“It looks like the kind of place you’d take a mistress,” was one husband’s comment on the boudoir-style cocktail bar, Luna Lounge, at Palazzo Parisio, Naxxar. However, on the night I went, it was strictly girls only in our group of eight and a sparse number of other clientele who came to have a swift pre-dinner drink.
Nothing titivating or any tongue-wagging that night then. Though, with its subdued lighting, hidden corners and lavish raw silk furnishings in a subtle palate of beiges and pinks, you could easily see Luna Lounge as a chosen venue for intimate moments.
Luna Lounge is so named to tie in with the palace’s other venues – Caffé Luna (inside and garden patio eatery for coffees, light lunches and teas) which transforms itself by night into Luna di Sera (plusher, evening fine-dining restaurant). The cocktail bar is accessed from a separate doorway, to the right of the main palace portal, and is discreetly lit by some white tea lights glowing on two potted bays.
The lounge is located in what was the palace’s family chapel, which is a wonderful irreverence and a nice take on what to do with a spare church. The interior is baroque meets art deco. Stepping in, you feel a million dollars, so long as you’re appropriately dolled up to match the decor. This is one place you’ll need to dust off the little black dress for!
You’ll also need to feel as if you have a million dollars as prices are steep – upwards of around €8.50 for a cocktail, and €15 for a plate of finger food sandwiches, though the latter is generous and is enough for two. The lounge specialises in vodka’s and stylish cocktails served with aperitivo and canapés. We couldn’t quite identify the complementary nibbles in the dimly-lit lounge, but they tasted nice and kept on coming.
The pianist-singer was alone in the corridor lounge outside the main ‘chapel-cum-bar’ area, but had the fortitude to carry on with gusto although she had no one in sight. She said it can be very busy, especially on the lounge’s monthly Friday night jazz evenings.
We more than made up for the dearth of clientele, and helped the bar’s takings, by getting merrier cocktail by cocktail. I stuck to seasonal, fruity ones: strawberry and something; and cocktail version of a Libyan mint-lemon tea. I found both deceptively alcoholic and incredibly refreshing. The cocktail menu is vast and has wonderfully named drinks shaken, stirred and served by two young men dressed in elegant black.
We were first in, and last out; the boys in black started upping the lights at around 1am as a prompt for us to leave. But the palazzo’s website says the lounge is open till midnight, so we got a fair hour past closing time! The total bill was €235 or thereabouts, and that was with two of us hardly drinking as we drew the short straw to drive ourselves and others home.
Verdict: yes, I’d love to go back, as Luna Lounge provides a rare excuse to be all dressed up with somewhere to go. Dim lighting or not, you’d be spotted, so don’t reckon on taking the mistress. The well-heeled, conoscenti of Malta are said to lounge at Luna. Just not on the night we went…
Note: If you’re going as a group, then it’s wise to book, especially on jazz nights. Luna Lounge is open Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm to midnight, with live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings. Dress code: smart, or get away with relaxed chic smart-casual.
Tel: 2141 2461.
Photo: Amanda Holmes