As the world leader in good taste, the city of light sparkles with more than a cluster of unforgettable drinking experiences across its 20 arrondissements. If you’re feeling lost in a sea of speakeasies, rooftop bars, hotel haunts, and nightclubs, these are the select few that truly capture the essence of Paris and the global phenomenon of world-class cocktail culture.
On an unassuming street in the Marais, a near-constant line of people betray Little Red Door’s entrance. Since opening in 2012, the speakeasy-style bar has been included on the sacred World’s 50 Best Bars list every year but one, and there’s no question why. It’s a highly sophisticated party bar at the top of its game. The shabby-chic, multi-level space, littered with eclectic armchairs and low-lit lamps, is reminiscent of your eccentric aunt’s drawing-room, facilitating a laid-back atmosphere that is impossible to leave. Pair this with the Michelin-star-worthy cocktail list, and you have yourself a first-class drinking experience that strikes a balance between playful and groundbreaking. Expect a soundtrack that’ll make you groove and an exquisite drinks list that turns flavor into a work of art.
Sacha’s order: The Crème Fraîche (Porter’s, Orchard Gin, Jules Chopin Blanc de Blanc and Ratafia).
Stumbling across Le Marta is like finding a diamond in the street, and possibly just as unlikely. This captivating bar is one of the city’s few authentic speakeasies, with a “library” door inside the iconic Le Fouquet’s Hotel cleverly concealing the entrance. French nobility and celebrities alike frequent the five-start property on the Champs-Elysées. Still, Le Marta exudes a perfected approach to traditional French luxury without a whiff of pretension. The bar adds a hedonistic filter that appeals to even the most serious partygoers, with a voluptuous red room lined with plush velvet banquets, vibrant neon signs, and a bar lined with copper cocktail vessels from the Absolut Elyx Boutique. Sip your French Martini from a Flamingo to the soundtrack of Paris’ hippest DJ’s, and don’t leave till dawn.
Sacha’s order: The Porn Star Martini (vodka, vanilla, passionfruit, and lime).
Another regular on the World’s Best Bars list, Danico is perhaps the most stylish cocktail den in all of Paris and a definitive choice for any drinking occasion. Located in the former Jean-Paul Gaultier flagship store via the stunning passage Vivienne, with its high ceilings and herringbone marble bar top, Danico celebrates the golden age of cocktail culture, naturally. Think hip New York with delicious Italian fare, a comprehensive menu of 12 sophisticated drinks, each defined by their flavor profile and method, to inform guests beyond their ingredients. Fast-working bartenders don matching nautical striped shirts, paying homage to the legendary fashion designer, together with leather-strapped aprons.
Sacha’s order: The Beeonce (rose petal infused gin, raspberry, lychee, lemon, spices, coconut water, whey, and lychee mead).
They broke the mold when they made Bluebird. This retro-luxe establishment in Bastille, named for the poignant poem by Charles Bukowski, is a wonderland for the senses, arguably the answer to all your playful heart’s desires. A gin-led menu complements an atmosphere that goes out of its way to welcome you, reminiscent of a chic 1950’s apartment with wacky toilets and an aquarium, no less. Expect twisted classics and house-made spirits on a menu that honors the birth of cocktail culture. Punctured by jazz and soul, the music is laid-back and smooth.
Sacha’s order: The Quasiment Bleu (Plantation Dark Rum, Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum, Martelletti Vermouth, Cucielo Vermouth di Torino Rosso, and Lustau Candela Cream Sherry).
You will find the warm glow of Le Syndicat and its fast-working team behind a partially-shuttered facade littered with graffiti and peeling posters. It’s not trying to hide; it’s just so effortlessly cool, it couldn’t be any other way. The bar is equally understated with light-faded paintwork and stripped-back features retained from its original structure. This bar is synonymous with the globally-revered brand of chic that belongs only to the French, with an urban edge and a hip-hop soundtrack. The back-lit bar displays a captivating capsule collection of all-French spirits and liqueurs; the drinks are inventive and extraordinary.
Sacha’s order: Get Your Leaf On (Rémy Martin Cognac, apricot brandy, coffee Bourbon, horseradish, Bellevoye Whisky, and orange leaves).
Le Joy is the place to indulge in true Parisian splendor. Located on the first floor of Le Fouquet’s Hotel, just steps from the Arc de Triomphe, this timeless bar holds the key to the heart of Paris and buzzes with the tales of the legends that have imbibed there. Take the sweeping red velvet staircase up to the equally rouge and sumptuous bar, flanked by a horseshoe-shaped lounge and a mesmerizing art-deco light installation. Impeccably presented bartenders stir, shake and strain to an upbeat soundtrack while impossibly chic patrons slink by. While its address may be grand, Le Joy is a hub for creatives. With an infectious and convivial atmosphere, you’ll while away the hours from day until candlelight.
Sacha’s order: The Joy’s Club (French Gin from Maison Drouin, Chambord, lemon juice, and egg white).
A devilish and delicious cocktail den in the heart of Pigalle, stepping into Dirty Dick will transport you to tropical climes even in the darkest depths of winter. Leave your inhibitions at the door; this is a steamy, low-lit Tiki paradise, thick with bodies bopping to the beat and electric energy engineered by bartenders uniquely skilled in the mechanics of fun. Balmy and sensual, with vibrant sounds, colors, and furnishings – Dirty Dick is part of the World’s 50 Best discovery series, which aims to provide a rich library of exceptional bars to discerning travelers. The vibe is ultra laid back, but the drinks are wild and creative, crafted to perfection, and served in signature vessels inspired by the Tiki sculptor, illustrator, and graphic artist Baï.
Sacha’s order: The Twisted Typhoon (gin, guava, passionfruit, lemon, and lime).