- 26, Jul 2019
- All things Paris
- Anna Livesey
New York may be the historical home of the speakeasy but they’re all the rage in Paris too. From pizza parlours to laundromats, the French capital is positively teeming with hidden trap-doors and clandestine cocktail bars. Here are our favourite spots for swinging you right back to the illicit world of 20s America, all without leaving the City of Lights...
Le Lavomatic, République, takes speakeasy hide-and-seek to its ultimate extreme. The only thing betraying this squeaky clean laundromat is the queue of eager punters stacking up on the pavement of a Saturday evening. Step behind a stainless steel washing machine and you’ll discover an ultra trendy cocktail bar concealed entirely on the other side. It’s as committed to the laundry theme on inside and out.
It may be situated on the busiest boulevard in Paris, but no one finds Blaine Bar without a tip-off. Tucked away from the noise of the Champs-Elysées, behind a nondescript iron gate, nothing from the outside screams upmarket cocktail bar. But with the help of a password that changes weekly (available on request via Blaine Bar’s Facebook page) and by way of a disused flight of stairs, you’ll arrive in a candlelit saloon with a US-themed drinks menu.
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced pizzeria in Paris, we highly recommend Bastille trattoria Da Vito… or if you really just want a stiff drink in an off the radar location, try sniffing out the speakeasy that lurks behind. Don’t be disappointed when a pair of heavy duty freezer doors bring you to a nondescript-looking store room: just push through one last doorway and you’ll find yourself in the plush heart of an art deco cocktail lounge. Gatsby would be proud.
Speakeasy at Palais des Glaces
Time for something different: it may not actually be a bar but, for fans of 20s and 30s America, there’s no better vintage throwback. Inspired by the gangster underworld of prohibition New York, sell-out circus act Speakeasy will flip you straight back to a time where flapper dresses were the rage and bootleggers roamed the streets. The show combines dizzying acrobatics and a white-knuckle storyline, all set against a soundtrack composed by French electronic music collective Chinese Man. It’s unquestionably the most original speakeasy experience you’ll find in Paris.
There aren’t any trap doors or passwords, but Le Syndicat’s shabby exterior is as good a cover-up as any. Who would suspect that behind this gritty, crumbling facade lies an establishment previously rated one of the world’s 50 best bars. Swapping posters and graffiti for shimmering mirrors and golden curtains, Le Syndicat serves up a menu of all the best vintage liquors.
Photo property of Little Red Door ©
Little Red Door
This little red door, reminiscent of the innocence of Alice in Wonderland, will transport you into a world that definitely wasn’t intended for children. The bar’s explosive cocktail menu was masterminded by former head barman Remy Savage, who in 2018 was rated Europe’s finest mixologist. Unusually for a speakeasy, you won’t miss this distinctive entrance on the cobbled streets of the Marais neighbourhood.
For a more exotic take on the traditional American speakeasy, try Hammam Bar, a refreshing mediterranean oasis tucked behind the hipster streets of Belleville. This turkish inspired bar is hidden beneath gourmet kebab shop OUR. Which means that once you’ve polished off a deliciously spicy lamb kofta you can pop downstairs for an after dinner drink. You won’t want to miss these cocktails infused with Greek liqueur or Cypriot dessert wine.
The team behind restaurant chain Big Mamma have been serving up the most mouthwatering Italian food in Paris since their launch back in 2013. But a bar hiding in the cellar of their Pigalle outpost, Pink Mamma, is the franchise’s best kept secret. Branding itself as Italy’s take on the New York speakeasy, No Entry will take you behind the trattoria cold room (mind out for the giant hanging ham hocks) and serve you up a cocktail with its own regional twist.
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