1st & 2nd Arrondissement Bars & Nightlife
The Hoxton Paris
30-32 Rue du Sentier, 2nd Arrondissement
As in the Hoxton outposts in Amsterdam, Brooklyn, and London, the lobby here is massive. And in this case, it's also built into a courtyard. Velvet sofas, natural light, and gorgeous decorative features (like a 300-year-old spiral staircase) make for an absurdly pleasant place to spend a few hours. For a change of scene, move on to the Hoxton’s Jacques Bar and its floor-to-ceiling windows that look directly onto the rooftops of Paris. The Moroccan-influenced cocktail list includes the Postcard from Marrakech, made of orange blossom and gin—it tastes like summer in a glass.
Hoxton Hotel Bar
30-32 rue du Sentier, 2ème
Rivié, one of the two bars in the Hoxton, has a wonderful brasserie, a lovely outdoor garden, and scattered here and there, relaxing little nooks with armchairs and nice lighting. But never mind-skip all that. Head straight for the bar. The bar bar. Settle into the velvet barstool, order a glass of Billecart-Salmon (a rosé champagne) or, depending on your day, a dirty martini. The staff is friendly, the vibe is chill, and as evening slips into night, remember only two very important words: truffle fries.
15 Place Vendôme, 1st
This moody, leather-accented bar is famous for being an old haunt of so many Paris creatives—in addition to Hemingway himself, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, and Gary Cooper were all regulars. Legend has it that Marcel Proust ordered a cold beer from here on his deathbed. Today, the watering hole maintains its reputation with a world-class bar program by Colin Peter Field, who's a celebrity in his own right at this point. You're in great hands with Fields no matter your order, but do keep in mind that all the drinks err on the stiff side (just as Hemingway would have wanted it).
Experimental Cocktail Club
37 Rue Saint-Sauveur, 2nd
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.
La Conserverie (Closed)
37 Rue du Sentier, 2nd
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.
Verjus Bar à Vins
47 Rue Montpensieur, 1st
Tucked away beneath its parent restaurant upstairs (the excellent, prix-fixe Verjus) this more casual bar à vin lives in a cool vaulted cave and serves innovative small plates. Bonus: The wine list is top notch.
142 Rue Montmartre, 2nd
Leave it to the mind behind Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet to engineer Paris's most labyrinth-like club—in one of the city's most culturally significant buildings. Constructed in the late 19th century as a publishing press for France's leftist newspapers, Émile Zola printed "J'Accuse" there in 1898, and rumor has it that Molière might be buried in its hallowed ground. For its 2011 opening, David Lynch designed the entire, garret-like space himself, from the futuristic theater to the wood-block lined passageway to the '60s-style bar. Until midnight, it's a private club with screenings, talks, and private exhibits; after midnight, it's a full-on dance club with some of Europe's best DJs.
239-241 Rue Saint-Honoré, 1st
With a now-iconic interior that's dripping in red velvet, Hôtel Costes is one of those spots that has perfected its aesthetic—which, of course, extends to the music. It can get dark and smoky inside, so head out to the enclosed terrace (you can still hear whatever the DJ is spinning inside), which is equally great for either an afternoon glass of wine or an after-dinner cocktail. Plus, the people-watching is always fabulous.
Frenchie Bar à Vins
6 Rue du Nil, 2nd
This first-come-first-serve wine bar is a tough seat for good reason: The small plates are crafted from superb ingredients, and the wine list is reasonably priced. Closed on weekends, you can usually snag a spot in the first wave by going early in the week, and arriving 20 minutes before the 7pm opening.
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