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 that creates a well of light in the centre of the venue. In another corner sits a cabinet of curiosities, full of neat rows of skeletons, rare bird feathers and stuffed animals.
Hipsters, boho-chic types and families are all tumbled in together here – a varied but very Parisian mix. Grab a fresh African-inspired cocktail like the vodka-based Secousse with bissap (hibiscus flower syrup), passion fruit and cucumber. There’s also Licorne organic beer in half pints (€3.50) or pints (€6.50) or a Togan bottled beer, la Flag. As for the food, we love the reasonably-priced global-inspired grub; African dishes and mezzes for €10, coconut milk and lentil soup for €5 and samosas or Asian wraps for €6. We love the atmosphere of the place and its amazing setting, with its odd assortment of armchairs, affordable cocktails, blues and jazz soundtrack and inexpensive Asian dishes.
On the downside, a battle for seating rages in the evenings, and the queue outside that builds from 8pm can stretch waiting times into hours. To be sure of enjoying the venue – hidden behind a block of houses on the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin – come as early as possible. On weekends, a Franco-African brunch is on offer at €16, but try and reserve, as it’s often full. There’s also le Cinébrousse: free film screenings every Sunday evening from 7pm to 11pm with themes to fit the surroundings: the military, natural exploration and culture.
|Venue name:||Comptoir Général||Contact:|
80 quai de Jemmapes
|Opening hours:||Daily 11am-1am|
|Transport:||Metro: République, Goncourt ou Jacques Bonsergent|
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