City Guide to Paris

Le Forum, 4 Boulevard Malesherbes, 75008 Paris

The Forum has the two crucial elements necessary for a great bar – quality ingredients and capable staff who know what to do with them. Not only do they pride themselves on a fine selection of whiskies, but they handle both classic cocktails and house creations with aplomb. 

Many of their drinks can be enjoyed outside of the bar if you pick up a copy of the newly released book Cocktails by le Forum.

But the Forum also has a little extra something that sets it apart from so many bars – history and consistency. 

It has been in business for nearly a century, more than 80 years of which have been under the same family. You don’t stay in business successfully for decades without developing an impressive level of professionalism. 

While you might hit an off-day in some of the upstart bars, the Forum delivers the same high level of service more consistently than just about any other place. 

And for that you can only say: “Respect.”

Expérimental Cocktail Club, 37 Rue Saint-Sauveur, 75002 Paris

The ECC team has been incredibly successful in reviving cocktail culture in France as well as exporting its own take on it elsewhere.  

And, while any of its local locales are worth a visit, it’s the original that’s become a destination for curious cocktillians to see where things kicked off for both Paris cocktail culture and the ECC empire.

While it has served as the training ground for some of the city’s best talent, who have since gone on to open their own bars, it hasn’t dropped its game with the competition. It still employs some of the city’s top staff, turns out damn fine drinks and commands a loyal following who come early evenings for a quiet cocktail or later on the weekends for a party vibe.

Le Coq, 12 rue du ChAteAu d’eAu, 75010 Paris

When a pair of power players in the French drinks scene team up with Tony Conigliaro of 69 Colebrooke Row, the result is an off-the-beaten-path cocktail bar that draws an industry crowd curious to experience whatever this heavy hitting team has cooked up.

While Tony C has since returned to his uK projects, Thierry Daniel and Eric Fossard remain involved and maintain a focus on quality and creativity that keeps the cocktail crowd coming and earned them a Tales of the Cocktail nomination for World’s Best New Cocktail Bar in 2013.

The ambience is low key cool with a rock ’n’ roll vibe that takes backstage to the drinks.

Le Coq celebrates its origins with a focus on French ingredients and adheres to its exploratory, experimental and educational spirit with a consumer lab and cocktail courses launching soon.

Lockwood, 73 Rue d’Aboukir, 75002 Paris


The brothers behind this venture (Thomas, Olivier and Christophe Lehoux) have pooled their collective experience – from famed club Silencio to Ten Belles to bars abroad – to create something exciting.  

Theirs is a three-pronged approach: exceptional coffee, easy aperitifs, craft cocktails. All day long, customers come in search of serious caffeine until the early evening hours when pre-dinner drinks are more in order.

Upstairs the décor is industrial chic but casual and the aperitif menu offers up lighter fare with typical choices such as Aperol Spirtz. Towards 8pm the downstairs bar opens with a heavier hitting menu of classics and cocktail creations that sexy habitués drink in candlelit corners of the stone-walled rooms.  

In warmer weather months, they hold monthly Summer Sales on Sundays where vendors come to sell the likes of vintage clothes while DJs keep the downstairs crowd swaying. 

Don’t just take our word for it: they just took the Most Influential French Bar 2014 award at the Cocktails Spirits salon.

Dirty Dick, 10 Rue Frochot, 75009 Paris

This lively tiki joint regularly tops the city’s best bars lists. Located in what was previously a seedy girlie bar, Dirty Dick has taken over the venue, kept the name and developed a larger-than-life reputation.  

There is more to this place than mighty fine drinks and a grand selection of rum. Owner Scotty Schuder’s outgoing personality and easy-going attitude make him a favourite behind the bar and pull in plenty of fun-loving patrons to sip high-octane concoctions from kitsch mugs or shiny conch shells.

The décor works a South Seas style with the usual bamboo touches, blowfish, and a bikini-babe mural. Two massive totems were especially carved for the space. Drink prices vary according to potency, which ranges from light and easy to you’ll-hate-yourself-in-the-morning.  

In short, this is where loyal locals bump elbows with cocktail geeks and curious tourists for a helluva good time.

Red House, 1B Rue de la Forge Royale, 75011 Paris

There was a time when customers believed great cocktails were only to be had at the city’s hush-hush and speakeasy-inspired bars with their crushed velour upholstery and ceiling tin tiles.  

Then Red House screeched into the scene with a friendly ‘yeehaw’ to shake things up with a lighter, looser and insanely genuine attitude. No one knows how to have a better time than owner Joe Boley and his kick-ass crew.

This is an establishment that puts out fine drinks without airs and graces. The music occasionally blares, the pinball machine always glows, and the people often dance – all in the presence of a large set of longhorns that rest above the bar.  

Whether it’s taco night, themed brunches, Halloween, or just one of the best happy hours in town, there’s always a party at Red House.