Smooth talking Frank Sinatras accompanied by bombshells in their finest throwback couture enter a dimly lit cabaret club on a Tuesday night as French chanteuse Edith Piaf sings of lost love. This isn’t a European speakeasy, but rather Manhattan’s own music salon in Greenwich Village. One evening you may be sipping a Matador as ladies named Dirty Martini and Catherine D’Lish shimmy on stage, whereas another night could involve breaking a sweat as Deborah Harry or Andrew W.K. take over the stage. This is (Le) Poisson Rouge, an 800-capacity multimedia space for live entertainment and plenty of dancing. Founded by former classical music students David Handler and Justin Kantor in 2008, (Le) Poisson Rouge is where art and music unite for nightlife owls in need of culture. Be kind to the bouncers and you’ll be swept away to 1920s Paris.
There’s a reason why (Le) Poisson Rouge translates to “the red fish.” Inside the black and crimson space, patrons are greeted by a suspended fish tank chandelier lighting up red velvet walls designed with more ruby-hued fish. When not staring in awe, guests are able to wet their whistle with an assortment of potent concoctions, including the absinthe-filled Zombie Hunter and jalapeno-infused Venus Flytrap. If you can’t sit on ebony thrones while savoring tequila tiramisu for too long, then you’ll want to mingle with fast talking jazz artists at the Gallery, where one can admire contemporary art or order another round of cocktails. (Le) Poisson Rouge’s glitzy décor is enough for anyone to come out and play on a weeknight, but it’s the music that keeps visitors coming back for more.
(Le) Poisson Rouge prides itself in “serving art and alcohol,” but the real gems are their events. From Estelle exercising her pipes to countless Ziggy Stardusts going gaga at “Bowie Ball,” (Le) Poisson Rouge has enough parties and concerts to keep you guessing. Spend your night with the Martinez Brothers as they spin their signature electronica, get your hip-hop fix with Crooked Disco, or simply dance the night away at a “Freedom Party,” famous for being one of the most unpretentious bashes in the city. If that’s not enough, the monthly “I Love Vinyl” boasts six DJs playing everything from old school house to bossa nova.
While (Le) Poisson Rouge isn’t your typical club, it does provide plenty of options for picky patrons inside a venue that’s a feast for the eyes. Who needs jetting to France when (Le) Poisson Rouge seems to have it all?