Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Smarties Bar

Smarties Bar in central Nice is one of those lounge type bars where you can arrive and hang out with friends on the spur of the moment and enjoy your evening.

 Smarties Bar

Having opened in Nice just over two years ago, this neighborhood lounge bar is just far enough away from the tourist track to where you feel you are truly amongst the locals in the community.

Getting to Smarties Bar is easy.  Take the tram to Place Garibaldi and get off at Garibaldi Station.  From there, walk back into the square but go right to continue past the Monoprix.

Once out of the square, cross avenue Saint-Sébastien and continue down the street past the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) where you will approach avenue Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

Cross that avenue and you are now on rue Defly.  Walk about half a block and you will see Smarties Bar at: 10 rue Defly.

Approaching Smarties Bar, and depending on the season, they might have their sidewalk terrace set up.  In the evenings the crowd from inside the bar easily slips out on to the street to continue to mingle about.

Walking into Smarties Bar, you’ll notice the décor is very funky, like a retro/deco 70’s lounge, with just a touch of disco added to it, yet with a modern twist.

The place isn’t huge, I would say it holds about 75 people but I don’t think a true lounge should be massive when it’s set up properly and the size certainly doesn’t seem to be hurting business.

Here you can feel free to get a drink from the bar to your right, with general seating either at the bar itself or around the lounge.  If you walk further back and step down a few stairs, this will lead you into another area with sofas and other seating perfect for having a drink while conversing with friends.

The music is the big draw here too, the owners always seem to find the right DJ for the mix, the music isn’t overpowering to the scene, and actually it’s just the perfect ambiance to set the tone throughout the evening.  You’ll hear everything from deep house, chill lounge, and techno to electro.

And the Smarties Bar staff are the best.  They are quick, courteous and very interested in meeting people that have just come to Smarties Bar for the first time.

Smarties Bar is open Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm-12:30am.


0 Rue Défly - 06000 Nice
10 Rue Défly - 06000 Nice

Photos © Smarties Bar

Friday, May 6, 2011

RenDezVous Underwear

One always needs new underwear right?  How about a new swimsuit, or a cool, tight t-shirt to show off your muscles later that night at the clubs?

Well I've come across a boutique in Vieux Nice by the name of RenDezVous Underwear that sells all that and more.

RenDezVous Underwear

For someone like myself who is more than a little obsessed with underwear, and the men that wear them, I'm glad I have found this place.

I wasn't happy with what I currently had to wear to the beaches and one afternoon when I was walking through Vieux Nice I came across RenDezVous Underwear and saw that they not only sold a wide range of underwear, but also swimsuits, beach sandals, tank tops, shoulder bags and even jewelry.
Needless to say, I was more than happy to indulge.

Looking through the large variety of items, I was able to find a swimsuit that interested me; I tried it on and knew immediately I had made the right selection.  What I liked about the range of swimsuits too was that I was buying a quality made garment.

Virtual View of RenDezVous Underwear

This is not the kind of place where you would find something ill fitting that one can purchase from just any tourist type shop.  RenDezVous Underwear is not one of those places.

You can tell that knowledge of product and care have been taken into account in selecting which brands RenDezVous Underwear would carry.  It's clear the boutique's owner has chosen high quality products with the clientele kept in mind.

Next for me, after choosing the right swimsuit, was the underwear.  Now although this is where I can get a little crazy and want a bit of everything, I was able to somehow contain myself to just a couple of pieces.

I saw every style of underwear you can imagine: jock, string, boxer, and brief, you name it and in every color and name brand such as: Diesel, XTG, Pull-In, Emporio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, UDY and Bikkembergs, amongst others.

What I also really liked, were the prices!  Much of what is in RenDezVous Underwear could be bought for either the same price I would pay in North America or for a lot less.  And the selection was the same, if not better from what I've seen when I go shopping in comparable local and competitive boutiques.

To get to RenDezVous Underwear, stay within Vieux Nice.  You can continue to explore the labyrinth of narrow streets amongst the restaurants and shops and I'm sure you will easily come across it just as I did.  You could also get there by looking for landmarks such as the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate at: 3 Place Rossetti.

The cathedral stands out in the square not far north of Cours Saleya.  When you find it, stay on the side of the steeple and walk not even the full length of the cathedral until you see rue Colonna d'lstria to your right, almost immediately you will see RenDezVous Underwear at: 3 rue Francis Gallo.

RenDezVous Underwear has been open since August of 2005.  The owner Philippe, is a very friendly, and well-known individual in the LGBT community.  He lets you enjoy your shopping experience and won't try and sell you something that may not suit your body type.

The boutique is open seven days a week, including holidays, from 10:30am-7:30pm.

Enjoy some of RenDezVous Underwear's swimwear and underwear shows from over the past few years.


Friday, April 29, 2011

La Civette du Cours

La Civette du Cours has quietly become one of the LGBT community’s best places to relax, eat, drink with friends and watch the world go by.

Walking through the market area of Vieux Nice, you will come across restaurant after restaurant serving all types of food and drinks both inside and outside their establishments, all wonderful.

At La Civette du Cours you will notice something different though, it is not so filled with tourists, although it is in an ideal location, it seems filled more with the locals, table after table of gorgeous LGBT locals.

I found myself naturally drawn to the place.

To find La Civette du Cours, go to the heart of the food and flower market area of Vieux Nice, the market is a very popular tourist area of the city near the sea.  You can even just follow the crowds, stay on the north side of the market and you will come across the brasserie at: 1 Cours Saleya.

I had the chance to take a lesbian couple I know that had just arrived into Nice for the first time that afternoon from Canada to La Civette du Cours.  At first to help them get their bearings I took them for a walk to the beach from their hotel, and then we went into Vieux Nice and directly to La Civette du Cours.

They loved it instantly!  They were able to relax, we had a couple of drinks, the food was fantastic, as was the service, and they loved being surrounded by the beautiful buildings and people.  They thought it was the best atmosphere to sit back and 'people watch', I recall them saying it set the tone for their trip.

The moderately priced menu at La Civette du Cours offers a full range of choices so it’s easy to find something you might be hungry for: sandwiches, bruschetta, fries, and salads and there are plenty of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to choose from.

During the week, La Civette du Cours are open from noon until 1am, Friday and Saturday they stay open until 2am.

La Civette du Cours is great anytime you decide to go.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Malabar Station Cruising Bar

It seems everywhere I go throughout Nice I come across these cool-looking club flyers for a gay cruising bar by the name of Malabar Station.

Since I love checking out places that I haven’t been to before and am always up for an adventure, I thought I would see what Malabar Station was all about and I’m glad I did!

Malabar Station can be found at: 10 rue Bonaparte, in the area of Nice near the port that the LGBT community has affectionately called, “le petit Marais”.

One way to get to Malabar Station is to take the tram towards Place Garibaldi and step off at Garibaldi Station.  Walk from there through the square towards the port to rue Cassini.  Once on rue Cassini, you will immediately notice the street will fork: to the left is rue Bonaparte, stay on the right side of that street and you will come upon the club about three minutes away.

Although the building itself is very unassuming on the outside, what goes on inside is a whole different story.

Walking into Malabar Station you will notice immediately that this is a very popular establishment filled by a variety of patrons laughing and enjoying reasonably priced drinks served by some very sexy bartenders.

The initial bar area itself may not be huge, but that doesn’t seem to bother the customers.  In fact, when one of their many types of events is taking place, such as their underwear parties, the tight squeeze just makes it all that much more fun.

But if you wanted to know where the real action takes place, after all, Malabar Station is a cruising bar; you’re going to want to venture through one of the two darkened doorways on the opposite side of the room.

Without going into too many details, this is the area where you can meet that person who perhaps has caught your eye in the club.

Venturing through this part of the establishment, you’ll notice it is much bigger than the main bar area and also quieter.  Since this section is purposely dimly lit, it may take a moment for your eyes to adjust but is exciting to explore throughout with the other patrons.

Within it you will find slings, glory holes, small cabins and porn.  And not to worry, this part of Malabar Station is just as safe and fun as the bar.

Malabar Station is open every night of the week until 2:30am; I suggest you head down one evening to see for yourself where the night takes you.

After over a decade in the community, unfortunately, Malabar just closed for business on June 30, 2023.