Le Bar Bibliothèque
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The Hôtel Saint James' plush library-bar.
Walking up the gravel drive of the Hôtel Saint James, you half expect a string orchestra to pounce from the bushes or a horse drawn cart to pull up beside you, so grandiose are the surroundings. From the outside, it’s like something from a postcard. Once inside, the aesthetic is more eclectic – two zebra heads are mounted in front of monumental monochrome staircase and chandeliers are the decoration of choice. Accessed through the main dining room, the bar - a former library, is still packed tight with leather-bound tomes and glistens with mahogany wood.
The bow-tied waiters, installed behind an altar-like bar, mix up a selection of classic cocktails, as well seven seasonal specials (all €21) – ‘From London with Love’ is a pleasant blend of gin, crème de peche, rose syrup, bitter vanilla, apple juice and egg white, while the Saint James Julep (made with gin rather than Bourbon) is unremarkable. An expertly made Long Island Iced Tea trumps them both (€19).
Despite the average age of drinkers being around sixty, the soundtrack on our Friday night visit was remixed chart hits with a clubbing beat. Le Bar Bibliothèque feels like it’s trying to straddle two eras, when really this former hotel particulier would do better to revel in its 19th century glory. My advice? Come for one drink and don't leave without a wander around the kooky interior.
Hôtel Saint James Paris
43 avenue Bugeaud
|Transport:||Metro: Victor Hugo|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 7pm-1am|