Le Monde: Another style venue on George St

Le Monde, that is French for ‘The World’, is the latest style bar and nightclub venue to open on Edinburgh’s George St. It occupies the former Standard Life building by The Dome. The front of the building has kept its historic style, while the east side has been radically transformed to be a glass wall, with views to the neighbouring ‘Why Not?’ nightclub entrance.

The story goes that the bars owner and colleagues took inspiration from their travels around the world and used their favourite cities to style the venue; including the 18 hotel rooms that Le Monde has. On entry you walk through the Milan Cafe bar, where you can take a seat or get served with a beverage from the bar. Food orders are taken here as well. The design here includes expensive looking wallpaper and huge chandelier lighting, as the pictures from inside Le Monde show below:-

View of Milan bar in Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St Ceiling and lights in Milan bar of Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St

Throughout Le Monde are sizable plasma TVs that, in the visits I’ve made, have always been showing Fashion TV. So this tells you something about the brand the bars owners are trying to create i.e. beautiful people, style and maybe the hint of sophistication.

Walking through the Milan Cafe bar brings you out in the Vienna themed area of Le Monde. This has another central bar, where you can pick up a cocktail or pint. To the left of this is a seated area and to the right is an area of booths, whose back wall is plastered with black and white photographs. Walking further still brings you on to a raised area, where there is another bar and a few more seats. The lighting here seems to alternate between pink and blue: the raised back bar has stunning lighting on the ceiling. The venue contains huge Viennesian themed pillars also:-

Ligt effects in Vienna bar of Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St Ceiling blue lighting in Vienna bar of Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St

It is from here that the glass styled staircase can be taken upstairs to the Paris/Moulin Rouge themed cocktail bar on the second floor of Le Monde. Upstairs is tinted with red lighting effects and the modern feel of the downstairs level is cast aside completely. More formal dining is afforded up here. Right at the front of the building is the centre bar itself, where waiters busily mix cocktails. Around the rooms periphery are various tables and seats, together with booths that can be reserved.

Stairs linking ground floor to upper Paris bar in Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St Interior of Paris bar in Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St

The attention to detail in Edinburgh’s Le Monde is impressive, and marble surfaces are used throughout, including the superb toilets. Each cubicle is numbered (un, deux, trois) and the sinks have Molton Brown hand-wash available.

Sinks in Gents toilers of Paris bar in Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St French numbered cubicles in Paris bar of Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St

And as if that wasn’t enough, the basement of Le Monde holds the Tokyo nightclub, that opens at 9pm. This has a long narrow dance floor whose back wall is lined with yet more Plasma TV’s. In-front of this are tables and the main bar, that has oriental lamp shades dangling overhead. The colour scheme in Tokyo’s main room is predominantly red and a huge pot vase stands by one of the walls. Through the back is a smaller, more intimate bar, whose colour scheme is blue and black. This has a few more seats, and provides an alternate to the louder music of the main room.

Champagne glasses in back room bar of Tokyo nightclub in Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St Back room bar in Tokyo nightclub of Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St Light fittings above bar in Tokyo nightclub at Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St

Seats in Tokyo nightclub of Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St Video screens down one side of dance floor at Tokyo nightclub of Le Monde on Edinburgh's George St

So Le Monde certainly looks the part and you can’t fail to be impressed with the level of detail that has gone into the design of this place. But what’s it like? Well, ultimately I’m unsure. I have been twice to Le Monde since it opened, once on a Thursday night and once on a Saturday. The Thursday night was very enjoyable, Le Monde was busy but it was possible to get a seat and enjoy some drinks with friends. It was possible to absorb the surroundings and feel good about having after work drinks. On the Saturday night though, Le Monde was just too busy. The design of this venue is very narrow, so unless you are seated you are effectively stood in a corridor. And this means continually being knocked or brushed as people try to get from A to B. It’s not what I particularly want when I’m paying for reasonably expensive drinks: a pint of Fosters lager was ¬£3. I was also unhappy with how my drinks were charged on Saturday night. One of my friends ordered three double vodka and lemonades for us and was charged ¬£13.50 i.e. ¬£4.50 a drink. Later on I ordered the same round and was charged ¬£16.50 i.e. a ¬£1 increase to ¬£5.50 a drink. Of course it was too busy and too much of a rat race for me to query this. Of course proving what I was charged is also near on impossible.

Still it’s not the cheapest venue in the world, and when paying drinks prices like this, I don’t like having to compete for standing ground. What made matters even worse on Saturday was the waiters serving each table on the lower and upper floors. So a table could order a bowl of nachos and the waiter would have to force themselves through a large crowd of people to the table. With the numbers of people in the venue on Saturday, the logistics of serving food looked to have become very difficult for Le Mondes staff. Not to mention the annoyance it was causing to drinkers.

I guess the ‘corridor’ problem is inevitable though given the narrow nature of the venue, but a better design might have been to create more open space, where people could stand and enjoy a drink, without being continually knocked. It’s difficult to classify what kind of person goes to Le Monde. Midweek I saw a lot of the after work crowd enjoying a nice bottle of chilled wine or beers. At the weekend I would say the crowd age was predominantly late twenty / thirty somethings. Even though the bars management have been quoted as saying the door policy is non-discriminatory, it’s inevitable that this bars location and the presence of Fashion TV, mean there willl be a fair amount of pretentiousness on show.

I am not put off visiting Le Monde again midweek, but really can’t be bothered to go there on a Saturday night ever again. There are Edinburgh venues that scale up far better than Le Monde, when dealing with the Saturday night influx. I would recommend a trip to Le Monde, to admire the architecture and design. The food looked decent, although I haven’t tried it myself. Le Monde provides Edinburgh’s stylised George St with another upmarket venue and one that I’m sure will do very well. The nightclub will offer good competition to the neighbouring ‘Why Not?’, Opal Lounge and ‘Po Na Na’. At the time of writing I don’t think Le Monde have a website available, but I’m sure this will change.

14 Responses to “Le Monde: Another style venue on George St”

  1. […] One of guest contributors has reported in on a midweek lunch she ate at George St’s recently opened Le Monde. Le Monde as a venue was discussed previously on The Edinburgh Blog here. Fair enough that all new openings will have their share of teething problems, but Le Monde would do well to not forget the extensive choice of eateries on and around George St. […]

  2. The Le Monde website is at:

    http://www.lemondehotel.co.uk

  3. I went for lunch on sunday at 1.40- & although the bar was not that busy & there seemed plenty of staff we waited 35 mins for someone to clear the table.

    The service was appalling after that & although I asked if our drinks could be on the house as a gesture of good will for our long wait (and my meal had to be sent back ) The manager told out waiter their policy was any drink consumed had to be paid for. So no good customer service to make up there.

    If Le Monde wants to be one of the top Reataurants / Bars they will need to up their ideas and treat the customers with respect

  4. ive been in the bar several times and the service and the staff could not be faulted they were friendly and pleasant. the tables have always been clean and the food was lovely well done to the cook… a bar not too missed good for a nice quite drink and fab for a good night out.

  5. I am staying in the hotel this weekend (in the Marrakesh (sp?)) suite, for Friday and Saturday night, and I have a reservation for dinner on Friday. If I get round to it, I will submit a review of sorts.

  6. I visited Edinburgh in May, and fell in love with the city. I loved it in Le Monde, great for having a drink (or five) outside during daytime, and great for a night out. I was a bit sceptic seeing 5 doormen (perhaps a tad over the top he he…) outside, but they proved to be very nice and friendly. If you dont like busy, keep away Saturday night. Altho, all nightclubs around the globe are busy saturdays, they are supposed to be. So complaining about that, would be a bit off. And as for complaning about staff during a saturday night…well…a bit off that too. People are sometimes too demanding. Loved the architecture and design. Highly recommend a trip to Le Monde.

  7. Waste of time and money. The bars are poorly stocked and run, the food is average… What is a cocktail? Don’t ask the bar men they won’t be bale to tell you. Its become Esponage in a posh location… Such a pity, could of offered so much but is just a joke now. Sad :-(

  8. It’s a nice bar, friendly and upper class Edinburgh. Bouncers were pleasent as were the bar staff.

    It seemed a nice place, they did not sell cristal champange when requested - but were friendly and calm to list prices of other champanges and there tastes.

    The only down side… My first time visiting Le Monde i knew it was going to be a little bit pricey. As ‘fosters’ is always the cheapest pint in Edinburgh. I was charged ¬£4.20

    Alot of footballers around aswell.

  9. I’ve been a number times on staff outing and always enjoyed Le Monde. As Gavin said the Bouncers and Staff were pleasant. I’ve never tried the food so I can’t comment on that.

  10. Stayed at le mond 3 times now and enjoyed every visit. Food is excellent and staff have always been friendly. The rooms are tremendous and an over night stay is a must if you can afford it!

  11. I have been to le monde for lunch and found all the staff to be really nice .i have met some of the management and have also found them to be nice not to mention cute ?The service at le monde it second to none and the food has never disappointed me. I have never stayed in the hotel .however i have seen each room and was plesently surprised. so all you romantics out there if you want to impress your girl or partner this is the place to take them .for all you single girls out ther i suggest having lunch at le monde . i have never felt out of place being by myself and i will continue to lunch at le monde .

  12. I went to le monde on a saturday evening for a birthday bash in the paris section: decor c’est fantastique, staff were not the best mannered but were run off their feet and the bar strewn with empty glasses, and clientelle seemed somewhat pretentious. After gathering upstairs, part of the deal was free entry to the club, however there was a communication problem and the bouncers were ‘iffy’ about allowing this. eventually after discussions (”we just spent tons upstairs”) they let us in. There seemed to be some power tripping evident.
    As mentioned in the review, the dance floor was small but didn’t stop anyone from dancing.

    Despite some personnel not up to scratch, the venue was great and I had a cracking evening. The venue helps but it’s always the crowd with whom you go out.

  13. I’ve only been to Le Monde once in Sept ‘08 as a tourist on a date with an Englishman. It is very elegant and stylish but a bit too highfalutin for my tastes as I’m a chick who doesn’t mind “dives” and am partial to the company of blue collar guys (drivers, mechanics, etc). I was impressed by the variety of exotic drinks offered and my date was amused that the bartender had to look at an ingredient and instruction list to make my order. The bartenders were young and hot and wore kilts over their pants. When I was in Edinburgh several days ago for the day I tried to seek Le Monde out for nostalgia’s sake but it was dark and raining and I didn’t have the address. I wouldn’t mind going there again but I wouldn’t go out of my way.

  14. If you are in a group of more than 4, i wouldnt even bother trying to get into this bar!!! I went with 4 other girlfriends (all of whom are aged 35-40) and we were told by a very rude and obnoxious doorman “dont even bother it’s not happening tonight”. At first we weren’t even sure what the doorman meant as we were not drunk or being loud. In fact we were chatting to one of the doorman on shaghai (who was extremely pleasant) before going into the bar. Absolutely disgusted and not at all impressed. I shall be telling anyone i know who is visiting edinburgh to make sure they DO NOT go to this bar !!!

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