The craze for cocktail bars in Paris
Some might say that there is nothing new about the cocktail bars that have opened in Paris in recent years: Harry’s Bar (2nd) has been around for ages. True, but unlike American bars, many recent venues have succeeded in attracting and developing a new younger clientele, free of traditional French social conventions in terms of alcoholic drinks. A phenomenon comparable to the one developed in gastronomy, which has also reinvented itself, especially in Paris. Whisky Coca and other Tequila Sunrise cocktails are no longer in favour with these new fans of more sophisticated cocktails. And as drinking less is the order of the day, drinking better quality cocktails seems to be the view of these cocktail fans.
Tips to help you choose a cocktail bar
Most important of all, good cocktails
Obviously, the reputation of a cocktail bar is firstly down to the quality of its drinks, but also due to the originality of the menu and ingredients used.
Unlike in a restaurant where the cook is usually ‘behind the scenes’, the bartender is in full view of everyone. Their appearance is therefore as important as the decor and atmosphere. Pompous posturing is now out and today you’ll be served by smartly dressed bartenders sporting tattoos and rings.
Cocktail bars have to be inventive with their decor to create the atmosphere of the place. Although there is a trend in Paris for revisiting the clandestine speakeasies of the prohibition era, some bars, like Dirty Dick, have opted for a beach atmosphere and there’s even one with a submarine theme, the UC-61.
The sound track obviously determines the atmosphere of a place … When the music is very festive or specialist it has added value. And it is of course played by DJs, and even broadcast by the establishment’s e-radio.
The world of cocktails has followed the new trend in cooking and favours seasonal ingredients. ‘But it also creates in-house concoctions: juices, cordials, bitters … which differ from manufactured products’, underlines Fabien Lombardi from the Entrée des artistes.
Cocktails are no longer only drunk as an aperitif or as an after-dinner liqueur. So, some places have followed the lead of wine bars to put food on the menu and play with pairing dishes and cocktails. ‘At the Mary Celeste, we immediately thought of an oyster bar’, says Carlos Madriz.
The skills of a bartender, knowing how to play with recipes, moves things up a gear: the creation of neo-classics, barrel-aged cocktails … ‘the Mojito era is long gone and customers are looking for something daring in their glass’ states Amaury Guyot from the Sherry Butt.
Finally, the people
Without doubt, a good bar should have gender parity. Thank goodness cocktails quickly became a hit with women, finally at ease with slipping into the skin of a screen heroine from Sex in the City.
Suggestions of cocktail bars in Paris:
10 Rue Frochot, 9e
4 rue de l’Arc de Triomphe, 17e