Located on the prestigious Rue Saint-Honoré, the Mandarin Oriental’s Bar 8 is the pinnacle of understated glitz and glamour. Gem-encrusted walls glimmer in the soft light, perfectly offset by classic black leather sofas and armchairs around glass tables. Waiting at the chic marble bar in the centre, it would no surprise to spot James Bond ordering his usual.
No shaken martinis for us tonight though – not with such a temptingly exotic, original choice of cocktails on offer. The Jay Brown (€27) is a stunning success, a delicate combination of Belvedere vodka, Chartreuse, lime, fresh mint, cucumber and sugar, garnished with perfectly tart redcurrants. The Smoking Smith (€27) lives up to its seductive name – a smoky concoction of Mezcal, Maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, homemade sage syrup, green apple, ginger beer and bitter. Like a trip to Mexico in a glass.
And, whatever the weather, make sure to venture out to the garden too. In among the lush flora are elegant cream sofas and wicker armchairs; it’s a classy, upmarket jungle, equipped with powerful – yet stylish – overhead heaters: ideal for alfresco boozing all year round.