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Forest

Cocktails in Paris

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I'd like to think that 2.5 weeks of gin martini's in south africa was the final decider haha!

ha ha...what didn't kill me, made me stronger! you know we'll be trying out a few of these places when you get here!


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Murano

3, Boulevard du Temple, 75003 (note: in a few websites the address is listed as 13 – but that’s a typo online, not mine – it is number 3)

When a drinks menu lists regular old Johnny Walker at 16 Euros a shot, you already know you’re paying in big part for atmosphere in addition to the booze. And, the Murano does deliver atmosphere. You walk into open, bright lobby with spacey, modern chairs and a decorative (yet functional) ‘fireplace’ that runs the entire length of one wall. This first seating area seems a bit sterile, but still modern and hip. Passing into the bar proper area, it’s dimmer, but colorful and modern with flashy videos playing on the wall behind the bar.

A few reviews I read told me that this is where the beautiful people drink. Apparently, that means the beautiful people with cash, because the drinks are, on average, 20 Euros. Here, I had no qualms ordering my martini exactly to specification. Their house gin is Bombay Sapphire, which I didn’t bother changing, since I haven’t changed from the house on any of my other martini excursions (and somehow I like that consistency). It came, just as I ordered, nice a cold and with an olive. But, for 19 Euros, I pretty much expected it to come just as I had ordered. My fellow drinkers had a couple of froufy fruity drinks. I don’t remember the names, but they were basically hyped up fruit juice with lots of fancy cut and splayed fruits and accessories. They also brought a small selection of upscale munchies – this is not a peanuts-in-a-ramekin bar – you get little dips and pizza-like bites.

The service was top notch. I was talking to the waiter about martinis, telling him I was on a quest for good ones. His first question: “have you been to the experimental cocktail club?” (So far this still remains my top choice for an excellent price/quality value)

I can be a sucker for cute little gimmicky things – like their bloody mary ‘degustation’, which is three small bloody marys made with red, green and yellow(?) tomato juice. I probably would have tried that for my next drink(s), but neither of my drinking partners wanted to stay for the usual second round. Even with the uber-chic ambience, they didn’t feel like the price was worth the experience.

And, personally, while I don’t have a problem with paying a little more for the whole package, the Murano is a little too out of the way for me and a little too expensive to trek all the way there for cocktails on a regular basis, even if they were nice. (I definitely second Felice’s comment above of “nice but expensive” which pretty much sums it up) But, if you’re a big vodka fan this might be your place as they specialize in it and have a really wide range.


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A thread about cocktails in Paris would certainly not be complete without a mention of the amazing "azote liquide" cocktails served at La Famille, rue des Trois Frères. A must-try, bring your goggles.

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A thread about cocktails in Paris would certainly not be complete without a mention of the amazing "azote liquide" cocktails served at La Famille, rue des Trois Frères. A must-try, bring your goggles.

Ptipois - indeed, good idea, thanks! I had read about the cocktails there in a magzine article several months ago and put it on my mental list of places to visit (which is not as reliable as my written list of places to visit). I've heard a few good things about la famille as a restaurant - but never been there - does it have a bar area where you can just order drinks? If so, that will probably be my next stop!


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Yes, La Famille has a small bar area in the front, where the cocktails are made right before your eyes (or should I say in your face, the place is really tiny). I suggest you have dinner there first and then have cocktails, French-style; they almost count as dessert I should add.

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Just a quick non-Wed cocktail update. To follow up on my very early post on possible good choices, I have to remove the Rhubarb. I stopped in there for a before dinner drink the other night and had a martini. It was fine - but I was very specific on how I wanted it. However, the rest of the group all went for Apple Martinis - which are supposed to be very good there, but no one was impressed. If you're more interested in what's decorating your drink than how it tastes, you'll be okay - it comes with almost an entire apple splayed on top. But, otherwise, I found it overly sweet/apple and pretty mediocre.

And, I also had an excellent martini at Laperouse recently - but expensive - so, as usual, in a place of those standards and for that price (18 Euros) - I pretty much expected it to be good. (But, I do think that's one where you'd be happy paying for the atmosphere as well as the good cocktail for a special treat)


Edited by Forest (log)

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We recently spent significant cocktail time at two locations over the course of a week. Le Fumoir and Le Meurice. As one might expect, we paid three times as much for twice the quality at the Bar at Le Meurice. Our standard operating procedure pre-dinner is a Lillet Blanc and a Kir Royale each. There was quite a difference in the quality for both. The Kir Royale I can understand because of the quality of the Champagne. The difference in quality for the Lillet Blanc existed, but I did not verify (mid-romance) if we were served Reserve Jean De Lillet. Our investment for Lillet Blanc and Kir Royale was 54 Euro.

At Le Fumoir, we had cocktails, running 10-12 euro each. They were fine, properly crafted, but did not wow us, but after the Louvre, they sure hit the spot.


Taco Truck or Per Se - No matter as long as passion drives the food

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We recently spent significant cocktail time at two locations over the course of a week. Le Fumoir and Le Meurice. As one might expect, we paid three times as much for twice the quality at the Bar at Le Meurice. Our standard operating procedure pre-dinner is a Lillet Blanc and a Kir Royale each. There was quite a difference in the quality for both. The Kir Royale I can understand because of the quality of the Champagne. The difference in quality for the Lillet Blanc existed, but I did not verify (mid-romance) if we were served Reserve Jean De Lillet. Our investment for Lillet Blanc and Kir Royale was 54 Euro.

At Le Fumoir, we had cocktails, running 10-12 euro each. They were fine, properly crafted, but did not wow us, but after the Louvre, they sure hit the spot.

okay...that's the second time I've heard about the cocktails at le meurice on this thread. But...wow! over 50 bucks for two drinks....almost shocking. Although (i haven't confirmed) but I heard earlier this evening that martinis at the Hemingway can run up to 35 euros (will definitely repot back on if that's the case or not) It looks like Little Miss Foodie, Tall Drink of Water and I may be eating at le meurice on their next visit to Paris in a couple of months, so I'll probably give it a try then. But, for tomorrow, it will be the newish(?) Flute bar - a 'new york' style cocktail bar near Etoile. La Famille azote cocktails will have to wait for next week for logistics reasons. (they don't open until 8pm)

I'm still looking for more good suggestions, so keep them coming if you have them (i'm very happy to be a cocktail guinea pig!)


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Hemingway. Meurice. Plaza. Forvm. Rival.


Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Last summer, the Picasso Martini at the Hemingway Bar was 23 euros. Sometimes it's not available if the Noilly Prat cubes haven't been frozen.

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I go there for one drink. The Bloody Bullshot. Only place in Paris that does it perfectly and according to tradition.


Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Over the years, we have set price records for cocktails at Fouquet's, Meurice and the Bristol. Think of it this way; you are renting a table in one of the most desirable places on Earth, and you own it as long as you want to stay. It's only $$$$.

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Over the years, we have set price records for cocktails at Fouquet's, Meurice and the Bristol.  Think of it this way; you are renting a table in one of the most desirable places on Earth, and you own it as long as you want to stay.  It's only $$$$.

i completely appreciate that...and as someone who loves cocktails, i'm not afraid to pay for them. But, i did, tonight, have a bit of a thought based on Narcissus' comment about paying 3 times the price for twice the quality - when does a cocktail get silly expensive without the return in quality? just got back from Flute - which is now up there with ECC for me...will give details tomorrow. But i do have to question: is my goal to 'rent a table' or have a damn good cocktail. if i just wanted the table, I could have just had a pernod (which I like as well) for less than ten bucks at laperouse.


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Flute

19 rue de L'Étoile, 75017 Paris Tel. 01 45 72 10 14

Pulling myself back away from philosophical musings and debates on the meaning behind the price of a cocktail (which risks rambling off subject) and back to the topic at hand….

The Experimental now has some good company in my list of current favs. I think I said something upthread along the lines of the quality of the cocktail was my sole criteria. And, I think I lied just a little. I’m realizing that quality (knowledge & skill of bartender, range of ingredients, hard to find ingredients, appropriate cocktail making accoutrements) is the most important and most heavily weighted criteria. BUT, other aspects of the bar (atmosphere, price and service) are obviously going to play a part in my determination of what’s best (and it should go without saying, I mean ‘best’ for me…everyone has their own personal preferences)

Upon entering, this tiny space offers a 3 or 4 stool bar seating area and a ‘fireside’ seat tucked off in the corner. Upstairs is larger with a handful of tables and seats scattered about. I was shown to the tiny fireside spot – the space I can only assume now is possibly reserved for newbies like me who didn’t realize you have to make reservations to drink here. The feel is very cozy-trendy-lounge, small and intimate.

Flute is primarily a champagne bar, with a wide range of bubbly at (what seemed to me) reasonable bar prices – 80 or so for a bottle of Veuve Cliquot - sold by the bottle, glass or tastings. The Paris Flute has been open for three months – there are two other Flutes in New York, which have been open for 10 years.

Not varying from my standard procedure, I ordered a martini. (my table may have been the only one not drinking champagne) I was asked if I wanted it shaken or stirred, with lemon twist or olive. The house is Bombay Sapphire. The 12 Euros martini (stirred & with an olive) was very nice, indeed, and accompanied by little Japanese snacky cracker things (you all know which ones I’m talking about even if I don’t know what they’re called) and olives.

Mathieu, the bartender, was not only friendly, but obviously interested in cocktails. We got into a discussion on whether the tendency is to shake or stir in the US and where to find good cocktails in Paris. Both he and the 2nd bartender there last night (Antonio? Or maybe Antonio is the third who wasn’t there) both came from high end hotel bars, so they know what they’re doing – and also know how to cater to demanding cocktail clients from other places. (And, incidentally, if it matters to anyone just visiting Paris, they speak English). In talking with Mathieu, I get the impression that he makes a point of exploring the cocktail scene beyond Paris to keep up with new trends and tastes. (He was telling me about his visit to the London Milk and Honey)

He showed me the upstairs area and seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the place. When I asked what the bar snacks were like, he later brought me over a plate of the spring rolls to try (nice, light, summery, and with a tasty, but not overpowering sauce). For my second round, I asked his opinion & after getting some information on my preferences served me a tasty and refreshing tequila-based concoction. Matthieu (not the bartender, but my one consistent drinking partner on Wednesday nights) declared his drink the best he’s had so far in our trials. (strangely I can’t remember the exact name of what he ordered – something Mambo? –it was good, but not my favorite – a bit too coconutty – but that’s purely personal taste on my part)

As I left I tried to make reservations to come back on Sunday with some out of town visitors for champagne. But, sadly, they are closed on Sunday and Monday.

Overall, I was very pleased with this choice. The knowledge/service/price combo was excellent. And, while they don’t have the same range of spirits and bitters (they only have angostura) as the Experimental Cocktail Club, I forgive them that, since their main focus is champagne. Knowing now I need reservations – I have them for Saturday to try their champagne and will also be checking out their Tuesday night happy hour. (buy one drink, second one offered)


Edited by Forest (log)

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Flute update

Mathieu, the bartender who made the drinks that so pleased me last Wednesday at Flute, is now moving onto George V. Antonio, who replaces him, pours a nice glass of champagne, but I can't vouch for his cocktail skills. The other bartender (who's name, again, I don't remember) did make us a nice cocktail before leaving. (full disclosure: I had this cocktail after sharing a bottle of champagne with a girlfriend) (full full disclosure: and a pre-outing cocktail at my place - so cocktail assessing abilities may not have been at their height when I tried it) Will report back if I have any big changes of opinion next time I try it. (on a side note, we also tried more bar snacks: smoked salmon and the cheese plate, which were both nice)

ETA: if you're interested in the atmosphere, the place was dead-empty last night (we left at around 11pm, so I don't know what it got like later) although jam-packed on Wed. We didn't mind as it gave us a chance to sit at the bar and chat with the people working - but if you're looking for a hot spot, I can't say Saturday night before 11pm is the time to go.


Edited by Forest (log)

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Over the years, we have set price records for cocktails at Fouquet's, Meurice and the Bristol.  Think of it this way; you are renting a table in one of the most desirable places on Earth, and you own it as long as you want to stay.  It's only $$$$.

i completely appreciate that...and as someone who loves cocktails, i'm not afraid to pay for them. But, i did, tonight, have a bit of a thought based on Narcissus' comment about paying 3 times the price for twice the quality - when does a cocktail get silly expensive without the return in quality? just got back from Flute - which is now up there with ECC for me...will give details tomorrow. But i do have to question: is my goal to 'rent a table' or have a damn good cocktail. if i just wanted the table, I could have just had a pernod (which I like as well) for less than ten bucks at laperouse.

Mind you, we ordered one cocktail, the Kir Royale, and one aperitif, the Lillet Blanc. There is no preparation or presentation for the Lillet. A simple pour in a simple glass. We could have bought and entire bottle at the local supermarche for the price at Le Meurice. It was romantic, I have to say. We were made to feel comfortable even though we were renting a flat nearby. When I am in Paris, the ROI on my experiences is always in my favor. We have wonderful memories and just dive in. Of course we can do it less expensive, but dressing for dinner and having a cocktail at one of the best hotels in the world is priceless.

I wouldn't do it again, though. Maybe George V next :wink:


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I second Forest's recommendation for Experimental Cocktail Club. ECC is close to my apartment, so I frequent it quite often. The design of the room is a perfect mingling of old french with modern accents. The cocktails are spot on, and as Forest has mentioned, the bartenders aren't afraid to suggest a cheaper liquor for a mixed drink when they think "you wont taste the difference".

The playlist changes as night progresses starting with a mellow set of Belle and Sebastian and Edif Piaf and moving into more upbeat modern pop/rock/dance. Sometimes the Piano in the center of the bar gets into the mix as well.

The crowd is perfect antithesis of the Champs Elysses crowd; easy going, casual and not checking over their shoulder every time someone enters the front door.

I think place would get lost in the mix if it was in NYC, but here in Paris it stands alone.


"When planning big social gatherings at our home, I wait until the last minute to tell my wife. I figure she is going to worry either way, so I let her worry for two days rather than two weeks."
-EW

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La Famille

41, rue des Trois Frères 75018

Tél : 01-42-52-11-12

When I was young, my mother always said not to drink too much or play with dry ice. And, I also remember that old urban legend about the kid who died from eating pop rocks. So, for last night’s cocktail adventure, I decided to tempt fate and do all three of the above in one glass. (It was actually liquid nitrogen, not dry ice – however, it does make all the drinks look like various Halloween themed things that I was told not to touch as a child)

La Famille is a small (and busy) restaurant on Montmartre with a very friendly and warm vibe. All the staff is impressively welcoming, but I was especially taken by Houssin, the bartender. The 'bar' is a small counter with five or six stools. I knew immediately this wasn’t a place to order a martini, but rules are rules. I ordered my drink and he asked me if I wanted it shaken or stirred. (And was the second bartender during my adventures to tell me that Americans prefer them shaken, while French prefer them stirred.) I took it stirred. Houssin, apologetically, told me the only Gin in the bar was Gordon’s. He chilled the glass with liquid nitrogen while preparing the drink: a good measure of vermouth and the Gordons. Afterwards, he said himself that it probably wasn’t the best martini I’ve had. I agreed, but it was the ingredients, not the technique, so I couldn’t fault his skills.

There is no drink menu, so while I had my martini, Matthieu started with the drink of the day. I really can’t tell you what was in it – basil? – but it arrived smoking cold and adorned with poki sticks and teddy bears. Now I might have said it before, but I’m not a big fan of drink-accessories. If you put something in my cocktail, it better be more than just a pretty face. But, I was already so tickled by the place that I barely batted an eye and certainly didn’t think “what the hell are those bears doing in his drink!?”

Houssin is an artist who uses cocktail ingredients as his medium. (and I say that specifically – rather than saying he is a “cocktail artist”) He thinks drinks should touch the five senses and have a meaning behind them. Our second round were “shots” – little drinks in cubicle glasses topped with a spoon of chocolate pop rocks and smoking from a dose of nitrogen. Now, I’m not sure I understood him correctly (it was a bit noisy) but I swear he said they had gin and cranberry in them (but they were green?)

Regardless of how busy the place was (and the fact that he was making cocktails for just about everyone in the restaurant as well as those of us squeezed up to the bar) he remained friendly, chatty and obviously so enthused by what he was doing that it’s hard not to let his excitement color your feelings and make you think you want pop rocks with all your cocktails. At one point, a crowd gathered to watch him making mango caviar. (I say ‘caviar’ – but they were actually very large, but the process was the same). Now, I know for our fellow eGulleteers over in the spirits and cocktails & NYC forums, molecular gastronomized cocktails are nothing new. But, this is definitely something different for Paris. (and Houssin did say that he strives to be different). And considering the effort he puts into these, they are a bargain at around 11 Euros. (actually, I have no idea of the exact prices – I’m making a guess based on our total bill, but with no menu, I’m not sure)

So my overall take is that I can’t really rate this by my usual cocktail bar standards. Just go visit this fun, friendly, funky bunch. (and best to do so right at 8pm when they open or later in the evening after the dinner rush) They probably don’t need the advertisement because the place was jam-packed, but you’ll have a good time and appreciate the atmosphere. Don’t bother with a martini; just put yourself in Houssin’s hands.


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Houssin is an artist who uses cocktail ingredients as his medium.  (and I say that specifically – rather than saying he is a “cocktail artist”)  He thinks drinks should touch the five senses and have a meaning behind them.

Hussain certainly does. Did he serve you the Global Warming cocktail? My favorite.

It is based on a pink concoction of (I think) strawberry and watermelon juices frozen with liquid nitrogen, the usual Pokis and capsules stuck into that, and lying on its back upon the ice, a small white-chocolate-covered marshmallow bear partly covered with rasperry coulis.

The composition symbolizes the dying polar bears on the melting icefield.

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Houssin is an artist who uses cocktail ingredients as his medium.  (and I say that specifically – rather than saying he is a “cocktail artist”)  He thinks drinks should touch the five senses and have a meaning behind them.

Hussain certainly does. Did he serve you the Global Warming cocktail? My favorite.

It is based on a pink concoction of (I think) strawberry and watermelon juices frozen with liquid nitrogen, the usual Pokis and capsules stuck into that, and lying on its back upon the ice, a small white-chocolate-covered marshmallow bear partly covered with rasperry coulis.

The composition symbolizes the dying polar bears on the melting icefield.

I didn't get that one myself, but I saw him making a version of that one for someone else & I got the bear story from him as well when he was making it. :smile:


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i haven't foresaken my Wednesday Cocktail Adventures, I just haven't had time to post. But, some new information: Experimental Cocktail Club (which still remains my top spot for high end cocktails in Paris) has opened a second bar in Paris:

Curio Parlor

16 rue des Bernardins

Paris V

I haven't been yet, but will be checking it out for next Wednesday & reporting back on it (and maybe a few others in the meantime)


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And, one other 'update' - i think there was a discussion upthread about the cost of the cocktails at Hemingway. I went there in the last couple of weeks ago with Tall Drink of Water and Little Miss Foodie (thanks, Dayne!) and I believe our cocktails were around 30 Euros (give or take a couple)...which I would say is pretty pricey for drinks.


Edited by Forest (log)

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I've been to a few cocktail-duds since my last post, but can happily say that the Curio Parlor, 16 rue des Bernardins, second bar from the guys that own the Experimental, was equally excellent in terms of cocktails, price, service and atmosphere. A great cocktail find.

Otherwise, I won't go into detail on all the others we tried. But, if anyone is interested in our trials, I've started blogging my Wednesday Cocktail Adventures seperately (as it seems a bit excessive to keep posting up such long descriptions). But, I'll make sure and update this thread if i come across anything else that is must-try.


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"I have some great spots for you to check out…First a bar owner here in NYC has two happening bars in Paris. Phillip Morgan who owns Suba here in the city owns Stolly in Paris and the Lizard Lounge in the Marais District.

A bar crawl would be incomplete in Paris without a stop at Hemingways favorite bar the American Bar in the Ritz Hotel Dress for this one, and please say hello to Colin Field the Master bartender in residence. The original Harry's New York bar opened in 1911 is a must for a hamburger and a Bloody Mary.

Finally near the Plaza Vendome is the bar in the Hotel Costes very classy"

so said dale de groff on egullet in 2002 - are these bars still going strong and are they worth a visit? Am over this weekend and was looking for inspiration... Experimental cocktail club is a must as is Costes and le fumoir but apart from that i am a bit stuck


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Hi nikkib

I'd say these days, Experimental is the must for cocktail-lovers as is their 2nd bar Curio Parlor. (I prefer the Exeprimental, but that's just personal preference, nothing to do with the quality of the drinks.) The Experimental is serving up a nice Death & Co Fresa Brava and the Curio has a great Spiced Mule (with Loscombe Ginger Beer & El Dorado Rum)

Stolly's and Lizard Lounge are both very popular anglo bars. I haven't had cocktails in either for awhile, but they're worth a stop if you want a lively anglo-crowd, friendly service. The Lizard Lounge does a good club sandwhich or burger for lunch and has a pretty long list of standard and house cocktails. They have a "legendary martini" listed on their menu. It was lunch time so I didn't order it - but when i asked them what made them legendary, no one seemed to know. :smile: but, all of those bars in that group are a good time with a young anglo/french crowd, funky atmosphere, etc. I consider cocktails in these bars of a different callibre than those of something like Experimental, which really elevates the craft. But, they're worth a visit for the fun atmosphere and they do do a good job with their drinks. Also, in this league (of good cocktails/fun areas, not in the top echelon, but excellent options for Paris) is Kabanito. You're not going to get a Sidecar exactly the way you might in bars that are following classic recipes to the T, or where you have master mixologists giving you a well thought out take on classic recipes. But, you will get enjoyable drinks at the bar from staff that want their clients to enjoy their drinks! (this is not so much an anglo-crowd & it's funner to sit at the bar)

Possibly (just possibly because I haven't tried the Stollys/Lizard cocktails in awhile) a better bet for a Suba connected bar for cocktails is the caveau montpensier. Order off their specialty list: the chili margarita if you like spicy drinks. The usual bartender, Robert, is a very nice Scottish guy and will surely do his best to make you up something you like (although there is not a HUGE selection of booze behind the bar)

Yes, check out Costes for an upscale hotel bar experience.

Regarding Harry's, it's a bit of an institution, so EVERYONE feels like they have to visit Harry's. I like it fine, but (somewhere upthread I talked about it) probably wouldn't take cocktail-drinking visitors there if they are only here for a weekend.

As for the Ritz, it's another one that everyone has to visit. And, while I also wouldn't make this a regular cocktail stop, I suppose it's worth a stop. I went there with Little Miss Foodie and Tall Drink of Water earlier this year when they were over for a visit and I think the three of us were all a tiny bit disappointed. It's not that the drinks aren't excellent...it's just that you are paying for a lot more than the drinks themselves. (we were paying over 30 Euros a drink...and that's not cheap when you are converting it to dollars) if you're a serious cocktail drinker, I don't really suppose there's a way you can bypass this...but it's not my most recommended spot.

I'm still pretty smitten with La Famille for their crazy liquid nitrous drinks and the super friendly staff. I had a visitor in town a couple of weekends ago who wanted to try some cocktails so we went in there - and they were, as usual, lively, friendly and fun. The usual bartender there, Houssin, will take the time to make you something extra crazy fancy if you ask for it (and are patient enough to wait for it)

And finally, for very good cocktails, I would also suggest the Forvm Bar. Although I think i posted a somewhat coolish post on it somewhere earlier, I think for Paris, they do a damn fine job with their drinks.

Happy cocktailing! Let me know if you try any of these or come across anything new and interesting.


Edited by Forest (log)

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