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St. Patrick’s Day has just sped by us, but who needs the holiday for an excuse to indulge in a luscious cocktail at a fabulous Parisian bar? We don’t! Here are a few suggestions for some of Paris’s chicest, newest cocktail lounges.
At the Concorde La Fayette Hotel, metro Porte Maillot, the bar La Vue offers the most panoramic view of Paris that you’ll find at a Parisian bar today. Open January 2012, this 34th floor elegant lounge/bar offers front row seating: front row to the theater that is the la Ville Lumière down below. From the floor-to-ceiling windows that are the outer wall of La Vue, the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe, and all that is in front and beyond, splays itself out for view a bit like NYC’s Boom Boom Room. Red, white and purple mod interior by Pier Luigi Copat is the visual backdrop to the 11,000-glass-rod chandelier centerpiece.
Head Barman, Stephen Martin, a veteran of prestige hotel bars in Paris (formerly at Le Meridien) thoroughly enjoys showing patrons the newest additions to his vintage shaker collection. And though busy, he isn’t too busy to stop and explain for a moment how the uniquely different-shaped vintage shakers require uniquely adapted cocktail shaking finesse.
La Vue also features live entertainment 2 – 3 times per week and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, a DJ spins live. Small bites include Burrata and also sushi. Try a couple of Martin’s signature cocktails – he is after all, the Best Barman in France, 2009 – such as the Maco 2.0, a cognac cocktail he developed at the Cognac Summit a couple years ago.
3, Place du Général Koenig, Paris 75016
Paris’s only (known) cognac bar is Le Baudelaire. It is a wonder that the land of cognac has no cognac bars. At least, that was the case until Le Baudelaire opened its doors. The French prefer whiskey to cognac, so with 97% of cognac production going to export, this all starts to make sense. But now there is one bar in Paris that has a selection of 40+ cognacs. Apparently it took members of the Hennessy family, who happen to own Le Baudelaire, to figure out that a cognac bar in Paris is a very appealing – and promising – niche.
Destined to be a favorite among American and Asian visitors (the largest consumer groups of cognac) Le Baudelaire’s location couldn’t be more convenient – on rue Dauphot, it is just down from Madeleine, just up from rue Fbg. St. Honoré. Ask for the cognac and caviar cocktail called “Ice” or tell the bartender what your tastebuds crave and he will blend you up a cocktail to satisfy your desire of the moment. And if cognac isn’t quite to your taste or mood, they also offer an impressive selection of over 40 champagnes, as well as a decent selection of Armagnacs.
6-8 rue Duphot – Paris 75001
01 42 60 34 12
This institution first opened its doors in 1766. So how can it be “new?” In the tradition of “everything old is new again” Lapérouse now has a downstairs bar lounge in what has been, for the past two and a half centuries, the reception/coat check area. Because the restaurant, first established by the grocer to King Louis XVI, “the Sun King,” is classified as a heritage site, none of the existing fixtures were touched during refurbishment. That’s to say, the bar, the art deco light fixtures, the marble floor, the paneled ceiling – all the same and authentically so.
Even the mirror etched by Kate Moss’s diamond ring still hangs where it has always been. Just the red velvet overstuffed couches and cocktail tables have been upgraded. When you go for your cocktail here, be sure to keep in mind the literary greats such as Baudelaire and Mistinguette, the famous courtesans and powerful politicians, who have all dined upstairs in the private dining rooms. The bar offers a taste of sitting in the midst of centuries of French history. It feels like sitting in a movie, or a time machine, that takes you back through the Paris of different epochs. (Wait; I think someone already made that movie!)
Julien Mairesse, Head Barman, developed the cocktail menu when he took over the bar in January 2012. The official opening of the bar was only in December. Drinks are inspired by and named after women, as a “tribute to the importance women have played in the history of Lapérouse,” explains Mairesse. For example, his champagne cocktails all bear the names of women significant to Serge Gainsbourg who lived on the nearby rue Verneuil and was a regular at the establishment. If you don’t go for the Brigitte, try the Elisa: champagne mixed with Campari. Not a likely pairing but allow your tastebuds to be delightfully suprised!
51 quai des Grands Augustins
A stone’s throw from the Elysée, this favorite of Anglo-Expats is a gem. It’s not new and it’s not necessarily chic. But Oh, is it good! Packed during lunch, daily, and just as jammed evenings and sports nights, this is the place in the 8th where you can rub shoulders with Le President’s police force while washing down a back-home-worthy cheeseburger and fries with a good ol’ Irish pint. Vive les Irish!
15, rue Montalivet, Paris 75008
01 42 68 18 44
W Lounge, W Hotel Opéra Paris
This deserves an Honorable Mention. Opened officially on Feb. 29th, France’s first W bar is sure to be a hit. Tapas and Montaditos by Sergi Arola, superstar chef by way of Barcelona. DJ’s lend atmosphere nightly. I haven’t had the occasion, yet, to give it a test run, so Bonjour Paris readers’ comments and feedback are welcome!
4, rue Meyerbeer, Paris 75009
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