I’m telling you–it was another misty winter night in Paris, same as all the others. Accompanied by sneakers and patterned socks, flowing overcoats and black-brimmed hats with pluming feathers, we arrive. It’s never so cold in Paris to not dress with elegance; life is never so challenging to not act with the same sentiment. Tip the bouncer. Hold the door for Mlle. Remove your garments. Fold them over your arm. Send a signal from the entrance to the bartender. Here, this is the way to do things, but maybe, and finally, that’s changing.
Location: Saint Germain des-Pris, 6th arr.
The atmosphere on Rue de Princesse, a small stone road in St. Sulpice, is enchanting. People spill into the street, chatting, buzzing, percolating with energy. (Later, I found out this street is considered touristy, but personally, I believe that any street with greater traction than locals is considered touristy by French definition.)
In blue cursive, a neon sign illuminates the word ‘Tiger’. The banker looks excited. She turns to me with big eyes. ‘It reminds me of New York,’ she says. But I’m not as easily impressed. We push open the heavy wood door.
Tiger labels themselves ‘the first (or premiere) Gin bar in Paris,’ and WorldsBestBars.com labels them ‘not a normal cocktail bar.’ Phrases like these are tricky and distracting. They’re nothing but marketing tactics that convince you how you’re supposed to feel about a place before walking in.
Vibe: Trendy, Colorful, Rowdy, Modern
When we walk in, it’s packed. Orbs of light dangle overhead, ferns, and potted plants line the walls and nooks. A DJ spins near the entrance, dance hall. We thread through the vicious crowd, bobbing to the cramped space near the bar.
A flamboyant man behind us becomes impatient as all six of us order. He’s opulently chubby, salt and pepper hair, red-faced wearing a black turtleneck, and thick directorial glasses. ‘Attends!’ I yell. It diffuses the situation.
We head upstairs to the nook area. People are laughing and chatting, a great vibe rings throughout. It’s loud, the good kind of loud. A loud where you can’t hear the people across the table, but encourages yelling, shouting. One of the girls in our group climbs on the table and starts dancing. Two others stand on the booth to join her. I chat with the hotelier. She speaks of how the France is in freefall, and how the young president might not be up for the task. Politics aren’t faux-pas yet in this country. It’s a nice change. The waiter asks if we’d like another drink. Sure, why not?
The price, of course.
Drinks: Gin-Based, Aromatic, Flavorful, Expensive
In spite of appearances, Tiger takes Gin seriously. 6 types of Gin & Tonic, more than what would ever be necessary. They use a soda stream method, spraying the tonic from afar, and cascading into the goblet. I had never seen such a technique until now. The bartenders are young, friendly, but they are showmen. The drink prices reflect a bar that takes itself ‘seriously,’ but a showman should never be taken seriously.
My girlfriend orders a gin-take on a bloody mary. It’s sumptuous, full, really an outstanding cocktail. I order a gin, mezcal, blood orange, honey drink. At 16 Euro, I have one-shot and it misfires. The drink is average at best, tart, smokey, but overall not what I had hoped. Two of the other Mlles order a gin-cranberry-lavender drink that doesn’t far surpass a good Capecodder. The last two had one of the six Gin-tonics.
I’d say I loved the place if it wasn’t for the price, but the bar was packed, so I guess…they can get away with it.
Suit The Occasion:
Drink Like the Bar Owner: