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Friday night was an epic bar crawl. I’m tempted to just refer the gentle reader to the Circe Chapter of Ulysses and leave it at that. But as a dedicated blogger I must try to record the experience!

On Wednesday Sherard and I had visited Les Mots à la Bouche — the indispensable gay bookstore in the heart of the Marais. A friendly clerk invited us to the launch party on Friday for Garçon Magazine issue 4, so we arranged to meet Arturo there to start our evening. Meanwhile, Jared W got in touch to suggest coordinating with him and a friend so we suggested that he meet us there also. Then a young Chinese filmmaker who I had met once in Boston surfaced and asked if we could meet up this evening. So I invited him to meet us there as well. The more the merrier!

Arturo was already at the Garçon launch party when we arrived, and a photographer was taking pictures for possible use in the next issue. Naturally the three of us volunteered; my guess is that our photo might just get in: How could they resist a handsome latino, a super-cute mixed-race guy and a charming much older gentleman? Then Jared W arrived with not one but four friends. We toyed with the idea of looking for a table for eight but eventually decided to go our separate ways for dinner. Then the filmmaker arrived, and showed every sign of wanting to spend the rest of the evening with me, despite the fact that I already had two excellent companions. I introduced him to the photographer and sent him over to have his picture taken, saying that I had to go back to my friends.

That seemed to work, so Sherard, Arturo and I headed over to the Open Café for cheap happy-hour beers on their terrasse. Who should arrive, however, but the filmmaker, still lonely as a cloud! I walked him into the bar and introduced him to a sweet-looking Australian of my vintage to help him order a beer. Happily, this time my social engineering worked and we saw them later going into Quetzal Bar.

Meanwhile, the three of us walked down to Les Souffleurs for cocktails. Arturo was scandalized when the bartender larded his martini with vermouth, but after much heated discussion he got an American-style martini, and ended up with a free drink. Who should we see as we left to find dinner but Jared W and his four friends! (This wasn’t as big a coincidence as it might seem, since Lisa’s Geoff had introduced both of us to the bar during Jared’s stay with me a few years back.) Jared and his friends had already eaten falafels on rue des Rosiers, so Sherard, Arturo and I went looking for a table for three.

My favorite Bad Boys, Sherard and Arturo.

My favorite Bad Boys, Sherard and Arturo.

Happily, we found one at an old favorite, La Chaise au Plafond. Their famous millefeuille appetizer wasn’t on the menu, since tomatoes were not yet in season, but otherwise the meal was up to my expectations. The only photo I took, however, was of the toilet — sorry, it was that kind of evening!

The toilet at La Chaise au Plafond.

The toilet at La Chaise au Plafond. Arturo almost touched hands with the person opposite, thinking that the hands he saw were his own in a mirror.

After dinner we walked back to our own neighborhood (Arturo’s apartment was nearby) and had excellent cocktails at Experimental Cocktail Club. Arturo was feeling tired for some reason, so after a couple of drinks he headed home.

Sherard and I were still thirsty, though, so we each had a distinctive craft beer at Hoppy, a brand new beer bar just down the street. We closed the place down, and had a nice conversation with the owner as we left.



When we got home, however, Sherard realized that this was Total Beur night at Le Depot — a big 16th Anniversary event! I like beurs/rebeus (slang but not necessarily insulting terms for guys of north African ancestry – mot du jour link), but I was a bit tired myself by this point and I had never been to Le Depot, in part because friends had described it as a creepy sex club. So Sherard headed out once more into the alluring Parisian night. He reported the next morning that it was a lively and attractive crowd, and that the ground floor was a pleasant, normal gay bar. (He also brought back a card for free admission on a Tuesday night, but more about that later…)

In case you found this a teensy bit confusing here’s a helpful table:

Party/Bar/Restaurant Sherard and Me Arturo Jared W+4 The Filmmaker The Aussie
Garçon Magazine issue 4 Launch Party at Les Mots à la Bouche X X X X
Open Café X X X X
Les Souffleurs X X X
Quetzel Bar X X X X
La Chaise au Plafond X X
Experimental Cocktail Club X X
Hoppy X
Le Depot Sherard

Sherard and I have been friends for years, and we’ve shared a glass of wine or two on many occasions. This is the first time we’ve traveled together, though, so when he first arrived I asked what his attitude was towards going out drinking. He said he was open to the idea, and he was true to his word!