Lio London – Letter To The Editor of MyLondon by SapphiraSapphira
In response to your story in MyLondon “New West End club on iconic Café de Paris site met with late-night alcohol objections”
The reopening of the former Cafe de Paris is so important.
I write as a burlesque showgirl who was printed in the South London Chronicle in 2009 when I was at the beginning of my own artistic journey, a journey that pulled me from my hometown of Melbourne Australia to the lights of London. This story is now the autobiography Burlesque or Bust with motion picture rights optioned by Ultra Films Australia.
The importance of Cafe de Paris, and venues like it, playing a part in my own mental health recovery is well documented. However, the need for entertainment in England’s capital to boost the post-Brexit British economy in a cost-of-living crisis is even more necessary. The reopening of this venue provides jobs as well as a reprieve from daily stress.
Not only did we lose many lives in the battle against Covid-19, we lost many livelihoods for those in the arts. None could have predicted Cafe De Paris (which survived being bombed in the 2nd World War) would close its doors after 100 years.
Now due to the deep pockets of the hospitality company Pacha Group, originating from Ibiza, a life-line has been offered. We owe them a debt of gratitude as they have signed a 25 year lease to preserve the Grade-II listed building.
Whilst I respect The City of Westminster’s core hours for music and dance venues, I wonder if not having recreational hubs we can escape to and dance into the wee hours curtails some creative freedoms. After being locked down for nearly 2 years, I hope the licensing hours until 4am can be granted but if 3am is the best that can be achieved, it’s still an incredible win.
It was 2006 when I stood bewitched by burlesque dancers writhing elegantly out of their gloves at this nightspot. I began down a glittery rabbit hole into the cabaret circuit that would change my life and later the lives of many people who would attend my classes. I believe this new takeover by Lio London puts a flagging dinner-show format back on the menu. My own initiative World Burlesque Day enters its third year on Wednesday 26 April 2023 and I know from our analytics burlesque and cabaret is at a time of huge revival reaching 57 countries. London should keep its fingers on the pulse to ride this wave and monetise the opportunities at hand.
Lio London is part of this new future and those same stairs, true to the 1924 decor, are beckoning all of us once again.
Sapphira – owner Ibiza Burlesque Festival & World Burlesque Day