by Anthony Peregrine, The Telegraph, May 10, 2018
You would expect Cannes – Riviera headliner, with a genius for stretching a fortnight's film festival glam across an entire year – to have some star clubs. You'd be right. The Cannes experience requires lightly dressed, tanned excess and a certain selectivity – in terms of money, looks and clothes worn. During festival time, exclusivity rides up several notches but don't let that stop you from exploring the best nightlife Cannes has to offer from a swish cabaret bolthole and a true Cannes institution in the Hotel Martinez, to the biggest club in Cannes. Here is Telegraph Travel's Cannes expert, Anthony Peregrine's top tips for a night on the town.
On the Pierre Canto Port, thus slightly off-centre, this is maybe the most up-market of Cannes nightspots. It's where I'll expect to see you when your film wins an award at Cannes. To have a whisper of a chance of gaining entry, you'll have to look both good and opulent, and have a high tolerance of some pretty self-satisfied staff. Within is an exotic restaurant, bar and club. There are inside bits and outside bits and various ambiances. These run from velvety and relaxed in the restaurant to upscale wild when the dancing starts around 1am. Prices are ambitious but, then, if you're counting the euros, you're in the wrong place.
Contact: 00 33 493 03 43; baolicannes.com
It plays the field as a bar-lounge, innovative restaurant, cabaret spot and club. Not to mention a venue for after-work meetings (the French call them 'les after-works') on a Thursday evening. Chrystie boasts a vast and groovy central bar, round which a sort of vintage-cum- art-deco sensibility has woven different spaces – often featuring horticulture – so that there is, as the owners say, "a fusion of venue and divine soul". The cocktails are first class, truffle pizza and mini black Angus burgers toothsome enough for most. And, on Friday and Saturday nights, things can get decidedly animated.
Contact: 00 33 493 99 66 91; chrystie.com
Zoa sushi bar
Cracking little place, this. Obviously, it serves sushi ... but also Mediterranean and south-east Asian specialities, plus an excellent range of cocktails. The music is either live or DJ'ed - which makes the experience of indulging in raw fish, pizza, spring rolls and foie gras here decidedly hip. It's open all the way through to 2.30am, seven nights a week, and almost directly opposite the Palais des Festivals. It is the best of all possible worlds – though one drawback is it does get busy, so a visit midweek is preferable, and think of booking well ahead.
Contact: 00 33 493 30 00 30; zoasushibar.com
La Chunga considers itself a plush, louche Cannes institution, quite correctly. Bang opposite the Hotel Martinez, it starts out, early evening, as an Italo-Provençal restaurant before evolving into a piano and live music bar with a distinct 1950s vibe. Clientèle is, in general, sufficiently grown-up to know what a whisky-sour is, and sufficiently rich to vex too much about the ambitious prices. Things can get distinctly lively in the early hours, when the doors open to folk from the festivals.
Contact: 00 33 493 94 11 29
Bar L'amiral, Hotel Martinez
You've had enough of the cram and the crush, the incessant surge of rap and RnB. You've had enough of the airhead excess of the young and noisy. So you head for the Martinez's bar, where celebrities and civilised folk have all headed before you. The style is subdued Art Deco, the pianist plays jazz and the bar staff have won more awards for their showmen skills and cocktails than almost any other team from any bar in France. There are few more sophisticated havens to while away the hours in this city.
Contact: 00 33 493 90 12 34; cannesmartinez.grand.hyatt.com
France's number one casino company has not one but two terribly chic establishments in which you might lose whatever money you have left after a day spent in Cannes. The main one – Casino Le Croisette – is effectively built into the Palais des Festivals. It's contemporary in style – or as contemporary as you can be with classic Greek murals – and aside from games and machines, lays on a bar and useful restaurant overlooking the port.
Contact: 00 33 492 98 78 00; casinosbarriere.com
If names like Busta Rhymes and David Guetta mean anything to you, then the Gotha is your place. The biggest club in Cannes re-opens for the film festival and then rocks through the summer, beckoning the likes of Leonardo di Caprio, Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton. There are inside and outside parts (with views to the sea at the Pointe Croisette), several VIP areas and drinks at plutocrat prices – but the essential happens on the dance floor, with big- name DJs, rappers and other music-makers. Take your stamina with you – you'll be there through to 5am.
Contact: 00 33 493 45 11 11; gotha-club.com