photo courtesy of womenmanagementparis.blogspot.com
At first you thought you’d never tire of your pre-dinner kirs or pastis on traditional café terraces. But after one-too-many botched martinis, you’re willing to start considering alternatives. And if those alternatives happen to come courtesy of a group of fresh-faced Parisians enamored with New York cocktail culture, so be it.
Determined to bring Parisians around to the idea of “real” cocktails, drawing on only the finest spirits and fresh-squeezed fruit, the team behind the Curio Parlor first landed on the Paris scene a couple years ago with the Experimental Cocktail Club, an aptly named velour-lined drinking den in the 2nd arrondissement.
Although the two bars share their inclination towards taxidermy, designer’s guild prints, rococo chandeliers and plying Paris’ trendy set with expensive drinks, the Curio Parlor feels like the older sibling; a grown-up, intimate den perfect for whiling away an evening when you’re homesick for a proper Manhattan. The ground floor is anchored by a bar teeming with bottles and vials, with a couple nooks recessed behind heavy curtains ideal for hushed conversing. The downstairs is where the late-night parties happen, with a second bar and a DJ booth for the guest acts that regularly grace the Parlor.
Although there isn’t much about the Curio Parlor that isn’t alluring, the incontestable draw of the spot is the concise yet satisfying cocktail menu (although the people-watching isn’t bad either). The signature “Strawberry Fields” finds its place (and is worth a try if only to hear the bartender slap the mint leaf before delicately setting it afloat on your coupe of fresh-squeezed berries, vodka and champagne) alongside New York standbys of days past and the occasional foray into Tiki. My personal favorite: the refreshing Copa Verde (Tequila, honey, avocado, lime).
The drinks aren’t quick to make and the regular crowd is a thirsty one, so to really have your way of the place, a weeknight aperitif-hour stop is the way to go.
Curio Parlor, 16 rue des Bernardins, 75006, Paris. 01 44 07 12 47
Experimental Cocktail Club, 37 rue Saint Sauveur, 75002, Paris. 0 1 45 08 88 09