Paris Cocktail Bars
The cocktail bar is undergoing a renaissance in Paris. In fact, classy concoctions haven’t been served up with such flair since the days when the Bloody Mary and the sidecar were introduced at fabled Harry's Bar and martinis were the drink du jour at the Ritz Hotel’s Hemingway Bar (the writers and aristocrats who assembled at the latter included the bar’s notoriously thirsty namesake).
The new cocktail bars run the gamut from dauntingly elegant hotel lounges to designer dives, and they attract a diverse crowd willing to shell out anywhere from €10 to €26 a pop. Once called barmen, the new curators of cocktails are "mixologists," and the best of the lot garner fame and a following among devoted enthusiasts. Drinks are crafted, ingredients are sourced, the booze is barrel-aged or infused, syrups are house-made, and the ice is artisanal. Many also serve excellent food.
Opening hours tend to be perfect for an apéro (six-o'clock-ish). Closing hours tend to be in synch with average Paris bars (around 2 am); cocktail bars in hotels (which can close as early as 11 pm on weeknights) are an exception. Here are a few standouts:
Ballroom du Beef Club: An unmarked door, a dim interior, and upholstered loveseats add to the speakeasy ambience.
Baton Rouge: A splash of Louisiana and a dash of black magic are making this bar with bayou-inspired decor a new favorite.
Dirty Dick: This destination cocktail club in newly chic Pigalle combines a retro tiki-lounge cheekiness with a serious selection of rum.
Experimental Cocktail Club: Down a dimly lit cobbled street, this is Paris's swankiest speakeasy; the crowds are proof of its popularity.
Glass: Party to the DJ beats at this shrine to urban cool—complete with microbrews and a frozen-drinks machine.
La Conserverie: High-low loft style, a congenial atmosphere, and superlative drinks draw the cocktail cognoscenti.
Le Bar O d'Ora Ïto (Hôtel Odyssey): Sip custom cocktails in a bar that’s as sleek and stylish as the hotel that houses it.
L'Entrée des Artistes: It’s too moody and dark to read the drinks menu, so just point your finger—it's all good.
Le Mary Celeste: Hipsters come for delicious happy-hour noshes, then stay to linger over craft cocktails and natural wines.
Little Red Door: This tiny trendsetter with atmosphere to spare serves sophisticated choices behind its eponymous door.
Prescription Cocktail Club: Lively and louche, it’s just what the doctor ordered—if your doctor is Dorothy Parker.
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