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Let’s party! New lease of life for Café de Paris

Pacha team revives famous West End nightspot that once welcomed Dietrich

Li­o performers take to the stage in their first dress rehearsals ahead of Lio London launching in the West End

It was once one of the most glamorous nightspots in London, playing host to the likes of Marlene Dietrich and Noël Coward. Now, after being forced to close during the pandemic, new life is being breathed back into the former Café de Paris venue, in the shape of a “show and dining experience” from the team behind Ibizan nightclub Pacha.

Revellers can expect “a unique and surprising display where dinner, cabaret and club come together” under one roof with the Lio brand.

Sanjay Nandi, chief executive of Pacha Group, told the Standard: “It’s no secret that London’s nightlife has taken a hit from the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

Now it is back. At its heart, London is a place of celebration that does spectacle like nowhere else. In this most special year which will see the capital play host to a multitude of Coronation celebrations, it’s clear London is back in a big way. There is no better place to party.”

Lio opened on the Balearic party isle a decade ago and combines an immersive cabaret show featuring singers, dancers and acrobats with dinner and clubbing. The investment in the West End, which is understood to have cost millions, follows a successful Pacha pop-up at the London Cabaret Club in 2019.

Mr Nandi said: “Pacha holds a special place in the hearts of so many who holidayed in Ibiza and now we want Londoners and visitors alike to have their own Lio story too. We signed the deal on the lease during the pandemic and we’ve investing in London because the capital is back as an entertainment venue.”

Judy Garland with her then fiance the impresario Sidney Luft leaving the Cafe De Paris in 1951

The London nightclub scene suffered a body blow when Café de Paris permanently closed after nearly 100 years in December 2020. Opened in 1924, it was struck by a bomb during a show in March 1941, killing 34 people.

The club began welcoming guests again in 1948 and hosted other stars such as Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. In the Eighties it was a filming location for David Bowie’s Absolute Beginners. The new owners of the venue, by Piccadilly Circus, have kept the original 1924 double-sided staircase.


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