Wednesday Cocktail Adventure: Delaville Cafe
34 boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle
Tel: +33 (0)1 48 24 48 09
It's probably my admittedly perverse bent, but I like venues that have been transformed from spaces of unusual and different purpose - especially if their original purpose is a bit seedy and sordid. So, Delaville, with its naughty brothel past, was sure to pique my curiosity. The extremely large, basic outdoor terrace of this multi-room, multi level cafe, bar and restaurant belies the funky interior combination of faded 19th century grandeur and modern artsy design.
Past the terrace is the veranda, which in summer opens up to offer even more breezy seating during warmer months. Beyond the veranda, bar area beckons with its old school mosaics, high ceilings and over-sized mirrors. To the side is a restaurant with distressed touches and warm lighting. And, finally in the back you can chill out in the thoroughly modern, red vinyl lounge with kitschy animal heads mounted on the wall while listening to guest dj's from Thurs - Saturday. Fancy staircase fans shouldn't miss the beautiful one tucked between the restaurant and lounge, which unfortunately due to the layout of the restaurant doesn't really get showcased.
This week I met up with just Jodie first, who I hadn't seen since she had left for an extended Australian holiday four months ago. (welcome back, jod!). So, we sat up at the modern metal bar for a bit of girlie cocktail catching up. Their menu consists of basic spirits disguised with bright fruit juices and syrups and really just made up too heavily...perhaps like the ladies that worked this space in days gone by. Drink names like Full Moon Party, Acid Punch, and Midori Illussion recall something one might drop at a rave a opposed to something swanky one might sip. Prices range from 8 to 9 Euros. I asked if they could do a dry martini and was told yes and then served a Bombay Sapphire (the only gin in the house) and sweet vermouth mix. At least the glass was chilled. I asked if they had dry vermouth and then got a better Bombay/Noilly Prat martini, shaken into a chilled glass with an olive garnish. Jodie went for one of the fruity ones. A large glass of marinated olives came with our orders.
As Jodie was leaving, Matt arrived. He ordered a sidecar, which the barman asked me how to make. I tried the Chinese Lily (tequila, litchi liqueur, citrus & orgeat). I had hoped the tequila/litchi might be an interesting combination, but the whole drink was completely overwhelmed by litchi flavor with no real alcohol kick or tequila taste. I don't even remember the second drink that Matt got off the fruity menu: it was orange and tasted vaguely of apple.
During the day, I'd guess this place brings in a wide age range of patrons. In the evening, my guess is that the prices, pseudo grungy oldschool glamor, alcohol flavor masking drinks & weekend dj's, guarantee a mainly twenty-something crowd. i didn't test it, but their site says they have free wifi which is also a nice bonus. And, it's just across from the Rex making it a decent stop for a beer before or after shows there - especially if that falls within 18h00 to 20h00 when draft pints are served for the price of demis.
While I wasn't wowed by the libations, Delaville has some good things going for it. If the charcuterie plates or the burgers listed on the menu are any good, this seems like it would be a fun summer stop with ample terrace seating for a quick bite and a simple drink. But, despite its racy past, it's not making any sexy cocktails.