Two weeks in Paris and one group of bars had been recommended to us more than anywhere else: Curio in the 5th, Prescription in the 6th and the Experimental Cocktail Club in the 2nd. With a weakness for cocktails, we simply had to try them out. As it turned out, one of our colleagues has a rather intimate relationship with one of the founders so we found ourselves on our second Parisian Friday night with our name on the door at the Curio. Yes, we felt rather pleased with ourselves. And with our first guest visiting, what better timing? Well, it gets even better. Just that day, it seems the guys at How to Spend It had been doing the very same research as us. The front cover of the magazine was the talk of the office all day on Friday because these bars were the FT’s choice of cover story.
Our guest arrived at 8.30pm so by the time we got home, had a bite to eat and walked down to the Curio it was after 11. But this is Paris, right? No 11pm closing, no snooty doormen. Or so we thought. We arrived outside the Curio (and, discreet though the entrance is, there’s no mistaking it).
‘Oui?’ asked the bouncer uninterested.
‘Je connais quelqu’un’ we said unconvincingly. We couldn’t remember the name of our colleague’s flatmate who ran the bar and as we fumbled around with our Blackberry, the bouncer started having some fun….or was he?
‘Desole, mais des blondes a lunettes ca n’entrent pas’.
What? We were hot London chicks, was he seriously turning us down?
‘Le nom commence avec un C’, we tried.
‘Cedric?’ they teased.
Eventually we got there, the door was opened and we made our way in… tentatively. The room was dark, very dark. It reminded us instantly of Milk & Honey in Soho. There was a bar at the back, a side room with people seated at various low tables, and a staircase that led downstairs. A beautiful barmaid came over and showed us to a table. We ordered a couple of cocktails from the English section (Londoners in Paris, we had to right?).
As we sat waiting for our drinks, the bar manager flatmate came up and introduced herself ‘I was expecting you much earlier’, she said. How lovely! Where are these horrible Parisians we keep hearing about?
‘Do you like it? Do you have everything you need?’ she asked.
When our colleague arrived, we explained our encounter at the door ‘mais qu’est-ce qu’il est mechant celui-la!’, she reassured us.
‘If he sees people hesitate, he teases them. The only thing they’re careful of is underage drinking’, she said, ‘other than that, everyone gets in’.
No snootiness here then. Relief all round.
We ordered another round of – deliciously perfect – cocktails and commented to our colleague about how pleased we were to see our favourite Hendrick’s gin on the menu.
‘Yes’, she said, ‘it’s not so well known in Paris. They know the owners of Hendrick’s and got an agreement to sell it’.
Just then, one of the founders appeared and we were introduced. He was young, understated but very focused. We guess you have to be in order to achieve this before the age of 30.
‘Have you been celebrating [the FT piece]?’, we asked.
‘Of course’ came the response. But rather than go out the three of them, they had chosen to split up and share the love with all their staff throughout the night. How very sensible. These guys know what they’re doing. And that’s why they’re about to open in London. Mr Fool will have to write that review for you but if the Curio is a blueprint, you Londoners are in for a treat. And we hope the next stop is Brussels because that’s one town that’s sorely lacking in cocktail bars.
Curio Parlor, 16 rue des Bernardins, 75006 Paris, Tel: +33 1 44 07 12 47
Experimental Cocktail Club, 37 rue Saint Sauveur, 75002 Paris, Tel: +33 1 45 08 88 09
Prescription, 23 rue Mazarine, 75006 Paris, Tel: +33 1 46 34 67 73
French cocktail chic: A fabulous night at the Curio Parlor
Two weeks in Paris and one group of bars had been recommended to us more than anywhere else: Curio in the 5th, Prescription in the 6th and the Experimental Cocktail Club in the 2nd. With a weakness for cocktails, we simply had to try them out. As it turned out, one of our colleagues has [...]
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The Guide's Paris correspondent is a lobbyist by day and a world-class, champion cocktail drinker by night. Having devoured almost every Martini in London, like a swarm of alcoholic locusts, she had no choice but to migrate to pastures new. In the summer of 2010 she moved to Paris from where she continues to report on the very best restaurants, bars and nightlife that her adopted city has to offer. Watch out Milan; it’s only a matter of time…
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