Inspired by the glamour and decadence of the 1920s, Volupté was designed as a place to escape, unwind and be entertained. EatSleepDrink Magazine speaks to Denise Farrell, Co-Owner, to get the inside scoop on London’s most decadent supper club.
Opened six years ago on a discreet street in the City of London, Volupté has become the venue of choice for discerning guests looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life with an atmosphere of indulgence. Indeed, since 2006, Volupté has won countless accolades for its modern take on the decadent supper clubs of the early twentieth century. Now renowned for its exquisite cocktails and sumptuous food, guests can sit back, relax and enjoy some of London’s finest burlesque and cabaret performers.
Decadence and delight
“We wanted to provide an intimate, light-hearted experience for both men and women, whether young or old, gay or straight,” Denise begins by telling us. “We provide heavenly cocktails, sublime cuisine with friendly, first-class service and all of this punctuated by well-polished cabaret shows”.
Before opening, there was a real dearth of supper club-style dining in the capital – a fact that presented Volupté with the ideal opportunity to carve out its own niche in the market, as Denise continues. “At the time of opening, the only other venue that offered the supper club-style experience was Ronnie Scott’s – the famous jazz club that has been an institution since the 1950s.
“We felt there was a gap in the market, and that, in marked contrast to the plethora of modern, impersonal chain bars dotted all over the capital, what London really needed was something unique,” she recalls. “Our prediction was right. Volupté may have been the first of its kind this side of the Millennium but that was just the beginning. We were described by Time Out as one of the ‘forerunners of the new burlesque scene in London’ and in recent years our success has been by imitated by a number of other establishments keen to capitalise on the cabaret/burlesque craze”.
A time of make-believe
As the natural extension of the decadent atmosphere downstairs, Volupté has recently launched The Bon Bon Bar upstairs, which serves a variety of indulgent cocktails exquisitely crafted by the highly skilled bartenders – a development Denise is keen to explain. “When you walk into The Bon Bon Bar, the smell, look and touch of the sweets, transports you back to childhood and a time of make-believe. It removes you from the everyday grey of London and sets the scene for a truly enjoyable night.
“We wanted it to be a space where guests could leave their worries at the door, which was one of our main goals when we were writing our business plan,” she asserts. “Having been a great success since it was launched early this year, The Bon Bon Bar has helped us to fully realise our initial hopes for the business”.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the initial concept of Volupté created quite a stir in the area – something that Denise remembers fondly. “We found that our direct neighbours were weary of us, as people often are of something new, but tourists and visitors coming to London were thankful, grateful and, most of all, excited. We initially focused our energies on attracting guests from further afield, as we thought curiosity, a nice smile and an invite would bring the local city workers in.
“When we realised this wasn’t the case we started a few local offers – one involved dropping over 1,000 high-heel shoes throughout the local area,” she tells us. “The shoes displayed the message: ‘Ruby Blues has lost her shoes, to claim your prize call 020 7831 1622’. The phones were ringing off the hook almost immediately, and one guest said he would be keeping the shoe on his mantle but would still pop by for a drink”.
Ticking all the boxes
One of the most appealing features of Volupté is the welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff that combine to make guests feel very much at home, as Denise is eager to highlight. “I would say that the friendly atmosphere created by the staff and performers is our major strength. Volupté has the feel of a family-run business – we had a clear idea of what we wanted from the outset and managed to achieve our concept with the help of Xenz, an established street artist”.
Given the range of performers and themes on offer, Volupté can cater to almost any fancy, although there are a few firm favourites that Denise is quick to highlight. “The Black Cotton Club and Polly Rae are perhaps our most popular promotions, both of which started when we opened six years ago. Another favourite is The Kitten Club, as it ticks all the boxes – comedy, magic, singing and dancing, so it’s a real crowd-pleaser”.
Like almost every bar, restaurant and hotel, Volupté will be pulling out all the stops to attract the hordes of tourists landing in London this summer. However, because of its distinctly unique concept and atmosphere, the business has its own inimitable signature style – a style that is a massive selling point in such a saturated market. “We will be holding various ‘Volympic’ events in our own signature style, so watch this space!” Denise affirms.
When asked about her favourite Volupté experience, Denise was understandably coy, such is the range of performers and experiences on offer. “I have so many that I don’t think I could pinpoint one. But probably when it’s two in the morning and everyone is dancing and having a great time then I know they’ve had a great Volupté experience. We have also just launched ‘Thursgays’, which is our very first gay night and will offer performances of the campest order! All of the thrills and spills of Soho can now be found in the City, so we’re saying: ‘Move over, Friday – there’s a new end to the week!’”
Having recently visited Volupté for the appropriately named ‘Afternoon Tease’, we can indeed confirm the vibrant, friendly atmosphere and all-round decadence on show. With such a variety of sumptuous food and drinks on offer, it is not hard to see why the business has been so successful since it opened its doors back in 2006.
And given its prime location just steps away from Chancery Lane tube station and the Central Line, we’re predicting an even brighter future for this uniquely indulgent supper club.
Visit: www.volupte-lounge.com for more information, show times and reservations.