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The “Splendid” Rebel Bar Open Mic in Paris – a New Open Mic in an Old and Illustrious Location

May 5, 2015



PARIS – I finally got the chance to check out the Rebel Bar open mic on the rue des Lombards, in Paris, not far from the Pompidou Center and Chatelet. It has been going for a few weeks now, as something of what its host, Etienne Belin, hopes will become a replacement for the open mic of the Coolin Irish pub, which Etienne had hosted for the last two or three years until the Coolin very uncooly got closed down by a big computer company buying out the premises. To put it succinctly, the new open mic at the Rebel Bar is “Splendid.”

What, might you ask, do I mean by that? Well, this Sunday night open mic takes place in an absolutely fabulous refurbished and sprawling, many-roomed location that actually used to be the famous first locale of the theatre troop, and theatre, called, “Le Splendid.” It was founded in the 1970s and was home to many budding actors and actresses who went on to write French cinéma history, among them, Gerard Dépardieu, Gerard Jugnot, Michel Blanc, Josiane Balasco and Thierry Lhermitte, to mention a few.

I call it a sprawling bar because it is full of little rooms here and there, on different levels, in vaulted caves, and upper areas – including the pool table room – and finally in the small, sectioned off area of the back of the main room, where the open mic takes place. There is even, surprise, surprise, a kind of very high stage platform overlooking that bit, which is where you perform.

And if you want to know what the hosting is like, just go and read any of the blog posts I wrote about the Coolin, and take a look at some of the videos with Etienne doing his job as warmly and effectively as always. That’s how it goes at the new Rebel Bar too.

Will it end up being as successful as the Coolin? Impossible to predict. Obviously the location and the history have all it takes. Will the actual shape of the small back area work for an open mic? Only time will tell. But I’ll definitely return.

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