At Home With... Paul Lougrat
(This interview was first shared on our Guestlist on 2nd September)
Paul, firstly congrats on the launch of your two (!) bars in London recently, 🔶🟥🔵 & Floraison, could you talk a little about the idea or concept that sits behind them?
Remy and I wanted to create venues based on the manifestos of the people who created various art movements throughout history. As soon as you walk in, we want your mind, senses and entire experience to be impacted by those artists. We are not interested in the art that these people created, rather what made them create it.
For our first venue, we based the concept on the school of Bauhaus, which was the key influencer of industrial design in the early 20th century.
The design of your space is very important. It’s the most immediate way to present your message to your customer. Remy and I spent months working with an architectural designer to create the most functional and minimalist space that we could. We wanted every detail to compliment the work of the Bauhaus students — Marcel Breuer inspired chairs, Wagenfeld lamps. We wanted the space to evolve as the night progresses, and for it to encourage conviviality and interaction between guests.
For the second site the concept will be based on Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau and Bauhaus are very contrasted in terms of visual, and I’m very excited to show it to you! For the summer, we are using the site with St Germain to do a beautiful pop up called Floraison.
And what physical touches in the bars are your favourites to bring these ideas to life?
With the Bauhaus bar we had the time to go so deep into details and to find so many touches to bring the concept to life that it’s hard to choose! Some of my favourites would have to be the tables that can fold up and attach to the walls if we want to create standing or dancing room. The bar extends to enable more exchange between the bar staff and customers. Making everything multi functional enables us to play with the space and our guest’s experience. We decided not to have a back bar so that guests focus on their experience and not on products. Our uniforms were made bespoke after a collaboration with Lane45 to fit the bauhaus state of mind.
Is there a classic cocktail story that sticks out in your mind? Or maybe a modern classic that you love for not just the liquid in the glass?
My father’s family is from the south west of France. Working class and very french as you can imagine it. I’ve always been passionate by the apéritif time when we were with them. So a KIR (white wine and creme de cassis) will be my most sentimental classic drink. I remember the curiosity and doubt I felt seeing the white wine looking like a red wine after being in contact with the cassis & the ceremonial way in which everyone is so specific with their ratio of those ingredients. This moment and the atmosphere around it, I will always remember.
When it comes to drinking cocktails at home, what would you say is your top tip for making cocktails at home feel like cocktails at the bar through storytelling?
There a few elements that can change your experience at home. For me, there are 3 elements that change an experience and make it unique: technique, hospitality and concept.
Top tips for technique: Quality ice, frozen glassware, quality ingredients and one of my favourite recommendations - buy a thermometer for all your stirred drinks! Aim for -3 degrees for brown spirits, and -5 for white spirits.
Top tips for hospitality: create a nice atmosphere for your guest, a clean environment and don’t bring any doubt to the table. Be positive about what you do and having them over! You are here to create the tempo and the connections. If you start the night with "I’ve burnt the bread" you bring negativity in. As soon as your friends walk in, you are all about that love and positivity.
Top tips for the concept: bring your drinks to something larger than just the drinks. A margarita never tastes better than in Mexico, your matcha latte is better in LA (haha). Incorporate the drinks into a concept for the evening so that your cocktail is just a detail to make the experience as realistic as possible.
Okay, you've invited some friends round for a night of cocktails, what's the vibe? What does the space look, feel, sound like and what’s the drink at the end to tie everything together?
I love hosting friends at home! I usually love a relaxed atmosphere and make people feel comfortable.
You walk into my flat, the music is on from the turntables with a few records ready to be played. A few candles are lit around the space to have this cozy lighting that my mum taught me so well! A few snacks on the table for those with a big appetite and something roasting in the oven for the dinner. It looks dark, it smells like toasted bread, and sounds like Boogie!
Drinks-wise, depending on where you want to take the night, I’ll start with a highball, Pisco and Tonic… or maybe a cheeky death in the afternoon (Champagne and Absinth) if it’s a weekend day!
I’ll usually be in the kitchen asking people what they want to drink, making a little bespoke cocktail for them!
If you want to follow what Paul and his bars are up to you can find him on instagram at @paul_lougrat