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Bars in Canal Saint-Martin, Ourcq and Villette

Discover the best bars near the Canal Saint-Martin, Ourcq and Villette areas in north east Paris

© Time Out

When it comes to simply going out for a drink, you’re spoiled for choice in these parts. Sure to be packed out every evening with a trendy bobo clientele, the addresses below are some of the most popular hangouts in north eastern Paris.

Recommended: Canal Saint-Martin, Ourcq and Villette area guide

The best bars in Canal Saint-Martin, Ourcq and Villette

La méduse

Done out in open brick walls and simple lighting for an understated vibe, La Méduse (‘jellyfish’ in French) does well to draw in customers by the Canal Saint-Martin, whose banks are already packed with trendy bars and restaurants. Mixing the drinks here is Hamza Saïdi – formerly of the Mary Céleste oyster bar in the Marais – and he really wows with concoctions like the Soupe Aztèque (mezcal, pineapple juice, lime and agave syrup infused with thyme), which is fresh, heady and smoky in equal measure...

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10th arrondissement

Café Odilon

Move northwards from the busier Jaures area of the Canal de l’Ourcq, and you’ll find a calm little spot where you can enjoy an idyllic view of the Quai de la Marne. Café Odilon opened its doors at the end of April 2016, just in time for the summer, during which customers will be able to enjoy a generously ratio-ed spritz (or two) in the neo-vintage interior and bask in the sunshine that pours through the large bay windows...

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19th arrondissement

À la Folie

This gigantic fire-engine red bar with its huge terrace fits in well with the rest of the Parc de la Villette’s gaudy architecture. Set between imposing trees in the 19th arrondissement park, this colourful enormo-bar exudes a trendy atmosphere redolent of a Berlin beer garden, but drinks prices are unfortunately Paris standard (€6.50 a pint, €7 after 10pm). Still, the excellent tapas (€4-€12) and kebabs (€8-€18) go down much better than a sticky late-night currywurst...

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19th arrondissement

Point Ephémère

Recommended

Housed in a former warehouse for art deco construction materials, Point Ephémère capitilises on its position next to the waters of the Canal Saint-Martin with a great outdoor area. In 2004 it was an artist’s squat of some 1,400 metres squared, which quickly became hugely popular and near permanent – to the chagrin of Paris’s City Council. Today, this breeding ground of all things artistic organises exhibitions, concerts and evenings of independent music...

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Canal Saint Martin

Chez Prune

Chez Prune is an excellent lunch spot, and still one of the best places to spend an evening on the Canal St-Martin. The local bobo HQ, this traditional café, with high ceilings and low lighting, sticks to a simple formula: groups of friends crowd around the cosily ordered banquettes, picking at moderately priced cheese or meat platters. Mostly, though, they come for a few leisurely drinks or an apéro before heading to one of the late night venues in the area...

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Canal Saint Martin

Le Coq

Recommended

In the hip Château d’Eau area, here’s a cocktail bar that gives its cutting edge neighbours a run for its money. Tony Conigliaro, joint owner with Thierry Daniel and Eric Fossard, knows what he’s doing: he’s also opened 69 Colebrook Row and Zetter Townhouse in London. The hook here is re-introducing France to its old-fashioned spirits, with a mixologist’s expert twist: Chartreuse or liqueur d'ambrette via London, Berlin or New York...

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Château d'Eau

Café A

Recommended

Located in the 18th-century former convent of Les Récollets, Café A is unique, nestling as it does into one of the corners of this beautiful building of huge white stones. It’s an artistic landmark beloved by Parisian initiates – to reach it, you’ll need to navigate your way through an iron gate and across a cloistered courtyard. Open until 10pm in winter and until midnight in summer, the huge space is decorated with works by young Parisian artists...

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Canal Saint Martin

Comptoir Général

Recommended

Eclectic, easy-going venues like this are more common in Barcelona than in Paris, but here in an old 600 square-metre barn is this offbeat, shabby chic bar, touched with colonial stylings in its black and white tiled floors, stylish chandeliers, red carpets and African souvenirs piled up in every corner. As you walk in, the size of the space blows you away – two enormous, shadowy rooms connected by a smoking area formed from a tropical garden in an enormous greenhouse...

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Canal Saint Martin

La Caravane

Recommended

With all the wandering joie de vivre of its gypsy namesake, this lively little local bar just two steps from République specialises in slide shows, jam sessions, jazz and DJ sets against a backdrop of colourful, comfortable clutter, all poufs and window seats. Stop by for the entertainment, while sipping a few caipirinhas or beers at prices (€4 a pint) that are more than reasonable for the area. The fusion food is also a draw...

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11th arrondissement

Le Mauri7

Recommended

Le Mauri7 is the perfect antidote to its rival over the road, the achingly hip Chez Jeanette. Where the one is always crammed with snooty drinkers, the other’s clientele are a delightfully mixed bag, its atmosphere an appealing sort of ugly sexy kitsch. The walls are plastered with out-dated vinyl sleeves and film posters, while behind the bar a tacky neon sign proudly spells out the name. We love le Mauri7 because the place oozes a human warmth lacking in its neighbours...

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10th arrondissement

Le Troquet des Glaces

Recommended

The 10th arrondissement is studded with the sort of bars that attract mobs of hipsters and repel everyone else; so it's refreshing to find, nestled among them, a snug little joint that has no pretensions to high fashion. Le Troquet des Glaces hasn't been here long – it opened in early 2013 – yet it has all the charm of an established neighbourhood bar.True to its name, the bistro welcomes you with a convivial bar area surrounded by mirrors...

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Canal Saint Martin

Café Bonnie

Recommended

A café as sweet as a cupcake, whose walls also pay homage to cult films from the golden age of Hollywood and their femmes fatales, those ageless sex symbols. The décor is kitsch and colourful, but done with good humour: baby blue walls, bright pink neon lights, pop art paintings, princess armchairs and portraits of imaginary clients like Audrey Hepburn, Ursula Andress, Brigitte Bardot and… Snow White?

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10th arrondissement

L'Inconnu

Recommended

Here’s a new bar in an area, Strasbourg Saint-Denis, that’s becoming a more and more interesting alternative to Pigalle, Oberkampf and Bastille. The team managing the venue know what they’re doing, and the friendly welcome, comfy sofa, soft lighting and cheap Parisian beer (Gallia) encouraging chat and chance encounters. Even better is the busy event schedule, particularly the DJ sets on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays that often feature big names like Teki Latex, Supa Never Smiles or Acid Washed...

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Château d'Eau

Paname Brewery Company

A new arrival on the Quai de la Loire in June 2015, the Paname Brewery Company is the latest sign that this gorgeous canal-side area, which once struggled with a dodgy reputation, is on the up and up. In summer, the canal’s broad walkways ring soothingly with the sounds of pétanque players, splashing water and beer cans being opened, making it the perfect setting for an increasing number of hip young venues. The PCB is a little bit different, though, thanks to its reasonable prices...

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Bassin de la Villette

Chez Adel

The owner Adel is probably the most renowned chanson café owner in Paris, and this fine den of kitsch attracts countless devotees with a repertoire that extends to folk, gypsy jazz and world music. The crowd, fuelled by rum and ginger cocktails (the house speciality), are never less than enthusiastic, and the delicious food (French and Syrian dishes feature in equal measure) alone is worth the trip...

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10th arrondissement

Le Cinquante

Just down from the Canal St-Martin, the bare brick, Formica and framed '50s ads of this funky venue attract an inner circle of regulars. These days it's established enough to produce its own T-shirts and customised bar stools. Reasonable prices - half-litre pitchers of sauvignon, Brouilly and Chablis in the €10 range - attract a mixed bag of tastes and generations...

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Canal Saint Martin

Le Carillon

Recommended

Le Carillon is currently closed. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims, all Parisians and anyone affected by the atrocities of November 13 2015. ***A run-down, rustic aesthetic rules in this canal-side café-bar. Simple wooden tables sit alongside dilapidated sofas, on which a cool crowd sit tapping away on their MacBooks in the day and sipping cocktails in the evening...

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Canal Saint Martin

Chez Jeannette

Recommended

Just when it looked like Paris would be flooded with trendy loft-style watering holes, in came the credit crunch and out popped the idea of capitalising on the funky period features that already exist. Chez Jeannette (the bar) pioneered that idea a few years ago when Jeannette (the owner) sold her beloved joint to a young new team who promised not to change a thing – including the name...

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Château d'Eau

Rosa Bonheur

Recommended

Bucolic delights reign at Rosa Bonheur, a bar set in a former guinguette in the heart of the Buttes Chaumont park. Its name loosely translates as ‘pink happiness’ but refers in particular to 19th-century French painter and sculptor ‘Rosa Bonheur’, famous for her depictions of animals and her role in the early feminist movement (alongside George Sand and Sarah Bernhardt). The bar is managed by Michelle Cassaro, aka Mimi, who used to run lesbian club Pulp...

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19th arrondissement

Gravity bar

Opened in August 2015 on the buzzing Rue des Vinaigriers, this hip cocktail bar has fast become one of the hottest hangouts in Paris. This is thanks in part to its self-consciously stylish interior – the ceiling is covered with vertical wave-shaped slats that seem to crash down dramatically behind the massive steel counter. Less overtly ambitious but equally striking is the charming little terrace outside with its sleek, Scandinavian-style furnishings...

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Canal Saint Martin

Wanted

Part of a revival of the iconic Halle Secrétan building, the newly-opened Wanted bar checks all the right boxes for a hip hot spot – pretty wood interiors, trendy music and a ‘bobo’ clientele. In keeping with its Italian-American theme, the menu features the usual antipasti classics, including Italian cheeses and charcuterie (we can recommend the mortadella with truffle), but it’s the pizzas that caught our attention...

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L’Agence

Fed up with working in advertising, Julien and Laurent decided to take a leap and turn their ad agency (in a prime spot by the canal Saint-Martin) into a wine bar in early 2014. You would hardly spot this bar if you didn’t know where to find it: only a small chalkboard hanging on the door gives it away. Softly lit inside, with brick walls, wooden beams, antique objects and shelves heavy with bottles, L’Agence has charm and character...

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Canal Saint Martin

Mama Kin

Recommended

Opened near the Canal de l’Ourcq, Mama Kin jumped right in, offering a full programme of live music and DJ nights since its launch in May 2011. Their dedicated crew organises regular acoustic concerts, inviting jazz manouche, rock, funk, blues and folk groups, or DJs spinning hip hop, reggae, groove and soul. Separated into two rooms, the bar is painted a sandy colour. You’d think you were at the beach, with exotic trinkets washing up on the shore...

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Bassin de la Villette

Bar Ourcq

Recommended

If chilling on a deckchair on the banks of a canal or playing pétanque gets you going, head to Bar Ourcq of an evening, where a flip-flop wearing, shorts-sporting clientele is welcomed with open arms. On summer days, crowds gather for open-air guitar jamming sessions or to picnic on the banks of the canal, refuelling at Bar Ourcq with plastic goblets of cold beer or bottles of wine. Things get pretty boozy as the day wears on...

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Bassin de la Villette

Péniche Antipode

Recommended

In 2002, the Abricadabra theatre company transformed this boat moored on the Canal de l’Ourcq into a floating café, with shows for youngsters during the day and plays and concerts for adults in the evenings. In this enchanting Peniche (houseboat), kids 3-8 years old are entertained and educated by screenings, mimes, songs, comedies, shadow puppets and more...

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19th arrondissement

La Rotonde

Recommended

Transformed into a bar-restaurant, the magnificent ancient Rotonde on Place Stalingrad has become a favoured destination for partying Parisians. A vestige of the old city wall of ancient Paris, the Rotonde was built a year before the French Revolution by Claude Nicolas Ledoux, one of the founders of the neoclassical movement. It only just survived Haussmann, who wanted to knock it down in the aftermath of the fire of Paris in 1871, and the construction of second Metro line in 1903...

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19th arrondissement

Le Lavomatic

This bar is tucked away on the top floor of what looks like a relatively lifeless apartment block on Rue Boulanger, near République. But this is all part of the game for Le Lavomatic’s owners, who have also snapped up the ground floor and are opening a fully functioning launderette here in September 2015. Because of all this, and because you can only reach the bar by climbing up a dainty spiral staircase, the whole place has the air of an illicit speakeasy joint...

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République

Le Pavillon du Lac

Recommended

In the middle of the Parc Buttes Chaumont, the Pavilion du Lac and the park’s five other pavilions opened in 1868. Restored in 2010 after lying abandoned for ten years, it has been transformed into a high class restaurant with chef Fabien Borgel in the kitchen. For a sunny Sunday, reserve one of the tables on the beautiful terrace, in front of the pavilion or in the garden to the left...

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Buttes-Chaumont

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