paris-bars

You’re in Paris for the weekend. Picture the scene: you’ll saunter down Avenue Montaigne in your dancing shoes and swing into a rooftop bar for a cocktail or three served by a dashing bartender. With high spirits, you’ll move on to a swanky yet low-key speakeasy and into the night…

Not so fast. While one of the most magical things about the French capital is its enthralling concept bars and their ability to surprise, you’ve got to work hard to find them. Unless you know exactly where you’re going, it’s all too easy to cave for one of the myriad grande rue brasseries and plump for a sub-standard croque monsieur. Whatever happened to that rooftop bar or sultry speakeasy?

Panique pas. They are in abundance, but invariably well hidden and never located on the famous boulevards. Head to the backstreets and you’ll be rewarded with cutting-edge concept bars, trailblazing bartenders and creative crowds. Knowing where they are is unlocking a whole new layer of Parisian magic.

Fortunately, we’ve done the research for you – here are six incredible bars that will blow your Parisian daydreams out of the water.

Le Comptoir Général

If you’ve never sipped your cocktail in a pirate ship before, it’s time to get acquainted with Le Comptoir Général. Walk down Canal Saint-Martin and keep a beady eye out for a large, industrial green gate (there’s no sign) and a black-clad man wearing headphones. That is the bouncer; he’ll stare you down and, with a bit of luck, step aside to let you in. The premise includes a restaurant, bar, hairdresser and shop, all done out in bright, beautifully aged colonial style. But you’re here for the punch, so make straight for the bar, located inside a great big pirate ship. Angry-looking bartenders pour naughty amounts of rum into different punch bowls, which they serve Caribbean style. Then it’s up to you to find a sink-in sofa or bamboo chair and lap up the vibe. With bright, vintage artwork on the walls, rum barrels and palm trees aplenty, it sets you back to a different time. It doesn’t look like Paris, but it’s where you’ll find the coolest locals of all ages.

Ober Mamma

When night falls, Ober Mamma glows gold like a beacon, calling on Oberkampf locals to let loose. Having opened in June 2015, this aperitivo cocktail bar and trattoria populare is perennially popular. Designed by Londonian interiors guru, Alexander Waterworth, the space is warm, fun and joyfully eclectic, from enviable tiling to artful cocktails, all bathed in low-lit glamour. There’s always a queue for the restaurant – the sourdough pizza is cheap and damn tasty – but slip straight onto one of the blue barstools instead for cocktails, charcuterie and cheese. Pinched from one of London’s hottest establishments, Chiltern Firehouse, Nicola Battafarano headed up Ober Mamma’s cocktail bar at launch, meaning the list and staff are world class (don’t miss house specials like Safran, an Italian gin-based cocktail with absinthe and six-month aged saffron). While service is five-star, there’s none of the stiffness that all too often plagues the upmarket; you’ll be diving into debate about which Tuscan charcuterie to snack on and (wisely) taking your bartender’s advice to opt for the 500g burrata, shipped fresh from Naples every two days. This is a buzzing local hangout, where concept, design and vibe are all bang on.

 

  • +33 1 58 30 62 78
  • Go to Website
  • 107 Boulevard Richard Lenoir
    75011 Paris

Le Perchoir

In Paris, summer happens at Le Perchoir, the rooftop bar of all rooftop bars. With panoramic views over the city and a curated calendar of DJ sets chosen by Karl de Radioooo, the buzz here is constant. Add to that extra nuggets of goodness like this summer’s pop ups, Yoga by Lytiom, gardening classes with Pépins Productions and a Line Up sportswear boutique and it’s hard to see how you’d ever tire of this place. Book in for lunchtime on Saturday or Sunday and free up your diary for the rest of the day (and the following morning). You’ll want to dedicate every ounce of energy you’ve got to zingy dishes of ocean fresh tuna, too much wine and expert cocktails on repeat. When you’re on a rooftop with Paris’ party crowd, you don’t leave. Not in the Oberkampf area? No problem. Head to leperchoir.tv for a list of all of their bars and summer openings. Everything associated with the Perchoir name owns the game, whether it’s a pop-up beach in the Buttes Chaumont park or MK2, an Asian meets rustic bar.

Andy Wahloo

This Moroccan-meets-pop-art bar is a surreal mish mash of brilliance. Brought to Paris by the Algerian Mazouz brothers, famous in London for their fashion-forward restaurant and art space, sketch, Andy Wahloo nods to Warhol’s eccentric and varied life. Come here and you’ll find a varied bunch of low key chic creatives, artists, musicians and writers. If the Fitzgeralds still lived, this is surely where they would party. The bohemian glamour is made up of golden, blue and pink-tinged colours, bright prints and North African artefacts with hanging artwork, while the cocktails and wine list are influenced by North America. The arrival of summer means the hidden courtyard opens up, so while reservations are not usually necessary, it’s advisable to make one if you want to sit with the crowd outside. In essence, Andy Wahloo was simply created for city cool cats to come and relax in a comfortable setting. It’s a small space, which gets busy in the late (or very small) hours and is perfect for socialising.

Alcazar

Bringing the forest to Paris, this Saint-Germain bar takes the term “urban jungle” very seriously indeed. Hidden between thly modern, slightly Vaudeville wildness. Marble floor tiles are kept on their toes by pink neon lights and lush green plants burst from every angle. The Balcon Bar on the first floor looks down onto the restaurant, but it’s where the party’s at.  From Wednesday to Saturday at 10PM, live DJ sets ensue and in-the-know Parisians come to dance, socialise and chill out with a killer cocktail. Come slightly earlier to make the most of their reduced price bar menu, which includes a drink and a main for 27€. And yes, the kitchen is Michelin Guide approved. No surprise, then, that Alcazar don’t need to bend over backwards to get people through the door. In fact, they try to keep it hush hush. The bonus? Get on well with the bartender and the end of your night will be fuelled with complimentary shots.

UC-61

It’s probably the last thing you’d expect in Paris, but how about sipping in a submarine? UC-61 is located right near the Arc de Triomphe, but is little known by the masses of tourists that frequent the area. Pay careful attention – this speakeasy has no outside signage, only a tiny buzzer you have to press to be granted entry. The well-engineered cocktail list is certainly a draw, with a host of originals nodding to French history, like Simone de Beauvoir, a rye whiskey, Benedictine and chocolate bitters concoction named after the legendary second-wave feminist. The mark of a great bar, though, is adaptability; ask for any classic and they will make it happen. The teeny space is decked out just like a submarine, with nautical touches that hark back to owner Eric Bulteau’s childhood spent playing on top of a WWI German submarine wreck on a beach in northern France. Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday during summer.

  • +33 1 40 68 70 60
  • Go to Website
  • 4 Rue de l'Arc de Triomphe
    75017 Paris

UC-61

Alcazar

Andy Wahloo

Le Perchoir

Ober Mamma

Le Comptoir Général

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