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September 25, 2012

Le Bar du Bristol Opens in Paris

By Maud Doyle | Bars

Le Bar du Bristol Opens in Paris
Romeo Balancourt for Hotel Le Bristol Paris

Once simply the place to be seen, Le Bristol Paris hotel is now the place to drink as well. After two years of planning, eight months of perspiration and roughly $4 million dollars of aspiration, Le Bar du Bristol opened at the illustrious hotel last week with a well-deserved round on the house for a gathering of loyal guests and Parisian socialites.

The décor, jointly designed by architect Pierre-Yves Rochon and owner Maja Oetker, is classic English lounge by way of Grand Palais Paris (a fruitful union, considering the neighboring countries’ contentious history). Highlights include floors of Versailles oak, bookshelves flanking the fireplace, richly upholstered armchairs, studded leather barstools and an Aubusson tapestry (circa 1740) of a Chinese garden.

True to the hotel’s dignified history as an 18th-century aristocratic hideout—the French nobility, not much for stomaching death, fled Versailles in 1715 for the Faubourg Saint-Honoré after Louis XIV died—almost everything in Le Bar comes with le pedigree. The English wild-pine paneling is from Esher, Surrey, and is more than 100 years old. The mantelpiece is a 19th-century marble affair from Sienna, Italy. Even Maxime Hoerth, the 26-year-old head barman, is decorated, designated Meilleur Ouvrier de France—the Best Craftsman in France—last year.

Pure tradition, however, is overthrown here, in part by leopard-effect gold silk upholstery and two frescoed murals (one on the ceiling) by Thierry Bruet. White-jacketed mixologists whip up new and classic cocktails, including signature varieties of the old-fashioned on a beautiful granite bar that hails from Montana. Raise a glass to Paris’s new, mixed-blood elite. 112 Rue de Faubourg Saint-Honoré; 33-1/53-43-42-41; lebristolparis.com.