Bars in Bastille

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Charlie

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Two euros don't get you far in the capital: they'll stretch to the cheapest sandwich in Franprix, or one métro trip plus a couple of carambars, but no further. Unless you're hanging out at Charlie, whose owner Charlotte has struck upon the novel idea of selling half pints for the unheard-of price of €2 (or pints for €4). All night long. Music and conversation flow as freely as the brown stuff in this affable joint, where the sofas are comfy and acoustic guitars are laid out for customer use. Beerophobes can opt for a cocktail (€5 during happy hour) – classics are served alongside more elaborate creations courtesy of Charlotte and the chefs at her restaurant Miel et Paprika, situated across the road.

  1. 29 rue de Cotte, 12e
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Le Réservoir

Le Réservoir

Le Réservoir - Mary De Vivo

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Le Reservoir restaurant, bar and club in Paris is found in the city's nightlife quarter between Nation and Bastille and find it you should. This exciting place is an energetic, warm and welcoming place to dine well, dance and hear some pretty fabulous music ranging from jazz and reggae to rock and house. The decor is not cold minimalism, but neo-baroque with wrought iron lighting, gilt furniture, mirrors and candles everywhere and hung with an excellent standard of original art. The menu -- philosophy 'fresh produce, respectful cuisine, passion, love and hard work -- features a generous, global mix of, say, lobster in chartreuse with pear, rice and passion fruit vinaigrette, mountain hay-cooked canon of lamb with juniper gravy and dried fruit pancake. The ambience is superb. Service goes on until 5 am at weekends and the Sunday brunch is famous among clubbers as the best way to recharge for the week ahead.

  1. 16 rue de la Forge Royale, 11e
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Le Red House

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Le Red House, dominated by a majestic bull’s skull hanging over the bar, has the air of a Texan saloon in the middle of Bastille. The clientele are neither uber-trendy nor cattle herders: the crowd is colourful, young, lively, loud and out for a good time. There’s a good live DJ almost every day, spinning rock, punk, funk and electro, and the place never seems to be empty – luckily the venue is huge, with two connected rooms with exposed beams, each equipped with their own bars.The main attraction at Red House is the happy hour from 5pm-8pm – €5 a pint, €6 for house cocktails, prepared with quality liquors. Some of them are over-sweetened, but the good ones are great: we tip our Stetsons to the Wild West Side (tequila, chilli, cucumber and lime), the Red House Flambeau (bourbon, apricot brandy, spicy syrup, lemon and ginger). Also look out for the menu of off the wall seasonal cocktails – in winter 2012, they include the Fucking Legend (Mezcal, Chartreuse, falernum syrup, lime and mint).

  1. 1 bis, rue de la Forge Royale, 12e
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© C.G.

© C.G.

Twenty One Sound Bar

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A hip-hop bar in Paris? The novel Twenty One Sound near Bastille is a temple to American hip-hop – both East and West coasts – but also of dance hall tunes and French rap. Numerous DJs take to the decks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, mixing old school sets and brand new tracks on the powerful sound system. Beautiful girls from the banlieues sway their hips on the dance floor, surrounded by equally beautiful men in an exotic, always friendly atmosphere. Sometimes, big names like Joey Starr play here. The bar offers free or cheap entry, and drinks (including a range of flavoured rums) at affordable prices. The décor is sober, all polished concrete and brushed steel, and the dance floor long and narrow.

  1. 20 rue de la Forge Royale, 11e
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L'Entre Potes

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A play on the word ‘l’entrepôt’, ‘warehouse’, L’Entre Potes (‘between friends’) is a discreet bar full of surprises, from the huge vintage Ripolin paint company sign on the ground floor and the collection of tools that reference the building’s history as an upholstery factory, to the basement, which friendly owner Ali has cleverly decorated with mosaics and panels from an abandoned Métro station.Drinks-wise, L'Entre Potes offers a good selection of affordable cocktails and whiskeys. As well as the classics (Bloody Mary, Long Island Ice Tea), try the Kamikaze (triple sec and lemon), the Sidecar (cognac, Cointreau and lemon) or the Mont Julep (bourbon, mint and sugar), and enjoy them on one of the basement’s comfortable armchairs.

  1. 14 rue de Charonne, 11e
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Le Zéro Zéro

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The human body really packs down: if you don’t believe us, just check out Zéro Zéro of a weekend. It’s a battle even to open the door to the bar, which squeezes an immoderate number of people into a few square metres. The only solution is to dance along with everybody else, while spilling as little as possible of one’s drink. But if things do go bottoms up and you soak a few shirts, there’s no reason to fear: everyone quickly lets go in this highly charged and celebratory atmosphere.The reason for all this roaring success? The music, to start with – every day, the vinyl is expertly managed by house, minimal and hip-hop/funk DJs. The style, too: a tapestry of 70s orange flowers, disappearing behind layers of graffiti that stretch from floor to ceiling. Such an easy-going attitude to space is a novelty in in Paris. But most of all it’s the staff that make it great: the enthusiastic young owners are there every evening keeping things alive. The cocktails too: strawberry Daiquiris and other flavourful creations at great prices (€6.5-€7.5). But the secret weapon of the venue is the Zéro Zéro, a drink with a rum-ginger base with a jealously guarded recipe, whose price has risen from €2.80 to €3 in 15 years.

  1. 89 rue Amelot, 11e
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Ateliers de Charonne

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

This spanking new jazz club is the place to see the rising stars of gypsy jazz (jazz manouche). If you want to grab a good spot near the front of the stage, reserve for dinner and the show.

  1. 21 rue de Charonne, 11e
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DR

DR

China

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The China is a chic Asian bar-restaurant and gig venue whose exotic décor seems inspired by a 1930s Shanghai colonial club. With padded leather Chesterfield sofas, red walls, dark wood panelling and a black and white checkerboard floor, the shadowy warmth of this lounge is in the best tradition of a British gentleman’s club. Behind a splendid chrome counter, discreet staff prepare distinguished cocktails, like the Hemingway (a visionary alchemy of brown Cuban rum, Cointreau, lime and grapefruit) – we recommend you take advantage of the happy hour (5pm ‘til 8pm) to sample them for €6 instead of €12. For those who prefer a good vintage, the wine list is enormous. If you’re not afraid to splash out on your credit card, head to the dining area to taste their Asian fusion cuisine, like a tender medallion of chicken gently scented with shiitake mushrooms and Thai lemon. Fancy an after-dinner tipple? Head upstairs for a good cognac in the cigar lounge, which sports a fireplace and a library of old books. You’ll also find a ‘genuine smoking room’ outside, in a winter garden livened up with bamboo plants. In the basement, there are two free concerts every evening, mostly jazz, soul, pop and world music (detailed program on the website).  As the venue is well known for its good gigs, the comfortable leather sofas soon fill up, so arrive early or reserve a table if you don’t want to finish propping up the

  1. 50 rue de Charenton, 12e
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© Camille Griffoulières

© Camille Griffoulières

Les Disquaires

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

In its newly-renovated, shiny red interior, Les Disquaires’s little stage directly faces the dancefloor and the decks, and temporary exhibitions by Parisian artists decorate the walls around the bar. The venue is a good Bastille quarter bet for enjoying a quality gig over a cocktail or a beer during happy hour, and even music novices will always find something to enjoy in the programme of live jazz, funk, hip-hop and soul. For those who want to press on until the early hours (2am), the organisers always have a DJ set or two up their sleeve. It’s always a good idea to look in here to get an idea of what’s setting Parisian pulses racing – for the programme details, take a look at their website (French only).

  1. 6 rue des Taillandiers, 11e
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© Alexandre Marillat

Pop In

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The temple to indie pop in Paris, Pop In is like a little island of London style in the lively Rue Amelot. Wedging a hip crowd of well-coiffed youth in checked shirts and leather jackets into its cramped space, the bar plays pop-rock from the Beatles to cutting-edge indie groups. On the first floor, there’s an idealised British salon with a piano and old second hand sofas, which is a lovely place for a beer. Illogically, you have to take the stairs from here to reach the underground performance space, where every evening little groups come and do their thing. The music is free, and the quality can be a little uneven, but it’s always a pleasure to discover an international and unpretentious alternative Parisian music scene. Come early on the weekends, as it’s full to bursting during happy hour.

  1. 105 rue Amelot, 11e
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© Régis Mestre

© Régis Mestre

4 Eléments

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The latest addition to the very active Rue Amelot, the 4 Eléments is an electro bar-club whose DJs plays sets of minimal, house and techno. A rare 100% electro destination for clubbers, its specialised programme attracts a faithful crowd of devotees, who are also probably not averse to the free entry and the friendly bouncers. Other advantages: happy hour runs from 6pm to 9pm, and it’s open until 4am on weekends.There are always good temporary exhibitions of drawings or photos on the walls, but as you might expect the four elements (earth, fire, air and water) define the décor. On the way in you come face to face with a huge orange-painted bar (fire) which serves good cocktails, a DJ booth with a good sound system and a little dance floor. Behind the bar is the chill out room, all green with leafy murals (earth), where you can kick back on a huge banquette that runs around the whole room. These two rooms have direct access to the toilets, with their impressive glowing blue fountain (water, obviously). Near the entrance, a staircase takes you to an underground corridor decorated with luminous cubes, leading nowhere but the smoking area (wind). The programme is available on their website. 149 Rue Amelot

  1. 149 rue Amelot, 11e
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© Nate Bolt

© Nate Bolt

Le Motel

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Squirreled away in an alleyway near the Bastille, Le Motel is the ideal hangout for fans of hip electro-pop-rock. The very friendly staff serve explosive cocktails like the Vodka-Tatin (apple and cinnamon flavoured, like the tart), the Joe (vodka and watermelon) or the Leon des Bois (vodka, lime, strawberry and mint), and the cheese and charcuterie boards are half price during happy hour (6pm-9pm). Find a seat on one of the semi-circle of second hand sofas arranged around the bar, and as the evening progresses, DJs perform electrifying sets that ensure a packed dance floor on weekends. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and alternate Sundays there’s a pop quiz that attracts many regulars, with their impressive musical knowledge.

  1. 8 passage Josset, 11e
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© Olivia Rutherford

© Olivia Rutherford

La Mécanique Ondulatoire

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The Bastille area is well known as a haunt of rock fans, and La Mécanique Ondulatoire [the wave machine] is a fantastic bazaar of retro souvenirs and vintage furniture spread over two floors. On the ground floor, a stunning wall of every imaginable alcohol gives you an idea of the well-priced cocktails concocted here. Downstairs, there are DJs and rock, ska, punk and metal gigs (even on Sundays, sometimes), inviting you to hum along, tap your feet or, if you’re feeling really brave, to get down and mosh. Entry to the bar is free and downstairs is around €5-€6, so there’s nothing stopping you donning some leather and tattered jeans and giving that day’s act a look.

  1. 8 passage Thiéré, 11e
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© © Jean-Christophe Godet

© © Jean-Christophe Godet

Le Baron Rouge

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Le Baron Rouge is a lifeline for food lovers who turn up at the Aligre market just as the stallholders are putting away their wares, and who feel like they might be about to die of hunger. Don’t worry – you can come here to eat, and to slake your thirst for good wine with quality local vintages in a blue-collar bar that has no time for pretentious oenophiles. On Sundays, they also offer oysters with a good Sancerre, or a plate of charcuterie with a good robust red.In this tiny den devoted to the glory of wine, the walls are carpeted with bottles and barrels are stacked from floor to ceiling. If you arrive a little late for after-work drinks, there’s no hope of getting even half an elbow on the bar – you’ll be out on the pavement along with pretty much everybody else. Those locals in the know bring their empty bottles here to fill them direct – and more cheaply – from the barrels. There’s also a good selection of bottles available to take away.

  1. 1 rue Théophile Roussel, 12e
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© Camille Griffoulières

© Camille Griffoulières

Tape Bar

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

To get away from the overloaded Rue de Lappe in the Bastille quarter, frequented by students and tourists, follow the Rue de la Roquette to a little bar that’s close by but a world away. Tape Bar recalls New York’s underground dive scene with its mix-tape, street-art feel, and is owned by friendly, dynamic young people who leave graffiti artists to express themselves on the walls and the DJs to mix mostly hip-hop and funk sets, with some dubstep, drum’n’bass and rock as well. The ambiance is relaxed, the drinks affordable, the hipster crowd young, and it all stays humming until late. During happy hour, cocktails and hot dogs are at €4, a real bargain.

  1. 21 rue de la Roquette, 11e
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DR

DR

Le Lèche Vin

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This is a typical Parisian bistro that has quickly become a place of pilgrimage. It’s not because the walls are covered with icons, but because a sweet and convivial atmosphere reigns – that of a familial bistro de papa. You won’t find choirs singing here, but groove, jazz and hip-hop sounds, the soundtrack to evenings that don’t always finish in an entirely Catholic manner.

  1. 13 rue Daval, 11e
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P'tit Bar

P'tit Bar C.G.

Le P'tit Bar

  • Rated as: 2/5
  • Price band: 1/4

You couldn't invent this place if you tried: local soaks, immigrant South Americans, twentysomething students, Brits and retired war veterans all pop in for a taste of the most surreal experience in town, courtesy of the elderly Madame Polo, her fluffy cat and her canaries. Madame P is surely the last living link to a forgotten Paris and proof that in this age of excessive health and safety concerns, there are still places here that manage to slip through the net. A word of warning: don't drink out of the glasses - Madame Polo isn't too keen on cleaning. We recommend you opt instead for a €3 bottle of beer.

  1. 7 rue Richard Lenoir, 11e
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© C.G.

© C.G.

Le 138

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Le 138 on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine is a discreet bar a few paces from the Bastille, and a good place to have a last drink after 2am without having to scream into your neighbour’s ear in some pounding club. Rather, Le 138 is a vast, comfortable bar with subdued lighting, deliberately well-worn shabby chic décor and a background of well-chosen rock music. Combined with vaguely baroque furniture and mismatched overstuffed leather sofas, it all adds up to an invitation to flop down and have a drink at any hour of the day or night. There’s a huge bar overlooking a long room, whose bay windows are filled with light during the day. Two other little rooms connect to this one, leading to a staircase and then an underground space where you can take a turn around the dance floor.The staff are affable, and the kitchens open at every hour, turning out various simple salads and sandwiches. The menu covers cocktails, reasonably-priced wines and bottled beers, and the prices stay affordable even if they go up in the small hours. Happy hour until 9pm.

  1. 138 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 12e
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Panic Room

Panic Room

Panic Room

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This newcomer has quickly carved out a niche on the rock scene, and it's not nearly as daunting as its name suggests. The excellent Goldrush collective has live acts and DJs blasting the sound system in the basement, while upstairs friendly barmen serve affordable cocktails behind a concrete counter. The indie crowd and occasional media celebs are loving it.

  1. 101 rue Amelot, 11e
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© Jessica Orchard

Pause Café

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4

Featured in Cedric Klapisch's 1996 film Chacun Cherche son Chat, which was shot on location in the neighbourhood, the Pause Café has managed to prolong its moment of glory thanks to its large terrace on the corner of rues Charonne and Keller. Inside, the modern salons benefit from a smattering of primary colours with ornately plastered ceilings and plenty of light. Having been immortalised on celluloid, the friendly staff occasionally let fame go to their heads: service can be excruciatingly slow at times. The food - French café fare with an Asian twist - is not bad, but you might be waiting for a while; best to order a well-mixed cocktail to pass the time.

  1. 41 rue de Charonne, 11e
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Les Furieux

Les Furieux

Les Furieux

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

This rock’n’roll bar in the middle of the Rue de la Roquette is an anachronism – don’t waste your pennies on the old jukebox unless you have a yearning for Aerosmith, Guns N’Roses, the Stones or The Clash – all the rock, metal, punk and Goth hits that have sent over-excited long-haired revellers into transports for more than half a century. This shadowy dive with its red velvet banquettes offers deplorable cocktails like the Grunge, the Stockholm Syndrome or Le Trottoir, which is the colour of engine oil. A wide choice of absinthes completes the throat-searing selection. Open until 5am on weekends, with concerts.

  1. 74 rue de la Roquette, 11e
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© Emmanuel Chirache

© Emmanuel Chirache

Trucmush

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4

The front end of a Peugeot Twingo sheltering the DJ decks is only the first wacky design feature to grab your attention in this cool, lively, slightly trippy bar – the impression builds as you take in the stuffed flowers, the cheerful orange walls, and the car pressed into service as a table. The décor is a definite draw for this little bar hidden in a dead-end street near Bastille, almost as much as the rock-bottom prices. A word of warning – the clientele is very young (think freshers) and the mojitos aren’t great, but the Grimm on tap does the job and the music is eclectic without being commercial. The tiny dance floor and the back room get pretty rammed on the weekends, so come during the week if you want to be able to hear yourself think.

  1. 5 passage Thiéré, 11e
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© Camille Griffoulières

© Camille Griffoulières

Troll Café

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Oh Belgium, with its crisps shacks and its beers! The Troll Café, hidden in a small road near the Bastille in front of Nul Bar Ailleurs, is a pub that honours the glory of barley malt and hops, well worth the stop for those weary of Amstel. The menu has 120 Belgian beer options, in all their forms: on tap, bottle, brown, white and amber. The choice is so vast that your best bet is to ask the bartenders for advice on choosing between, for example, bottles from Duvel, Chimay, Orval, Westmalle, Chouffe and even Ch’ti. For a really exceptional taste, the bartender can help you pick one of seven beers meticulously made by Trappist monks using centuries-old recipes. On tap, there are artisanal beers like Troll or Delirium Tremens. In terms of décor, vintage beer posters for Krieg, Mort Subite, and others cover the walls. The ambiance is fun without being crazy, and even on football nights you can still chill and sip your beer.

  1. 27 rue de la Cotte, 12e
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Jesse Richard

L'OPA

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Late opening and Eric Perier's diverse range of nightly entertainment - DJs (weekends), videos, live acts (Tuesday to Thursdays) and the odd open mic event - are the attractions here, along with free admission and reasonable drinks prices. A couple of comfortable sofas take the edge off the loft-like, institutional interior, with a modest stage in one corner and an upstairs chill-out space and separate bar.

  1. 9 rue Biscornet, 12e
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SanZ SanS

SanZ SanS DR

SanZ SanS

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

The Sanz brothers set up their bar-restaurant a stone’s throw from the Place de la Bastille, where for almost 20 years, SanZ SanS has hosted trendy evenings out that start with an aperitif and don’t slow down until dawn. The decor is chic and baroque with chairs covered in zebra-striped fabric, huge, glitzy moulded mirrors, a vast tinsel chandelier and red velvet from floor to ceiling and a menu offering classic, brasserie-style meals. At night, the bar turns into a soul, funk and hip hop club. No live bands, but there are DJs, with many coming from the famous radio station Generation 88.2. Admission is almost always free, making SanZ SanS a great place to dance after 2am.

  1. 49 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 11e
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Chapelle des Lombards

Chapelle des Lombards

Chapelle des Lombards

  • Rated as: 3/5

With Afrojazz and Latino bands and DJs providing the music, Latinos and Africans lead the dancefloor in this popular world music venue. Note: smart dress only.

  1. 19 rue de Lappe, 11e
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La Scène Bastille

  • Rated as: 2/5
  • Price band: 3/4

This tastefully decorated club-bar-restaurant complex holds regular rock concerts, as well as club events most Thursdays to Saturdays. The programming here changes constantly, so check what's on. Popular gay nights too. The monthly Saturday night boys' party Code 69 heats things up with club and electro mixes. As of 2013, the team behind the former lesbian bar Troisième Lieu hosts a gay-friendly party, Le Bal du Grand Fuck, with a smattering of boys among a sea of fist-pumping girls. Either way, the music is solid, the venue is chilled, and the drinks aren’t over the top expensive. While parties start at midnight, allow plenty of time to queue up and attack the coat-check, a true test of patience. Inside, a solitary bar in the back keeps the dancers hydrated as the DJ spins on stage. Great for groups and innocent fun, either party is a no-frills, laid-back alternative to many of Paris’s other offerings. Plan on a €15 cover for Saturday’s Code 69 and €10 for Le Bal du Grand Fuck on Friday.

  1. 2 bis rue des Taillandiers, 11e
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Les Caves de Prague

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Travel guides routinely point tourists to Le Baron Rouge, declaiming it to be the best wine bar around the Marché d'Aligre. If only they'd thought to look around the corner. For our money, Les Caves de Prague does the same job, but better: equally fine wines, fewer crowds and no corkage fee (buy one of their bottles, and you can drink it onsite for free).Despite the venue's name, the selection tends toward French produce – we took the sommelier's advice and went for an excellent bottle of Les Débonnaires from Chinon. Food is the usual wine-inspired affair: patrons chow down on pâtés, meat platters and rye bread on the pretty outdoor terrace, or around a large wooden table in winter. The overall effect is more 'neighbourhood bar' than 'hipster hangout', and all the better for it.

  1. 8 rue de Prague, 12e
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