Paris is the city of romance, and therefore it's also the city of inhibition-loosening booze in the form of its famed wine cellars, cocktail joints, and beer bars -- narrowing them down to just the best eight is no easy task, but we somehow did it... so without further ado, here are Paris's Great Eight.
1) Le Motel
Le Motel offers a down-to-earth, relaxed atmosphere and wears its love of music on its sleeve; several eras-worth of concert posters decorate its stone walls, and it hosts DJs several nights a week. On any given evening, there can be a dance party in the main room or simply loungers making for a mellow night. The bar is in the back, often manned by a duo, ready to serve up a ton of draft beers or a delicious mango daiquiri.
2) La Perle
La Perle is a decidedly low-key cafe whose '70s style ironically attracts a very young crowd. A popular hangout by night, chairs & tables are quickly scooped up, not that anyone minds -- patrons are happy to stand and chat while sharing a beer, wine, or cocktail, crowding the sidewalk into a chattering impasse.
3) Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
With over 300 wines on selection, Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels will take on pretty much any price/palate -- while there's a menu, each of the 'tenders has an encyclopedic knowledge of vino, and is likely to ask what flavors and qualities you like before matching you with the perfect glass. Nearly 80 percent of their constantly rotating wine selection is made up of local grapes from across the country, while the remaining 20 percent comes from various locales across the globe. There's even a mystery wine sheathed in a jacket emblazoned with a question mark, and if you figure out what it is, then
you probably cheated your glass is free.
4) The Experimental Cocktail Club
Tucked down a narrow alley and behind a barely-marked door, the ECC proudly announces itself once you're inside with a gorgeously low-lit speakeasy-styled lounge, filled with black Chesterfields, and a sleek vintage zinc bar. Obsessive barkeeps will mix you anything from a precision-crafted classic (their Tommy's Marg comes w/ bourbon vanilla & cloves), to an appropriately experimental original, such as the Tears and Vinegar which mixes whiskey w/ balsamic to delicious effect.
5) Entree des Artistes
Set in a small alcove of a room, overhead you'll hear a mix of old-school hip-hop as curated by the owners Fabien Lombardi and Edouard Vermynck, formerly a mixologist at the renowned Prescription Cocktail Club. Steadily approaching its two-year anniversary, the young booze-slinger changes its menu every season. One mainstay on the cocktail menu? Fat Beets, named in homage to a black and white photo of hip-hop group Slum Village that blends fresh-pressed beet syrup w/ ginger & vodka.
6) Aux Folies
Hopefully not leading to any follies of your own, the atmosphere of AF both looks & feels iconic, with a quintessential Parisian postcard-vibe provided by its low lighting, sidewalk sprawl, and lively conversations by others seated around the cafe’s perimeters. It has a wide selection of house rouge & blanc wines, and great happy hour special on pints of ice-cold beers served at paper-plastered decoupaged tables.
7) Point Ephemere
Located along the canal and down a stone road leading to a firehouse, Point Ephemere will hydrate you its own way (with cheap beer and wine), giving patrons several seating choices from either inside the graffiti-filled venue, or outdoors under tents. A regular host to concerts (including all of Pitchfork Festival Paris's after-parties), it's spacious and super laid back, offering revelers a chance to be right on the river.
8) Le Progrès
Situated on Rue de Bretagne at the intersection of several of the 11th's most bustling streets -- LP is nicknamed "the Bohemian's Canteen", though it definitely does have an escape from reality, thanks to the strong list of house wines & local beers, all served up in a traditional brasserie-style interior with huge windows.
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1. Le Motel8 Passage Josset, Paris
2. La Perle78 Rue Vieille du Temple, Paris
3. Companie des Vins Surnaturels7 rue Lobineau, Paris
4. Experimental Cocktail Club37 Rue Saint-Sauveur, Paris
5. Entrée des Artistes8 rue Crussol, Paris
6. Aux Folies8 rue de Belleville, Paris
7. Point Éphémère200 Quai de Valmy, Paris
8. Le Progrès1 Rue de Bretagne, Paris
This cozy indie bar and music venue has a DJ or live band most nights of the week. The interior is plastered with old concert posters, vintage couches and there is always plenty of beer flowing.
Located in the historic Le Marais district, La Perle is a low-key café/bar that, despite its '70s charm, attracts primarily a younger, hip crowd. As the sun sets, the place becomes busier and tables & chairs are removed to make way for those wanting to stand. It's the perfect spot for casual, early evening drinks or for just letting the world go by over some wine and a delicious sandwich in the afternoon.
This 6th arrondissement spot is an oenophile's dream come true. Companie des Vins Surnaturels has over 300 wines to choose from, so it's a good thing the store-cum-wine-bar's expert sommeliers can help you narrow down your choice based on both price range and palette. Once you've chosen, you can enjoy your wine with a classy cheese & bread pairing. When in Paris, right?
This low-key Paris speakeasy provides a calm vibe and a comfortable space to sip on some creative and delicious cocktails, which the place is renowned for.
Fast approaching its two-year anniversary, L'Entrée des Artistes is owned and run by two well-lubricated friends who have had stops in cocktail hotspots London, Berlin, and New York, the latter of which saw a stay at the Experimental Cocktail Club. In Paris, the pair has set up shop in a relaxed, small alcove of a room in which they're spinning their favorite records and serving sophisticated cocktails, a range of wines, and top-end small-plates like foie gras, Italian cheese plates, and more. A few minutes spent inside will be enough to make it clear why this place is a favorite among some of the Marais' coolest people.
Aux Folies was previously a café-theatre frequented by French legends like Maurice Chevalier and Edith Piaf. Today, the Belleville spot is a popular bar for the neighborhood's more bohemian set. Thanks to its cheap-ish drinks, lively conversations, and sidewalk tables, AF is almost always packed. What makes this place really stand out, though, is its sun-soaked back-alley seating, a rarity for the normally shaded, narrow streets of the surrounding area.
Found right on the Quai de Jemmapes, the Point Éphémère is an amazing concert venue and art gallery that straddles the Saint-Martin canal. Since opening in 2004 in an old warehouse, PE has been one of Paris' go-to spots for great gigs from a range of acts, particularly up-and-coming indie groups. It should come as no surprise, then, that Pitchfork's Paris festival hosts all of its after parties here.
Le Progrès can be found at the intersection of some of the 11th arrondissement's busiest streets, and the bar itself reflects its environs. Nicknamed the "Bohemian Canteen", LP has an always-packed sidewalk seating area, to which locals and tourists alike to enjoy the bar's many house wines and local beers alongside traditional small-plate offerings.