Obviously, you’re going to drink in Paris. Drinking is a way of life here: it’s part of the culture, and Parisians have somehow mastered the art of heavily boozing without getting wasted. The famous, intimate bars below are the best places to celebrate your honeymoon, so uncork that bottle of wine, pop some Veuve, and be prepared to feel the love in the most romantic city in the world.
Le Bar Botaniste at Shangri-La, Paris10, avenue d'Iéna, Paris, 75116, France
When Shangri-La hotel opened in Paris a few years back, people freaked out. The hotel chain is known for its classy and luxurious digs: “Swank” is an understatement, especially at their signature bar, Le Bar. It feels super old school, but also contemporary: expensive rugs and heavy drapes, but also black leather chairs and tiger-print pillows. It feels like a nobleman’s private lair: the hotel was the former palace of Roland Bonaparte (Napoleon’s grandnephew). Roland was known to have a huge private plant collection, so this bar pays tribute with rare botanical spirits. Flowers and booze? Both you and your wife will love it.
Harry’s New York Bar5 Rue Daunou, 75002 Paris, France
You’re going old, old school with Harry’s, a total institution and possibly the most famous bar in Paris. It opened in 1911 and became the stomping ground for writers like Hemingway, Sartre, and Fitzgerald. It’s also rumored to be the birthplace of the Bloody Mary and French 76. Every historic bar ties to claim a classic cocktail, but in this case, it just might be true. Harry’s is touristy, but still intimate somehow. Just grab a small table in the back, be low-key like everyone else, and you’ll feel the old-school magic for sure.
Experimental Cocktail Club37 rue Saint-Saveur | Paris 75002
One of the better modern bars in Paris, Experimental Cocktail Club still feels as historic as some of the best watering holes. It has Prohibition era-themed design, but it actually feels like it somehow survived the past 100 years with exposed, wooden beams, brick walls, and dated chandeliers. Run by Experimental Group, a nightlife chain that has created a whole slew of innovative bars in Paris (not to mention London, New York, and Ibiza), ECC has an unmistakable ambience and character, easily rivaling other contemporary “speakeasy” bars. It’s only 10 years old, but it was one of the first big modern bars in a city full of old ones.
Le Coq12 Rue du Château d'Eau, 75010 12 Rue du Château d'Eau, 75010
Not to be confused with Le Coq the restaurant, Le Coq the bar is infused with that “underground Paris” feel. It conjures the city’s famous artistic vibe with a strong high-fashion scene and that trademark artsy flair (think mustached dudes in striped shirts wearing berets). The dimly lit place has a ‘70s warehouse theme that you really can’t duplicate anywhere else. How ‘70s? When you first walk in, you half expect to see Mick and Bianca Jagger sitting in a booth with Andy Warhol, Gene Hackman and the Village People: that’s how ‘70s. This is where the coolest kids in Paris hang out, so don’t expect anyone to pay you any notice.
(Update: Merde! We just heard that Le Coq is closed! We’re going to go drown our sorrows in a bottle of Calvados, then we’ll get back to you with another recommendation.)
Bar 228228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Bar 228, at famed hotel Le Meurice, is an absolute stunner. It’s so beautifully designed, so rich with history, and so deep in ambience, most visitors need a second to just take it all in. The bar has been around since the 19th century, but the legendary Philippe Starck recently gave it a facelift. Don’t worry though, he didn’t get rid of the place’s former glory. The hand-painted ceilings soar, the tables are equipped with cushy leather chairs, and the dark wood-paneled walls are clad with frescoes dating back to 1907. This is one of the fanciest bars in Paris (the waiters are in tuxedos), so cocktails will set you back about $30. But they’re worth it. This is the perfect place to order a rare wine or cognac and slowly savor it.