The best live music bars in Paris

The city's greatest places to grab a bière and catch an unsigned band

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1

L'Espace B

  • Price band: 1/4

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,

  1. 16 rue Barbanègre, 19e
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2

Le Motel

  • Price band: 1/4

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

  1. 8 passage Josset, 11e
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3

Pop In

  • Price band: 1/4

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

  1. 105 rue Amelot, 11e
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4

L'International

  • Price band: 1/4

It’s been a long wait for a venue dedicated to new acts in Paris, but now l’International has filled the void. There are two or three sets an evening, mostly rock, pop, folk, French singers, hip-hop and electro, all playing to an enthusiastic crowd – and it’s all for free. Not far from the lively Rue Oberkampf, l’International is distinguished by its friendly aura, a sort of best mates’ hangout that also doubles as a gig venue. Relaxed punters gather for well-priced

  1. 5/7 rue Moret, 11e
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5

Les Trois Baudets

  • Price band: 2/4

Founded in 1947 by Jacques Canetti, Les Trois Baudets is a mythical place where numerous great talents of the last century – Jaques Brel, Georges Brassens, Boris Vian, Raymond Devos, Jeanne Moreau, Boby Lapointe, Juliette Gréco – made their debuts. But the venue fell on hard times, and became just another Pigalle sex shop and erotic cabaret, until in the 1990s it became the focus of a massive government restoration project. After five years of thorough renovation, it

  1. 64 boulevard de Clichy, 18e
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6

L'Alimentation Générale (ALG)

  • Price band: 2/4

It might translate as General Foods, but Alimentation Générale is no supermarket – rather, it’s a bar, restaurant, concert hall and club all rolled into one. Evenings at ALG are warm, colourful, ultra festive and always affordable – entrance is usually around €5 to €10 with a drink. The concrete room, furnished with big convivial wooden tables and a table football set, also includes a crammed dance floor, allowing revellers to get up close and personal with the acts.

  1. 64 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 11e
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7

Les Disquaires

  • Price band: 1/4

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

  1. 6 rue des Taillandiers, 11e
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8

La Mécanique Ondulatoire

  • Price band: 2/4

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

  1. 8 passage Thiéré, 11e
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9

Les Combustibles

  • Price band: 2/4

Beneath the impressive arcades of Avenue Daumesnil, Les Combustibles is a very rock’n’roll restaurant-bar, opened in 2009, that energetically combines music and food. From Wednesday to Saturday, rock groups, punk, metal and free jazz set the downstairs room alight with their furious rhythms and electric guitars. On some evenings, expert DJs mix ska, reggae or northern soul, and you can even find occasional bits of theatre and comedy shows (check the (French) website for

  1. 14 rue Abel, 12e
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10

Onze Bar

  • Price band: 1/4

A little boho bar that’s just the way we like them, Le Onze seethes with people day and night. Very hip and popular right now, its been done up in (very) shabby chic – the stuffing of the big sofas is oozing out, witness to many wild parties. Daily concerts range from Balkan folk to rock’n’roll, via via jazz, blues, funk or afrobeat (see the program on the (French) website here), and the music never fails to produce a fantastic atmosphere, with people getting up to dance

  1. 83 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 11e
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