If you’re looking for a slice of class with your glass, sometimes Paris’s shabby-chic wine bars just won’t cut it. When you’re feeling flash, there’s nothing better than slinking into a Parisian hotel bar, ordering a stunner of a drink and revelling in the exotic nut selection and flawless service.
Admittedly, they don’t come cheap, but it’s the perfect way to feel like a movie star without shelling out for a room. So here’s a selection of the best cool and classic hotels bars in Paris – from the trendy clandestine mezcal den to the Ernest Hemingway shrine to the stunning rooftop lookout – pick your poison and prepare for some seriously good people watching.
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Cool Paris hotel bars
Slouch on the comfortable velvet sofas at Grand Pigalle hotel's classy wine bar and admire the copper chandeliers, slate-coloured walls and subdued lighting. Music is straight from a Tarantino soundtrack and three quarters of the wine list is Italian, from Piedmont, Tuscany and Sicily. Munch on a superb selection of antipasti such as 24-month old Parmesan, buffalo mozzarella and homemade oregano foccaccia. Consider it a prolonged Italian holiday.
This chic, secluded snug is a perfect fit for its secluded Marais address. A wood-burning fire in the courtyard adds serious glamping vibes and friendly staff are happy for you to flit back and forth between there and the bar. Delve into the sixteen-strong list of original cocktails, like the Piskos Sgroppino; Pisco, fresh basil, lemon sorbet and prosecco. With drinks between €14 and €16, Jules et Jim is the ideal spot to hole up in after a day at the nearby Pompidou centre.
Sneak your way into this speakeasy-style Mexican bar hidden behind the kitchen of Hotel 1K’s Peruvian restaurant and you’ll find a bright, buzzing space with a glass ceiling and décor featuring colourful papier mache skeletons and a large statue of Santa Muerte adorned in outlandish festival attire. There’s an assortment of heady mezcal shots, plus fresh and zingy mezcal cocktails – perfect soaked up with the moreish home made guac and chips.
The bar in Paris’s super chic ‘love hotel’ has all the trappings of a hot spot – neon lights, tattooed waiters dressed in black, arty photos, and a small garden filled with French couples (and some on-trend Americans) sitting down to dinner. The wine list is short but carefully selected and they serve breakfast, lunch and a weekend brunch; expect a perfect veal escalope, gnocchi, and little chocolate madeleines.
Drinking at the luxurious Particulier Montmartre hotel bar is not exactly straightforward: proceed down a private-access street and through a series of intercoms before you finally reach the hotel garden. Designed by Louis Benech (who also renovated the Tuileries), this lush enclave feels more like a forest than a garden, with towering trees, wild ferns and creeping ivy. The clientele is an unusual mix of well-heeled older guests and trendy youth, while the cocktails are fresh, handmade and daring, without being faddy.
Books, vinyls and audio headsets on Le Pigalle’s wall give it a distinct living room vibe. With six different rooms – including a smoking room with a jukebox and a shiny red lips-shaped sofa – it leaves no detail to chance. Much of the menu is sourced locally, with bread by Thierry Breton and tarts from star pâtissier Sébastien Gaudard, while Le Mary Celeste’s mixologist Michael Mas is in charge of cocktails. From €11 to €14, they’re well priced considering their strength.
The Mama Shelter group have turned the hotel bar stereotype on its head, with this unfailingly hip drinking hole for Parisians and tourists alike. Expect a low chalkboard ceiling, a foozball table and a square central bar with drinkers crammed around it. Go early to nab a stool and bathe in bar’s flourescent light; it stays open daily until 1.30am but not even Sunday evenings are quiet here. Don’t miss the California-fied cocktails, especially the ‘Passion Ginger Fizz’.
The Experimental Group’s Montorgueil love letter to old school French liqueurs is based off the hallway of the four star Hôtel Bachaumont and the atmosphere is always buzzy. The long list of intriguing ingredients in cocktails make sense on the tongue, fusing into precisely balanced, beautifully blended drinks you’ll want to linger over. Don’t miss the smoky mimosa eggs either.
For a night at the top, the bar of Montmartre’s Terrass hotel is exceptional even by Paris’s standards. It serves an above-average menu to its well-heeled clientele in velvet-lined chic surroundings. But what we really come for is the view; taking in the distinguished gravestones of the Cimetière de Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower, the grassy hills of the Bois du Boulogne, and the sugary dome of the Sacré-Coeur. Even a properly blasé Parisian could be tempted to raise a glass to the ville lumière.
A former brothel, Maison Souquet is now a clandestine hotel with a bar of the same name – which truly embraces the Pigalle of yesteryear. Décor is Jacques Garcia’s Belle Époque meets orientalism, including original pieces like Moorish earthenware, porcelain, vintage furniture and moulded fireplaces. We adore the floral, feminine cocktails, all named after famous courtesans. There’s a number of high-end small plates and mocktails on the menu too – all served with a smile.
Classic Paris hotel bars
Tucked away in the 6th, L’Hotel has an impressive roster of guests: Marlon Brando, Jorge Luis Borges, Johnny Depp and Oscar Wilde (who died in one of the rooms after residing there for two years). Décor is just as impressive: silk wall drapes, velvet poufs, marble and gold gilt columns, with a regal colour palette of forest greens, reds and purples. Cocktails are a well-executed mix of traditional and inventive, with several paying tribute to the most famous guest (Dorian Gray and Born to be Wilde for example).
Walking up to the Hôtel Saint James, you half expect a string orchestra to pounce from the bushes, so grandiose are the surroundings. Two zebra heads are mounted in front of a monumental monochrome staircase inside and chandeliers are everywhere. The bar - a former library, is packed tight with leather-bound tomes and glistens with mahogany wood; bow-tied waiters mix up a selection of classic cocktails, as well seven seasonal specials. Come for one drink and don't leave without a wander around the kooky interior.
Heavy on the leopard print, with a wall projection of Parisian landmarks and opulent ornaments, Le Bar du Bristol is Absolutely Fabulous meets Dynasty, with heavy notes of Dolce & Gabbana. And we love it. Expect a complimentary pre-cocktail goblet of cognac and ginger ale, plus an addictive nut selection. Eight signature cocktails offer something to suit everyone; come here for a lavish tipple to begin the night and keep an eye out for the hotel cat in the lobby – long-haired, white and so very on brand.
Wander through this hotel’s enchanting restaurant (you can’t miss the stunning, foliage-covered wall) to access ‘le lounge bar’ – a study in modern day luxe complete with a high ceiling, funky, textured walls and low-hanging chandeliers, all bathed in an electrifying red light. The cocktail menu is just as intriguing, featuring playful names like ‘PassionBerry’, ‘PinkPool’ and ‘SexyStar’. Expect a well-heeled, international clientele, and a DJ on the weekends if you’re in the mood to bop along as you sip on your ‘SexyStar’.
Who knows whether Louis XIV enjoyed a cocktail or two – but if he did, he would have felt quite at home in the Versailles-esque bar at Champs-Élysées hotel Georges V. Plush, decadent and classy, complete with glossy wooden panels, high ceilings, parquet flooring, and a gorgeous chandelier. This is the height of Parisian luxe. Sip on their delightful cocktails, either nestled in the plush, red armchairs or perched up at the elegant bar.
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.
This richly wood-panelled watering hole at the back of the Hotel Ritz is a shrine to Ernest Hemingway – walls are adorned with photos of authors he admired, boxes of fly-tying paraphernalia and a framed pack of his Lucky Strike cigarettes. Even the menu is printed like a newspaper, which lists over twenty incredible original cocktails, all with a backstory. From the Picasso Martini (a badass dry martini with a frozen cube of vermouth) to the French 75, these are as old-school as it gets.