Portrait: Gravity Bar in Jacques Bonsergent

The Up-Close Look at Gravity Bar on December 1st, 2018

A Tour De Force, Gravity Bar stationed itself on Rue de Villetes and began its slow ascent to stardom with quirky whiskey cocktails, and one sacrilegious hummus.



Curved, wooden slats on the ceiling start above my head and cascade behind the barman. Bright, yellow tones glow throughout the bar. It’s well-lit, and well-catered tonight with Gangstarr and Joeystarr from the French rap group NTM shuffling in the background. Loud, but not imposing. Everything flows, the food and drinks fill the gaps of our conversation like smooth sand running through your fingers. 

The cocktails are hit and miss, but when they hit, they impact.

-Alexander Cohiba

A portly server with a skater cap takes our drink order. The Captain says ‘everything but the name’ of his first drink is a wee bit boring. A wee bit brash of him, but the bar retaliates with a whiskey-coffee-cinnamon based drink that really does a number on us. I order a whiskey-apricot drink, which I can co-sign as well. The aforementioned hummus is irreplaceable and should remain like an anchor, placed at the middle of each table. My crew lit up the sashimi as well. The bill ends up being well over 100 Euros, so–parse out your visits.

The crowd rotates between well-informed tourists, locals, and Parisians who enjoy a good cocktail. The atmosphere isn’t pretentious at first glance, however, they can’t take a critique, and that’s a vivid signal of an ego. I’m wary of what stardom does to an ego, but never forget your origins. Never forget the people who wandered into the bar without provocation and left with a smile and a ‘damn that’s some excellent hummus.’

With love,

A.

Portrait Mode: L’Ours Bar in Chateau D’eau

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How do you choose a bar at random in Paris?

On a sweltering, August night, you choose based on the number of Parisian’s clustered out front. On a frigid, November night, you check the windows’ opacity.

L’Ours bar (the bear bar) had a particularly foggy frontage, but it wasn’t the reason we’d chosen the place.

Inside, a blond Brit wearing an oversized, black Supreme sweater sweeps passed us with 4 carbonated highballs in his hands. He nudges two of them to his date, a Frenchie. Whether they know each other or are on a Tinder date isn’t clear. But if it is a date,  L’Ours was a good choice. They santé, and he jokes that ‘this should last them a while.’

It’s crowded.

On its peaks, the bar is elbow to elbow. On its droughts, you’re lucky to find a seat. The usual suspects make an appearance, knit sweaters, blue button-down shirts, Suncoo blouses,  Godard thick-framed glasses.  The crowd isn’t edgy, or pretentious, just your run-of-the-mill Yuppie.

The bar isn’t edgy, or pretentious either; it’s sociable and…kinda fun! There are bear masks hanging from walls. At the bar, jars of quirky garnishes rest in a colorful spectrum. And the liquor selection isn’t overBEARing (boom).

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetI like L’Ours bar a lot, but, it’s frustrating because they only do things slightly better than average.

They have house cocktails, for example, which is a good sign…a plus! As I taste each of them (Le Grande Ours, Jardin Anglais), one thing becomes clear–they’re too sweet. Still, the L’Ours team makes a good effort (and look polished doing it). The bartenders are quick, down to earth, and professional. For the crowd size, they make a great team.

Five elegant girls swoop in to nab the table that just emptied behind us. The tinder daters leave, so we scoot down on our standing table, and order more drinks. I make a mental note that Happy Hour is a RiDIcuLOus deal at 6 Euro per drink.

Moments later a large swathe of people come through the doors. They look numb, disoriented from the cold. Perhaps a pub crawl, I speculate, and that means it’s time for us to go.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetBars such as the L’Ours don’t necessarily make you stop and say, ‘wow, that was a real treat!’  I’m not sure who says that anyways. But their crowd, vibe, and good drinks nudge you in the right direction.

It’s a real treat to have a reliable bar in the arsenal.  One where you can take a pub crawl, a tinder date, or a coworker. The bar is truly lighthearted, and no matter the occasion, it’s a place you can be assured a good time. And that’s sets the bear high for the rest of the evening.

Branding in France distills down to three principles; is it cute, is it time-honored, or is it refined?

I suspiciously eye the garnish–a gummi bear. There’s a soft power in cuteness, just as there’s a soft power in reliability.

With Love,

Alexander


IG: @animauxbars

8 Rue de Paradis, Paris, France