July 22, 2011
La Bellevilloise – Terrace (Jerome Seillier)
A typical Parisian night out can mean any number of things. Some people like the club scene, while others prefer a quiet drink along the Seine. Some can knock back shots at the bar, and others look for a cultural infusions via acoustic guitar sets or art gallery openings. To accomplish all of these things in one night would, at the very least, tax your Navigo pass as you zig zag across town. Most likely, it would drive you crazy.
However, Hip Paris readers, I recently visited a place that is so all-encompassing, so varied in its vibe, décor and mission, that you and any number of your difficult-to-please friends can enjoy yourself, no matter what you’re looking for that night — or even that moment.
Entrance to La Halle Aux Oliviers (Kygp)
La Bellevilloise is an expansive, multi-tiered space in the hills of Belleville that, with seeming ease, incorporates every type of good time to be had under one roof. It is a jack-of-all-trades, where bar meets restaurant meets dance floor meets performance space meets brunch spot. Walking into each different area of the space brings a new experience, and I was drawn from doorway to doorway in a pleasant yet mildly schizophrenic frenzy of entertainment.
Entering from the street into the Forum drops you into a cavern-like club, dark and inviting. It’s like an Art Deco museum with a pulse. It’s a casual setting, and the various, mostly acoustic sets trade places up on the center stage for a packed room. Multiple floors of seating on both sides of the room allow patrons to watch the staff move with symphonic rhythm through the space, delivering tapas (the salmon wraps caught my eye more than once) and strong mojitos out from behind the imposing bar. The mood, despite the low lighting, is vibrant, cheery and unpretentious. On my last visit, I saw trenchcoats mixing with Nikes and flannels and fitted caps bumping hips with mom jeans…
La Terrasse (Jason Whittaker)
After the cavernous Forum, emerging onto the Terrace, with its relaxed atmosphere among the Belleville rooftops, is a breath of fresh air. Gorgeous evening light is the setting for another bar, a partially covered deck, abundant greenery and wheelbarrow tables. Reminiscent of a Brooklyn beer garden, this space offers a reprieve from the energy and intensity of the other rooms. The rumblings of upright bass from the Forum are just a whisper out here. Everything about this cozy balcony says: take your time, have a drink. So I did.
La Halle Aux Oliviers (Kygp)
Stairs from the Terrace can take you up, or down and around the corner to arrive at La Halle aux Oliviers, which greeted me with soft candlelight and blood-red curtains, chairs, and walls. This space features both fine dining and entertainment, allowing visitors to chow down on duck while DJs spin records and another drink is poured. The immense skylights of the old hangar space, along with the tree trunks sprouting up through the tables, give this room a natural air, perfect for their Sunday brunch. This room alone affords you the opportunity to drink the night away and return the next day to munch and sip away the hangover.
La Halle Aux Oliviers (Kygp)
During my visit, The Loft (on the top floor where movie screenings, art exhibitions and flea markets take place) and The Club (the basement for concerts, festivals, parties, and generally dancing one’s ass off) were closed at the moment. This means there is even more to Bellevilloise than discussed here, with all upcoming events available on their website, plus the ability to reserve these rooms for your own get-togethers.
Perhaps you are like me, and your number one complaint with any bar, café, club, restaurant or art gallery is, “This place is nice—but there’s only one theme going on here. I mean, what does a guy need to do to get a little experimental artwork to go with my steak while I listen to a live samba band before heading to an 80s dance party?” If you have thought this, maybe you and I should hang out because we both have awfully eclectic tastes. Also, you should spend a night exploring La Bellevilloise.
19-21, rue Boyer 75020
Métro: Gambetta, Menilmontant
Open: Wed – Sun
- Looking got switch up your music scene a little? How about hidden concerts? More info here.
- Indulge in a delicious meal before your nighttime excursions at nearby Chapeau Melon
- Or maybe you just want to go dancing under a bridge?
Written by Eric Goldschein
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Eric Goldschein is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and an avid writer and traveler. Frequent adventures in the Americas have only piqued his interest to eat, stroll and write his way around the rest of the world. Luck and circumstance brought him to Paris and he hopes they will keep him here.
Website: Eric Goldschein
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