So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk without stopping! wrote Charles Baudelaire, On wine, on poetry or on virtue, as you wish.
And so it was at the opening of the new Bar Baudelaire, located above the venerable Old Town establishment restaurant Le Gaulois, that much went on without stopping, the least of which, as far I could I tell, was virtuous, though much of it, like the pt, was lovely.
As live music filtered through upstairs bar, Joerg-Uwe Szipl, looked distracted as he spoke, briefly, about Baudelaire. Mr. Szipls tie was beautiful. The sound of a glass breaking in the background seemed momentarily to give him pause, but he continued, delightfully describing how each day will bring a new terrine made in house by chef Tom Meyer to the menu of small plates served in the bar.
Another man in an equally fabulous tie (a dandy can never be a vulgar man) introduced himself as a friend of Uwes from law school. I thought of Baudelaire writing, It would be difficult for me not to conclude that the most perfect type of masculine beauty is Satan, and decided the presence of so many lawyers explained a lot of the bars charm.
The space that Bar Baudelaire occupies is beautiful, but I have always been in love with the look of Le Gaulois. The renovations to the second floor space the bar occupies are tastefully done, too. The bar itself is at the rear in an alcove with an atelier feel and the front room, with its fireplace, its windows looking down into the garden of the restaurant below, and its wide, wood floor feels unfussy and designed for comfort.
There is chic that comes from design by trend, and there is chic that comes from design by knowing how people live comfortably and well, and Bar Baudelaire lives beautifully in its old world comforts.
Wine is, of course, the focus of Bar Baudelaire. The list is almost entirely, unapologetically, French, and although the idea of a half glass might shock poor Baudelaire, who ran up debt eating on credit, the wines by the glass list includes a half pour. Baudelaire wrote, A sweetheart is a bottle of wine, a wife is a wine bottle. The half-pour is, therefore, highly recommended; it makes things last.
Beauty is the sole ambition, the exclusive goal of Taste, wrote Baudelaire. The small plates at Bar Baudelaire are an excellent example of goaloriented ambition; they are beautiful. Not sublimely beautiful, but beautiful enough. Not mistress beautiful, but wifely beautiful. The tartines and the brandade de morue are served on toast points. Bread trimmed and toasted: perfect.
The whole of Bar Baudelaire, the menu, the wine list, the delightfully literary name, the canard, the toast points, feels so effortlessly mature. This is the place for people who are done trying and just are grown-up. They like their champagne and their legumes, although not necessarily together.
Of newspapers Baudelaire opined, Any newspaper, from the first line to the last, is nothing but a web of horrors, I cannot understand how an innocent hand can touch a newspaper without convulsing in disgust.
Thank goodness there are few innocents in the world and that Baudelaire did not number among them. Shoulder to shoulder at Bar Baudelaire with a patent lawyer and someone in PR it was easy to talk newspapers with very little convulsing and while consuming vast quantities of shrimp.
It may have looked like we were having fun, but really, we were working hard at not becoming martyrs to time, and after all, Baudelaire says, Inspiration comes of working every day.