The best bars and cafés in Paris

terrass bar, paris, france
The historic Terrass Hotel offers a rooftop views, one of the best bars in Paris

Cosy neighbourhood drinking spots, avant-garde cocktail joints, swish rooftop lounges with city views: Paris has something for everyone. Time-honoured bars with pavement terraces and aproned waiters still abound, but nor does the city lack for trendy hangouts with eclectic interiors, charismatic mixologists and party atmosphere.

Below our expert picks her favourite bars, while for further Paris inspiration, see our guides devoted to the French capital's best hotels, restaurants, nightlife, things to do, free things to do and shopping, plus how to spend a weekend in Paris.

Find a bar or cafe by area

Strasbourg St-Denis / Canal / Villette

Le Comptoir General

A well-established favourite along the Canal Saint-Martin for Parisians and visitors alike. In recent years, the space has been revamped so that you enter through a small concept store, then a lobby decorated with curious displays, including an extensive butterfly collection. Inside it’s essentially a complex of multiple different venues and vibes: there’s a fish-focused restaurant, decorated with lush green foliage;  a cocktail lounge serving Carribean-themed libations, and a dedicated ‘rum’ cellar downstairs. Music is a carefully-curated selection of African and Carribean beats with regular DJs and live acts spanning zouk to Brazilian jazz.

Prices: ££

le comptoir general, paris, france
Le Comptoir General is a hub for African, Caribbean and African-American culture

Chez Prune

This lively spot on the Canal Saint-Martin is a well established and much-loved Paris watering hole, popular with world-weary locals and international creative types alike. Arrive earlier in the evening to bag a table en terrasse and while away the evening sipping on reasonably priced wine and sharing a planche (cheese or charcuterie board) while people-watching in this buzzy  and artistic area. Be sure to cast an eye at the décor inside to see the old-fashioned tiled floors and polished copper counter. At lunch, Chez Prune serves French classics for a reasonably priced and tasty lunch. 

Contact: 00 33 142 41 30 47
Prices: £

chez prune, paris, france
Chez Prune is a trendy period café with a lively ambience

Paname Brewing Company

This new-generation brewery located on the Quai de la Loire is at the heart of the ever-more cool bar scene on this northern stretch of the canal. The selection of artisanal brews, made on-site using eco-friendly methods, will leave beer enthusiasts hop-happy with a choice from the bar’s signature pale ales, lagers and black IPA. In the summer, the canal-top terrace is an ideal spot to stop for a cold one with a view out onto the water. If you get peckish, a no-frills but tasty menu of burgers and pizza is on offer.

Prices: £

Paname Brewing Co, Paris, France
Paname Brewing Company serves artisanal beers and canal views - ARNAUD ANDRE

Chez Jeanette

The aesthetic is faded French bistro – ceiling mouldings, tiled floors, formica tables  – but the neon bar sign hints to the young, cool vibe that pervades in Chez Jeanette. The neighbourhood bar was taken over by a young team a few years back and since has become a favourite of the after-work apéro crowd and weekend revellers, with DJs later in the evening. Prices are low and wine and beer is even cheaper by the 'pichet'. Go on the weekend and you’ll be shoulder-to-shoulder with the trendies of Paris in an atmosphere that is both upbeat and laid-back.

Contact: 00 33 147 70 30 89;
Prices: £


Le Mansart

Le Mansart offers a combination of faded bistro charm and cool credentials. Here you’ll rub shoulders with a crowd of musicians, students and young media types who congregate at the busy bar or round the foosball table. The pavement terrace is filled with smokers in beanies all year round and is packed out in the summer months. Inside, the music is loud with a hum of animated conversations to match. Drinks aren’t as cheap as the neighbourhoody look suggests, but it’s a great spot for getting a feel for this hipster quartier.

Contact: 00 33 156 92 05 99
Opening times: Tue-Sat, 6pm-2am; closed Sunday and Monday
Prices: ££

le mansart, paris, france
Le Mansart is a charming yet cool watering hole in Pigalle

La Fourmi

This is a great bet for a reasonably priced beer and a lively atmosphere, with less of a hipster vibe than some of its neighbours. The close-together tables are set across two levels and the overall feel of the décor is that of a charming mismatch, with a long wooden bar, scuffed walls and a huge hanging chandelier made from glass bottles, plus a babyfoot table. There’s plenty of buzz in the evening thanks to its prime location on Rue des Martyrs, and in the warmer months you’ll need sharp elbows for a spot on the terrace.

Contact: 00 33 142 64 70 35
Opening times: Mon-Thu, 8am-2am; Fri-Sat, 8am-4am; Sun, 9am-2am
Prices: £

la fourmi, paris, france
La Fourmi is lively and affordable

Terrass Bar

The historic Terrass Hotel, perched high on the hill in the heart of romantic Montmartre, offers a rooftop bar with a 180-degree views of Paris. Go after sunset to catch an excellent view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance while sipping on one of the bar’s 16 tasty signature cocktails – try the locally-themed Moulin Rouge: a concoction of vodka and champagne with fresh raspberries, apricot juice and crème de Pêche. A small menu of bar food, including a cheeseboard and croc sandwiches, is also available.

Prices: ££

terrass bar, paris, france
The rooftop bar at Terrass Hotel in Montmartre is a great place to go for city views

The Marais


There’s no street entrance to this tucked-away cocktail bar – instead you enter through a cute little taco restaurant (also part of the venue): push the door at the back of the room, pass through the corridor and you’ll emerge in the dimly-lit parlour adorned with exposed beams and eclectic wall coverings. The venue is run by Paris scenesters Quixotic Projects and the prize-winning menu, arranged by spirit, is suitably inventive, with a concentration of South American liquors. Try the Para Sola, made with Four Roses Bourbon, Fernet Branca Menta, passion fruit mousse and orange bitters.

Prices: ££

candelaria, paris, france
Candelaria is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar hidden within a taco restaurant - Jean-Louis Blondeau

Little Red Door

You shouldn't miss this natty little bar on trendy Rue Charlot, which has ranked in the World’s 50 Best Bars 2017. Behind the eponymous Little Red Door is  a low-key, stylish spot, with strong overtones of New York thanks to its distressed brickwork and plush sofas. Star mixologist Remy Savage made this place  famous for his experimental menus, today a talented international team is at the helm. This little gem has been a mainstay of the World’s 50 Best Bars list for many years and its cocktails are still pushing the boundaries. An example? A tomato cocktail made with tomato vine eau de vie, mezcal and vermouth, with tomato plant coming from a Parisian rooftop urban farm. Push the eponymous little red door and go taste for yourself. 

Prices: ££

little red door, paris, france
Little Red Door is considered one of the best cocktail bars in the city - and the world

Le Connétable

Le Connétable is a smart restaurant during the day, set in a medieval hôtel particulier complete with wooden beams stretching over tablecloth-covered round tables in the upstairs dining areas. At night, however, it becomes an eclectic drinking spot, where outlandishly dressed fashion types mix with bohemian locals and curious out-of-towners. With small-hour closing times, it’s a great spot to end the night in eccentric style. Local musicians regularly play here, and there's a piano in the dining room upstairs, so impromptu concerts from merry customers are also a common occurrence.

Prices: ££

The Auld Alliance

For a touch of familiar pub atmosphere in the heart of Paris, head to The Auld Alliance, whose name alludes to the 13th-century deal between French and Scottish kings to stave off the English. You can expect a warm welcome from the staff and a lively, chatty crowd, with drinkers standing elbow-to-elbow on the weekends. Eight screens show international football and rugby fixtures and there's also a dartboard and a pool room. Naturally for a Scottish pub, it also offers the widest whisky selection in Paris with over 100 varieties, while the kitchen serves haggis, Scotch eggs and fish and chips.

Prices: £


Jacques’ Bar

The uber-trendy Hoxton hotel group opened their first Parisian address on Rue Sentier in 2017, and it's an Instagrammer’s design dream. The gorgeous Jacques bar is a particular highlight: named after Jacques Majorelle, it has a loose Moroccan theme, complemented by speakeasy stylings and touches of English eccentricity in the floral wallpaper. The delightful mixologists will whip you up a traditional cocktail or one of several specials designed by the Quixotic group. The Jack Snapper, a retake on a Bloody Mary made with gin and essence of harissa, is particularly delicious.

Prices: ££

jacques bar, paris, france
Jacques bar adds a dose of colour to the trendy Hoxton hotel

Bar Chaumont

The mixologist of this dinky bar inside the hip Hotel Bachaumont worked in London for some time and you can see the influence with his zany offering of creative cocktails: think sesame-infused rum with verjus, vanilla and pear liquor. They can also whip you up any classic cocktail you fancy and even suggest cocktail pairings if you opt to eat in the great and buzzy hotel restaurant. 

Prices: ££


Café de Flore

It may be a bit of an influencer-trap these days, but the legendary Café de Flore in St-Germain is still well worth a visit. This was once the haunt of activists and writers such as De Beauvoir and Sartre. Sit inside and you can just picture them there in the Fifties and Sixties putting the world to rights amid the tiled floor and red leather banquettes. The terrace overlooking Boulevard Saint-Germain is undeniably gorgeous, but I love the interior for people-watching — see the decades-long regular reading his paper and making notes,  or watch the smart waiters dash about with a mix of grumpiness and grace. 

Prices: £££

Café de Flore, Paris, France
Once a favourite of writers, Café de Flore is now filled with influencers - GETTY

Opéra / Louvre

Harry’s New York Bar

Founded in 1911, this legendary bar located between Avenue de l'Opéra and the prestigious rue de la Paix was frequented by cultural luminaries such as Ernest Hemingway, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart and Jean-Paul Sartre, and remains a highly popular spot for a cocktail. The wood-panelled space is lined with red leather banquettes and decorated with vintage American college paraphernalia; the lively chatter of the international crowd and the rattle of cocktail mixers provide the soundtrack. Elaborate waiter service is standard. Don’t leave without trying the excellent Bloody Mary, which was, according to the establishment, invented in this very bar.

Prices: ££