Paris's best bars for winter

Find the best pubs and bars in the capital that are perfect for a warming winter drink



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When the winter blues kick in, it's time to make tracks to your local purveyor of fortifying liquors and freindly warmth. We've chosen one bar in every arrondissement that should do the trick.

In the 1st • Le Fumoir

There aren't many places around the Louvre that can compete with this elegant local institution: neo-colonial fans whirr lazily and oil paintings adorn the walls. A sleek crowd sips martinis or reads papers at the long mahogany bar (originally from a Chicago speakeasy), giving way to young professionals in the restaurant and pretty things in the library. It feels a wee bit try-hard and resolutely well behaved, but the cocktails get tongues wagging soon enough, and food is consistently top notch...

  1. 6 rue de l'Amiral de Coligny, 1er
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In the 2nd • L'Ivress

This wine bar (also a wine shop and delicatessen) hidden in a tiny Sentier side street is a great alternative to the stuffy bars in Place de la Bourse and soulless pubs on the Grands Boulevards. For such a chic area, L'Ivress ('Drunkenness') is warm, friendly and well-priced. No drunken revellers, but an after-work clientele during the week and young middle-class regulars on the weekends. The short wine list features bottles from independent winemakers, like an excellent Lalande-de-Pomeroi or a white Vouvray demi-sec, both at €5 a glass, and the staff are happy to let you taste...

  1. 5 rue Poissonniere, 2e
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In the 3rd • Andy Wahloo

Andy Wahloo is a hip little bar that channels the king of pop art, Andy Warhol, through a Moroccan village (wahloo meaning ‘I have nothing’ in Arabic). In a pretty private building in the Marais owned by the Mazouz brothers, this kitsch alternative bar fits in nicely with its trendy neighbouring restaurants Le Derrière and Le 404. It’s decorated with kitchen supplies from 70s Moroccan homes – paint pots as poufs, washing powder packets papering the walls – and there’s a lovely tree-lined courtyard...

  1. 69 rue des Gravilliers, 3e
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In the 4th • Le Sherry Butt

A welcome compromise between Saint-Germain’s pullulating cocktail bars and the ultra-cool hipster hangouts of Bastille. Behind a discreet façade on a little Marais side street, Sherry Butt (whose young owners Amaury and Cathleen previously worked at Prescription Cocktails Club and Curio Parlour) hides two spacious long rooms filled with studded leather couches, huge mirrors and dim lighting. The space echoes the simultaneously relaxed and classy atmosphere of the best New York bars. Come here for top cocktails mixed by expert hands...

  1. 20 rue Beautreillis, 4e
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In the 5th • Le Teddy's Bar

Bars often show gregarious instincts, clustering together on one street. Exhibit A, the Rue Mouffetard, which seethes with Sorbonne students, college kids and tourists who pounce on anything beer-shaped after or between classes. Among the many bars strewn around here, we particularly like Teddy’s for its choice of beers and cocktails, its interminable happy hours (from 3.30pm til 8pm) and for its welcoming, low-key atmosphere. It’s good to curl up in the sofas and have one’s back tickled by...

  1. 3 rue Thouin, 5e
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In the 6th • La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

Forget cheap plonk – both drinks and food here are nothing but the best. Behind the big bar of this dimly-lit dive, staff from the Experimental Cocktail Club, the Curio Parlor and Prescription have abandoned their mixers for straightforward bottles of red, white and pink. The result is a lovely, intimate wine bar, dotted with sofas and cosy corners. The wine list has more than 3,000 bottles listed, and to go with the booze, there are some first class things like burrata, prosciutto al tartufo, truffles and fine cheeses. The service is friendly if occasionally overstretched...

  1. 7 rue Lobineau, 6e
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In the 7th • Brasserie Thoumieux

Brasserie Thoumieux is a laid-back destination for cocktails, tapas and big-screen sport. Banquettes snake around the room, and spiky Aztec-pattern lamps light up the faces of the pretty young locals who have made this place their own. The flavoured vodkas are delicious, with unusual flavours including vanilla, caramel and banana; just watch out for the treacherous, extra-high bar stools (the banquettes are definitely the safest option to avoid accidents) and the monstrous, pebble-dashed sink in the toilets...

  1. 4 rue de la Comète, 7e
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In the 8th • Charlie Birdy – Boétie

A stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées, this enormous pub is a cross between a New York loft and a colonial gentleman’s club, attracting many a tourist and ex-pat. There’s a regular programme of jazz, blues, folk and funk gigs with reasonable prices for the area, and it has the distinct advantage of staying open until 5am daily. For live concerts, or to follow football and rugby matches on giant screens, you hang out on comfortable Chesterfield sofas...

  1. 124 rue de la Boétie, 8e
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In the 9th • Le Brébant

The change that continues to sweep the Grands Boulevards is embodied in this prominent, round-the-clock bar-bistro. There’s a permanently busy terrace below a colourful stripy awning, and the cavernous, split-level interior has a cool neo-industrial feel. Prices are steep, so push the boat out and opt for an expertly made fruit daiquiri, or a Bonne Nouvelle of Bombay Sapphire gin and Pisang Ambon. There are rarer bottled beers too – Monaco, Picon and various brews from Brabant. A board advertises a decent range of proper eats: burger-frites (€15) and so on...

  1. 32 boulevard Poissonnière, 9e
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In the 10th • 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 huge greenhouse...

  1. 80 quai de Jemmapes, 10e
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In the 11th • 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...

  1. 68 avenue de la République, 11e
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In the 12th • Le 138

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...

  1. 138 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 12e
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In the 13th • La Dame de Canton

The former Guingette Pirate is now known as the Dame de Canton, befitting its home in a superb Chinese junk made from exotic wood. In its previous life, it sailed the seven seas, but now in retirement on the banks of the Seine, this delightful Dame is now all about living it up in her golden years. With the concert space and its striking wooden dance floor, the captain’s room with its ancient library, the intimate, romantic restaurant in the hold and the sun-drenched bridge with a view of the Seine, you never get bored of exploring this floating labyrinth...

  1. Port de la Gare, 13e
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In the 14th • Le Café Tournesol

The Tournesol is young, vibrant and the best of the cafés on rue de la Gaïté. There's outdoor seating in the shadow of the Tour Montparnasse, and an exposed brick interior with a soul, funk and electro soundtrack. A croque-monsieur will set you back €6, a steak €12.50, and a demi of Stella €3. An abstract tableau presides over a well-organised back space, where there's plenty of seating for groups...

  1. 9 rue de la Gaîté, 14e
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In the 15th • Charlie Birdy – Commerce

Not a reference to Charlie Parker, but to Winston Churchill’s parrot, this pub is a cross between a New York loft and a colonial gentleman’s club, attracting many a tourist and ex-pat. There’s a regular programme of jazz, blues, folk and funk gigs with reasonable prices for the area, and it has the distinct advantage of staying open until 5am daily. For live concerts, or to follow football and rugby matches on giant screens, you hang out on comfortable Chesterfield sofas...

  1. 1 place Etienne Pernet, 15e
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In the 16th • Sir Winston

Sir Winston is one of the oldest English pubs in Paris, ensconced just around the corner from the Arc de Triomphe. Though the Champs Elysees professionals who pack this chicly eccentric bar are too young to recall the place's namesake, they clearly appreciate the delicious colonial-style refit: deep leather Chesterfields in the Indian smoke lounge, cigar smoke in the red-walled smoking room, and a leopard skin rug in the darkwood bar. Sir Winston’s faux-fur covered basement booths are the kind of place James Bond would take a date at 3am...

  1. 5 rue Presbourg, 16e
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In the 17th • Le Bloc

Against the haughty restaurants and overpriced bars of the 17th arrondissement, the former industrial district of Batignolles maintains some of its rough-edged charm. Le Bloc is in a former warehouse, the concrete façade dominated by a huge glass window, which gives onto a minimalist, contemporary black and white interior. A multi-levelled café, bar and restaurant that opens at 8.30am, there is cheap coffee and pastries and a comforting food menu...

  1. 21 rue Brochant, 17e
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In the 18th • Le Rosie

Decorated with comfortable armchairs, colourful pattered cushions, coffee tables and low lighting, Le Rosie looks like a stylish ladies' apartment, done out in vintage style by interior architect and set designer Laura Léonard. A magnificent bar in light wood, lit up by designer lighting, is visible from the street.All the young, laid-back waiters are friends of Nicolas Ullmann, a Parisian nightlife guru who had the idea of opening a bar just opposite Maison Muller, where he organises barbecues, parties, short film screenings, garage sales and mini-concerts...

  1. 3 rue Muller, 18e
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In the 19th • Bar Ourcq

If chilling on a deckchair on the banks of a canal or playing pétanque gets you going, head to Bar Ourcq of an evening, where a flip-flop wearing, shorts-sporting clientele is welcomed with open arms. On summer days, crowds gather for open-air guitar jamming sessions or to picnic on the banks of the canal, refuelling at Bar Ourcq with plastic goblets of cold beer or bottles of wine. Things get pretty boozy as the day wears on, leading many a pétanque player to squint uncertainly at their target, and every throw...

  1. 68 quai de Loire, 19e
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In the 20th • Bouillon Belge

Opened in 2011, this pub sells only the divine Belgian beverage. Drinkers here will struggle to choose between around a hundred bottled beers, or can opt for one of the ten beers on tap. Fruity, dry, light, strong, blond, amber, brown… all tastes are catered for in the international selection, though naturally Belgian breweries get above-average representation. The young staff are full of enthusiasm for their wares, helping it along with low prices (all draught beers at maximum €3.50), quiz nights and tastings...

  1. 6 rue Planchat, 20e
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