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The Vintage Guide To London | September 21, 2017

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A glorious past: Café de Paris

A glorious past: Café de Paris

Café De Paris in London’s Piccadilly is one of the most famous and durable venues in the world.

With a glittering history, spanning nine decades, the Café has consistently played host to a wide variety of powerful and absorbing performers and guests, members of the aristocracy, eminent political figures, dazzling pop stars, captains of industry, superstars from the silver screen and even royalty.

Opening its doors in 1924, the Café de Paris quickly established itself as one of Europe’s premier nightspots. Louise Brooks made history when she worked there in December 1924, introducing the Charleston to London.

Even the Second World War couldn’t  stop its success and the Café de Paris continued to be the most fashionable nightspot in London throughout the Fifties. Continuing to attract the worlds glamour set, visitors and performers read like a who’s who of the golden era, Frank Sinatra rubbed shoulders with Tony Hancock, Eartha Kitt with Spike Milligan, Grace Kelly with Noel Coward. Anyone who was anyone was seen at the Cafe.

After a recent refurbishment and re-launch in 2004, the Café has regained some of the splendour of the golden days and some of its themed club nights and burlesque evenings hark back to the glamour of the past.

However, sadly, all too often the Café seems just another London night club – perhaps even a bit tacky – with unspectacular food and drink, average music, full of hen-dos and middle aged couples on their anniversaries. Do go for a drink and to reminisc about its glorious past but don’t expect any real vintage splendour here.

Café De Paris
3-4 Coventry St
London W1D 6BL

Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square
Google Map

 

Comments

  1. Rebecka

    Cafe de Paris was even bombed during the Blitz (on 8 March, 1941) but managed to keep open (well more or less). El Nino and Lady Kamikaze did an event there a couple of years ago for Valentines Day, which was fantastic, but it is really dreary that most of the time the place is a sad reminder of what it once was.

  2. Rebecka is right, the bombing of the Cafe was one of the most famous events of The Blitz. The bandleader Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson, London’s only black bandleader at the time,was killed, as were 30 others. Casualties included Betty Baldwin, the daughter of Stanley, the former Prime Minister.

    Curiously, one of the first Special Constables on the scene was Ballard Berkley who later found fame playing The Major in Fawlty Towers.

    Also, in the early 90s it became popular with ravers for a while.

  3. Hi,

    Could you please tell me who owns the photo of Princess Margaret leaving the Cafe de Paris?
    I would like to find a copy and reproduce for a docu film.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Lena Weber

    Shamefully, I don’t know! I would guess, Getty?