The best bars in Bastille

Scruffy dives, jazz clubs and upmarket wine bars all feature in our pick of the best bars near Bastille
Le China © C. Griffoulières - Time Out Paris
© C. Griffoulières - Time Out Paris
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The backstreets and alleys around the Bastille roundabout are packed with bars that fill up every evening with a predominantly young clientele. Bastille nightlife is both eclectic and fun, likewise you can go low-key if the mood suits.

Discover our pick of the best Bastille bars ranging from chic cocktail bars, to rock dives and upmarket wine bars.

Bastille nightlife: The best bars in Bastille

Bars and pubs

Charlie

icon-location-pin 12e arrondissement

Two euros don't get you far in the capital: they'll stretch to the cheapest sandwich in Franprix, or one métro trip plus a couple of carambars, but no further. Unless you're hanging out at Charlie, whose owner Charlotte has struck upon the novel idea of selling half pints for the unheard-of price of €2 (or pints for €4). All night long. Music and conversation flow as freely as the brown stuff in this affable joint, where the sofas are comfy and acoustic guitars are laid out for customer use...

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Restaurants, French

Le Réservoir - Mary De Vivo

icon-location-pin Charonne

Le Reservoir restaurant, bar and club in Paris is found in the city's nightlife quarter between Nation and Bastille and find it you should. This exciting place is an energetic, warm and welcoming place to dine well, dance and hear some pretty fabulous music ranging from jazz and reggae to rock and house. The decor is not cold minimalism, but neo-baroque with wrought iron lighting, gilt furniture, mirrors and candles everywhere and hung with an excellent standard of original art...

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Le Red House

icon-location-pin Charonne

Le Red House, dominated by a majestic bull’s skull hanging over the bar, has the air of a Texan saloon in the middle of Bastille. The clientele are neither uber-trendy nor cattle herders: the crowd is colourful, young, lively, loud and out for a good time. There’s a good live DJ almost every day, spinning rock, punk, funk and electro, and the place never seems to be empty – luckily the venue is huge, with two connected rooms with exposed beams, each equipped with their own bars...

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Bars and pubs

The Bottle Shop

icon-location-pin Charonne

This Bastille bar is a favourite with Brits, offering five beers on draught and up to a dozen bottled beers behind the bar. A small intimate space, expect to get cosy with your neighbours as you sip an Edelweiss or Kilkenny on draught, or bottled Pilsner, Red Stripe and Franziskaner. Admittedly you’ll pay for these quality gems (€4 for a half, €4-7 for the bottled beers) and the pints are a bargain (€6.60). The Bottle Shop also does about thirty classic cocktails (€7-8) – the So British Bloody Mary is excellent. Take advantage of the happy hour from 5pm to 8pm where both cocktails and cocktails are both €5...

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Bars and pubs

Twenty One Sound Bar

icon-location-pin Charonne

A hip-hop bar in Paris? The novel Twenty One Sound near Bastille is a temple to American hip-hop – both East and West coasts – but also of dance hall tunes and French rap. Numerous DJs take to the decks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, mixing old school sets and brand new tracks on the powerful sound system. Beautiful girls from the banlieues sway their hips on the dance floor, surrounded by equally beautiful men in an exotic, always friendly atmosphere...

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L'Entre Potes

icon-location-pin Bastille

A play on the word ‘l’entrepôt’, ‘warehouse’, L’Entre Potes (‘between friends’) is a discreet bar full of surprises, from the huge vintage Ripolin paint company sign on the ground floor and the collection of tools that reference the building’s history as an upholstery factory, to the basement, which friendly owner Ali has cleverly decorated with mosaics and panels from an abandoned Métro station. Drinks-wise, L'Entre Potes offers a good selection of affordable cocktails and whiskeys...

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Le Zéro Zéro

icon-location-pin Saint-Ambroise

The human body really packs down: if you don’t believe us, just check out Zéro Zéro of a weekend. It’s a battle even to open the door to the bar, which squeezes an immoderate number of people into a few square metres. The only solution is to dance along with everybody else, while spilling as little as possible of one’s drink. But if things do go bottoms up and you soak a few shirts, there’s no reason to fear: everyone quickly lets go in this highly charged and celebratory atmosphere...

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Bars and pubs, Café bars

China

icon-location-pin Bastille

The China is a chic Asian bar-restaurant and gig venue whose exotic décor seems inspired by a 1930s Shanghai colonial club. With padded leather Chesterfield sofas, red walls, dark wood panelling and a black and white checkerboard floor, the shadowy warmth of this lounge is in the best tradition of a British gentleman’s club. Behind a splendid chrome counter, discreet staff prepare distinguished cocktails, like the Hemingway (a visionary alchemy of brown Cuban rum, Cointreau, lime and grapefruit)...

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Le Sherry Butt

icon-location-pin Le Marais

A welcome compromise between Saint-Germain’s pullulating cocktail bars and the ultra-cool hipster hangouts of Bastille. Behind a discreet façade on a little Marais side street, Sherry Butt (whose young owners Amaury and Cathleen previously worked at Prescription Cocktails Club and Curio Parlour) hides two spacious long rooms filled with studded leather couches, huge mirrors and dim lighting. The space echoes the simultaneously relaxed and classy atmosphere of the best New York bars. Come here for top cocktails mixed by expert hands, and a distinguished selection of whiskies from all over the world...

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Bars and pubs, Café bars

Les Disquaires

icon-location-pin Roquette

In its newly-renovated, shiny red interior, Les Disquaires’s little stage directly faces the dancefloor and the decks, and temporary exhibitions by Parisian artists decorate the walls around the bar. The venue is a good Bastille quarter bet for enjoying a quality gig over a cocktail or a beer during happy hour, and even music novices will always find something to enjoy in the programme of live jazz, funk, hip-hop and soul...

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Bars and pubs

Pop In

icon-location-pin Saint-Ambroise

The temple to indie pop in Paris, Pop In is like a little island of London style in the lively Rue Amelot. Wedging a hip crowd of well-coiffed youth in checked shirts and leather jackets into its cramped space, the bar plays pop-rock from the Beatles to cutting-edge indie groups. On the first floor, there’s an idealised British salon with a piano and old second hand sofas, which is a lovely place for a beer. Illogically, you have to take the stairs from here to reach the underground performance space...

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Clubs

4 Eléments

icon-location-pin Folie-Méricourt

The latest addition to the very active Rue Amelot, the 4 Eléments is an electro bar-club whose DJs plays sets of minimal, house and techno. A rare 100% electro destination for clubbers, its specialised programme attracts a faithful crowd of devotees, who are also probably not averse to the free entry and the friendly bouncers. Other advantages: happy hour runs from 6pm to 9pm, and it’s open until 4am on weekends...

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Bars and pubs, Café bars

Le Motel

icon-location-pin Bastille

Squirreled away in an alleyway near the Bastille, Le Motel is the ideal hangout for fans of hip electro-pop-rock. The very friendly staff serve explosive cocktails like the Vodka-Tatin (apple and cinnamon flavoured, like the tart), the Joe (vodka and watermelon) or the Leon des Bois (vodka, lime, strawberry and mint), and the cheese and charcuterie boards are half price during happy hour (6pm-9pm). Find a seat on one of the semi-circle of second hand sofas arranged around the bar...

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Music, Jazz

Ateliers de Charonne

icon-location-pin Roquette

This spanking new jazz club is the place to see the rising stars of gypsy jazz (jazz manouche). If you want to grab a good spot near the front of the stage, reserve for dinner and the show...

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Music

La Mécanique Ondulatoire

icon-location-pin Roquette

The Bastille area is well known as a haunt of rock fans, and La Mécanique Ondulatoire [the wave machine] is a fantastic bazaar of retro souvenirs and vintage furniture spread over two floors. On the ground floor, a stunning wall of every imaginable alcohol gives you an idea of the well-priced cocktails concocted here. Downstairs, there are DJs and rock, ska, punk and metal gigs (even on Sundays, sometimes), inviting you to hum along, tap your feet or, if you’re feeling really brave, to get down and mosh...

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Bars and pubs, Wine bars

Le Baron Rouge

icon-location-pin 12e arrondissement

Le Baron Rouge is a lifeline for food lovers who turn up at the Aligre market just as the stallholders are putting away their wares, and who feel like they might be about to die of hunger. Don’t worry – you can come here to eat, and to slake your thirst for good wine with quality local vintages in a blue-collar bar that has no time for pretentious oenophiles. On Sundays, they also offer oysters with a good Sancerre, or a plate of charcuterie with a good robust red...

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Tape Bar

icon-location-pin Roquette

To get away from the overloaded Rue de Lappe in the Bastille quarter, frequented by students and tourists, follow the Rue de la Roquette to a little bar that’s close by but a world away. Tape Bar recalls New York’s underground dive scene with its mix-tape, street-art feel, and is owned by friendly, dynamic young people who leave graffiti artists to express themselves on the walls and the DJs to mix mostly hip-hop and funk sets, with some dubstep, drum’n’bass and rock as well...

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Bars and pubs, Wine bars

Le Lèche Vin

icon-location-pin Roquette

This is a typical Parisian bistro that has quickly become a place of pilgrimage. It’s not because the walls are covered with icons, but because a sweet and convivial atmosphere reigns – that of a familial bistro de papa. You won’t find choirs singing here, but groove, jazz and hip-hop sounds, the soundtrack to evenings that don’t always finish in an entirely Catholic manner...

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Le P'tit Bar

icon-location-pin Roquette

You couldn't invent this place if you tried: local soaks, immigrant South Americans, twentysomething students, Brits and retired war veterans all pop in for a taste of the most surreal experience in town, courtesy of the elderly Madame Polo, her fluffy cat and her canaries. Madame P is surely the last living link to a forgotten Paris and proof that in this age of excessive health and safety concerns, there are still places here that manage to slip through the net...

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Le 138

icon-location-pin 12e arrondissement

Le 138 on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine is a discreet bar a few paces from the Bastille, and a good place to have a last drink after 2am without having to scream into your neighbour’s ear in some pounding club. Rather, Le 138 is a vast, comfortable bar with subdued lighting, deliberately well-worn shabby chic décor and a background of well-chosen rock music...

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Bars and pubs, Café bars

China

icon-location-pin Bastille

The China is a chic Asian bar-restaurant and gig venue whose exotic décor seems inspired by a 1930s Shanghai colonial club. With padded leather Chesterfield sofas, red walls, dark wood panelling and a black and white checkerboard floor, the shadowy warmth of this lounge is in the best tradition of a British gentleman’s club. Behind a splendid chrome counter, discreet staff prepare distinguished cocktails, like the Hemingway (a visionary alchemy of brown Cuban rum, Cointreau, lime and grapefruit) – we recommend you take advantage of the happy hour (5pm ‘til 8pm) to sample them for €6 instead of €12...

Time Out says
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Panic Room

icon-location-pin 11th arrondissement

This newcomer has quickly carved out a niche on the rock scene, and it's not nearly as daunting as its name suggests. The excellent Goldrush collective has live acts and DJs blasting the sound system in the basement, while upstairs friendly barmen serve affordable cocktails behind a concrete counter. The indie crowd and occasional media celebs are loving it...

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Pause Café

icon-location-pin Roquette

Featured in Cedric Klapisch's 1996 film Chacun Cherche son Chat, which was shot on location in the neighbourhood, the Pause Café has managed to prolong its moment of glory thanks to its large terrace on the corner of rues Charonne and Keller. Inside, the modern salons benefit from a smattering of primary colours with ornately plastered ceilings and plenty of light. Having been immortalised on celluloid, the friendly staff occasionally let fame go to their heads...

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Les Furieux

icon-location-pin Roquette

This rock’n’roll bar in the middle of the Rue de la Roquette is an anachronism – don’t waste your pennies on the old jukebox unless you have a yearning for Aerosmith, Guns N’Roses, the Stones or The Clash – all the rock, metal, punk and Goth hits that have sent over-excited long-haired revellers into transports for more than half a century. This shadowy dive with its red velvet banquettes offers deplorable cocktails like the Grunge, the Stockholm Syndrome or Le Trottoir...

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Bars and pubs

Trucmush

icon-location-pin Roquette

The front end of a Peugeot Twingo sheltering the DJ decks is only the first wacky design feature to grab your attention in this cool, lively, slightly trippy bar – the impression builds as you take in the stuffed flowers, the cheerful orange walls, and the car pressed into service as a table. The décor is a definite draw for this little bar hidden in a dead-end street near Bastille, almost as much as the rock-bottom prices. A word of warning...

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Bars and pubs

Troll Café

icon-location-pin 12e arrondissement

Oh Belgium, with its crisps shacks and its beers! The Troll Café, hidden in a small road near the Bastille in front of Nul Bar Ailleurs, is a pub that honours the glory of barley malt and hops, well worth the stop for those weary of Amstel. The menu has 120 Belgian beer options, in all their forms: on tap, bottle, brown, white and amber. The choice is so vast that your best bet is to ask the bartenders for advice on choosing between, for example, bottles from Duvel, Chimay, Orval, Westmalle, and even Ch’ti...

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Le Chat îvre
© Le Chat Ivre
Bars and pubs, Tapas bars

Le Chat Ivre

icon-location-pin Roquette

Wedged between Bastille and Charonne, Le Chat Ivre (‘the drunken cat’) started life as a bistro and later evolved into a spritely tapas bar with a chic, understated décor and a come-hither contemporary menu. At least, that’s how it looks at first glance, but the atmosphere once you’re settled in is far more down to earth, with shared tables and a happy buzz of conversation. The wine list is limited to two whites and three reds, but the choices are sound ­– perhaps a glass of cold Mâcon Solutré from the Domaine Girard, or a little red Bordeaux by Clos Lamothe (€6 each)...

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Clubs

L'OPA

icon-location-pin Bastille

Late opening and Eric Perier's diverse range of nightly entertainment - DJs (weekends), videos, live acts (Tuesday to Thursdays) and the odd open mic event - are the attractions here, along with free admission and reasonable drinks prices. A couple of comfortable sofas take the edge off the loft-like, institutional interior, with a modest stage in one corner and an upstairs chill-out space and separate bar...

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Bars and pubs, Bars

SanZ SanS

icon-location-pin Roquette

The Sanz brothers set up their bar-restaurant a stone’s throw from the Place de la Bastille, where for almost 20 years, SanZ SanS has hosted trendy evenings out that start with an aperitif and don’t slow down until dawn. The decor is chic and baroque with chairs covered in zebra-striped fabric, huge, glitzy moulded mirrors, a vast tinsel chandelier and red velvet from floor to ceiling and a menu offering classic, brasserie-style meals...

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Bars and pubs, Café bars

Chapelle des Lombards

icon-location-pin Roquette

With Afrojazz and Latino bands and DJs providing the music, Latinos and Africans lead the dancefloor in this popular world music venue. Note: smart dress only...

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Music, Music venues

La Scène Bastille

icon-location-pin Roquette

This tastefully decorated club-bar-restaurant complex holds regular rock concerts, as well as club events most Thursdays to Saturdays. The programming here changes constantly, so check what's on. Popular gay nights too. The monthly Saturday night boys' party Code 69 heats things up with club and electro mixes. As of 2013, the team behind the former lesbian bar Troisième Lieu hosts a gay-friendly party, Le Bal du Grand Fuck, with a smattering of boys among a sea of fist-pumping girls...

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Bars and pubs, Wine bars

Les Caves de Prague

icon-location-pin 12e arrondissement

Travel guides routinely point tourists to Le Baron Rouge, declaiming it to be the best wine bar around the Marché d'Aligre. If only they'd thought to look around the corner. For our money, Les Caves de Prague does the same job, but better: equally fine wines, fewer crowds and no corkage fee (buy one of their bottles, and you can drink it onsite for free).Despite the venue's name, the selection tends toward French produce...

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