There is seemingly no end to enticing Paris wine bars where you can find not only interesting, natural or small production wines but often exceptional food and a guaranteed “cool factor” atmosphere. Andy Herbach helps us source three perfect spots for a drink and a bite this summer in the city.
Le Vingt Heures Vin
The owner of this vibrant wine bar in Montmartre (there’s another location in the 11th) is a wine buff who’ll help you with your selection. Relax over a glass or bottle of wine with bread, cheese, charcuterie, small plates, or a salad (the “Emile Buisson” vegetarian salad is a good choice). Try la tartine chic with ham, tomato, basil, and cheese. Popular late at night.
Why now? Stop by early in order to snag one of their outside tables during warm weather.
Info: 18th/Métro Abbesses. 15/17 rue Joseph de Maistre. Tel. 09/184.108.40.206. Open Tue-Sun 7pm to 1am. Also at 11th/Métro Goncourt. 2 rue des Goncourt (off of rue Parmentier near place de la République). Tel. 01/220.127.116.11. Open Tue-Sat at 6pm. Sunday brunch from noon to 2pm. vingtheuresvin.com
This wine shop/bistro, located in the gentrifying 10th, not far from Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, is run by English chef Matthew Ong and New Zealand sommelière Hayden Clout. You’ll find dark plank floors and walls lined with wine bottles. Servers are efficient (and if you don’t speak French, you’ll be just fine). Inventive limited, menu and interesting wine list. Worth the trip.
Why now? Food has never been better here and its a short walk from the Canal St. Martin where you can start your apero with a bottle of Rosé shared between friends.
Info: 10th/Métro Poissonière . 80 rue du Faubourg Poissonière (at rue des Messageries). Tel. 01/42.46.02.44. Closed Sat (lunch), Sun and Mon. restaurantalbion.com. Moderate. Reserve ahead.
Le Bal Café
This café/exhibition space is a favorite. Hours are a little inconvenient for the traveler, as dinner is only served on Thursdays: It’s a good place to hang out outside dining hours. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, hot ginger beer, great wine selection, and delicious desserts. The staff speaks excellent English.
Why now? The terrace is a fabulous place to while away the afternoon.
Info: 18th/Métro Clichy. 6 impasse de la Défense (a short walk north from the place de Clichy on avenue de Clichy. On the right side of the street between rue Capron and rue Ganneron). Tel. 01/18.104.22.168. Closed Mon and Tue. Lunch Wed through Fri, Brunch Sat and Sun, Dinner Thu only. le-bal.fr. Moderate.
Andy Herbach is the author of Wining and Dining in Paris, Eating & Drinking in Paris, Eating & Drinking in Italy, Eating & Drinking in Spain and Portugal, Eating & Drinking in Germany, Best of Spain, Best of Provence, Best of Paris, and Europe’s Best Walks.