L’ALCAZAR – PARIS

L’Alcazar, or two rooms, two atmospheres. L’Alcazar, or the detox and the intox. Or vice versa.

L’Alcazar is a well-known institution on the Parisian night scene: opened in 1968, the place was a cabaret which offered acts by transformists and feathered clad performers.

Taken over in 1998 by Sir Terence Conran, L’Alcazar was revamped into a majestic restaurant with a grand glass roof measuring twelve meters in height.

Renovated in 2015, the venue is both spacious and cozy: the height of the glass ceiling, which could suggest a slightly cold atmosphere, is largely offset by the decoration. Vintage pieces – with old cutlery – and lush vegetation give warmth to the place, transforming it into an exquisite Winter garden that is both exotic and furiously urban. L’Alcazar is the perfect illustration of a tamed Parisian jungle, where danger is only there to make you shiver in delight.

The Alcazar is certainly a very beautiful place. But above all, it is a marvelous restaurant, a great spot for lunch, dinner or brunch on Sunday. The menu is refined, playing with beautiful products, and dishware. The plates are beautiful, fine and subtle. They offer local, organic and vegan products. It’s chic and friendly.

This is the detox part. But the little thrill also exists for the intoxicating part, of course. And it happens upstairs. The bar offers superb signature cocktails and a DJ set from Wednesday evening to Saturday evening.

L’Alcazar has a mezzanine where there is an eye-catching bar – Le Balcon.

Once a month, Fabrice Gilberdy organizes with La Madame Klaude, decadent and fun evenings during which the best drag queens perform: Le Privé. Sorrowful spirits may sulk their pleasure, or be ambivalent, not knowing where to place the queens in their range of social-normative benchmarks.

I am not – I believe – a sorrowful spirit. And although nightlife has never exerted a mad attraction on my person – at best I generally find it deceitful, pathetic at worst – I certainly did not sulk during this evening at Le Balcon.

Le Privé offers something else. Appearances are not misleading since they are fully assumed. Everyone plays, because this is the rule of the game.

I admire the discipline, the effort involved in building a drag queen character, like an actor would do. I admire the performance, which involves a lot of work. I do not care where drag queens are placed on my personal radar of sociocultural values, I take them and admire them just as they are.

And Le Privé is as simple as that. Everyone comes as they wish, dance or not, let go or not, but everything takes place in a perfectly good-natured atmosphere. Everyone finds fun wherever they want and it’s just perfect.

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