Below Belleville’s gourmet kebab shop OUR, hides Hammam Bar, a Mediterranean oasis in the middle of Paris. It seems an odd concept but as the owner explains: “I like the idea of a kebab shop being a friendly, lively place where you can have a drink and enjoy yourself. It’s very common in Turkey.”
The location isn’t ideal for a late-night bar (the only lively place on the rue de l’Orillon is its eponymous drinking hole) but with cocktails like ‘Le Shah’ – a reinvented Cosmopolitan made from Istanbul vodka and infused with lemon, raspberry liqueur, wild rose and lychee – the punters are sure to come, despite the Parisian prices (around €11). Try the Mediterranean-style Manhattan with Greek Metaxa liqueur, Cypriot dessert wine (commandaria), Angostura bitters and clementine zest, or the old fashioned Emir (herb infused Metaxa with za’atar liqueur (a Lebanese spice) and orange zest.
Our only issue is the low-set layout, though we’re told that higher bar tables are soon to come, along with the installation of a screen in the toilets playing old erotic Turkish films... After a few more drinks, our stomach calls and it’s time to eat – luckily we only have to go upstairs.
TRANSLATION: LEONIE CATER