Erase everything you know about the typical hotel bar (tinkling lounge music, waiters in starched jackets, endless salted peanuts) and in its place imagine: a low chalkboard ceiling, a foozball table and a square central bar with drinkers crammed around it. The Mama Shelter group have turned the hotel bar stereotype on its head, creating an unfailingly hip drinking hole for Parisians and tourists alike.
Open until 1.30am every night, not even Sunday evenings are quiet here. Go early to nab a stool and bathe in the flourescent light of the bar – perfect for people-watching, whether it’s the mixologists hard at work or the chic clientele. An extensive wine list (with glasses from €6) sticks to French territory, while the cocktails are Californified, with names like Wilcox Avenue and Sweet Spring. A ‘Passion Ginger Fizz’ (€12) was the best of the bunch – gin, passion fruit purée and ginger essence, with slices of fresh ginger and a hunk of passion fruit on top. A tropical breeze in the 20th arrondissement. The mojito could have been a tad stronger but perhaps the shareable pitcher gets you more bang for you buck (€49).
However, it’s the soundtrack that deserves a special mention – the kind where you’ll want to Shazam every song or at least, indulge in some chair boogying. From bossa nova to Bruce Springsteen to remixed Bieber, the tunes are another excellent touch to add to all the other little touches. It might be a fair walk from the metro station, however once you’re ensconced, (good-value) cocktail in hand, be warned, you may never want to leave.