When you hear the word "nightclub," what do you immediately think of? "Crowded?" "Loud?" An excuse to not hang out with the person who just suggested that? Sure, many nightclubs look like Google Image results for "default hip club," but that wasn't always the case throughout history. Back in the late 1890s, a handful of French nightclubs took on themes that were more in line with John Milton than Lil Jon.
A series of "Heaven" and "Hell"-themed clubs sprung up in turn-of-the-century Paris. With names like Cabaret du Neant (The Cabaret of Nothingness), these clubs served drinks named after diseases, coffins for people to set their drinks upon, and various funeral and skeleton-themed rooms. At another club called Cabaret de l'Enfer (The Cabaret of the Inferno), visitors would be heckled by the devil, while the room around them simulated the inside of a volcano.
Right next door to Cabaret de l'Enfer was Cabaret du Ciel ("The Cabaret of the Sky"), a Heaven-themed club where women dressed in white robes with angel wings would take drink orders while a guy dressed as St. Peter "blessed" the crowd from high above the floor.
So the next time you're bored and checking your phone at an endless nightclub bathroom line, just think that a hundred years ago, you could've been getting roasted by a French dude in Satan makeup. Nowadays you'd have to hit up the world's shadiest hostel to recreate that experience.
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