Picture this, it’s a dark night in Paris. You’re off to find one of the famous Parisian speakeasies. The wind whips through the streets and you adjust the collar of your trench coat. Your scarf blows behind you in the wind as you look over your shoulder to be sure you aren’t being followed. You check the address again and turn a corner. You see an unmarked door being guarded inconspicuously by a tall gentleman in a bowler hat. You approach him and he asks you under his breath if you know the password. Your heart is pounding in your chest as you whisper Open Sesame. He gives you an almost imperceptible nod as he opens the door behind him and beckons for you to follow him down a dimly lit corridor.
You can hear piano music coming from behind one of the walls and the whole hallway smells like champagne and secrets. Suddenly, the man opens a door that you hadn’t seen before and you find yourself in an elegantly decorated lounge. Someone hands you a cocktail and you make your way to a chaise longue. OKAY, so obviously that’s a total film noir fantasy. There are several secret bars in Paris but the speakeasy scene is nowhere near that intense, although I wish it was… In reality, you can get into many of Paris’s secret bars just by knowing exactly where they are. While these aren’t all marketed as speakeasies per say, they all have a hidden ‘je ne sais quoi’ about them and a vibe that makes you feel like you’re in on a very well kept secret, so without further ado here are a few of my favorite secret bars in Paris.
Little Red Door - 60 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris
Despite my protestations that the Paris speakeasy scene is not as intense as described above, Little Red Door is, in fact, hidden behind an inconspicuous door, guarded by a doorman and fabulously decorated. LRD was voted one of the world’s 50 best bars in 2015 and for good reason. Their inventive cocktails are crafted with love and know-how and they recently released a new cocktail menu earlier this year. Little Red Door is the perfect choice for the hip cocktail drinker.
The Moonshiner - 5 Rue Sedaine, 75011 Paris
If you’re looking for an old-school 1920’s style speakeasy, The Moonshiner is it. Head into Da Vito, a small pizza restaurant located near Bastille – bypass the pizza (or don’t, it’s delicious) and make your way straight for the freezer door at the back. Don’t be shy, pass through it and you’re in their dark and delightful lounge; they are known for their excellent cocktails and expansive array of whiskey and bourbon.
Candelaria - 52 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris
While Candelaria doesn’t necessarily bill itself as a speakeasy, it’s understated green façade and low-key bar entrance give off big “secret bar” vibes. Three words for you: Tacos and Tequila. This is a no-brainer. Candelaria was Paris’s first official taqueria and the cocktail bar has been included in the list as one of the world’s 50 best bars multiple years
Maison Souquet - 10 Rue de Bruxelles, 75009 Paris
Okay, so just like Candelaria, Maison Souquet doesn’t label itself a speakeasy or even a secret bar, but it’s one of my best kept secrets in Paris. A Belle-Epoque brothel turned luxury hotel in the heart of Pigalle; their bars absolutely drip elegance and luxury. Take your pick: a room decked out in red velvet, plush chairs and complete with cozy fireplace or the winter garden, equally snuggly and romantic but with a bit more light, either way you can’t go wrong.
No Entry - 20 bis Rue de Douai, 75009 Paris
Continuing the tradition of excellent bars hidden near delicious food, No Entry is the secret speakeasy belonging to the infamous Big Mamma group. After eating ALL the food upstairs at Pink Mamma, head down the stairs. Keep your eyes out for the entrance! Lavishly decorated in the style of the restaurant chain, No Entry is a speakeasy that shouldn’t be missed.
Le Très Particulier - Pavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot, 75018 Paris
Behind a gate on a relatively quiet street in Montmartre you’ll find my absolute favorite hidden haunt, le Très Particulier. To access it, you’ll have to ring the doorbell to Hôtel Particulier and inform them that you’d like to have a drink. They’ll buzz you in and off you go. Enter via the hotel and the waitstaff will show you the way. Secluded, intimate and chic (plus with delicious cocktails) the Très Particulier is perfect for a date or girls night drinks.
Which of these secret speakeasies have you tried? Which ones have I left off the list? Let me know what you think!