A new peak in parties
Bangkok gets to sample the enviable Le Baron club nights that light up Paris and New YorkBangkok's Fairy Godmother evidently got the message at last, allowing her club kids to party like Parisians last week with no less a figure than Andre Saraiva of Le Baron, the host with the most in global celebrity circles.
French nightclub regulars gush about the cool and funky Le Baron events in Paris. It's one of the most exclusive spots in a city of hard-partying lights. Graffiti artist Saraiva and his pal Lionel Bensemoun opened Le Baron in 2004 in a former strip club, pouring baroque flair into the decor.
"It was actually a whorehouse, with all the illegal, seedy business going on," Saraiva told Bangkok admirers last week over an Isaan dinner hosted by his sponsor, Chivas Regal.
"The guy who originally owned it was sent to prison and was about to lose his business, so I went to see him in prison and asked if he'd sell it to me because I wanted to turn it into a club. I made sure I told him it would be a different type of club!"
Saraiva prodded a lot of artists, DJs, musicians and other night crawlers to settle on what kind of party they wanted to have.
"I just wanted a space for me and my friends to hang out, have fun and listen to the music we wanted to hear. I simply started from there. I still can't believe it went so well, and that I'm travelling the world hosting my parties!"
Le Baron bashes now take place regularly in London, New York and Tokyo, while the team ranges far afield, hosting pop-up parties in a multitude of other cities.
"I've been to Bangkok many times and made a lot of friends here - it's one of my favourite cities," Saraiva said.
"People often ask me to compare a certain party scene to the one in Paris, but I don't think I can because everywhere is special in its own way. For Bangkok, I like that fact that Thai people are fun-loving, relaxed and drink a lot. They seem to like the night and enjoy being out when the sun goes down. I like live music scene here - it's very refreshing, something we don't have much in Paris."
Besides being the owner of Le Baron, Saraiva is also a party promoter, hosting exclusive fetes for A-list celebrities including big names in fashion design like Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and former Yves Saint Laurent creative chief Stefano Pilati.
Saraiva and his pal Nat Sarasas last week gave Thailand its first taste of Le Baron-style fun, "The Art of Hosting" party at the new retro hotel Cabochon on Sukhumvit Soi 45.
The compact interior was fitted out with velvet walls in Le Baron's signature red, hung with nude photos. Outside there was a lounge area, but a whole lot of dancing was going on there too thanks to the thumping electronic music.
Chivas Regal served some terrific cocktails created specially for the party - the Chivas 12 House Punch, Blood & Sand, Chivas Viva and Scottish Old-fashioned.