Thomas Saint John and the O’Sullivans Group have taken the Bastille by storm with their newly opened O’Sullivans Bar & Grill at 6 Place de la Bastille.

This is the group's seventh establishment in the City of Light and 28th in France. While the other Paris O’Sullivans in Pigalle, Châtelet, Franklin Roosevelt, Grands Boulevards, Rue de la Roquette, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés (the Pub Saint-Germain is owned by the group) are all in prime locations, the Place de la Bastille address is a flagship one. With the Opéra Bastille as a next-door neighbour, the new 5,382 sq ft O’Sullivans, which can seat 250 people, enjoys a dream location and is also a terrific address for pre and post-show meals. Spread over two floors, it opens seven days a week, from noon to 2 am.

A symbol of the 1789 French Revolution, the Place de la Bastille was where the famous Bastille Prison was destroyed stone by stone during the Revolution. Sitting on O’Sullivan’s expansive terrace allows a bird's-eye view of the monumental 154-foot-high ‘July Column’ in the centre of the square, which, due to its height, you can often glimpse from the other side of the City of Light. It is topped by sculptor Auguste Dumont’s golden ‘Spirit of Freedom’ statue, described by Gustave Flaubert as glinting like “a giant golden star shining in the east.”

Although the statue was inaugurated in 1840, the star-crowned nude who bears the remains of its broken chains and brandishes a flame seems like the new O’Sullivans, ready and on the pulse for the Paris Olympics (26 July to 11 August) and Paralympic Games (28 August to 8 September).

Another revolutionary event is the arrival of the charismatic, award-winning chef, broadcaster, and columnist Gary O’Hanlon. O’Hanlon, Executive Chef of The K Club, designed O’Sullivan’s spectacular open kitchen, where his handpicked culinary team can be viewed, creating cutting-edge creations through a glass-paneled wall.

Nodding his famous Mohawk-styled head emphatically when I chatted with him on opening night, he confided, “Tonight is the first time I have cooked in the kitchen I designed, and I am thrilled.”

A household name in Ireland and one of the most prominent figures on the new Irish cuisine scene, he previously orchestrated the renowned Devlin’s in Boston. He also propelled Viewmount House to become one of the top Irish dining experiences.

A proud member of Eurotoques Ireland and a food ambassador for his native Donegal, he strives to find the best producers of Irish Artisanal Food and showcase them. What I tasted at O’Sullivans opening night was scrumptious; however, it's new to me that Irish celebrity chefs are so sought after in France, leaving their distinct mark on the Parisian culinary arena. It used to be the other way around! O’Hanlon confided that Irish culinary schools like the Tourism College Killybegs, where he studied, provide world-class training, but one has to be prepared to work hard.

He is no stranger to France; he already put the Château du Coudreceau on the map as one of the must-visit destinations in the Loire Valley. His appearances on TV and radio have also made him a great showman, and as we were chatting, I saw his eyes drawn to another showman, musician Paddy Sherlock.

Paddy and the fabulous Paris-based Swedish singer Ellen Birath fronted the 8-piece band, making O’Sullivans opening party one to remember. When Paddy sang "Emma, Tais-Toi" ("Emma, be quiet"), a song he wrote for his daughter, every foot in the house was tapping while others whirled and twirled on the dance floor space in front of the band.

As people happily sipped on whiskey, cocktails and mocktails, champagne, and beer, I wandered around the large circular central bar with its gleaming bottles stacked two floors high and explored the vast downstairs lounge, part of which romantically sits under a glass roof. I imagined other future events on the premises as I continued to the upstairs dining room, bar, library lounge, and smoking room, where a clubbier ambiance reigns. I bumped into other Irish Paris-based ‘lifers’, all delighted with the new O’Sullivans, and we concluded that this vast establishment would sizzle.

Previous proprietors who took on the 6 Place de La Bastille failed the challenge. However, I’d put my money on it that O’Sullivans Bar & Grill will be ‘the Parisian place to be’ on 14 July, Bastille Day, and during the Olympics, Paralympics, and beyond.

Saint John and his associates, with their vast experience, are fully aware that apart from a great location, great food and drink, and meticulous organisation, the other essential ingredient is terrific staff. I saw O’Sullivans bartenders and servers in action. The efficient, dedicated team, motivated to share their exceptional address, put a genuine, warm Irish welcome on the mat, which, in the hospitality business, is pure Olympic gold!

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