Drinking in Paris is not just about wine. Ask an industry professional for the most exciting drink in town, and they'll point you to a cocktail. Ask Natasha Torres, head bartender at at The Standard, East Village, in NYC about her favorite drinking city, and she'll direct you to the best cocktail bars in Paris.
PARIS – The first time I went to Paris was in college, and while I wasn't as into the cocktail scene then, I was inescapably drawn to the city. Years later, after becoming a bartender, I went back for vacation with industry friends to bartend at a Fashion Week party. We explored the bar scene with a Parisian who took us to her favorite spots. Paris began taking mixed drinks seriously around 2007, when a handful of guys who called themselves the Experimental Group launched the . Since then, bar by bar, Paris — Montmartre and Pigalle especially — has proved to be a welcoming place for lovers of elevated mixed drinks. It has become my favorite place to imbibe. Especially at these spots.
10 Rue Frochot; +33-1-48-78-74-58
The South Pigalle watering hole caters to my soft spot for tiki bars. The bartenders are decked out in flower shirts and drinks served in kitschy glassware shaped like shells and volcanoes. Dirty Dicks used to be hostess bar (see: the name) and is incredibly playful. It's a good spot to hit if you're looking for a fun scene with folks who don't take themselves too seriously.
7 Rue Frochot; +33-9-80-72-98-83
This place is known for flying over specialties from the U.S. to mimic the offerings of an American bar, like hot dogs and pickles. The atmosphere is convival and laid-back; the drinks — like Ticket de Metro (made with Olmeca Altos tequila blanco, Campari, thyme honey, mint, lemon, and blonde ale) — are high-quality and unpretentious.
1 Rue Commines; +33-1-42-77-98-37
It's rare to find a cocktail bar where the quality of food matches the level of the drinks list. Le Mary Celeste, which is known for its serious selection of small plates, is an appealing exception, where you can pair a decadent vegetable dish with a top-notch cocktail like Springtime Lunch (Plantation Rum Original Dark, crème de cacao, lemon, and Brooklyn IPA).
52 Rue de Saintonge; +33-1-42-74-41-28
Frequently considered one of the world's best, the secret lounge is accessible through an unmarked door in the back of an unsuspecting taco shop that serves some of the best traditional Mexican food in the city (a feat in itself). The cocktail menu pays homage to pre-Columbian Latin America with exceptional concotions like bourbon with fernet, passionfruit mousse, and orange bitters (Colombia) and hazelnut-butter-infused cachaça with lime, falernum, and barbecue syrup (Brazil).
60 Rue Charlot; +33-1-42-71-19-32
One of the first cocktail bars to make a name for itself in Paris, Little Red Door not only has amazing drinks but also really beautiful, cozy, and comforting interiors. Accessible through — well, you guessed it — a little red door, this spot doesn't keep an extensive menu, making it an ideal spot to interact with the bartenders to have them craft a custom drink that suits your style. The friendly staff is on top of their game, poised to help drinkers explore flavors and tastes ... through alcohol.
Le Baton Rouge
62 Rue Notre Dame de Lorette; +33-6-52-90-36-42
Pigalle once again proves that what was once a less than ideal part of town has become a boon for the Parisian cocktail scene. If you didn't get enough of New Orleans in the U.S., swing by this theme bar in Paris to get your fix. Very closely mirroring, if not exaggerating, the drinks of the American South (like finely made Sazeracs), the bar provides relief from the serious tone that Paris can take. Around here, you'll get quirky decor (voodoo hoodoo, skulls on sticks), Southern-stye snacks, and punches and other thematically apropos beverages.
51 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis; +33-6-66-63-57-60
I love this bar for an authentic French experience: It only stocks French spirits. The team does an amazing job of putting inventive spins on traditional cocktails, like rose julep (whiskey, vanilla rose syrup, house absinthe), adding a bit of national flair to the menu.
28 Avenue de Longueil; +33-1-39-62-00-50
A must-see destination if you're looking to craft your own cocktails. It's stocked with a impressive list of ingredients (250+ honeys and jams, 200+ spices, 120+ teas) that sets it apart from other shops. Open since 1880, it is a window into the city's past.
37 Rue Saint-Sauveur; +33-1-45-08-88-09
No cocktail bar list would be complete without this spot, responsible for the elevation of the cocktail scene in Paris. It's expensive, and the decor is indulgent and upscale, making it a great date spot if that's your jam. While here, be sure to engage with the bartending team to, well, experiment. The best part about this place is how inventive they are with their drinks. Take advantage of it.