When we planned our second trip to Paris, the intention was to become fully acquainted with a city that, due to its sheer beauty, reduced us to tears while walking along the Seine during our last brief visit in September. Indeed having only been once before in our childhood, we were keen to familiarise ourselves with this enchanting French capital, not least as it is the home of firm friend Leomeo Carandang, an individual with whom we connected with the moment we met and one who’s D.J.’ing & producing virtues we have been extolling since starting out in our journalistic vocation. So, the intention was always to see the city & its sights and to steer clear of clubbing, although being gay & in “gay Paris”, this was always going to be a tall order, especially as our guide would inevitably take us through the city’s renowned district, Le Marais, during our grand tour and within a hairs breath of one of the newest bars on the block.
Spyce Bar has certainly cut a considerable stride in the few short weeks since it was opened in Paris’s premier gay district, Le Marais, quickly establishing it as THE place to be seen on the scene. As a result, Sypce attracts a sophisticated & stylish, yet mixed bunch of cute boys, party girls, professionals & scene faces, making for a charming crowd of Parisians & visitors to the city that crave for a superb mix of social splendour with magnificent music, Spyce delivering highly on both counts. Designed with a distinctive modern feel, the massive illuminated LED lighting wall certainly makes a statement and entices you into this hip & happening hangout, the welcome from the team of beautiful bar staff, along with host Philippe Maffiere, a well known face on the gay scene in Paris and the guy that was responsible for bringing, among many others, big club brand Crash to the French capital. Plus, being located just off the main drag in Le Marais, Spyce serves up a superb selection of sounds across two bars on two levels with guest D.J.’s upstairs and V D.J’s downstairs making in a must visit and one that is growing in popularity prolifically.
So, with such a statement, regardless of our plans to avoid any sort of clubbing, Spyce simply had to been on our Parisian visit agenda, our second visit in two days found us in the thick of the action on what would in London, be a pretty sedate affair on a Thursday, yet this pulsating Paris place was brimming with a charismatic cocktail of party people that were full of the kind of gay abandon that would normally be reserved for a weekend back in blighty. Arriving just before midnight, it was clear the bar had been in full swing for a few hours, some of its patrons showing signs of over indulgence, yet the atmosphere was every bit as electric as our first visit the previous evening, a brief one with our Parisian pal & guide, Leomeo, who had kindly introduced us to the place & a few of Paris’s scene figure heads that were hanging out. Indeed, this first visit not only allowed us to connect with the charming & engaging Philippe, a chap with connections close to our heart, it proved an ideal opener to the full on Thursday we were to enjoy in the hands of the superb Spyce.
Finding our way to the bar on this, our second visit, we were once again approached by this drop dead gorgeous bar boy, a tall tanned hunk of a man with a smile to match his stunning good looks & bronzed body, we short of melting on our spot as he poured a refreshing beer for us to refresh our palate. With drink in hand, we withdrew a little, heading for a small space to the side where we could survey everything in front of us, the bar brimming & buzzing as it had done the previous evening, the vibrant feel all added to by the masterful music from D.J. & Parisian Ben Manson, a terrific talent whom we had met earlier in the day while touring around Paris with our pal Leomeo, but also had been privileged to see play back in London for the massive Global Dance Festival back in May 2010, plus a D.J. we had focussed on during the event and in our music newsletters since. So, seeing him play in his home territory was an extra treat, our slight spot in this brimming bar giving us a good view of the booth from where Ben was masterminding the music magically, his very lofty position giving him an even better view than ours, the bright LED neon light display flashing up “Spyce” and then “Ben Manson” in huge lettering, leaving everyone in no doubt where there were or who was serving up the scintillating sounds.
Now we were into sticking to Spyce for a substantial stay, banishing all thoughts of heading back to our hotel on the last Metro of the evening, rather soaking up the brilliant Ben beats and a better set we couldn’t have wanted for, Mr Manson delightfully blending tech tracks, with tribal beats, infusing these with euro style sounds & uplifting vocals, then taking us back again on this magical musical journey he was carrying us away on. Indeed, a better set we couldn’t have wished for, especially when he selected the heavenly “Hide You” by Sami Kivera, then having dived back into a trio of tech tunes, lifted the already amazing atmosphere with another vocal dream, this time “Show Me Your Love”, the crowd reacting accordingly and showing their appreciation with dextrous dance moves coupled with whoops & cheers, we ourselves succumbing to these scintillating sounds, spinning on our spot as though we were cavorting in a club.
With Philippe spotting us and drawing us to the bar for more refreshments, it was clear our extended stay look set to continue, especially given the incredible hospitality from this superb Spyce host, shots or Sambuca, more of that French beer and plenty of enthralling conversation continuing what had already been an enthralling evening. And with Ben’s prolific performance continuing unabated, we just had to catch some of the moments on camera, Mr Manson even encouraging us from his lofty position, we catching the man in cheeky pose, as well as taking in that impressive LED lighting display on the back wall. Plus, with our expected relative anonymity broken by a guy who recognised us from London, we couldn’t have felt more comfortable with our lot, so much so that we stayed deep into the early hours, totally carefree to indulge in everything perfectly Parisian at this superb spot in Le Marias. However, like all good things, our stay had to come to an end, we waving farewell to brilliant host Philippe, to Ben from his lofty spot and also catching our bar man’s attention, before wending & weaving our way across Paris to the comfort of our hotel, thrilling thoughts of our time at Spyce ringing loud & clear in our heads.
Given the fact that we had planned just on sightseeing & socialising on this, our third only trip to the French capital, what we actually enjoyed in Spyce bar was not only a superb slice of the latter, but also mountains of magnificent music in a smart and sophisticated setting. Not only did the bars host Mr Maffiere treat us royally, welcoming us with open arms, did that hunk of a handsome barman further brighten our experience, but in Mr Manson’s music, we couldn’t have asked for a better set of beats to engage & entertain us throughout our stay. Suffice to say, Spyce sat superbly with us and major thanks go to Philippe, to Ben & also to Parisian pal & host Leomeo for an experience we will remember for a long time, so if you find yourselves in Paris on a Thursday, or indeed any night of the week and are looking for social splendour, magnificent music, gorgeous bar boys and an amazing atmosphere, then Spyce is definitely the pulsating Parisian place to be, (DISCO MATT)