Perhaps it’s the exclusivity, or perhaps it’s simply the eternal attraction of all that is clandestine – either way, hidden bars haven’t been this in vogue since the time when they were actually a necessity. Here are 5 of the hottest speakeasies in Paris – where speaking is not often so easy, but drinking most definitely is, blogs Emerald Bond.
For the uninitiated, it could be a rather curious experience to watch throngs of hip young things pile through the freezer door at the back of a local pizzeria. Named after the highly alcoholic spirit produced illicitly during Prohibition and smuggled by the light of the moon – Moonshiner is the latest venture from the band behind other not-so-caché nocturnal Parisian hangouts Orange Mécanique, UFO, Kremlin, Dirty Dick et Rock Circus. This Bastille haunt has all the elements of a successful speakeasy– dark lighting, cute inked-up bartenders, leather-clad couches, jazz playing from a gramophone and delightfully exotic, albeit rather hard-hitting cocktails.
PS – after downing a few solid Smokey Islands, a margarita from Da Vito is a very good thing.
Enter through the freezer door at the back of Da Vito Pizzeria
5 rue Sedaine, Paris 75011
Tucked away behind a tiny, trendy taco bar in ‘haut‘ Marais, this little hidden bar oozes understated cool. Elbow your way through the heaving mass of red lipsticked, high-waisted jean wearing, balayaged bohemian locals cluttering the utterly divine smelling corridor, through a non-descript white door and emerge into a dark candle lit cocktail cave, where chipotle’d magaritas are being shaken to some eclectic underground French beat. I advise you to get there early to indulge in a pre-cocktail tequila slushy and 10 to-die-for-tacos at the taqueria before heading through to the bar.
Enter through the white door at the back of the taqueria
52 rue Saintonge, Paris 75003
The Little Red Door
From the street, the entrance to this swanky speakeasy in the heart of the Marais could be mistaken as just another average Parisian threshold. But this little red door is like a secret porte-l to an intimate land of flatteringly dim lighting, lavish velvet barstools, and stunning cocktails. The Frenchie Coingidence (vodka, vermouth, champagne, peppered cumquat (coing) jam and lemon juice) is a definite crowd pleaser.
Enter through the normal sized door with the doorman (not the miniature red door)
60 rue Charlot, Paris 75003
Ballroom du Beef Club
Contrary to whatever images the name of this club may conjure up (hulky men in undersized tank tops doing a waltz par example), the crowd that frequents the Ballroom du Beef Club is certainly more beauty than brawn. The unmarked black door to the side of the street level restaurant The Beef Club (which incidentally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, is a wonderful venue for all things carnivorous) will lead you downstairs to a wonderland of plush velvet couches and elaborately concocted cocktails.
With only 8 choices, the cocktail menu is short but solid, favoring quality over quantity. The Ballroom du Beef Club is run by the same clever team who brought Prescription Cocktail Club, Experimental Cocktail Club and Curio Parlor to Paris; they are old hand at this, and it shows.
Enter through the black unmarked door at the side of The Beef Club
58 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Paris 75001
A hidden hot dog parlour/cocktail bar behind an unmarked door, next to a fluorescent-lit sex shop in Pigalle – could this bar be any cooler? The dimly-lit room is decked out with walls of broken mirrors, kitsch disco balls and beautiful bobo-chic Parisians sipping novelty cocktails and imported craft beer. Surprisingly, the Chihuahua hot dog is neither small nor annoying (although it does have a little bite) – but actually rather divine.
Enter through the black door, and then through another
7 rue Frochot, Paris 75009