Elite bartender, superlative cocktail menu, historic or dazzling setting, vintage bottles, none of this would be enough to explain the fascination exerted by the palace bar, the only one capable of encapsulating in a few drinks and the space of a moment out of time the best of scenarios. Of those who know how to transcend reality into a truly memorable experience. In Monte-Carlo, two legends are vying for the favors of an insider clientele. The American Bar of theHotel in Paris vs the Lobby Bar of Metropolis Monte Carlo. And to decide between two legends, what better than a fictional report, led by two British subjects that we could not suspect here of favoritism.
Winston regained his phlegm
Climbing with the step of a senator – no sports, In effect – the flight of stairs that leads him to the glass door of the Bar Américain at the Hôtel de Paris, Winston is suddenly alerted by a tiny detail or, more precisely, its absence. The scratches that streaked the glass all around the brass bar that was used to operate the door have simply disappeared. A fine observer of his society, our man knows what that means: the diamonds, which had in their time engraved in the glass the indelible mark of their illustrious owners, have probably deserted the place. He struggles to suppress a retching. How can you imagine that his favorite bar could have changed to the point that you no longer meet any main woman there, more or less wrinkled of course, but solidly adorned with the biggest stones in the world. “And why not Fat White Family1 instead of the pianist? he finds himself thinking with a gasp of disgust.
Nothing, however, could dissuade him from his intention – never, never, never, never give up – and here he is crossing, in the sovereign calm of a confident male, the threshold of this bar whose memory suffused with the swirls of the exclusive double corona Romeo and Juliet come back to him with astonishing precision. Rather than the acrid scent of thick smoke, it is the sweet smell of new leather that greets her. The familiar armchairs have been revamped, he noted, but without ostentation, carefully patinated to blend in with the historic setting. It’s reassuring. Hands transferred with diamonds laid nonchalantly on the forgotten ones in precious wood. To breathe. The piano is there too (but not Fat White Family). Instead, we announce for tonight The Sugar Daddies Quintet. Winston likes to imagine that a cohort of young girls, seduced by the name of the group, will come to rejuvenate the audience and warm up the atmosphere of the piano bar. In the meantime, he decides to settle down comfortably and undertakes to detail the decor which, without being quite different, nevertheless reveals some characteristic signs of the spirit of the times. Was the outdoor terrace already there?, he wonders. Indeed, it appeared thanks to the pharaonic works that transformed the Hôtel de Paris just a few months ago. The evil spirits, to explain his slight amnesia, would invoke sarcastically the frequent abuses to which our man is accustomed. Some would even mention, tongue in cheek, this episode has remained known where, apostrophized by a lady who reproached him for his drunkenness, he replied: “Perhaps, Madam, but you, you are ugly. And me, tomorrow, I’ll be sober. Winston himself, at this precise moment, is savoring in retrospect this pre-hashtag time when one could afford the luxury of nameless boorishness provided one had the wit. Hey, it’s not Roger anymore behind the bar, who could it be?, wonders our whiskey lover, annoyed at the idea of having to repeat the litany of his manic routines through the menu. this newcomer. “Khalid, Sir,” the first bartender introduces himself in impeccable English, who has come to greet the great man and above all, to put him at ease: “Your box of double coronas is waiting for you in the cellar, Sir. You recognize it, it bears your name.
In this ocean of vulgarity and deplorable manners that is the 21st century, Winston knows how to appreciate the last pockets of resistance worthy of offering refuge to him, the most obstinate bulwark against barbarism. Champagne, Bordeaux, Martini, Porto, Cognac, his slightly unsteady finger – one would be unsteady unless – touches the ivory vellum of the menu, to make sure that the ingredients necessary for the accomplishment of a good quality evening are find gathered there. Along the way, he finds the famous plate of barbagiuans, a crunchy Monegasque specialty of which the Bar Américain has made itself the custodian and purveyor as scrupulous as it is tasty.
He wonders about the Pulcinella, with fresh mandarin, the Pira Villosum, a spirited encounter of pear and cardamom, or even Gray Goose vodka by Alain Ducasse, which Winston wonders if he has to do with Isidore, crossed over through his Francophile readings, also adept at encounters – fortuitous this time – between an umbrella and a sewing machine on a dissecting table. But, here we go astray. Around our lord, finally returned at home, no vengeful Lady Astor but an audience as heterogeneous as it is strangely harmonious and impeccably codified – the magic of the place no doubt – making the world look like a high-end VIP club. Local notables so comfortably installed that one would imagine the frame matching their ties and not the other way around, flamboyant residents who have come from the cold park their oversized cars under the stairs of the Hôtel de Paris, not to mention the hotel’s more or less accustomed and determined to consume their share of legend. Reassured by the smoothness of the atmosphere without a false note, Winston lets himself think that, thank God, true legends never die – he himself prides himself on being an eloquent testimony to this – and toyed with the idea of going to toast the first of his 10 cigars of the day on the terrace of the Bar which, qu whether she existed or not, a good taste to be free at this moment. It even looks like she is holding out her arms to him.
American Bar at the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo
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