Divine, Festive Paradise

Divine, Festive Paradise

The party never stops in Paris’s 10th arrondissement! Opening Divine here, his third venue, was an astute move by Nicolas Munoz. The streets are busy and lively from morning to night. A veritable “melting pot (…) made up of people who work in the area, people who are here after work, people who’ve recently moved to the 10th arrondissement and people who’ve seen all the changes that have taken place over the years,” observes, jubilantly, the thirty-something-year-old, who on opening his bar here wanted above all else to make it one of the main places to go in the area. The Covid crisis could well have thwarted his plans. But no, Number 61, Rue d’Hauteville is still here! Yet who would have been prepared to bet that Divine, having been open for less than a year at the time, would have survived? People are flocking to this eighties-inspired bar designed by Rebecca Benichou and her talented design agency, Studio Batiik, in greater numbers than ever. Exposed walls, contrasting finishes oscillating between lacquer, terrazzo, velvet and tiled details… Seating. Lots. From armchairs to stools and welcoming benches. Our eyes are constantly being drawn from one space to another. An encounter “between the imaginary and the familiar” that both comforts and shakes up and stirs in equal measure. Divine intrigues. Perhaps as much as the crazy, off-the-wall character to whom the name of the place is a nod or… as much as the liquid delights it has to offer!The drinks menu is playful and extensive, consisting of well-known craft beers as well as natural wines and – above all – cocktails that are anything but classic! Unfamiliar, daring, surprising: something for everyone and all at affordable prices. As the owner of Bisou – famous for its custom-made cocktails – people were waiting to see if Nicolas would trip up. But he has made his risk pay off by making Divine the kind of hassle-free place you enjoy being in. Bonus: the food is good too. Great in fact. All kinds of snacks to share – or scoff all by yourself – fresh from the kitchen of chef Lina Caschetto. But we won’t tell you any more. The best way of finding out is to see for yourself. And thus go there!

Bar Divine, 61 rue d’Hauteville – 75010 Paris.Open every day from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.Sunday brunch from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Want to enquire about something? Telephone: +33 (0)1.42.29.21.01. Email: nico@bisoudrinks.com

Divine, Festive Paradise
Divine, Festive Paradise
Divine, Festive Paradise

Nicolas, can you introduce yourself, please?

Nicolas

I was born in Marseille in 1988 to parents who were restaurateurs. I grew up here in the city before moving to London and New York. Having arrived in Paris at the end of 2010 to finish my studies, I never left. I wanted to go to law school to get a “real” degree. At the time, my parents’ life as restaurant owners didn’t particularly appeal to me, but when you’re cut out for it, you’re cut out for it! I worked there throughout my studies and soon realised that I was passionate about service. Helping customers to enjoy special moments in their day-to-day lives by recognising the impact you can have on the time they spend with you is quite magical… So, after my studies, I was lucky enough to be able to start my own business when I was 25 years old with Bespoke. Then, Bisou in 2017. Divine in 2019!

You’ve already been in charge of two establishments, Bespoke and Bisou. What has that taught you?

Nicolas

It’s important to surround yourself with good people. You can have the best ideas in the world, but you can’t do anything when you’re on your own. The human element is the most challenging part of our job, but it’s also the most exciting!

What new ground does Divine allow you to explore?

Nicolas

We have a “local bar” aspect that is new and super-interesting for us! During the week, we provide a melting pot for our clientele, between the people who work in the area, those who pop in here after work, those who have recently moved to the 10th arrondissement and those who have lived here for years and seen how it’s changed… It’s pretty great to experience that! Divine has also given me a new style of food to bring to life, with the evening menu in “bar” mode and the Sunday menu in “brunch” mode. It’s quite exciting, although it requires a lot of work.

Why did you choose this particular name?

Nicolas

I wanted a feminine name that was rooted in the neighbourhood and a little bit naughty. And, of course, we’re on the corner of Rue Paradis. Then there’s Dante’s Divine Comedy, with hell, purgatory … and paradise (which comes back to the neighbourhood again). Finally, for the naughty aspect, it’s an allusion to the character of Divine, and the link with John Waters made sense!

Divine, Festive Paradise
Divine, Festive Paradise
Divine, Festive Paradise
Divine, Festive Paradise

Show us around the interior Batiik Studio designed for you.

Nicolas

We wanted a place where people could meet as a group of friends to drink good things, be it cocktails, wines or beers, without any hassle, while they enjoyed some slightly regressive food! The place had to lend itself to the provision of tables for 4-8 people, and be able to accommodate groups upstairs, but to lend itself to couples too. At the same time, it had to be fun, with room to stand up and possibly dance a little. And we organised the seating arrangements so that we could achieve all this in a funky, upbeat place, with a mirror ball and ultra-cool service. Basically, we’re all about good food, good drinks, and good fun.

Why did you use Rebecca Benichou and her team?

Nicolas

I met Rebecca as a client at Bisou, and we got on very well. I believe in fate and lucky meetings. I also knew that the highly contemporary aspect of her work, which is quite refined, could be a good match for my idea of a warm, motley, slightly cluttered interior. I found combining these two worlds wonderfully inspiring… The result speaks for itself, I think!

Rebecca, what were your inspirations for bringing Nicolas’ brief to life?

Rebecca

Here, in the cocktail bar, we chose to mix different styles to create a venue that’s both chic and convivial. In the different spaces, we used warm, luxurious materials and they rub shoulders with walls that are left rough. There’s a definite 1980’s influence, and the colours and shapes were chosen to plunge the clientele into a cinematographic atmosphere. The whole, combined with antique and second-hand furniture, creates an imaginary, yet familiar setting. We have preserved some of the existing elements of the place: the appearance of the walls, the old mirrors, the brass bar and its location. Nicolas wanted booths on the ground floor to create intimate spaces: they were the starting point of the project. Our use of materials answers the need to create a warm, elegant environment. We combined tiled bases and velvet for the bench seats. All the tables were custom-made, with coloured legs and granito tops in different colours. And finally, some of the furniture and lighting has been sourced second-hand to bring a vintage and more authentic feel to the place!

Divine, Festive Paradise
Divine, Festive Paradise

We wanted a place where people could get together as a bunch of friends to drink good things, be it cocktails, wines or beers, without any headache, while enjoying slightly regressive food!

Divine, Festive Paradise
Divine, Festive Paradise Divine, Festive Paradise

How did you plan the cocktail menu? And what about the food you serve?

Nicolas

The cocktail menu was designed with one imperative in mind: it can be read at two different levels. That way, the novice customer will immediately find it interesting, and the expert will be able to read between the lines and appreciate the different layers of taste as well as the work involved. In terms of design, we worked with Manon Riquart, a young graphic designer who illustrated the cocktails. The idea was that customers could make their choice at a glance if they wanted to, which is great when you arrive to party at midnight on a Saturday night or when you’re having an aperitif with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time! We wanted to avoid the pitfalls of cocktail bar menus where customers don’t understand what they’re going to drink. We found with Bisou – which doesn’t have a menu and makes custom-made creations – that we attracted a lot of customers who weren’t used to going to cocktail bars because they didn’t understand what was on offer. It was important to keep this playful aspect. For the “food” offer, we wanted to reinterpret classic bar food, and use good, responsibly-sourced products. Still in line with the idea of having a good time, stress-free, but still eating quality food.

Why did you choose the tenth arrondissement?

Nicolas

We were in the Haut-Marais, but we never intended to remain confined there. We had always been open to other districts, only life had never taken us outside the eleventh and third arrondissements. The clientele is not so different; however, there are many more offices, so many more after-work drinks … Weekday evenings begin earlier!

Is Divine already giving you new ideas for the future?

Nicolas

We always have plenty of ideas, but we would like to space all our projects two years apart so that we can launch them properly! Every opening is hugely time-consuming, so it’s better not to rush things, not to believe in it too much. Each opening brings us closer to the one that potentially won’t work, so we might as well not tempt providence by opening without being really ready!

Divine, Festive Paradise
Divine, Festive Paradise
Divine, Festive Paradise
Divine, Festive Paradise Divine, Festive Paradise Divine, Festive Paradise

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