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The 100 best bars in Paris

The best places to drink in Paris, reviewed by experts

© Olivia Rutherford

Paris's drinking scene is one of the best and most diverse in the world, with speciality wine bars, craft beer bars and cocktail clubs constantly cropping up across the city. Here's a selection of the best places in Paris to go to get tipsy, tried and tested by Time Out experts. Cheers — or as the French would say  Tchin tchin! 

Al fresco bars

Bars and pubs

Le Bistrot des Dames

The ideal place to bring your friends on a sunny Sunday morning and affirm that life in Paris isn’t just about tarmac and pollution

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Bars and pubs

Ô Paris

One evening on the terrace of this bar and you too will be singing ‘Ô Paris, c'est beau Paris!’

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After hours bar

Bars and pubs

Le Bonnie and Clyde

The Rue Frochot used to be known for its hostess bars, and has only been improved by its move in favour of venues like Bonnie and Clyde. Even the neighbourhood’s old crowd, usually conservative where change is concerned, have been making their way down the stairs leading to the cellar bar. It's a simple, friendly spot that goes well with the area’s late-night, rough-around-the-edges vibe, and which is one of the rare places to have a licence until 6am – a welcome exception to the nowadays more usual 2am. With its shadowed corners, twinkling orange fairy lights behind the bar and an impeccable music selection, Bonnie and Clyde is a perfect late night bolt hole in Pigalle, easy-going and good value.

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Bars and pubs

Le Zorba

A little Parisian bistro in the middle of Belleville that opens very, very early. From 5am, it attracts revellers seeking to squeeze in just one more drink, and local merchants on the way to open their shops. As the day wears on, neighbourhood pensioners gather to discuss the latest gossip, elbow to elbow with youthful drinkers who value the place’s local colour – Le Zorba’s down to earth sense of humour survives through good quality alcohol sold at rock bottom prices. The atmosphere might be a little dubious – whiffs of stale alcohol and battered Formica table tops – but is always cheerful, thanks to a team of irrepressibly good-humoured barmen and the slightly eccentric regulars, who enjoy hanging out with young newcomers. You can always down a little local Calvados without completely emptying a wallet already drained by a night on the tiles. On some evenings, DJs spin upstairs or in the vaulted underground bar.

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Cheap bars

Bars and pubs

Aux Folies

A Belleville drinker’s institution, never empty of local youth imbibing black coffee with their afternoon papers or kicking off the evening with an aperitif or five. The Folies is named after an 18th-century watering hole at the gates of Paris, in then then-rural quarter of Courtille, famous for the annual debauches of the city carnival. Today, the outlook is a little less bucolic – the rows of vines have been replaced by winding streets, but the area still packs a distinct buzz. The packed terrace is the place to be winter and summer, as it’s heated and lit until the last rays of the sun have died away. Finding a chair and a spot to wedge it into is a challenge, but the satisfaction is worth it – and at €2.50 for a beer and €4.50 for a cocktail, it’s no trial to settle down and get in several rounds before closing time. In the evening, red lights go on beneath the bar, and the friendly, efficient staff remain cheerful despite the throng. In summer, the terrace crowds spill out on to the narrow Rue Dénoyez, and on weekends on the semi-pedestrianised street the art galleries set out stalls, bands strike up, and graffiti artists start tending to their frescoes.

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Bars and pubs

La Cordonnerie

Loitering as it does in the shadows of peep shows and sex shops, for many years this little dive was merely the refuge of locals in search of pleasures less carnal and more alcoholic. Its happy hours offered probably the cheapest pints in Paris, as well as rums and cocktails at minimal prices, imported beers, and free couscous on Thursdays and Saturdays.Then, this old working-class tavern started to attract a younger clientele in search of a good deal – and today La Cordonnerie is an after-work drinks venue to be reckoned with. The terrace is crammed with students and arty types from 6pm right through the happy hour, and as the evening wears on the bar stays full of laughter and talk. Soul, rock and reggae sounds keep things going until 2am.

Users say
  • 1 out of 5 stars
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Cocktail bars

Bars and pubs

Experimental Cocktail Club

You can kiss the bog standard bar scene’s endless stream of mojitos and caipirinhas goodbye. After the Experimental Cocktail Club’s mixes, you’ll never go back to the boring drinks that are to cocktail bars what McDonald’s is to Michelin stars. Paris has been slow to host the type of venues that are so fashionable in New York – ‘mixology’ bars that re-invent cocktails with strange spirits, fresh fruit juices and subtle spices – but now we have, for example, the Tommy’s Margarita Especial, an insane 100% agave tequila Arette mix with lime juice and organic agave honey, infused with Bourbon vanilla and cloves. Or perhaps the Bee’s Kiss, a balance between the Jamaican rum Appleton VX, cream, organic floral honey and crushed Indonesian pepper.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

La Famille

This little Montmartre restaurant-bar is a well-concealed gem at the head of Rue Trois Frères. With not more than a dozen tables, a relaxed and friendly team and quality background music and a bar always ready to burst, La Famille also offers top-notch fusion cuisine, with innovative flavours and presentation at reasonable prices. Try the marinated salmon rolled in sunflower and poppy seeds with a piperade ice cream on the side, followed by an exceptional sweet and sour boeuf bourguignon with After Eights, and a lemon tart in three savoury segments. The wine list is good quality, but the bottles are pretty pricey. As you wait (which can take a while), try out a molecular cocktail as run through the shaker of Houcine, the barmaid. Your drink, built on a base of Caipirinha or Caipiroska and infused with strawberry and Espelette pepper, basil and mango or pear and tarragon, arrives at the table iced and smoking, garnished with wacky decorations like a boiled sweet eyeball or a syringe of peach liqueur. At the weekend, the tiny room is packed (reservation is essential) and noisy, so come in the week if you want to be able to hear yourself think. For those on a budget, a 10 Euro menu is available on the first Sunday of the month.

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Dance bars

Bars and pubs

Le Zéro Zéro

The human body really packs down: if you don’t believe us, just check out Zéro Zéro of a weekend

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Clubs

La Villette Enchantée

French electro maestros Kavinsky and Joakim and the label Tigersushi have all played here – making La Villette Enchantée one of Paris’s hottest spots after dark

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Live music bars

Music

L'Espace B

In a quiet street a stone’s throw from the Parc de la Villette, l’Espace B – or Berbère [Berber] – is a funny little place, somewhere between a neighbourhood bar, an Italian restaurant and a concert hall. If the warmth of the welcome leaves something to be desired, the big room hidden behind the bar is full of happy surprises. The program, which gives priority to new French and international acts produced by independent labels, is knowledgeable and well thought out, attracting avid fans of new music and underground novelties. The bill is varied, including synth-pop, electro-rock, hip-hop, indie, shoegaze, grunge, folktronica, noise, chillwave and more. On some evenings, you can even find burlesque evenings or bits of avant-garde theatre. The programme is available [online] (in French).

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Bars and pubs

Le Motel

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.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Eclectic and eccentric bars

Bars and pubs

Comptoir Général

Eclectic, easy-going venues like this are more common in Barcelona than in Paris, but here in an old 600 square-metre barn is this offbeat, shabby chic bar, touched with colonial stylings in its black and white tiled floors, stylish chandeliers, red carpets and African souvenirs piled up in every corner. As you walk in, the size of the space blows you away – two enormous, shadowy rooms connected by a smoking area formed from a tropical garden in an enormous greenhouse that creates a well of light in the centre of the venue. In another corner sits a cabinet of curiosities, full of neat rows of skeletons, rare bird feathers and stuffed animals.   Hipsters, boho-chic types and families are all tumbled in together here – a varied but very Parisian mix. We love the atmosphere of the place and its amazing setting, with its odd assortment of armchairs, affordable cocktails, blues and jazz soundtrack and menu of inexpensive Asian dishes. On the downside, a battle for seating rages in the evenings, and the queue outside that builds from 8pm can stretch waiting times into hours. To be sure of enjoying the venue – hidden behind a block of houses on the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin – come as early as possible. It’s only open from 5pm at the end of the week. On weekends, a Franco-African brunch is on offer at €16, but try and reserve, as it’s often full.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Barbershop

The Barbershop is a thirsty art-lovers’ landmark. Recalling Brooklyn’s trendy gallery-bars, it’s always worth the visit. Temporary exhibitions of street art decorate the walls, and canvases by young painters are for sale at affordable prices, offering great opportunities for the hard up but style-conscious looking to re-do their apartments. Visitors can even consult piles of art and design coffee table books, while comfortably installed in padded Chesterfield armchairs or in shabby chic second hand sofas.DJs mix hip-hop, funk and soul every weekend, and often for private views of the exhibitions. There’s also an affordable menu of good food, a typical menu will take in organic poached eggs en cocotte with creamed mushrooms, followed by the house cheeseburger or a tender faux-filet of Angus beef in a Roquefort sauce. For dessert, we recommend the sinfully good tiramisu with a cinnamon biscuit base. The midday menu is really very reasonably priced – €13 on weekdays – or €22 for brunch. Outside, there’s a lovely terrace, heated in winter.

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Wine bars

Bars and pubs

Le Baron Rouge

Quality local vintages in a blue-collar bar that has no time for pretentious oenophiles.

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Bars and pubs

Le Lèche Vin

A place of pilgrimage, but evenings that don’t always finish in an entirely Catholic manner.

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Pubs

Bars and pubs

The Green Goose

Swap accordionists and wine for some Celtic musicians and craft beers at The Green Goose, one of few Irish pubs in Paris with an authentic vibe. Hidden away down the rue des Boulets in the 11th, this pub is true to traditional Irish hospitality and offers high quality food and drink. The menu's vibe is more gastropub than Galway, with dishes like duck breast with braised red cabbage and dauphinoise potatoes or carrot cake with cinnamon, raisins and cream cheese. We tried the winter menu of sophisticated Scotch eggs (€6.50), and scallops with a fine hazelnut crust, artichokes and roasted beetroot (€9). There's a carefully chosen selection of Irish craft beers (€7 pints on tap) suited to each of the meals on offer. The bar is noisy and sociable with French, English and even Gaelic speakers. Whether or not you know your Joyce from your Jameson’s, The Green Goose is a quality left bank hangout.

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Bars and pubs

UDO Bar

Like an idealised outpost of Berlin, with its trendy minimal electro soundtrack, easy-going atmosphere, imported beers and currywurst

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Tapas bars

La Prune folle

Proprietors Sol and Victor welcome their customers with broad smiles at La Prune Folle [the crazy plum]. Opened in April 2012, this café-bar elegantly encapsulates the trend for vintage twee...

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Restaurants

Martin

A former barman at Au Passage, Loïc Martin opened his eponymous tapas bar and bistro with an emphasis on local and organic produce. Everything here is homemade, and the space is cosy and simple: exposed stone walls, a carpeted veranda, massive (but discreet) heaters, and jars of silverware on every table...

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