There are many places to unwind in the city, but if it’s a stiff drink you’re after, these are some of the best destinations in town. Kick back your heels and raise your glass, A votre sante! To your health!
This bar, located at the Ritz Hotel, is a former haunt of Ernest Hemingway and boasts a bust of him in the corner. It was also a regular destination for F. Scott Fitzgerald on his Parisian vacations. Dress up if you come, but don’t worry about a stiff crowd, as the expats who meet here are relaxed and having a nice time. You might be surprised at the prices of the cocktails (expensive), but the wood-paneled walls and leather seats will make you feel right at home.
Harry’s New York Bar
As one of the most famous bars in the world, Harry’s New York Bar in Paris can boast of being the birthplace of the Bloody Mary, the Sidecar, and the White Lady. Literally dismantled in New York and reassembled across the ocean, Harry’s Bar has been a favorite of expat and traveling Americans for decades. Sinclair Lewis, Jack Dempsey, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart, and Ernest Hemingway all enjoyed a drink to two or more in this storied location, and you’re bound to find the atmosphere rich in old world ambiance. No drink list, so know what you want before you come, and be prepared to settle into a grey haze of cigarette smoke, not unlike the thick romantic and stale air of decades past.
Hipper than hip, and featuring a metallic pink bar and plasma screens of abstract video art, this restaurant has fast earned a reputation as one of the coolest spots in which to see and be seen in Paris. At night the bar becomes a house club where the city’s young, beautiful, and financial elite dance until the early morning. Dress to impress.
George V Hotel Bar (Le Bar)
If old fashioned elegance if what you’re after, the George V Hotel Bar offers plenty of opulence with a distinctly Parisian flair. This is where King Louis XIV would spend many an evening if he were alive today. The crowd is a mix of travelers and locals, and opens early (10 AM) for the jet-lagged and eager. Stop in for a taste of luxury and some of the best cocktails and food the city has to offer.
The Buddha Bar in Paris is an elegant restaurant and bar with soft lighting that’ll make you forget about the hustle and bustle of the city. The bar mezzanine looks out over the dining room, where an enormous Buddha sits, watching over the diners. This is a place to dress up and wind down.
A bar and nightclub, La Casbah offers fantastic eastern dishes and an unusual mix of entertainment, from DJs to snake charmers to belly dancers to magicians. This is not a place to have a quiet conversation, though the atmosphere will quickly transport you to another part of the world, and might be just the place to start your night out on the town.
La Java Bar and Club
Edith Piaf was once a regular performer here, but now this laid-back dance club and concert venue hosts a mix of DJs, international artists, and stand-up comedians. This is far from the glamor of many of our other picks, but very close to the fun. The cheap cover makes it a good choice if you’re on a budget, and the dancing crowd will give you a night to remember. Be prepared for an unusual mix of cocktails in plastic glasses, but old standards are still in abundance.
Ultra-hip and featuring a list of signature cocktails, this Caribbean-cum-Parisian bar offers cocktails in conch shells and a friendly staff. Less expensive than much of Paris’s nightlife, this bar still provides a big dose of modern elegance after the lights get low. Have a chat with your loved one in the dim glow of colored lights and candles while sipping on some of the best mixed drinks Paris has to offer.
The name of this bar is a play on the name of the London Stock Exchange (FTSE) and the decor and atmosphere match. Three drink boards above the bar change the prices of the drinks based on “market” consumption every four minutes. Come for a drink and stay for their ever cheapening prices. This is an excellent choice for a fun cheap night on the town.
La Belle Hortense
This bookstore and bar is a bibliophile’s dream come true. Sip a glass of wine while you browse their selection of books, or have a chat with a fellow book lover at the zinc bar. Feeling like a quiet diversion between you, your drink, and a book? Plenty of leather chairs scattered throughout the bookstore make for comfy seating.
The leading lesbian bar in Paris, La Champmeslé is in a beautiful 300 year old building with a cosy atmosphere. The crowd is friendly and you’ll find a mix of local and international women enjoying the ever-changing atmosphere; every night has a different theme!
Featuring a 5 PM happy hour and some of the most attractive bartenders in Paris, this gay bar turns into a hopping place after 11 PM, when they turn on the shower and invite everyone to watch. While the upstairs can be hectic, the downstairs features cozy red velvet decor and couches where you can sit and chat. RAIDD has something for everyone.