The cocktail scene in Paris has drastically matured in the last few years. Whether you’re an aficionados or amateur, rejoice as we’ve made an ultimate list of the best cocktails bars, all tried and tested with our twist of course by our local in the know. Everything from speakeasy retro-chic to modern adoption on classics that’s shaking things up.
Sure, there are many traditional spots that have been written about time and time again, but we really wanted to highlight some of our favorites mostly in the cool up and coming hoods of the Marais, Sentier, Oberkampf, South Pigalle etc that we truly adore and that you shouldn’t ignore on your next night out in the French capital!
For all the bars we’ve done our best to also highlight their corresponding neighborhood – so you can really get a feeling of where things are situated in relation to other spots such as hotels or tourist sights.
1. FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR THE BEST: MABEL Cocktail Den & Rum Empire
58 Rue d’Aboukir (75002) (Sentier)
Mabel sits with quiet confidence behind a grilled cheese shop near Metro Sentir. The menu is a careful and lovingly crafted one; it features a full list of cocktails conveniently sorted by flavour profile and an exhaustive list of rums from around the world accompanied by a few, expertly curated, tasting flights. If you find yourself curious about the “rum empire” as it’s called, don’t hesitate to ask questions as they will always be answered warmly. If one word was used to describe this bar it would be “sincere—” and everyone recognises it. The crowd is always buzzing with a sophisticated mix of happy humans. From older to younger, alcohol industry folks, business professionals and artists, the people who work and patron Mabel seem to be as unapologetically cool, casual, and comfortable as the bar itself. Do yourself a favor here and try everything.
2. FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR AN ESCAPE: DIRTY DICK
10 rue Frochot (75009) (South Pigalle)
Tiki has long been recognised as a popular way to softly slip away from the cold grit of one’s homeland into the slow and sultry dreamscapes of an idyllic island life. Dirty Dick is no exception. Each night is different here; from laid back Mondays to a possibly jam packed Thursday, customers are always in for a surprise at the Dirty. Because each drink is beautifully presented and well considered, there’s never a worry about making a wrong selection. It’s smiles all around! Even a giant flaming bowl of mixed drink, available for large groups to sip through foot long straws, is an enjoyable experience. Take a seat in a wicker throne or kick back in the fumoir underneath a giant bust of a tiger and chill. Vibe with charming staff and its equally as charming customers and let the spirit of the pineapple be your guide to a long night of sexy shenanigans.
3. FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR A ROMANTIC CORNER: SHERRY BUTT
20 Rue Beautrellis (75004) (Marais)
Walking into Sherry Butt could possibly give some folks the butterflies, it’s dimly lit presence on a quiet side street is both sexy and intimidating. Once inside this falls away as you glance around the bar at the lush leather seats and dark wood that surround you. The staff is extremely polite, well polished, and eager to serve you with the best. The menu features a variety of unexpected tastes with wasabi garnished mixed drinks, Sirop de Kiwi au Matcha, Umeshu, and a few otherwise difficult to find varieties of fine whiskey. Take anyone here and they are sure to be impressed. This bar has what any good cocktail bar should have: charm, consistency, and creativity. While this is not particularly the party spot, it does generate quite a buzz. Good for groups, better for dates. Advice: don’t be afraid to ask for a classic but the real stars are already offered on the menu.
4. FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR THE DOUBLE THREAT: PASDELOUP
108 rue Amelot (75011) (Oberkampf)
Pas De Loup aces the game by providing the full experience. Small plates accompany a solid beverage program in a not-so-typical cocktail environment. Inside you can find an expansive, well lit atmosphere that is almost Scandinavian in design. For warmer evenings, there is a few outdoor seats that fill quite quickly. Selections on the menu venture from classic meat and cheese to curried fish and other quite spicy small plates. Choosing is difficult which makes it an easy spot to return to time and time again. The staff is super friendly but totally knows how to chat for a second and then leave you to your conversation! Pas De Loup is easy to find, easy to appreciate, and effortlessly welcomes anyone and everyone into its space.
5. FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR THE TASTE OF THE NEW FRANCE: LE SYNDICAT
51 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis (75010) (Faubourg)
Le Syndicat is Paris’s rebellious younger brother on the come up and he’s actively showing us what’s good around the way. The attitude at Le Syndicat is hard to ignore with it’s unapologetic appropriation of generally overlooked selections of exclusively French spirits. The menu features classic selections that have been reimagined, contrasted by a few heavy hitters from an in-house imagination where each boasts ingredients of the old world; from various eau de vie, to calvados, and armagnac. Self-proclaimed the “Organisation de Défence des Spiritueux Français,” Le Syndicat helps us rediscover old favourites. On the weekend, the vibe in the inside can be a bit of a whirlwind but the barmen work together like a well-oiled, alarmingly suave chorus line. Best part though? Wait times are always reasonable and everyone inside is always friendly, this is a great place to go alone or with a small group on any day of the week.
6. FOR THOSE BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET: LE MOTEL
8 passage Joseset (75011) (Bastille)
Go to Le Motel and order the Vodka Tatin. Just do it. In fact, order two. This applesauce-like vodka drink is the shining star of the cocktail menu but you’ll also find a long list of other extremely reasonably priced and creative offerings with crazy mixtures such as gin and cardamom or watermelon and Creme de Peche. Everything is quite sweet here but it’s fun and it feels like a boozy record store. Likewise, the staff is casually friendly in a too cool for school kind of way. Get tipsy and dance freely into the night as DJs spin indie rock and electro. Bring all of your friends and sing and giggle and when you get a bit tired or tipsy check out their bangin’ Planchette Mixte for 5 euro and regenerate just enough to keep dancing.
7. FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR A HEAVY HITTER WITH A HEAVIER SOUNDTRACK: RED HOUSE
1 bis rue de la Forge Royale (75011) (Bastille)
This might be the only place in town where the potential for listening to heavy music, munching on nachos, and enjoying a fancy cocktail could possibly converge. Besides the crushing consistency, Red House shines because of its constantly evolving event schedule. Occasionally these special nights are accompanied by event-specific drink offerings from guest bar or food- folk. The spirit of collaboration is really alive here and it does a terrific job at drawing in a super fun and light hearted community. From film nights to Super Bowl parties, keep an eye on their Facebook for the latest info. Even on nights where nothing out of the ordinary is happening, this bar is the place to be. Because the menu features a taste for everyone, beer lovers, fans of bourbon, sweet tooths, and booze snobs will all find what they love. Go forth sip happily ever after with the giant skull and twinkling christmas lights that welcome you as you walk in.
8. FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR THE SEXY KIND OF KITSCH: BATON ROUGE
62 rue Notre Dame de Lorette (75009) (South Pigalle)
The spirit of a sexy, dark New Orleans is alive in Pigalle! Here you can try a Guinness and Evan Williams Sour, throw peanut shells on the floor, selfie with the instagram-ready decor, and feel like you’ve stepped outside the city. The staff is quite excitable and are more than happy to guide you in your selection since, between the snacks and drinks, the menu is quite expansive. The environment here is well designed and comfortably kitschy. Skulls and nicknacks straight out of the bayou are smiling at you everywhere. Even though the theme is delightfully heavy handed it is clearly tasteful and never once outshines the quality and consistency of the creations! Space is a bit limited but easy to share. The vibe is fun and lively. Stop here as an alternative to boring every day bars and get a taste of southern hospitality.
9. FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR QUALITY WITHOUT THE FUSS: BESPOKE
2 Rue Oberkampf (75011) (Oberkampf)
The staff at Bespoke makes you feel like an instant regular. The cocktail menu is seasonal. For now, the mixture that stands out as the most creative is called “Leather.” It tastes exactly like— well — Leather! Impressive and strange, it is surprisingly refreshing and not overly sweet. Bespoke is nestled in between many other bars but stands out with an air of effortless simplicity. Make sure not to miss their savoury small plates or their brunch on Sundays when there is rumoured to exist top notch waffles and Bloody Marys!
10. FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING QUIRKY: HERO
289 Rue Saint-Denis Paris (75002) (Sentier)
Hero is the new kid on the block bringing a refreshing kick of Korean flavor. They provide some bizarre offerings such as mixtures of booze, almond milk, and tapioca pearls that make for a more adult take on a classic bubble tea and ultra frozen mezcal and and soju slashes perfect for cooling down one’s mouth after some of their spicy fried chicken. It’s a small space and can gets crowded quite quickly but is worth the squeeze. Try the pork bun or that day’s selection of three “snacks coréen” to accompany one of their offbeat creations and it’s a guaranteed good time.
MAP Them All HERE: