Hyacinthe Lescoët: talk of the town

One of the most relaxed bartenders in Paris, Hyacinthe Lescoët tells Shay Waterworth how his background informs his approach.

Hyacinthe Lescoët allows his guests to sing. The Frenchman’s tranquil demeanour­ flows into his service style – quietly working around his customers to ensure a ­ awless service at his Parisian bar, The Cambridge Public House.

He opened the venue in 2019 with Hugo Gallou and Greg Inder. It combines the British pub atmosphere with a world-class drinks offering and top-tier hospitality to make it one of the most talked about spots in Paris.

More often than not, hospitality experts inherit their service style in their formative years. Growing up in Brittany, Lescoët helped in his mother’s pizzeria from the age of 12, which he believes grounded him from a tender age. He continued working in hospitality throughout his 20s while completing a masters degree in advertising, which would have been the obvious future according to the average careers advice officer. But Lescoët’s habitat is in hospitality.

“I worked in advertising for a couple of years but it didn’t excite me. I couldn’t imagine myself doing that for the rest of my life.” By 2013 Lescoët had moved to London to rekindle his relationship with hospitality, landing a job at Radio Rooftop Bar before making a big move to 69 Colebrooke Row.

“That’s where I really learned a lot about top-level hospitality. Not only was it a great bar with amazing drinks, I was learning the nuances of good service. Working with guys like Max Venning [founder of Three Sheets, London] was great for me personally. I gained so much knowledge.”

Two years later Lescoët returned to France, becoming head bartender at Le Mary Celeste in Paris. This is where he was given the freedom to experiment with developing menus and leave his impression on a well-respected cocktail bar. After two years working there, he was promoted to the position of group bar manager for a new project, Les Grands Verres – a high-volume space which focused on waste reduction.

“I enjoy the challenge of making drinks taste great while also limiting waste, because it’s rewarding when you get it right. We try to be mindful about waste in everything we do at Cambridge.”

Quality ingredients

The next step for Lescoët, along with Gallou and Inder, was to open The Cambridge Public House on the streets of Paris. The Cambridge’s cocktail menu evolves throughout the year and uses the best-quality ingredients currently available. Signature drinks that remain on the menu are updated seasonally. The Pimm’s 4.0, now in its fourth iteration, uses Pimm’s with Sirene Americano, gin, verjus, clarified lemon and orange wine to create a playful take on the British classic.

To give weight to The Cambridge’s early success, it was listed 92 at The World’s 50 Best Bars Awards in 2021 and at Tales of the Cocktail 2022 earned a spot in the Top 10 Regional Best Bar Team category.

Lescoët’s approach to hospitality shines through in the bar. It caters for all, from guests wanting to watch the football with a few beers to cocktail fans expecting world-class serves. The common theme is Lescoët’s ability, and desire, to look after his guests and provide perfect hospitality.