London's Cafe De Paris closes its doors after 95 years

London’s Cafe de Paris closes its doors after 95 years as historic cabaret venue that hosted Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland and survived direct hit during the Blitz is finished off by Covid

  • Cafe de Paris in London’s West End announced its permanent closure last night 
  • The historic cabaret venue told followers: ‘We have not gone out without a fight’ 
  • ‘Devastating’ effect of Covid-19 pandemic ‘in the end was too much,’ venue says 

London’s Cafe de Paris has announced it is closing its doors permanently after 95 years as an iconic caberet venue that hosted the like of Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.

The venue in London’s West End survived a direct hit during The Blitz, but it was finished off by the ‘devastating’ effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It comes as a result of its parent company, Maxwell’s Restaurants, going into liquidation with the loss of a reported 400 jobs. 

In a statement last night, the venue said: ‘With a heavy heart, we can confirm that we will be shutting the doors of our beloved Cafe de Paris for good.

London’s Cafe de Paris has announced it is closing its doors permanently after 95 years as an iconic caberet venue

The venue in London’s West End survived a direct hit during The Blitz, but it was finished off by the ‘devastating’ effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. Pictured: Actress Judy Garland and her then-fiance Sidney Luft leave the Cafe in 1951

‘We wanted you all to know that we have not gone out without a fight. We tried everything but the devastating effect of Covid-19 in the end was too much.

‘We did our best to support our staff, their livelihoods and respect everyone’s health and safety but in the end, like so many other hospitality businesses, we have reached the end of the road.

‘We thank all of our amazing customers for their continued love and support.’

Based just off Leicester Square, the venue opened in 1924 and quickly became one of London’s leading theatre venues.

Actor and dancer Louise Brook was among the leading names to perform at the club in its early years, with her shows helping to bring the Charleston dance to London. 

Actor and dancer Louise Brook was among the leading names to perform at the club in its early years, with her shows helping to bring the Charleston dance to London. Pictured from left: Actress Eva Gabor, Jack Buchanan and Constance Carpenter attend a Marlene Dietrich show at Cafe de Paris

The then-Prince of Wales, Edward VIII, was a regular visitor in the 1920s, helping to boost its reputation. 

It was able to stay open during the start of the Second World War, when its manager promoted it as the ‘safest and gayest restaurant in town, being 20ft below ground’.

But in 1941 a bomb hit the club’s Coventry Street building, killing 34 people, some of whom had been inside for a performance that evening.

It was forced to close for seven years but reopened in 1948 to become one of the leading clubs in London, hosting stars such as Judy Garland and even Frank Sinatra.

‘We did our best to support our staff, their livelihoods and respect everyone’s health and safety but in the end, like so many other hospitality businesses, we have reached the end of the road,’ the club said in a statement

The venue continued to attract a loyal following over the next 50 years, with Noël Coward and Marlene Dietrich both performing cabaret seasons there. 

In the 1980s the cafe served as a filming location for David Bowie’s Absolute Beginners and for The Krays. 

It was bought by Brian Stein, 77, in 2002, through his company Maxwell’s Restaurants which also owned Tropicana Beach Club.

The venue continued to attract a loyal following over the next 50 years, with Noël Coward and Marlene Dietrich both performing cabaret seasons there. Pictured: Dita von Teese in 2005

But after a year of restrictions on business, a statement by the club said it had ‘reach the end of the road’.   

Hotels, restaurants and bars are braced for a wave of cancellations as families in the areas under the tightest restrictions are forced to stay at home in London and the south east, and gatherings across the rest of the country are limited to just Christmas Day.

Live Recoveries, which has been appointed liquidator, said restrictions on trading meant the company had no choice but to close.

‘Despite hope that December would generate a much-needed upturn in trading income, it was apparent low customer numbers, uncertainty surrounding trading, and mounting creditors and rent arrears left the company with no alternative,’ a spokesperson for the company said.

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