Thanks to my friends at Le Cocktail Connoisseur and some great advice from Sabrina, Arielle, Martina, Martin and Jonathan, I explored some of the best bars in Paris last month. Here are my drinking (and sometimes eating) highlights...
When you will first enter Syndicat, you will be shocked. Was this bar designed by a frat boy high on shrooms? The tacky but alluring golden curtains, the coins wedged into the ceiling and a back bar that is walled with pegboard which seems perfect for hanging your dad's wrench set. But instead of tools, there are bottles of French-only spirits, liqueurs, and bitters. Le Syndicat was one of the first bars to strongly embrace products from their region, a welcome trend in the bar industry. Scout in London, Native in Singapore and Iter in Milano have since followed in Le Syndicat's footsteps in supporting local ingredients in their drinks.
In addition to supporting French liquors, Le Syndicat’s menu supports the Paris scene, with each cocktail dedicated to a different Parisien bar. This is one strong sign that in Paris, the bar community is a closely-knit family. We tried the Pandan in the Air, an ode to Nico de Soto’s favorite ingredient at Danico. This cocktail even comes with a Helium-filled balloon that you can inhale to impress your cocktail friends with your Tweety bird voice. My favorite drink was the Undergroni, dedicated to Calbar. But what stood out even more than the drinks was the vibe. From the customers to the bartenders, everyone was in a lively party mood. I made three friendships in my 30 minutes at Le Syndicat while the bubbly Juliette and charming Giovanni kept us smiling with their incredible enthusiasm.
From Sabrina to Danil, Cafe Moderne was at the top everyone's must visit list. This hipsterish bar is famous not only for Mido and Jennifer, two bartenders who have hit it out of the park at World Class, but also the delicious grub including meatballs and burgers. My favorite drinks on the night were the refreshing Plantation rum-based Jamrock Crusta and Jennifer's whiskey sour. Café Moderne is one of the chillest places to hang out in Paris thanks to the friendly bartenders and positive energy in the bar.
The best new restaurant in Paris is Marrow, featuring none other than borrow marrow as the protagonist. Other than the succulent bone marrow, served in crispy bread used for dipping, I suggest the grilled octopus. In addition to great sharing-style plates, you can also savour the fine cocktails by Arthur Combe. Check out his signature spin on the Vieux Carre, the "Vieux Rectangle" with Cognac, aperol, vermouth, bitters, and absinthe.
The most experimental cocktails can be found at Gravity, a beautifully lit bar featuring a large crescent shaped bar counter. My favorite drink on the night was the Laisse Pas Trainer Ton Fizz with Calvados, Gentian, green chili pepper, lime juice, egg white and carbonated water. This sour and refreshing drink was inspired by "Laisse Pas Trainer Ton Fils" (don't let your child hang out on the streets). One of the best bars in Paris.
Little Red Door
Little Red Door is without a doubt the most famous bar in Paris. Entering the dimly lit and romantic bar, you will be greeted with a beautiful smile from the team which includes bar manager Keila and bartender Giulia. The menu at Little Red Door is based on architectural movements such as Minimalism, Biomimetics, Brutalism, Baroque and Art Deco. Our favorite drink on the night was Functionalism. Although I didn’t gain access to the beautiful bar area with its best-in-town bar stools, I enjoyed meeting some new friends at one of the tables. Little Red Door is surely the sexiest cocktail bar I visited in Paris. Congrats to Remy Savage and friends for a great conceptual menu.
Every night on in Paris must end up at Bisou, a true bartenders' bar. A simple but fun decor is complemented by a great bar team which includes Nicolas Goradesky and Nicolas Munoz. At Bisou, drinks are tailor made to your palate and mood - I have no recollection of what I ordered but it I recall it being absolutely delicious! Make sure to take a selfie in their flamingo-inspired bathroom.
Le Mary Celeste
Le Mary Celeste is a trendy bar which features a beautiful circular bar, where young and hip Parisiens sip on red wine or cocktails while nibbling on some of the best food in the city. My favorites were the savory beef cheek and veal tartare. The tartare is so good, I ordered two!
My favorite Parisien cafe is Matamata, a comfy bar featuring world-class specialty coffee prepared either by espresso, Aeropress or pourover. Thank you my dear Martina for taking me to this beautiful spot.
Although I sadly have no photos, Grazie is a great pizzeria/cocktail bar in the Le Marais neighborhood of Paris. Sit up at the bar and enjoy the superb drinks of Pietro Costamagna.