The Best Craft Cocktail Bars in Paris

A city where the wine flows freely, Paris was once a cocktail desert churning out not much more than mediocre Mojitos. But in the past few years, a rash of craft cocktail bars has opened. Where once a good cocktail could only be found in expensive hotel bars, there are now options for all drinkers’ preferences, from speakeasies with Old-Fashioneds to dive bars focused on whiskey to taquerias with Margaritas. —Anna Brones

  • 1

    Artisan

    A stone’s throw from the tourist trap of Pigalle, Artisan is a spare Scandinavian-esque space complete with wood floors, exposed concrete walls and menus printed on brown paper. But the minimalist decor belies the complexity of the drinks. The menu's small plates are as creative as the cocktails, including battered and fried leeks (a classy alternative to onion rings) and top-notch charcuterie.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
  • 2

    Candelaria

    In some cities, a Margarita and a taco aren’t difficult to find. In Paris, however, they're a rarity, which may be part of the reason Candelaria has garnered such a devoted local following. To enter, you must walk through the tiny taqueria—where the tacos are constructed—and push through the door at the back. The transition into upscale craft cocktail bar is swift. As one might expect, the focus is on tequila and mezcal with cocktails inspired by lands far away from France, and yes, you can get a bowl of guacamole and chips to go with it all.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • bar food
    • craft cocktails
    • lots of tequila
    • lots of mezcal
  • 3

    Experimental Cocktail Club

    You can’t talk about the craft cocktail scene in Paris without mentioning ECC. Opened in 2007, it paved the way for an entire movement (and built its own imperial empire from London to New York) that grew to understand the cocktail as more than just a glass of haphazardly mixed bottom-shelf liquors. Drinks range from riffs on classics to complicated mixtures with house-made tinctures, bitters and infusions. Today, there are very few speakeasy-themed bars in Paris, and this remains the original.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • late night
  • 4

    Glass

    In this town, a good whiskey drink isn't always easy to find. But at Glass—an establishment that, with its paired-down décor, feels reminiscent of an upscale American dive bar—you’re sure to get one. Following the très Brooklyn trend, there are cheekily named cocktails and boilermakers like the Patti & Robert (a shot of Jim Beam paired with a Brooklyn IPA) and organic hotdogs and artisan pickles to go alongside. A rather new concept to Paris, there are also cocktails on tap.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • dancing
    • lots of whiskey
  • 5

    Little Red Door

    The name for this basement, speakeasy-style bar comes from the entrance, which is, indeed, a little red door. It’s so little that it can be easily missed, but that makes the discovery that much more satisfying. Located in the Upper Marais, you’re sure to be surrounded by a beautiful crowd. LRD specializes in a range of house classics, and occasionally hosts guest bartender nights, bringing in top talent from Scotland to Berlin.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • craft beer
  • 6

    Le Coq

    What could be more classic French than the significance of "Le Coq" (which means "rooster" in French)? As the unofficial national symbol, it emblazons everything from the popular clothing brand Le Coq Sportif to the country's soccer and rugby jerseys. With an interior reminiscent of the 1970s, Le Coq is home to forgotten French liqueurs and plenty of beloved national spirits, including liqueur d’ambrette and a whole lot of Chartreuse. It's owned and run by the same team behind the award-winning 69 Colebrooke Row in London, so all the classics have a solid presence here, too.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
  • 7

    Le Mary Celeste

    Le Mary Celeste is named for a 19th-century French ship that went adrift after a wrong turn home from New York, a nautical homage that is supported by nuanced crudo dishes and an excellent selection of oysters. Chef Haan Palcu-Chang is half-Chinese, half-Romanian, and his culinary training comes from experience cooking in Thai and Classic European kitchens. So it makes sense that his food is a patchwork of ingredients and inspiration, with inventions like Chinese crepes stuffed with pork knuckle and kimchi. The wine list reads like a who's who of the natural wine world right now, with the likes of Arianna Occhipinti, ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • cheap date
    • natural wine
    • low wine markups
    • day drinking
    • oysters / raw bar
    • craft cocktails
    • craft beer
    • Champagne
    • full menu
    • bar food
  • 8

    Sherry Butt

    No, "sherry butt" isn’t a reference to sherry, the storied wine that hails from Andalucia. Rather, it’s a nod to the barrels (called "butts") used to age whiskey. And Sherry Butt is full of whiskey—a selection of more than one hundred, which can be tasted by the finger or the flight. The menu of about a dozen cocktails is written on a wall-length blackboard above the bar, featuring seasonal and daily specials. Most of the bar's mixers are made in-house, from beetroot to pine nut to walnut syrups.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • lots of whiskey

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