The Parisian bar scene has long been dominated by wine. But over the last several years, the craft cocktail movement has swept the city, and now Paris is among the world's top destinations for proper potations. This recent change is in no small part due to France’s craft bartenders who, inspired by their country's rich culinary traditions, have started to take drinks as seriously as local chefs take food. Thanks to long-held customs—and quite possibly because of governmental policies regarding spirit taxation—until recently, cocktails had never taken off in France the way they had in the United States or England. However, a new breed of creative, liquor-savvy bartenders is moving in. Not since the days of Prohibition, when many American bartenders took their trade to Europe, has there been a better time to drink cocktails in Paris. Here now, the top places to get tipsy when visiting the City of Light.Read More
Where to Drink Cocktails in Paris
There’s more to France than wine.
Île-de-France 75002, France
Since opening in 2014, Mabel has quickly become one of Paris' top places for innovative cocktails. In an intimate setting, utterly devoid of nightclub trappings (such as DJs and muscle-bound bouncers), guests enjoy exquisitely-prepared drinks, which feature housemade shrubs, sherbets, bitters, and cordials. In addition, the grilled cheese shop located in front of the bar serves sandwiches until midnight every evening. Photo: Philippe Levy
Île-de-France 75003, France
Candelaria is both a restaurant and bar. Not only does it mix some of Paris' top tequila tipples, but the taqueria also serves some of the best Mexican dishes outside Mexico City. The bar itself, which is located behind a unassuming door in the taqueria, is a dimly lit cocktail den—perfect for dates and small groups—while the front restaurant offers up delicious tacos and spicy Micheladas.
Drawing inspiration from American craft cocktail bars, Bespoke—as its name suggests—specializes in custom-built drinks. Expect libations driven by a DIY ethos as far as syrups, infusions, and other housemade ingredients are concerned.
Île-de-France 75009, France
Although, Glass is without some of the bells and whistles that one might find in many of the city’s top bars, it is one of Paris' most fun places to drink. Touring DJs, dancing, and incredible drinks, paired with a license that goes until 4 a.m., make this the ultimate bar for late night parties. Which is perhaps one of the reasons why it has become a favorite among local bartenders.Photo: Facebook
5. Little Red Door
Little Red Door is marked by warm service, friendly bartenders, and exceptionally comfortable bar stools. And don't expect to find average drinks here. Instead, this bar is all about pushing boundaries. Creativity is king amongst the bartenders, and the staff is not afraid to experiment with new techniques in order to deliver a memorable drink.
6. Pas de Loup
Pasdeloup offers a blissful union of food and drink in a venue designed for socializing. As such, the seating is perfect for duos and small groups, and the music and lighting create an environment conducive to private conversation. Even though dishes are ideal for sharing, don’t even think of calling it “bar food,” as the menu here features plates like mussels with cilantro and cauliflower pierogis. Photo: Facebook
7. Dirty Dick
When it comes to sipping an authentic mai tai while surrounded by tiki torches and the exotic sounds of Polynesia, you simply can’t do better than Dirty Dick. The bar's menu boasts an array of well-constructed tropical classics, in addition to a handsome collection of house recipes. Start the night with a daiquiri, but don’t leave without trying a piña colada.
8. Experimental Cocktail Club
Île-de-France 75002, France
With sister properties located in London, Ibiza and New York City, this bar is considered by many as the catalyst that sparked Paris' modern cocktail movement. And, nearly a decade later, the venue is just as vibrant and the drinks every bit as delicious as they were when ECC opened in 2007. Here, live DJs provide the atmosphere, while capable bartenders provide the drinks.
9. Le Mary Celeste
Île-de-France 75004, France
With floor to ceiling windows sweeping much of the venue, Mary Celeste virtually glows from the light and vitality of the city that surrounds it. Even though craft cocktails are the star here, beer and wine offerings are outstanding as well, and all pair well with the bar's food menu. Think seafood, and locally sourced meat and produce.
10. Le Syndicat
Île-de-France 75010, France
Le Syndicat is many things, but typical is not one of them, as this bar revels in contrast. In a plush venue with golden curtains and 1940s-ear vintage flooring, American hip-hip dominates the playlist, while the bartenders pour only French spirits and liqueurs. The end result is a cozy atmosphere that lands right between chic and raw.