Having a ball at Cirque Le Soir
From performing giants to ball pits, Cirque le Soir general manager Richard Williams leads us into the crazy world of the West End nightspot, in the fourth in our spotlight series on the best London party venues in association with Cîroc Ultra-Premium Vodka.
Tell me about your role
I’m the general manager – and the licensee – so I’m responsible for opening and closing the club, managing up to 150 staff, and generally just making sure that everyone is happy and having a good time. I’m at the head office from about 1pm and get home at about 5am, so it’s a pretty long day, but I love it.
How long have you been there?
I started with the company eight years ago as a performer – I was in a dance thing and a couple of fire shows - and have worked my way up from there. I know to go from a performer to general manager is a weird swing!
What goes on at Cirque le Soir?
A better way to put is, what doesn’t go on there. We have massive acts – fire breathers, trapeze artists, live snakes, giants – a whole range of performers. It’s just a totally different vibe compared with anywhere else. There’s a funfair area. As soon as you walk in the door it’s just a hugely diverse experience. That’s why I love it so much – you never really know what’s going to happen. There’s always something new, there’s always something unique. Every night is different.
What’s the funfair area like?
It’s like an arcade for big kids. There’s a boxing machine, funfair games, a massive ball pit – we used to have a massive bouncy castle that we may put back in. It’s just somewhere where if you’re on a night out and you’ve had a few drinks, you can really let loose. That’s why the ball pit is really popular – it’s a chance to be a bit immature and have a laugh. You wouldn’t believe how much stuff people lose in in there though… bags, phones – I had a guest go home in one shoe once.
Why should people choose Cirque for their summer celebrations?
The thing with Cirque is it’s like a massive extension of your front room. It doesn’t matter what you wear, it doesn’t matter who you are – all that matters is everyone is comfortable. We also go above and beyond with our bottle shows. Once, for a guest’s birthday, we had a three- or four-foot cake then brought out four magnums of Cîroc, four magnums of champagne and a whole load of other drinks. We have birthdays there every single week. We even had someone propose there. We did a massive show and they had T-shirts made. She had no idea. It was a massive surprise.
What makes a perfect night out in your opinion?
First and foremost it’s being with close friends, and then going somewhere where you’re looking back at the photos the next day going ‘Look what happened last night!’ – like here, you might have pictures of dwarves, and pictures in a ball pit. Basically, a perfect night is with close friends, enjoying amazing drinks and having an experience you’re never going to forget.
What drink would you recommend to make it extra special?
I’m a big fan of a cocktail we do that actually comes in a little plastic beaker. It’s a Cîroc-based cocktail with some other special ingredients. You have to try it. In fact, come and try it, and if you can guess all the ingredients you can have it on the house.
Good luck… no one has ever got it right before.
Tell me about the secret room
How do you know about the secret room?
I heard a rumour. What goes on in the secret room?
It’s a secret.