It’s easy to conjure up all the Paris clichés: fresh croissants still warm from the oven, a flute of champagne on a picture-perfect terrace, a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. But where do you go for an elite cocktail experience in Paris? In a city where a glass of wine is often far less expensive than a specialty cocktail, it’s important to choose wisely. These bars have made their mark mixing up inventive concoctions amid luxurious atmospheres.
Lesser-known finds in addition to more popular hotel lounges make this list a diverse tour of Paris’s best cocktail bars. So whether you’re a cocktail connoisseur or just need a break from drinking fabulous red wine in the French capital, be sure to shake it up and visit one (or several!) of these bars.
228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Located right on the iconic Rue de Rivoli and across from the Tuileries Garden, Bar 228 at Le Meurice is a luxurious taste of Paris. Wood-paneled walls and frescos create a lush atmosphere at this hotel bar, where you can sip a signature Meurice Millennium with Cointreau and champagne, or a rare Cognac. Be sure to stick around for the live jazz music every evening at this elegant gem.
5 Pl. du Chancelier Adenauer, 75116 Paris, France
The aptly-named Library Bar features an array of leather-bound books underneath a coffered ceiling, with a spiral staircase and plush seating. Fittingly, it once served as a library for historian Louis-Adolphe Thiers. Part of the Saint James Paris, this British-inspired hotel space is found in the très chic 16th arrondissement of Paris. During warmer times of year, make sure to check out the additional pergola bar en plein air.
10 Rue Guénégaud, 75006 Paris, France
Identifiable by a glowing “A” down a quiet street in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Arbane is an under-the-radar must-visit for any cocktail lover. Located in the former headquarters of the Situationist International (Guy Debord’s intellectual movement of the 1960s), this glitzy bar features mirrored walls and some of the friendliest service you will find in Paris, all in a cozy, intimate setting. Their signature cocktails are exquisitely balanced with delicate flavors, and served with hand-carved ice.
23 Rue Mazarine, 75006 Paris, France
With crown molding, low tables and velvet curtains galore, this recently renovated 1930s-themed lounge offers visitors an elegant space to imbibe. With various charming hidden corners to explore and signature drinks such as Mezcal Vida del Maguey with specialty liqueur Fenouillette Denoix, what’s not to love?
10 Av. d’Iéna, 75116 Paris, France
An ornate hideaway within the Shangri-La Paris (and around the corner from the Palais de Tokyo), Le Botaniste boasts a nature-inspired cocktail menu. A variety of herbs, florals and absinthes pepper the unique assortment of drinks here. If that isn’t your speed, they also have indulgent twists on classic cocktails. It occupies the former residence of botanist hobbyist Prince Roland Bonaparte, making this palatial bar a special spot.
60 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris, France
If we’re talking cocktails in Paris, Little Red Door is the expert. The bright red door is hidden along an unassuming street in Le Marais; once inside, this comfy, brick-walled space has some of the most inventive, flawless drinks in the city. Cocktails are taken seriously here (just take a gander at the page-long ingredients for each drink!), but knowledgeable bartenders will be more than happy to tailor your experience to your preferences and tastes.
15 Pl. Vendôme, 75001 Paris, France
Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris is one of the most famous spots in the entire city— and yes, it was indeed frequented by its namesake, Ernest Hemingway, in the 1920s. This classic space is meticulously curated with leather chairs, wood detailing and artifacts such as nautical accouterments and vintage photos. Grand Marnier was first branded in this old-school setting by Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle. A short walk from the Palais Garnier and the Tuileries Garden, Bar Hemingway is a unique sip of Parisian history.
25 Rue Beautreillis, 75004 Paris, France
On the street where Jim Morrison once lived, a door next to the bistro Aux Vins des Pyrénées leads into this adorably “shabby chic” speakeasy, complete with eclectic seating and a terrasse dripping in greenery. Cocktails here are rooted in the classics, while also experimenting with some more unconventional spirits and liqueurs, so venture off the beaten path and settle into Le 1905 with a drink in hand.
10 Pl. de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, France
This bar, located in the Hotel de Crillon, is truly over the top—and that’s a good thing. Adorned with glorious chandeliers, marble walls and frescos on the ceiling, this stunning spot, mere steps from the Place de la Concorde, couldn’t get any more luxurious. Don’t let the opulent atmosphere fool you, as with live music in the evenings and a menu inspired by different Parisian personalities, Les Ambassadeurs is anything but stuffy.
5 Rue Sedaine, 75011 Paris, France
In the 11th arrondissement, enter through the back of a pizza parlor to indulge in this gem of a cocktail bar. Moonshiner takes you back to the 1920s with its Prohibition Era, Art Deco-style interior. This cozy haunt flaunts a sophisticated cocktail list, but we highly encourage you to let a sharply dressed bartender surprise you with a delicious custom concoction.