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Oct 20, 2009 11:55 AM


I just moved from NYC to Paris. Does anyone have any tips on bars in Paris (left bank, central Paris are best) that fit the following:
- Cozy
- Not super pretentious or trendy
- Still popular
- Able to meet fun people
- Not super expensive

I'm just looking for a friendly bar with a good atmosphere. College bars not necessary!


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  1. I can't get over the closing of China Club.
    Ditto chez Elyette (officially called "Au Rêve) on rue Caulaincourt (did not actually closed, but Elyette is gone).
    Some nice lowkey bars that are still around:
    - La Fourmi on rue des Martyrs
    - La Palette, rue de Seine
    - Le Fumoir, Rue de l Amiral Coligny
    - Café Charbon, Rue Oberkampf
    - Doudingue, Rue Durantin

    4 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      La Palette on rue de Seine was always a favourite, a good mix of gallery owners and students. But, on our last visit a very rude waiter insisted we both order drinks (my wife only wanted water for her first drink), he said it "was the rule". We intended to stay for a couple of drinks so I ordered two beers and two glasses of water, drank them, and then left, never to return.

      I would add "Fish" also on rue de Seine. It is actually a wine bar with restaurant. It was our "comfort" zone when we lived in Paris, good wine, and often a place to run into fellow English speaking expats (of course that is also its weakness), and we would often end up there for relaxing Friday drinks after a hard week.

      1. re: PhilD

        If fhe waiter at La Palette was an older, bearded man, he is one of the owners; and he can be abrasive. The informal rule is, if you are sitting down at a table, you are a renter of that space, and you have to pay. If your wife had ordered a Badoit, that would have been acceptable.

        1. re: Oakglen

          I know the guy you mean but he wasn't around. A younger, fashionably dressed man now directs traffic to tables, without "the character" of the owner The waiter who served us was simply one of the usual ones. Given my rate of beer consumption is probably 10x that of their other customers we are a far better economic proposition than the fashionistas nursing a single coffee for an hour.

          I do know the bar well, and have probably been 50+ times, on this visit it seemed more commercial than the past, something has changed. Has the ownership changed? Has the owner handed over to the "hotshot" son?

          1. re: PhilD

            Abrasiveness is Jean-Francois's act, sort of like the waiter at SF's Sam Wo.
            My husband also likes to order a beer there. He who might have ordered more beers at the Palette than Phil never paid the same price though. The price seems to depend entirely on JF's vibes…