Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chez Moune

Chez Moune signage

Chez Moune
Chez Moune

Location: 54 Rue Pigalle, Paris, France

Founded: 1936

Closed: Converted to a (straight) "hipster" place in 2008/2009

Here is what appears to be an older review of Chez Moune at navigaia:

Located in the attractive Pigalle area, Chez Moune is Paris' lesbian cabaret. The all female cast provide a diverse and entertaining show, including dance, comedy and song. The staff are also exclusively female, and Saturday nights are reserved exclusively for ladies. Thursday night is karaoke night, and you can be assured of a lively atmosphere. Entry is free for ladies, and drinks are reasonably priced - do you need any more convincing?

Chez Moune patrons
And this is a later review at partyearth, which just revels in Chez Moune's new (distinctly non-lesbian) "hipster" cachet:

Opened in 1936 by Madame Moune as a lesbian ladies-only club in the heart of Pigalle’s red light district, Chez Moune was converted in 2008 to a late-night dancing den for eclectic, stylish hipsters and fashionistas. An embellished Chez Moune emblem above a small doorway points patrons toward a steep staircase, at the bottom of which they pass through a set of swinging doors and into a dark and grungy space. The décor of black and mirror tiles and big gold frames is sparse and manages to convey a raw cabaret chic. This devil-may-care vibe is also embodied in the single sheet of notebook paper tacked to the wall that serves as the venue’s only drink menu. A simple bar and a wall of long couches lead to an elevated stage and DJ station and a small dance floor, where a mix of artists, hipsters, and alternative types create a youthful, whimsical, and dance-happy atmosphere. On occasion, the DJs are accompanied by theatrical and musical guests that help evoke the club’s burlesque history, making the vibe all the more intense and reminiscent of Berlin’s underground club scene.

This review from paris.unlike is also enthusiastic about the new (basically straight) Chez Moune:

If you are searching for a club ambiance similar to the one of Polanski’s “Blue Parrot” in the movie Frantic, Chez Moune is the place to go. Founded in 1936 by the infamous Madame Moune as a “Cabaret Lesbienne” with a strict girls-only door policy, it’s now a very popular spot for fashion week soirées and other hipster parties.
The slightly faded glitz and glamour of the cabaret is also a trademark of its neighborhood, Pigalle, the red-light district in-between the 9th and the 18th arrondissement. Other local hangouts in the area sport adventurous names such as “Lorelei” or “Schätzle”—each with their own mysterious-looking mademoiselles perched in the dim lighted window displays. So if it’s girls, boys or just a good time that you are looking for… you will be sure to find it in or around Chez Moune.

We see the same sentiment at redvisitor:

Located in Paris' cutting-edge red light district just south of Pigalle, in the shadow of the Moulin Rouge and amongst the area's sex-shops and hostess bars, is the legendary nightclub, Chez Moune. Founded in 1936 by Madame Moune as the city of light's original lesbian cabaret, it was taken over in 2008 by La Clique, the team behind cult Paris nightspot, Le Baron. No longer a female-only venue, the art deco building now plays host to a hip mixed crowd who move on from the buzzing Sans Souci bar just across the street at around midnight to come and party here into the early hours. Formerly patronised by iconic songstress Edith Piaf, today the club draws in the hipsters with fashion week after parties and cutting edge music more towards the electro end of the musical spectrum. Entry is free, but have no illusions, this is still one of Paris’ trendiest clubs and the door policy is strict: only those who fit the bill are granted admission into the long narrow club space decorated with flamboyant gilt and red velvet aplenty.  

Needless to say, the jeune filles over at girlports were pretty glum about the changes to this old lesbian institution:

Chez Moune was probably the longest-running lesbian bar in the world, opened back in 1936.  But sadly, in summer, 2009 it was bought up by new owners who've decided they no longer want it to be exclusively for women.  It's been said that this will become more of a mixed venue, but we'll have to see if that means LGBT, or straight mixed with gays.

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