Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Swan Bar and Jazz Cafe, Paris

I'm going to put up some mini-portraits of the various jazz venues in Paris. I'd like to give you a better idea of the various places you're going to end up: they're all so different and depending on what you're in the mood for sometimes a smoky cellar is perfect and sometimes a non-smoking cocktail lounge is even perfecter.....

so, the first portrait is of the lovely Swan Bar, and how could a portrait of the Swan be complete without a portrait of the lovely Isla. With her trademark star on her cheek and an irrepressible sense of humour she commands the impressive cocktail bar.

The Swan's a nice venue since it sits in the south of Paris in the historic Montparnasse district. A lot of visitors to the city end up in this neighbourhood and there are excellent restaurants and the old 'american' bars from the 20's and 30's, like The Select, or Le Dome, are just down the boulevard. The Swan's probably a five to ten minute walk up from the Montparnasse metro or a 30 second walk from the Port Royal RER exit and you'll find a brightly lit lounge dotted with tiny tables on two levels and a shiny cocktail bar, and sometimes an art show going on downstairs.

They put on a varied set of musicians, ranging from vocal jams on Wednesday nights for those aspiring singers who want to get up and try their chops with a couple of local musicians (bring three copies of your music!) to a variety of bands and singers. I know they've had some problem with sound complaints so their trios and band tend to avoid loud drummers, but they pull in some fine trios anyway. If you're already up in Montparnasse then its the perfect place to end your evening with a brightly colored drink and some great music.

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