Joséphine, Caves parisiennes
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Newly opened at the beginning of 2013, Joséphine is very good news. This speakeasy-style den of sophisticated cocktails, distinguished wines and rare whiskies has a décor inspired by the sensual Joséphine Baker and avant-garde American tattoo artists of the 1940s. The first thing you see when you walk in are the magnificent wooden shelves displaying bottles of wine, Japanese whiskies and apothecaries' phials of strange potions. The big old-fashioned bar is manned by a couple of smiling, relaxed and helpful bar staff, and the front room gives onto a more intimate rear area with comfortable banquettes, a small dance floor and a second bar. A glass floor reveals the wine cellar beneath, and there’s even a smoking room. The rear space is designed for DJs and dancing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, spinning rocksteady, reggae ska and ’60s rock.
The drinks menu covers 10 slick house cocktails (like the Joséphine – chartreuse, calvados, line, absinthe, grapefruit zest – or the Apricot Reviver – gin, Kina l’Avion d’Or, rosemary-infused apricots, lemon – all €10), whiskies and rums from all over the world, and good French wines available by the glass. Snacks include tuna rillettes with sea mustard, suprême de langoustine, plates of Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, house fries – they’re all very different, as is their pricing (€5-€18).