Paris's drinking scene is one of the best and most diverse in the world, with speciality wine bars, craft beer bars and cocktail temples constantly cropping up across the city. Whether you want to splash the cash or keep to your budget, here's a selection of the best places in Paris to get tipsy and live like there's no tomorrow. Cheers — or as the French would say — Tchin tchin!
The best bars in Paris: tried, tested and ranked by us
What should I drink? The Nevez Old Fashioned.
A cocktail bar like Le Syndicat is hard to come by. It may look scrappy from the outside but once inside, you couldn't imagine anywhere more hospitable. The excellent cocktail list hits the fashionable vintage spot, with little-known liquors (cognacs, Armagnacs, eau de vie and more) made into contemporary combinations by faultlessly attentive staff. Sit back to soak up the casual speakeasy atmosphere and the hip-hop soundtrack.
What should I drink? A Rain Dog with oysters on the side.
It would be easy to walk straight past the latest venture from the team behind Candelaria and Le Glass – with its nondescript front door and simple neon sign, the Mary Céleste oyster bar looks more like a neighbourhood pizzeria than one of the hippest destinations in the Marais.
What should I drink? A Modernismo, with Beefeater gin, nutmeg, champagne, lemon and the herb, oxalis.
It’s impossible to miss the Little Red Door’s…little red door, located on rue Charlot and lit up by slightly gaudy lights in Paris’s uber chic Marais quarter. It came 11th in the 2017 list of the World’s Best Bars and frankly, we can’t argue. Get comfortable in the intoxicating speakeasy atmosphere and browse the cocktail menu, which is themed around architectural trends.
What should I drink? A glass of Nord-Aveyron red.
In the kingdom of chefs, the pig is king – or so goes the slogan of our favourite south-western French chef, Yves Camdeborde, who has just opened his fourth address (after L'Avant Comptoir de la Mer and Le Comptoir du Relais). A love letter to pork, the gourmet small plates are best washed down with the excellent wine from independent producers, such as a 2014 Montrieux from the Loire.
What should I drink? Guêpe Verte (tequila, cucumber, coriander, agave, lime and pepper) = Mexico in a glass.
Push the little door and go through a thick curtain at the back of the taco joint to find 52 rue Saintonge’s cocktail den. The room is large, the light soft and the golden atmosphere is as cosy as it gets. The aproned bartenders are adept multitaskers; smiling, taking orders, making jokes and occasionally busting dance moves.
What should I drink? A glass of Fleur Sauvage Jouret.
A superb selection of wines, delectable smoked meats on toast, and a cosy environment are yours for the taking at Septime's annex bar. La Cave is just as glamorous as its big sister, but the prices aren’t as prohibitive. Sample the rotating selection of five whites and five reds by the glass (between €4.50 and €8).
What should I drink? The Turkish Delight or Chirac 95.
Castor Club's discreet frontage, elegant old lampshades and wealth of log-cabin wooden panelling create an aesthetic reminiscent of the speakeasy bars of Prohibition-era America. Often busy, the bar plays a mix of Nashville pop and country from the ’50s and ’60s while customers try out the eclectic range of house cocktails. Downstairs, a funkier R&B playlist gets a cheery crowd writhing in a dance-friendly bar space, while others chat away in the cosy candlelight.
What should I drink? A classic Tom Collins.
Nautical-themed drinking hole Le CopperBay is a sophisticated and elegant cocktail bar hidden away down the quiet Rue Bouchardon. Against a décor of wood panelling and ropes, experienced cocktail crafters Elfi, Julien and Aurélie can serve you a sailor-friendly rum on the rocks, or something a little more adventurous from their ambitious mixology menu.
What should I drink? Any of the rotating beers on draught.
Les Trois 8 opened after a renovation in 2013 with a new remit to match its fresh look: instead of cheap lager on tap, its clientele would henceforth sip craft beers and organic wine. Choose between around eight brews, ranging from the moderately bitter Northmaen Blonde (€4.50 per pint) to the dark and stormy Kernel Export India Porter (€9.50). If beer is the religion at Les Trois 8, heretics are tolerated – a decent range of wines is also on offer.
What should I drink? The Grand Ourse, with Chartreuse, rosehip vodka, rosehip syrup and ginger beer.
Of the many venues between the Strasbourg Saint-Denis and Gare de l’Est attracting hip young drinkers, Ours Bar is a standout. If nothing else, it's good enough to keep its prices down – pints for €5 all day long and cocktails for €6 during happy hour (5pm-9pm). As well as all the classic mixes you’d expect, there are also original house cocktails which are worth splashing out for.