99 Bank St. at Greenwich St., 212-929-0509
After 27 years on Bleecker, West Village stalwart Paris Commune’s new location on Bank St is continuing to serve up class with a side of quirkiness.
After being escorted into a basement with Masque of the Red Death-style lighting, you will notice the trippy, also red-themed (Rouge. I get it.) mural that immortalizes celebrities, longtime Paris Commune waitresses, the owner of the restaurant and bar, and even regular customers. The walls also sport pretty imitations of circa 1920 French advertisements, the kind so popular in dorm décor. The ceilings are covered with mirrors that reflect the candlelight and illuminated crystals hanging over the bar. The small tables along the wall are custom-designed for ‘romantic evenings,’ lined up near a floor open enough to allow for dancing, which comes in handy later in the night.
Needless to say, the wine list is freakishly huge — enough to fill an iPod, perhaps. Harveen, the bartender from Gascony, was knowledgeable and friendly; any wine connoisseur would be pleased with his suggestions. I tried the vin du jour, a sweet, smooth Beaujolais, as well as a refreshing Colombard. The food available at the bar includes a selection of cheeses and cold meats. Rouge is chiefly a wine bar, so beer can only be purchased in the restaurant above, and the bar only has the faculties for the simplest of cocktails.
Depending on when you arrive, you might find Rouge a good rendezvous point for a date who needs to be impressed, a good place to take Mom when she’s in from Massapequa, or a classy party. It isn’t your normal Village watering hole, but it’s charming. Plus, if you go there often enough, you’ll probably get painted on the wall.