Monday, July 27, 2009

Montana: where the cool kids hang

It’s not often that I get out to nightclubs nowadays. Quite apart from being a dad, and being on the wrong side of 37, I don’t much like to suffer the indignity of clearly being the oldest person in any given room.
But when a mate is about to get married, and the wife selflessly hands you a 24-hour pass out to help said mate celebrate his last days of being an unmarried man, it demands a bit of an extraordinary effort.
So it was that I found myself recently striding to the door of Montana – the newest, hippest bar/club in all of Pareeee.
Now, I’ve encountered some tough doors in my time, but nothing has ever compared to the steely reception we received when we bowled up to Montana. Tucked behind Café Flore in the otherwise preternaturally dull 6th arrondissement, Montana is guarded by a team of burly gorillas under the sway of a 16-year-old fashion victim. It took some convincing before the waif would let us pass, but once inside, we began to understand that selective door policies definitely have their benefits. Especially if you can get past them.
Montana is the latest establishment in the ever-growing stable of cool-kid haunts owned and operated by Paris graffiti artist-turned-entrepreneur, Monsieur André. He’s made a packet for himself by buying up interesting old bars and turning them into dens of beautiful-people iniquity. He launched his Paris bar empire with Le Baron, in the 8th arrondissement, a former brothel that, about four years ago became the place to see, be seen and dance ironically to hits of the 80s.

The Montana interior is textbook André – a kind of red-velvet boudoir meets punk-rock with a touch of biological textbook theme. You know, that old classic. The ground floor bar area is tiny. All the better for huddling up to the gaggle of perfectly formed folk who are either movie and TV stars or look very much like people who should be movie and TV stars (it was dark. If there was someone famous in there, I was none the wiser).
The cocktails are ludicrously expensive (20 euros a pop, excuse me?). Even a beer will set you back 12 euros. But you can still get a bottle of Moet for a comparatively reasonable 180 euros. Downstairs is where the action is. It’s a tiny space – no more than your average cave voutée (a typical, Parisian stone lined basement), expertly decorated and with just enough room for a DJ to spin a mix that segues effortlessly from Amy Winehouse to Flashdance.
To any of you beautiful young things who were there the other night and wondering who the old fella was dancing like a madman in the corner, it was I. And I thank you for your forebearance.

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