Venturing off the beaten path to some of the city’s hidden bars might just be your greatest French adventure yet. Diving into Paris’ more unassuming cocktail bar scene is a great way to explore the city, drink well, and of course, avoid classic tourist traps. Next time the occasion calls to drink your way through the City of Lights, look no further than these Parisian speakeasies, loaded with live music, charming décor, and meticulously well-crafted drinks.
Take an instant transport back to the golden era of 1920s Paris at Bar Fitzgerald, located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Quai d’Orsay in the city’s chic 7th arrondissement. Head through the padded door and find a Gatsby-inspired, Prohibition style bar, featuring colorful tapestries, flamingo wallpaper, velvet seats, and a handful of mixologists looking to wow you with their drinks. For an ambiance-appropriate cocktail, order the gin-based Fitzgerald or vodka-based Dali, or grab an expertly crafted twist on classic cocktails, such as the French Paradox or Marie Magdalene. For small bites, be sure not to miss the truffle croque monsieur, smoked salmon, or burratina. 54 Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg.
Left Bank dwellers, this one’s for you. Located behind an unmarked wooden door in Paris’ chic 6th arrondissement, this small yet fierce spot is definitely worth the trek across the Seine. Clad in colorful velvet, this well-hidden bar boasts one of Paris’ best signature cocktail lists, featuring the Chirac 95, a calvados-drenched riff on a whiskey sour, as well as extra boozy Fish House Punch. Don’t forget your dancing shoes on weekend days, when the bar morphs into a bumping dance floor. In a rather touristy part of town, Castor Club definitely holds its own. 14 Rue Hautefeuille.
As its name would suggest, Lavomatic is one of the city’s newest speakeasy bars, located on the first floor of a Parisian laundromat. Decorated with throw pillows, bright accent walls, and even a few swinging seats, Lavomatic’s cocktails are both refreshing and complex, created with seasonal ingredients and fresh produce. Grab a ‘Basilic Instinct’ for something refreshing and gin-based, or stick to the Spider Pig for a smoky libation noted with garlic and tobacco. In addition to handcrafted cocktails, Lavomatic also boasts an impressive natural wine selection, as well as seasonal small plates, including ceviche, burrata, and crunchy shrimp. 30 Rue René Boulanger.
Head to the back of INKA, Hotel 1K’s Peruvian restaurant, and sneak your way into La Mezcaleria, the city’s best bar for agave-based spirit lovers. Sip your cocktails beneath the bar’s skylight ceiling to the beats of Latin music, all alongside the backdrop of traditional Mexican decor. Known for its buzzing ambiance and great music, La Mezcaleria provides an instant mental transport to the warm agave fields of Oaxaca, right from the heart of Paris’ 3rd arrondissement. For true mezcal lovers, dive into a complex flight of pours for a serious smoke show. 13 Boulevard du Temple.
Paris’ trendy 11th arrondissement boasts no shortage of great places to drink, including Moonshiner. Find this hidden gem by pushing your way through the metal refrigerator door at the back of Pizza Da Vito, but come prepared with a sweater, as temperatures are significantly chillier inside of the bar. Dim lighting, jazz music, and a heavily-tattooed staff create a chill yet sophisticated ambiance, perfect for sipping gin martinis, smoky mezcal-based cocktails, or a simple pint, which still only goes for five euros a pop. Best of all, a (legal) smoking room is also available, adding to the quintessential je ne sais quoi charm of Parisian cocktail bars. 5 Rue Sedaine.
Tucked beneath La Maison du Saké in Paris’ 2nd arrondissement lies Golden Promise, the city’s first official ‘whisky bar.’ This hidden joint’s name pays homage to the famed type of Scottish barley used to craft high-end Single Malts—which are, of course, stacked in abundance along the bar’s stone clad walls. With over 1,000 different types of whisky and an array of rotating cocktails available, this La Maison du Whisky brainchild is quickly climbing the ranks as Paris’ best place to sip whisky. Prices are reasonable, and Japanese-inspired snacks provide an added bonus of something to munch on. Insider tip: for real whisky lovers looking for an out-of-this-world experience, ring the bell to the left of the bar and enter the collectors’ room, otherwise known as ‘The Lounge,’ for a jaw-dropping library of rare bottles. 11 Rue Tiquetonne.
For a jazzy, ‘Old School’ New York influenced experience, check out The Little Red Door, located in Paris’ fashionable Marais quartier. The bar’s rotating cocktail list is always presented in a quirky, thought-provoking manner (most recently, within a children’s pop-up book), and the charming, dimly lit ambiance is perfect for first dates or catching up with friends. Exposed brick walls, slate floors, and furniture shipped directly from London add funky British flare to the all-around chic Parisian vibe. Expect meticulously thought-out cocktails and an abundance of English-speaking visitors. 60 Rue Charlot.
Located in Paris’ bustling Pigalle neighborhood, Lulu White is the perfect place for a nightcap after a night at the Moulin Rouge—or really, for anyone who loves a good absinthe drip. Named after the famed New Orleans brothel madame, a trip to Lulu White is an instant transfer back to the Belle Epoque era of Paris. Expect live music, excellent drinks (including New Orleans classics, such as the Hurricane, Sazerac, and frozen slushies), as well as attentive hospitality. If you’re really feeling crazy, swap the absinthe-based cocktail for a straight flight of three for a potential visit from the green fairy. Disclaimer: no food or snacks are served, so best to come after a hearty meal in the neighborhood. 12 Rue Frochot.
Finding great tacos in Paris is nearly impossible; now finding great tacos with a bona fide speakeasy attached to the back of it? There can only be one place. Founded in 2011 by the Quixotic Project, the brains behind Le Mary Celeste, Hero, and Les Grands Verres, this hidden gem is accessed through the unmarked door at the back of the tiny taqueria, giving way to a dimly lit alcove room dotted with benches and barstools. From riffs on the classics to delicious signature cocktails, it’s no surprise that Candelaria has been recognized by numerous international publications as one of the best cocktail bars in the world. For those craving a good margarita, this one’s for you. 52 Rue de Saintonge.
Head beneath Pink Mamma’s four floors to the stainless-steel meat locker and peep through the back door to find No Entry, a hidden speakeasy founded by Alberto Sinibaldi and Jeremy Brin, formerly of Little Red Door. Countless mirrors and potion-like bottles line the walls of this cozy cocktail joint, which serves 15 rotating cocktails based around classic Italian ingredients. Be sure to taste the Umbrian olive oil martinis and balsamic vinegar tinged spritzes! Light aperitivo snacks are served, though it’s advised to fill up on the restaurant’s mouthwatering Italian delicacies upstairs, then head down for a strong, satisfying nightcap. 20 bis Rue de Douai.