The Paris Hipster Guide
From the Marais to the 11th, Paris is packed with boutiques and restaurants that define what’s cool now. Here, many of Paris’s more envelope-pushing spots (and a lot of the health food joints, too, a concept that’s finally reached France).
Nüba34 Quai d'Austerlitz, 13th | +22.214.171.124.34.85
Sprawling across the top of the Docks en Seine (a mixed-use warehouse with a neon-green extruded glass roof that's impossible to miss), this newcomer from two Le Baron founders has packed in the crowds since opening day. There's no dress code at Nüba, the DJ booth is actually a beach hut, there's a resident food truck, and lawn chairs dot the landscape—though it is a well-turned-out scene, thanks in part to the fact that Docks en Seine hosts Paris's preëminent fashion school. While you can dance in the open air, the club stretches far inside, too.
Rosa BonheurParc des Buttes Chaumont, 2 Allée de la Cascade, 19th | +33.1.42.00.00.45
This spot is named for the 19th-century painter Rosa Bonheur, the first woman to become an officer of the Legion of Honour, whose paintings of horses and cows grace the walls of the Louvre and New York's The Met. While Bonheur used the then-wilds of the Bois de Bologne to find animals to paint, this Rosa Bonheur is situated in The Parc des Buttes Chaumont, a beautiful garden in the 19th. The emphasis here is on day-drinking, really, though it gets overly packed as the night wears on. They serve great appetizers, plus it's laid-back, unpretentious, and kid-friendly. Should you stay past 10pm, expect to follow the crowd onto the dance floor.
Le Verre Volé67 Rue de Lancry, 10th | +33.1.48.03.17.34
Part wine shop, part bistro, Le Verre Volé draws a reliably large crowd despite its tiny footprint (you'll want to make a reservation unless you're just stopping in to pick up a bottle). There's a wine shop in the 11th (38 rue Oberkampf) as well as a sandwich shop (54 rue de la Folie Méricourt).
Au Passage1 Bis Passage St. Sébastien, 11th | +126.96.36.199.07.52
This one-room wine bar requires a walk down a very long (and at night, scarily dark) passage, but the music, lively crowd, and simple but solid menu of French small plates justify the gauntlet. While Aux Deux Amis down the street may tempt with a similar wine bar concept, it gets way too packed: Au Passage, which also feels a bit more grown-up, easily wins out.
Le Baron Rouge1 Rue Théophile Roussel, 12th | +188.8.131.52.14.32
While it's not required, locals bring their own glass bottles and fill them with wine from the barrels near the door. This is not a place for picky oenophiles as the wine here is more the "house" variety, but it's still a great place to put back a few glasses with some small plates.
Candelaria52 Rue de Saintonge, 3rd | +184.108.40.206.41.28
This is Paris's version of La Esquina, complete with a doorman to hold back the crowds. Up front, you'll find a teeny tiny tacqueria, with fresh tortillas and a roster of toppings, whipped up under the watchful eye of the Mexico City-born chef. There's a hidden door in the back that opens onto a cozy bar, which offers some of the more inventive (and delicious) tequila cocktails in the city.
La Conserverie37 Rue du Sentier, 2nd | +220.127.116.11.14.94
There's a bit of an identity crisis at this much-loved spot, but it totally works. For one, the décor is American Gothic meets industrial (galvanized tubing stretches across the ceiling, the bar is backed by antique crates, and old-fashioned prints of tools dot the walls). And for two, the menu morphs dramatically throughout the day. Breakfast tends to be American (pancakes, eggs, and hash), lunch is Japanese bento boxes, and then it morphs into a full-on bar, with excellent (and complex) cocktails at night.
Experimental Cocktail Club37 Rue Saint-Sauveur, 2nd | +33.1.45.08.88.09
In true speakeasy fashion, this very-adored spot is behind an unmarked door, on a dimly lit, pedestrian-only alley. But beyond the appeal of being impossible-to-find, Parisians really come because they love the artful cocktails. It gets crowded after 11 and is generally packed on weekends; there are now outposts in New York City and London as well.