Channeling “Moulin Rouge” star seductress Satine, Hidden Bar at Noelle is giving Nashville a taste of La Belle Époque’s dark side with its whimsical French pop-up Lautrec. Named after the famed French painter—and purported Absinthe aficionado—Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the artistic new experience debuts tonight, March 1, and will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Stepping through the unmarked door, a trippy entrance leads down a rabbit hole of Alice in Wonderland-esque fantasy, complete with billowing silks and satins, feather-festooned lighting, scantily-clad mannequins and, yes, a faux monkey bedecked in sparkling sequins.
Surprise performances are scheduled throughout the experience and change every evening, which means no two nights are exactly alike. Sultry snake charmers, contortionist, dancers, and singers are all part of the spectacle, along with a portrait artist who sketches interested patrons as they take in the scene — a nod to the old-school selfie.
On the cocktail menu: a greatest hits of French spirits and cocktails (think: French 75s and Kir Royales) along with classics that’ve been given a modern-day mixology twist. Like the Death in the Afternoon made with the requisite bubbles and absinthe, but given new life with the addition of vanilla vodka and rose liqueur.
Speaking of the green fairy, keep an eye out for the absinthe fountain making its rounds throughout the bar.
Scott Baird, former founding partner of The Bon Vivants and San Francisco’s Trick Dog, conceptualized Lautrec and chose Nashville for its national debut.