What have Harry’s, the Hemingway and Buddha Bar got in common? They’re all great places to get a cocktail in Paris, of course, but they’re also the city’s entries in a recently-published list of the world’s fifty best bars. The top fifty has been compiled from a poll of readers of Drinks International magazine—and they should know a decent watering hole when they see one.
The number one spot went to PDT (aka Please Don’t Tell), a ‘secret’ speakeasy-style bar in New York’s West Village. Most of the top ten, in fact, is split between London and New York, with the first non-English-speaking entry from Paris itself, Harry’s, at number nine.
We can’t resist a chance to go for a nice cocktail, of course, which is just as well—as that’s what all three bars specialise in!
Harry’s New York Bar
5, rue Daunou — 2nd arrondissement
A good old-fashioned American-style cocktail bar, Harry’s has been something of an institution amongst ex-pats for a hundred years now. Traditional cocktails are complemented by a lunch menu that mixes all-American staples like hot dogs with French favourites like croques monsieurs.
Given the diverse mix of Americans that make it to Paris, the bar’s straw poll, held exactly one month before every presidential election, has been a remarkable predictor of success down the years, only getting it wrong twice in the course of two elections. The bar is well-known as one of the most exciting places outside of Washington, DC, to follow election night—worth remembering if you’re planning a visit to Paris in 2012!
8 bis, rue Boissy d’Anglas — 8th arrondissement
A million miles away from the cozy, intimate atmosphere of Harry’s, Buddha Bar is a bustling cross-cultural mix, with drinkers and diners mingling underneath the huge buddha that dominates the main room. Split across two floors, the venue has a restaurant upstairs, but it’s the bar downstairs that we prefer. With a great selection of cocktails, you can keep on dancing all night—especially as you’re likely to recognise much of the music from the dozen or so compilation CDs that the bar has taken to releasing over the years.
in the Ritz-Carlton, 15, place Vendôme — 1st arrondissement
One of the most exclusive places to stay in Paris is now complemented by one of the most exclusive places to drink. Named after one of the city’s most famous US residents (who would actually probably have been more at home in Harry’s), the Hemingway is a classic hotel bar, with immaculate bartenders mixing delicious cocktails for both residents and guests.