What should I order? A Smokey Island.
Strangely, few Parisian bars have had the same idea as Moonshiner. The concept is simple and has been popular for a long time in London, New York and Berlin: the secret. Behind a telephone box, underneath a kebab shop or on the other side of Smeg fridge, these ‘speakeasy’ bars are inspired by the clandestine drinking spots of prohibition-era America, tucked away in odd places that the passing drinker would never discover if he didn’t already know it was there. The more hidden the bar, the better. And so, to get to Mooshiner, you first have to make your way through the restaurant Pizza Da Vito, then push your way through the metal door of the walk-in fridge.
Once inside, the temperature drops ten degrees (it’s New York-style a/c as well), so you start drinking pretty quickly. It’s all cocktails and whiskies, at a large range of prices – from €6 for the delicious seasonal punch to €14 for a more complex cocktail like the Smokey Island, which mixes three year old Havana rum with vodka, Beefeater gin and a host of heady aromas. The more cautious might want to try the refined Salvia Cosmo, while heavyweights can go for a bitter P Galor Martini or a whisky cocktail, where traditional recipes are mixed with a contemporary spin. There are 83 whiskies listed, showing a love for the peaty stuff that’s not for the fainthearted, as well as a selection of beers in bottles and on draught. The team behind the bar (who also founded the UFO, the Rock’n’Roll Circus, the Kremlin and the Dirty Dick) have kept the house blonde beer very affordable, at €5 a pint.
With its hushed atmosphere, dim lighting, retro jazz on the gramophone and a strongbox in the elegant fumoir (smoking room) (if you manage to open it, you win what’s in there), the clandestine vibe is respected throughout. The tattooed, heavily-accented staff are easy going, making the ‘secret’ experience all the more pleasurable.