When the Bullsh_t quota has been surpassed only a cocktail will do is my motto although I am sure Mr Oscar Wilde would say it in a much more succint and wry way. I do so love this quote of his: “we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars“. Well Oscar there are no stars this Wednesday night just rain, wind and a healthy dose of misery as I navigated through the streets of St Germain trying to find the discreet entrance to L’Hotel where our Oscar spent his last few years. Discreet it is with a small brass plaque of the man himself adorning the external wall.
It’s all about discretion and luxury here. I was greeted with a warm smile and asked for directions to the bar. I was told to walk through the lobby and open the door. I am not sure if he said mind the step or at least he should have. As you step into the circular lobby, it is miniscule, look up. It is something to see and that is all I will say. I nearly fell through the mirrored door as I didn’t see the step. However, I managed to preserve my dignity and entered into pure luxury of velvet seats, leopard print carpet and a tiny bar. It felt as if I was in someone’s boudoir, possibly Mr Wilde’s as there were photos of him scattered around. The barman told me to sit wherever I would like and so I did in the mini study area ( there is also a separate alcove with more seating) with the faux candelabras by a portrait of the man himself. I was a little out of place with my wellington boots, jeans etc and there were two couples seated having drinks waiting to go to very chic Le Restaurant.
As I caressed the velvet seating, I perused the drinks menu and spied the signature cocktail list with suitably Wilde inspired names and after a bit of indecision I decided that I was indeed “Born to be Wilde” or at the very least insane to come out in the rain and wind. The barman, Aghiles, came over to take my order. There is nothing as vulgar as going to the bar to place one’s order at Le Bar – oh no this is the place to come where the old rules are still in existence: soft lighting, cocktails made properly, service at the table and being left alone to think upon whatever takes your fancy. After my order was taken, I sat back and enjoyed the mellow voice of Nat King Cole – the background music here is exactly that in the background. There is no need to shout at your companion. As I was solo, I just sat and relaxed and thought a little bit about Mr Wilde.
Les Verres/ Drinks
My Born to be Wilde cocktail arrived along with some savoury tidbits and I took a sip. Oh la la I certainly might be wild after this cocktail a mixture of: Bacardi Reserve, honey, tabasco and basil. It certainly pepped me up – strong, spicy with a little dose of sweet. I think I just described myself – ha! The cocktail was exquisite and certainly very strong! As I sipped it, I forgot about my woes, the rain and started to feel very very comfortable. Even the slightly chintzy fittings were all forgiven.
As wild as I would like to be, it was after all a Wednesday night and I had another two days left of work. I bid the very talented Aghilles and Mr Wilde’s last haunt – L’hotel – à bientôt. I shall be back very soon. It was blissful way to spend 2 hours- as Oscar once said: “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best”.
Where? 13 Rue Des Beaux-Arts, 75006 Paris
How? Line 4 (Saint Germain des Près or Odeon) + 10 mins walk
Open when? 7 days a week + they stop serving at 1am (Mon to Weds are the quieter evenings, it is busy on the weekend)
Pricey? The signature cocktails are around €15 and if that’s not your thing then choose from the menu: wine, spirits etc