There's something compulsive about watching twenty-two men spin around on the spot with all the artlessness of the English national team. No matter the crowd, no matter the vibe, we believe that every bar is better off with a table football table tucked away in a corner somewhere – heck, we've even set one up in the Time Out offices to keep us sane. For a while, it seemed as if trends had overtaken us and foosball was on its way out of the capital; but whether because of Brasil 2014, anticipation of the France 2016 Euro Cup, or simply a collective brainwave on the part of bar managers across the city, the tables are creeping back into Paris's bars. These, then, are the best places to go for a pint and a game or three. Just remember: No spinning.
An old school bar-tabac in the heart of Montmartre, which recalls the beatnik and rock bistros of the 1970s with its table football, ancient stickers, Beatles records and walls covered with old vinyl. Serge, the owner, is a neighbourhood character with a reputation for grumpiness, which the regulars love, and although a little prickly he’s basically a nice guy. His dive doesn’t just attract nostalgics but all rock fans, thanks to the live music put on every Friday. Art and music magazines are piled on the bar, and there are colourful chairs and tables on the terrace outside for sunny days.
best bars in Paris" width="" height="" border="" />This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. A Russian outpost in the middle of Pigalle? It’s not, in fact, a hostess bar, but a rather a super cool new venue that’s been heaving from the word go – it’s difficult to clear a path to the bar through the mob to order one of the fantastic imported vodkas or original cocktails (€8 to €11). The young team aren’t afraid to blast out a good selection of music, or to throw together bold mixtures of local and imported booze. Try the Negroni Lenin (honey-flavoured 42 Below vodka, Gran Classico and Campari), the Red Star (mezcal, fresh beetroot and Carpano) or even the Red Army (Gin Carpano, green Chartreuse and orange bitters). If you prefer beer, opt for one of the imported bottles: a Kremlin or one of the numerous Baltika beers, at very reasonable prices (between €3.5 and €5 a go). Once you’ve finally got hold of your drink, enjoy the respite from the throng and pass an eye over the sumptuous communist red décor, punctuated with propaganda posters and quaint Soviet-style furniture. You can also take the occasional breather in the little cul-de-sac outside. In contrast to the design scheme, the clientele is very Parisian.
Only the black lacquered tiling of the building gives away the location of Le Fantôme, the new venue from the crew behind Le Baron. The enormous space is a fantasy venue for fans of retrogaming: as well as a huge bar, formica chairs and faux leather banquettes, the Fantôme offers a fistful of arcade games, a Pacman table (which is often reserved) and a superb table football set. Drinks-wise, the resident mixologist is an inspired Californian called David West who refuses to churn out mojitos, but has instead produced a list of five inventive cocktails to go with the menu of hefty pizzas (we liked one with porcini, pancetta, ceps, buffalo mozzarella and artichoke hearts for just €6), or salads at €12.
best bars in Paris" width="" height="" border="" />This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. 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. The downstairs dance floor area stays open until 2am and is a good place to meet the local population of hipsters, artists and musicians, or anyone just looking for a good tune. Opened in March 2011, l’Inconnu has a bright future – not least because its creators are planning to add a terrace.
Next to the famous Café Charbon, the big, beautiful terrace of La Place Verte stretches out over a small shady square. It goes without saying that it’s rammed on sunny days, but if you can’t get a table, the inside isn’t bad either. The café was renovated in 2011, and the new '70s-inspired ‘design’ décor is a pleasant background to an evening drink with friends. Armchairs in green velvet, big cantine-style tables, thick orange curtains and a table football set jumble together harmoniously in the enormous space. The menu has influences from around the world, with a Japanese touch in the chirashi and salmon tartare (€14), an Indian one in the green lamb curry (€14) or an American one in the East Side Bagel (€13). Despite the struggle to get onto the terrace and the painfully hip clientele, it is possible to have a good time without emptying your wallet; try the sangria (€4.20) or a pichet of wine to get the best value. A cocktail with a view of the bubbling Rue Oberkampf will set you back €8. The service is cordial and swift.
Following Rosa Bonheur in the heart of the Parc Buttes-Chaumont and En Attendant Rosa on the banks of the Seine, we now have Rosa Bonheur sur Seine: a peniche moored hard by the Pont Alexandre III. The boat, all wood and glass, offers the calming swell of the water and an unbeatable view of the bateaux-mouches sailing by. At the time of writing, work on the space is still on going (particularly downstairs), but it is open and equipped with a table football set, bar (sip Pernod at €3 a glass) and kitchen turning out fresh sandwiches with interesting fillings (sea urchin taramasalata, €4.50), perfect for a picnic among the barrels on deck while watching the sunset. You could wait for the works to be finished, but by then the secret will probably be out and the queues frustrating; it might be worth getting in your summer peniche experience a little early.
Where to drink…
We seek out the malt of the earth among the capital's bars Our favourite bars for beer La Fine Mousse Beer offerings in Paris can be distinctly below par, but thanks to the trend for all things organic and artisanal, a few treasures are emerging from the sea of Stella and Kro: La Fine Mousse is one. It’s run by a team of ‘bièreologues’ who man the twenty or so taps, offering a plethora of artisanal beers from France, Belgium, Norway and England. There are tasting notes on the menu, or you can leave yourself in the capable hands of the bar staff to help you choose from the range that stretches from €3.50 to €10 for 25cl, and from 5% to 10% strength... Read more Les Trois 8 Old clichés die hard: to most, rock bars are where you go to wig out to a bunch of overamped musicians while getting pissed on Kronenbourg and Kanterbrau. That stereotype is now at least half-false, as an increasing number of these music venues begin to branch out into 'quality' brews. 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. The shift toward microbreweries is certainly of a piece with the newly tasteful decor... Read more Le Supercoin What with Bières Cultes, the Brasserie de La Goutte d’Or and now the very welcoming Supercoin, barley and hops are being celebrated in the 18th arrondissement – a welcome departure for Parisians used to eternal weak demis. Supercoin is
Time Out's guide to the best bars in Paris with outstanding wine lists Le Troquet des Glaces The 11th 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. If you find that your own reflection makes for a disconcerting drinking buddy, you can repair to a 12-seat outdoor terrace (heated in winter). Incredibly, we've never had trouble finding a seat in either area – though that may change as word of mouth spreads. Fine wines and gourmet sandwiches are the order of the day, though it's worth shelling out for one of the divine cheese and meat platters. But what elevates Le Troquet above its neighbours is Yassin, the impossibly charming owner, who's treated us like long-standing regulars since our first visit. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy: now there's nowhere in the area we'd rather go. Les Caves de Prague 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 o