotbed of hedonism now draws a crowd of pleasure-seekers looking to satisfy their sybaritic desires with liquids – rather than ladies – of the night. Just like their more carnal counterparts, these ‘bordellos of booze’ tempt the thirsty, the lonely, the curious and the fun-loving with their many ways to provide sweet, sweet relief in sippable form. And delight-seekers desiring something more sophisticated and discreet in this regard should make a stop into the bar in the Maison Souquet.
The Maison Souquet’s entrance is marked by two red lights, recalling the days when this building was a “House of Pleasure” rather than a sexy, new, luxury hotel. Just through the discrete door is a world of 1001 Arabian nights with the lobby lounge’s orient-inspired decor. Next you pass into the actual bar, which is designed to feel like a reading room. It’s small, intimate, plush and dark. It provides the perfect private vibe for anything from coquettish conversation to serious seduction. The next room is lighter and brighter with floral fabrics, bright red carpet and mirrored walls reflecting natural light. And finally, there is a teeny tiny courtyard space with just enough room for one bench and a garden statue.
The cocktails range from 17 to 20 Euros and are divided into sections with names like Cocottes (which means fashionable prostitute) or les Couritisans. The menu features house creations that could feel a little precious or sweetly indulgent for a palette like my own that leans more towards the stiff and classic. However, I tried the La Castiglione (Bacardi Heritage, Coconut water, yuzu and yellow chartreuse) and found it nicely balanced. It’s a foamy, fresh and elegantly presented cocktail that reflects the sensuous sensibilities location. And for those seeking something more traditional, the head bartender previously worked at the Bristol so should be able to handle off menu requests. A well-made martini confirmed this. Also on the menu is a range of snacks like burrata, tarama & toasts or truffle flavored black rice ranging from 8 to 24 Euros.
This is a luxurious location for spoiling yourself (or someone else). In the winter, maybe I’ll convince someone to head back with me to sit by the fireplace with a bottle of bubbles over a friendly chess match (they have games available). There is also a piano. And for those who seriously want to spoil themselves, there are 20 luxury hotel rooms and a swimming pool that can be privatized by hotel guests. Swank!
In short, I’m a little enamored with this secret little spot that offers up something exceptionally sophisticated but still manages to maintain a little local flavor of SoPi’s more cyprian side.
10 rue de Bruxelles