If you’re gonna call your venue ‘Cafe perfect’ you’ve gotta be pretty damn sure you’re the closest thing to. You can’t be pedalling Spoons-level service and substandard, well, anything or you’re just asking for trouble, right? That’s like calling yourself Gorgeous George or Muscle-man Martin: there’s a level of expectation there. Lucky for us, Café Parfait is every inch the luxurious Parisian party spot. A long standing member of the Southampton nightclub family, Café Parfait brings a bit of va va voom to the South Coast with its elaborate student nights and penchant for the extravagant. This club knows how to party; taking inspiration from the Cirque du Soleil and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for some of the maddest, most colourful events on the clubbing calendar.
The exterior is painted in a rather unassuming charcoal black. Unassuming that is, until you notice the glow of UV emanating from the windows as if opening some kind of gigantic, purple fridge. The entrance is concealed by red velvet drapes and guarded by stoney-faced bouncers. But you just wait. Once inside you’re privy to 3 floors of colourful madness. Enter what feels like an adult big-top tent with one of the longest, well-stocked bars in Southampton lit by neon lights. No one could accuse Café Parfait of being modest, that’s for sure. Saturdays see you welcomed by scantily-clad showgirls dressed as ringmasters and acrobats who flip, fly and contort on ropes above your head to the sounds of funky House and a chorus of oooo’s and ahhh’s. Café Parfait’s showmanship is evident on all three levels. From the award-winning DJs that occupy the second floor and the shisha bar on top, Cafe Parfait is mesmerising from the very off. We love how it manages to remain the height of sophistication without stifling the playfulness of the theme one tiny bit. Brava!
Music: House, Commercial, Chart, RnB, Hip Hop
Dress Code: Smart/Casual
Train Station: Southampton Central
Address: Café Parfait, 194 Above Bar St, Southampton, SO14 7DW
Café Parfait and good music go together like bread and butter, but it’s not just your ‘bread and butter’ beats you’ll getting here, oh no. Café Parfait is a little unique in that it loves snapping up live bands in place of DJs for its club nights. In keeping with its playful theme, Saturday’s “Le Cirque” plays host to Soton’s up-and-coming muzos, keeping Café Parfait an octave above the rest on a Saturday night. Parfait still remains a student-led club, albeit a fancy one, and has managed to keep the prices low at £1.50 for a spirit and mixer at certain events. Yowzer, we can already feel the headache creeping in. Although, if you’re less of a fan of cheap student drinks like snakebites and jägerbombs, not to worry as Parfait caters to all with an extensive list of spirits. From the cheapest vodka that would make even a Russian wince, all the way to smooth sippin’ Belvedere for those shotting with a straightened pinkie - they’ve got you covered.
On the weekend, blazers seem to be the go-to item of clothing, as the clean shaven Essex boys set out to marvel at the acrobatics in their skin-tight little numbers. On the weekdays however, the vibe is distinctly student-centric, where those desperate to get their sweet-fix can hit “Chocolate Factory” Thursdays, complete with a six-foot chocolate fountain. We think they missed a trick by not serving parfait, mind. It’s somewhat of a contradiction in terms as it’s all a very grand affair, but still manages to retain an intimate sexy vibe through use of dim lighting and somewhat sultry performance. Here the people flock like a safari to the watering hole; dancing in delight to the latest RnB and House anthems as if working off a sugar rush. Needless to say, everyone looks like they’re having a blast.
With a premium feel, full of extravagance and excitement, Parfait is the perfect blend of French chic and British sophistication. Just like the acrobats that often frequent the venue, this club flies high above the rest with its unusual take on Coastal clubbing. After all, what you look for after working hard to bring home the bacon all week is pure escapism and Café Parfait is about as far from home as they come, making you feel as though you are enjoying the madness of the Moulin Rouge, or perhaps on a mini-break to Nice or Cannes. Parfait is the perfect (that’s right, we said it) escape from the rugged industrial heartland of Southampton. Roll up Roll up! Come, one and all, to see and experience the circus spectacular that is Café Parfait.