Drink a Cocktail on the Rue Saint-Honoré

Drink a Cocktail on the Rue Saint-Honoré

Paris cocktail culture has been going strong since Les Années Folles, when Americans fled Prohibition and brought their taste for beverage-binging to Europe. From Harry’s Bar to Le Select in Montparnasse, the city’s historic watering holes are today complemented by a new generation of cocktail bars where mixology is exalted as an art form. Nowadays cocktail creation takes on the exacting rigor of haute couture, blending carefully sourced ingredients to produce exquisite novelties. One such delicious experience can be found in the very heart of town at the Mandarin Oriental, Paris, where you’ll get a shot of glamour alongside a tasty tipple.

In some ways, Bar 8 is an exquisitely guarded secret. There’s not a line out the door in this palace hotel. The bar is tucked away to the left of the garden as you walk into the lobby, its entrance marked by gorgeous wood walls inlaid with Lalique crystals. The decor is dreamy, but the real showstopper is the bar itself: a single block of brown marble, quarried in Spain and sculpted in Italy by craftsmen who worked nonstop for two months to shape the 50-ton mass into the elegant nine-ton assemblage you can admire today.

Portrait of Alex Francis & Barney O’Kane

For the summer, Bar 8 commissioned Alex Francis and Barney O’Kane — former managers at Little Red Door, the celebrated Parisian establishment named in the top 10 of World’s 50 Best Bars — to imagine a new cocktail menu. What they came up with is a celebration of both Asian flavors and French products with the limited-edition Saison:season menu. It’s all about “farm to table” ingredients, including mandarin from Agrumes Schaller-Bachès (Pyrénées), AOP rice from Camargue, and shiso from 3615 Superette. Many of the spirits were created to measure by the micro-distillery Baccae (located in the 4th arrondissement).

View of the garden terrace at Mandarin Oriental, Paris

Of the 10 delicious drinks, we highly recommend the Red Bean. It’s concocted with peat whiskey and cognac de cerise, channeling a Manhattan. The Mandarin — made with Champagne, orange bitters and Mandarin liqueur — is the most popular. Pair your drinks with light bites from the menu, such as the plate of Panko prawns with chili sauce, French fries served with black truffle mayonnaise, or King Crab dim sum. Or splurge on caviar-topped Croque Monsieur, or Wagyu beef sando. If the weather’s nice, ask to be seated in the courtyard garden surrounded by leafy foliage.

Bar 8, Mandarin Oriental, Paris
251 Rue Saint-Honoré, 1st arrondissement
Saison:season – mocktails from 24€, cocktails from 27€
Open from 11pm to midnight from Sunday to Wednesday, and from noon to 1am from Thursday to Saturday.
Bar 8 seats 49 people indoors and an additional 25 in the Garden.

Bar 8 at Mandarin Oriental, Paris

Lead photo credit : Bar 8 at the Mandarin Oriental, Paris

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