Not all news coming out of downtown Atlanta these days involves scaled-back megaprojects or cancelled plans large and small.

Underground Atlanta officials send word today that beloved nightclub MJQ Concourse has begun renovations of the former Dante’s Down the Hatch space. What’s more, MJQ will be joining its former Ponce de Leon Avenue neighbor at the commercial, nightlife, and arts hub evolving around some of downtown’s oldest streets.

The partners behind Paris on Ponce, Skip Englebrecht and Nicolette Valdespino, plan to open a new Parisian-themed entertainment concept called Pigalle by Paris on Ponce on Friday, Oct. 6 at Underground, with a goal adding another layer to the historic retail district’s nightlife scene.

Pigalle is described as a mix of staged shows, cocktail lounge, and speakeasy that celebrates “bohemian pleasure, entertainment, and fashion.”

Bedecked with chandeliers and brothel vibes, it will occupy a 6,000-square-foot corner space on Lower Alabama Street, across from Future Showbar and Restaurant, that’s neighbored by art galleries. Atlanta old-timers might recall the space’s former life as Mick’s restaurant, an Underground classic.

Pigalle by Paris on Ponce/Underground Atlanta

Pigalle by Paris on Ponce/Underground Atlanta

Plans call for Valdespino to program Pigalle’s theater concept, while Englebrecht, who also owns lauded Fishmonger restaurants, will curate an absinthe-themed speakeasy hidden behind the theater space.

The goal is to adhere to Paris on Ponce’s whimsical, sexy French inspiration by incorporating aspects such as real gas lamps, servers in retro cabaret attire, a wraparound porch, gilded lamps, statues, leopard wallpaper, busts, chinoiserie, and no shortage of red-lit interiors, as preview photos of the space reveal.

The regal décor was amassed by Valdespino and Englebrecht during buying trips overseas and from estates around Georgia, including pieces from Coretta Scott and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s home, according to Underground reps.  

Entry to the reimagined 6,000-square-foot space that was once home to restaurant Mick's. Pigalle by Paris on Ponce/Underground Atlanta

Pigalle by Paris on Ponce/Underground Atlanta

The speakeasy section will include a 33-foot bar. Chef Darryl Taylor—owner of Epicurean Drama and a veteran of Next Level Chef—is onboard to provide food for Pigalle’s grand opening and occasional catered brunches on Sundays.

Other programming calls for speakeasy nights for members on Mondays, Tiki Thursdays, chanteuse Fridays, and ticketed jazz, cabaret, and burlesque theater shows on Saturdays.  

It’s been nearly four years since a major fire forced Paris on Ponce from its longtime, BeltLine-fronting space in a Virginia-Highland warehouse chockfull of fun antiques, makers’ wares, and the sultry entertainment and events section. More recently Paris on Ponce operated at downtown’s historic Healey Building, continuing a business in Atlanta that dates back more than 25 years.

Pigalle by Paris on Ponce/Underground Atlanta

Valdespino predicts the Underground space will be the concept’s permanent home.

“Almost every Atlanta native has a story that begins with Underground Atlanta,” Valdespino said in today’s announcement. “To us, there was no better setting for our next location … a place that fosters unique synergies between creatives and artists… We’re so honored and thrilled to be a part of it all.”

Other concepts at Underground include the Masquerade music complex; Atlanta Comedy Theatre; indoor-outdoor restaurant Daiquiriville; YELLE Beauty; Dancing Crepes; Dolo’s Pizza Co., old-timey ice cream parlor iScream Ice Cream; Common Grounds Coffee Shop; Arts & Entertainment Atlanta; and Fulton County’s Public Arts Future Lab, an artist residency funded by Microsoft.

Added Shaneel Lalani, CEO of Underground owner Lalani Ventures: “Pigalle is the perfect example of the unique kinds of tenants we’re looking for. Its cultural relevance in Atlanta will blend perfectly with our current and future tenants.”


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