Hemingway once called Paris a moveable feast. Well, I call Paris home. And while the city does love to eat, the city likes to drink as much, if not more.
What else is there to do after a long day in a rainy, magical city?
Through those shiny cobbled streets, we Parisians seek refuge. And there’s no better way than in the stylish dens of the capital’s finest cocktail bars.
On this list, I’ve narrowed it down to a selection of 16. Next week, however, only eight bars will be standing.
So, join me on a tour of the essential cocktail bars of Paris – the top 16 bars of the City of Light.
The veritable establishments of the City of Light and Love
1. Harry’s New York Bar
Tucked away like a secret handshake in the 2nd arrondissement, this Parisian institution has been stirring and shaking since 1911. The great artists of the 20th century used to wander in for a sip or two of the legendary Bloody Mary and even the French 75, which were born at this very establishment.
5 Rue Daunou, 75002 Paris, France
2. Bar Hemingway at the Ritz
Speaking of Hemingway, he also said, “When I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place at the Ritz Paris.” Here, the Bar Hemingway pays homage to the man himself with expertly crafted cocktails and a refined ambiance.
15 Pl. Vendôme, 75001 Paris, France
3. Experimental Cocktail Club
Hidden behind an unassuming façade in the 2nd arrondissement, this association is more like a playground for mixologists. Over the years, they’ve become an institution, opening bars in several cities. Expect an ever-changing menu and personalized drinks, an ode to liquid innovation.
37 Rue Saint-Sauveur, 75002 Paris, France
4. Prescription Cocktail Club
Draped in mystique, velvet, and class, in the center of Paris rests this iconic cocktail lounge. Reserve in advance for the full experience. They’ve been a city staple since the rebirth of cocktail interest in the Parisian public. From the experimental group as well, PCC proves that better always comes in twos.
23 Rue Mazarine, 75006 Paris, France
The Second Wave
The 2010’s, a renaissance for cocktails in Paris
5. Little Red Door
A discreet red door that beckons curiosity. This cozy hideaway in the Marais is where you’ll find inventive cocktails, seasonal menus, and world-class professionals behind the bar. A personal favorite.
60 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris, France
6. Le Syndicat
Posters, advertisements, and a dark hole in the wall, this is not your average cocktail joint. Le Syndicat uses local ingredients and has a rap-infused atmosphere. It might be the coolest bar on this list, and a green flag if you suggest it to locals.
51 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010
This nautical-themed bar, located in the trendy neighborhood of Strasbourg-St. Denis, has a fantastic array of expertly crafted cocktails. I’ve tasted ingredients here that I haven’t found anywhere else.
5 Rue Bouchardon, 75010 Paris, France
While technically a speakeasy, this taqueria’s refrigerator door is known to most of the city as a portal into Candelaria. With its reputation as the first hidden bar in Paris, Candelaria is a cocktail haven for mezcal-forward creations.
52 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris, France
The best secret and hidden bars throughout the capital
9. Le Calbar
Ever wondered what happens when you combine the charms of a Parisian bar with the wit of a New York speakeasy? The answer lies in Le Calbar’s playful and lighthearted cocktail menu.
82 Rue de Charenton, 75012 Paris, France
Found behind the famed Daroco restaurant, in the beautiful Gallery Vivienne, Danico’s cocktails are a symphony of flavors that regularly makes it a top-100 bar. This intimate setting is perfect for an after-pizza drink and a great date spot.
6 Rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France
As if plucked straight from the Prohibition era, Moonshiner hides behind the cooler of a fake pizzeria. Inside, you’ll find a cozy speakeasy with a vintage charm.
5 Rue Sedaine, 75011 Paris, France
12. La Mezcaleria
Hidden behind a curtain at the back of the Candelaria taqueria, this Mezcal-focused bar is a slice of Oaxacan heaven in the heart of Paris. Explore the world of Mezcal like never before.
13 Bd du Temple, 75003 Paris, France
La Nouvelle Vague
Recent bars that made an immediate splash
Located on the hilly streets of Belleville, Combat is a completely women-owned and operated bar that has enjoyed a climb to stardom. Ask them about the history of the name. They have a great ambiance and drinks to match.
63 Rue de Belleville, 75019 Paris, France
14. Sister Midnight
A completely bilingual bar, Sister Midnight gives off 70’s cocktail lounge vibes in LA. Its one of my favorites after a restaurant in the Pigalle area, and before a nightclub…in the Pigalle area.
4 Rue Viollet-le-Duc, 75009 Paris, France
I hobbled into this beautiful bar on cocktail week and it instantly made my top list. Everything on their menu is solid, food or drink (chicken wings). Unpretentious yet cool, this bar is a must for anyone in the Gare du Nord area.
61 Rue d’Hauteville, 75010 Paris, France
16. The Cambridge Public House
The Cambridge is my birthday bar. That means one place of choice, if I want good drinks and food, I go here. They call themselves a traditional English pub, but don’t believe that for a moment–they are that and much more.
8 Rue de Poitou, 75003 Paris, France
Paris is never to be overlooked, never taken lightly. This list was very difficult to narrow down, as the city has a vast selection a bars.
These 16 essential cocktail bars are a testament to the City of Love’s enduring charm and creativity. So, whether you’re traveling or simply seeking a respite from the daily grind, one of these Parisian bars will have the perfect ambiance for you. See you next time for the top 8.