The Official Paris Guide: Where to Drink
As we’ve already covered where to eat in the City of Light, today I’d like to discuss something much more important: Where to DRINK.
Honestly, there’s no better place in the world to drink than Paris for several reasons. First and foremost, Parisians find it acceptable to imbibe at almost any hour of the day and night, which makes it easier to forgive the majority of their other sins (i.e. general rudeness and impossible accents).
Second, the wine is good. Very good.
Third, with the exception of a few bridges, there are no open container laws in the city, meaning that you can BYOB to some pretty unreal locations for low-key cocktails en plein air.
And finally, since Parisians consume a substantial amount of booze and do not appear to gain weight, I have concluded that all the alcohol in the city is magically calorie-free. Alléluia.
So, without further ado, let’s discuss the best places to get tipsy in Paris…
Where to Drink in Paris:
La Palette. When it comes to classy day drinking, La Palette is my go-to. Located on the incredibly adorable Rue de Seine (probably my favorite street in all of Paris), this café has a lovely outdoor terrace for rosé chugging in the spring/summer, and a cozy interior for vin chaud sipping in the fall/winter. Both the people watching and cheese plates are top notch, so go get a little buzz on after shopping/wandering in St. Germain.
Rosa Bonheur. My second pick for fancy day drinking! Located in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont on the outskirts of the city, this picturesque spot serves beer, wine (they have their own label), and a tapas style menu to those in the know. Even though the bar is technically named after a 19th century painter/sculptor, “Rosa Bonheur” roughly translates to “pink happiness,” which pretty much sums up how you’ll feel after your first glass of rosé at this glorious establishment. Yes, it’s a teensy bit of a haul, but 100% worth it to spend an afternoon getting a little weird in the shade of the giant chestnut trees. If you’re visiting Paris in the spring/summer, it’s a must.
Les Etages. This funky little bar in the Marais is three (very small) stories, all of which are always packed with a lively crowd. They make an excellent strawberry mojito, and it’s one of the few places where you can order “large” drinks, i.e. American-sized cocktails. (The teeny tiny drinks at most Parisian establishments stress me out.)
La Conserverie. Make the trip to this unique bar in the 2nd Arrondissement for creatively crafted seasonal cocktails and good vibes. The atmosphere is very rock n’ roll chic, and they have the playlists to match. According to my recent research, there are now live gypsy bands on Monday (I don’t know exactly what that means, but it sounds pretty sweet) and “Electro” nights on Thursday and Friday for those of you that like the untz-untz. The staff is also remarkably friendly, which is a very rare and beautiful thing in Paris…
Prescription Cocktail Club. Zis place is uber trendy and mildly exclusive (note: do not wear shorts à la Logan on vacay), but it’s very much worth a visit to see their “mixologists” in action. Plus, the vibe is the epitome of Parisian chic, and you know I love me some creative champagne cocktails in the company of attractive hipsters. You will too.
Andy Wahloo. Owned by the same peeps as the adjacent Derrière, Andy Wahloo is equally eccentric and fabulous. The décor is sort of Pop Art meets Casablanca, which is, for lack of a better word, AWESOME. Sit on paint can stools and sip a refreshing and reasonably priced mojito while listening to some sweet, sweet electro-pop jams. Ooooh, and there’s also a wonderful snack menu, as well as half-priced drinks at happy hour, and a Secret Garden-esque outdoor terrace for stargazing and social cigarettes (if you’re into that).
The Hemingway Bar. If you’re into history, Hemingway, or classy things, you should probably take a stroll to the Ritz and post up for a few hours in the Hemingway Bar. The wood paneling and leather upholstery are as comforting as they are luxurious, and the classic cocktails are mixed by the incomparable Colin Field, who has been named the best bartender in the world. I’m at a loss for the name, but he makes a cocktail involving calvados, mint and champagne that tastes like liquid magic.
DISCLAIMER: A cocktail at the Hemingway Bar will set you back 30 Euros. No joke. So, unless you’re Gwyneth, this isn’t exactly the place to go if you want to get super loose. It’s more of a “linger over a single cocktail, while enjoying the ambience” type of joint. They do give you delightful snacks with your overpriced cocktail, though. And sometimes a freshly cut rose for the ladies…
Hotel Costes. This is one of my very favorite spots for a fancy drink (or six) when I’m feeling particularly festive. The bar is dark and sexy, they make killer cocktails, and the music is unbeatable. Put on your most ridiculous outfit, ogle the absurdly good-looking bartenders, dance with the festive maître de (trust me, he’s into it), and generally make merry. If you want to secure a table in the bar, go early. And by early, I mean before midnight. It’s Paris.
On the Seine/Tuileries/Luxembourg Gardens. As I said, there are no pesky open container laws in Paris, so when in doubt, grab a bottle of wine and head down to the banks of the Seine, or lounge in the Tuileries (the gardens in front of the Louvre) or the Luxebourg Gardens. Back in our early courtship days, my roommate and I shared many a bottle of Champagne in the Tuileries, before I tipsily dragged him to all my favorite restaurants. It was the best.
Take me back.
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