A former 17th-century convent in Le Marais houses this dimly lit lounge adorned with oil paintings of the hotel’s namesake, Josephine Bonaparte. Sample the seasonal drinks menu or ask one of the talented bartenders to whip up something tailored to your tastes. One constant is The Last Word, a potent combination of gin, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice. Among the French, it’s a favorite way to end an evening.
Named after the venerable writer who, it’s claimed, downed 50 martinis there in one sitting, this wood-paneled, memorabilia-packed bar at the recently reopened Ritz is the “it” spot for high-end cocktails in Paris. Those with deep pockets can splurge on the Ritz Side Car, made with a rare 1834 Cognac. It runs a cool €1,500 (roughly $1,600). For a fraction of that price, try the Serendipity, made with Calvados, tart French apple juice, Champagne and fresh mint, served over ice. And, for ladies only, it’s garnished with a rose.
Soaring ceilings, gilded walls and enormous paintings of peacocks are the ornate backdrop to Christophe Davoine’s inventive, beautifully presented cocktails. The 150th is a blend of Bourbon, passion fruit liqueur and Moutai (a Chinese sorghum spirit) topped with a wedge of passion fruit and a tiny origami bird. Meanwhile, the Next Step is a play on the Old Fashioned, with rye whiskey tempered with sweet grapefruit liqueur.
The Craft Aficionado
Come for the beer, stay for the view. Getting to this microbrew pub along the Bassin de la Villette, an artificial lake in the 19th arrondissement, can be a haul. Once there, however, you’ll discover beers made on site, from creamy, fruity red ales to deep, chocolaty lagers and hoppy IPAs. In warm weather, the waterside terrace is the place to be.
With just two to four house-brewed beers on tap, this tiny spot in the 10th arrondissement fills up quickly. Get here before 8 pm to sample brewmaster Jocelyn Berube’s revolving selection of porters, IPAs and blondes. None of the brews, he says, is made the same way twice.
The ne plus ultra of Parisian beer bars, La Fine Mousse doesn’t craft brews itself, but offers 20 taps and nearly 150 by the bottle. Try French suds like the hoppy Hildegarde Reserve Amber from Brasserie Saint-Germain or an unfiltered Belgian-style brew from La Rouge Flamande. Occasionally on the menu: unusual selections from across Europe, like an Italian pale ale brewed with Japanese Sorachi Ace hops.
Of all the gin joints in Paris, this sophisticated, multilevel spot near St-Sulpice is the one to walk into, thanks to its impressive roster of 45 classic and niche varieties. Its G&T lineup includes versions with French gins Citadelle and G’Vine (the tonic is house made). As expected, martinis are big here, too: The Old Rare is crafted with barrel-aged Citadelle Solera gin, Dubonnet, dry Curacao and orange bitters.
Trendy Parisian “bobos” (bourgeois bohemians) pack this sexy hangout for the great tunes—Britpop, ’90s hip-hop, soul music—and even better cocktails. Its team of young, bearded bartenders sling daring drinks like the Hermano, a concoction of mezcal, Campari and fresh lime juice that’s dusted with salt mixed with crushed caterpillars and grasshoppers.
A table at this white-hot newcomer requires a reservation, but you can usually find a seat at the long, sleek, marble-topped bar. The compact cocktail menu is seasonally inspired and reasonably priced. If you long for a taste of home, an impressive range of American whiskeys and Bourbons is offered.
This sliver of a bar in Belleville is standing room only (literally—there are no seats), so wear comfortable shoes and try its ever-changing list of natural wines. The filters are off, so expect some funk, but among the more reliable is a fruity, earthy Sicilian red, Palmento, from the tiny Vino di Anna winery near Mount Etna.
The newest outpost of the wildly successful L’Avant Comptoir mini-empire is first and foremost a paean to pork (the lipstick-red painted pigs that hang from the rafters offer a clue), but it also offers a long list of natural and biodynamic wines.