The 46 Bar is a neighborhood feel-good, casual cocktail bar between Strasbourg St. Denis and Republique. But unless you see it street-side at the exact right time of day, you might miss it.
They label themselves a true ‘New York’ cocktail bar. Now the 46 doesn’t resemble any bar in New York that I know, but they do make great cocktails and charge New York prices. I guess that’s close enough.
We wandered in on a Saturday afternoon just after opening. They were still shuffling around, setting up tables and cutting up garnishes, but they warmly welcomed us. An old moustached man, who must’ve been the pops of one of them was sitting idle at the end of the bar, beer in a hand as he gazed outdoors at a sunburst that struck the street.
A ‘jungle’ theme is clearly apparent when you walk inside the bar. One wall has faux vines crawling downwards, while the back wall has a painted mural of an exotic landscape. The furniture and lighting are eclectic; rustic lamps and colourful ottomans all fit into this realm of reimagined bohemia called New York.
The Classic Cocktails
I ordered off of their classics menu, which frankly consists of some of my least favourite ‘classics’–Mojito, Caipirihna, Ti Punch. (And I mean no disrespect to my Latino friends, but these drinks are best reserved for the beach and sunshine, not Paris of all places.)
I took a Whiskey Smash. And I sat back with my ‘masses of mint on mountains of ice.’
It was very well done.
The ice was freshly crushed, and the mint, whiskey and sugar were well balanced. And plus it was good-looking.
An Outstanding Happy Hour in Paris
After 6pm, people started trickling in. That’s because all ‘classic’ cocktails drop to 6 Euros, an incredible deal, even for a Mojito.
The crowd was unexpected. A guy with a ponytail and circular glasses passed with his crew of four; a small peppy woman around my age sat with two older women as they gleefully skimmed the menu; two white-haired old timers sat near the entrance.
This Happy Hour seems to be the focal point, and I say this because it’s fantastic. It’s a fantastic reduction. A price that’s so much happier than that of their normal hours. Some of their ‘Original’ drinks–which I’m sure are very good–range upwards to 14€. That’s the same price as some of the best bars of the world.
The atmosphere is cute. A poster advertised a live singer who would play that Sunday. The barmen keep shaking, dashing and garnishing as the day gives way to moonlight.
A New York Cocktail Bar in Paris
As an ex-inhabitant of New York, I love that France’s vision of New York is about as wonky as our vision of Paris. If I had a nickel for every crazy-looking Hamburger dubbed ‘New York style,’ Bernie Sanders would be very happy with all his new anecdotes containing the word nickel. Bright lights, bagels, and Subway (the sandwich chain) are associated with New York, and more recently ‘Williamsburg,’ which has become completely its own brand, a little vassal of France in Brooklyn. New York is seen for its hunks of metal and glass–in basically the same way we see the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre.
The 46 bar does serve hotdogs, unusual for Paris. I didn’t try them, and frankly, I don’t plan on trying them, or taking my New Yorker friends there and telling them, ‘it’s just like NYC,’
BUT I will definitely keep the 46 bar in mind for their great cocktails and even better Happy Hour.