Cocktails haven’t always been a strong suit in the French capital. Just a few years ago, procuring a decent mixed drink– much less a thoughtfully created and beautifully presented one– posed a bit of a challenge. But that has (thankfully) all changed. And with the launch of Paris Cocktail Week, it’s never been easier to sample a cross-section of creative “tipples” in short order.
Now in its sixth year running, the spirited (forgive my pun) event allows you to sample cocktails from some of the city’s most innovative bartenders and mixologists.
For the 2020 edition, some 50 bars around the capital are participating in the nine-day event, offering an average of around 30% off the usual price of a variety of interesting, expertly stirred or mixed drinks.
And not to worry: if you don’t drink alcohol or want to keep your consumption moderate, plenty of bars are offering non-alcoholic cocktails as part of their specially curated menu of drinks.
But be careful: you’ll only get the discount if you show up between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm between January 24th through February 1st (see below for more details).
There’s no cover charge for any of the participating bars, nor any need to buy a special pass to benefit from the reduced house drink prices.
So this actually represents a decent deal– and the makings of a fun and interesting night (or two) out in Paris. Since cocktails tend to run on the expensive side in the city, here’s an opportunity to try some excellent examples, without compromising your travel budget.
You can also take part in special events such as cocktail-making masterclasses, private soirées and brunches. Keep scrolling down for more details.
Participating Bars: A Few Highlights
Around 50 bars around the French capital will be taking part in the 2020 edition. You can see a full list here (in French only, but you can take note of the bars then look up their locations, or use Google Translate to assist).
You can also learn more about bars taking part in the event this year and special events around town by visiting the official Facebook page.
A Few Spots to Try
Bisou: Rum & Spirit-Free Fizz in an Eco-Friendly Setting
This friendly, cool neighborhood bar at the edge of the always-lively Oberkampf district is offering a special rum-based drink for the occasion of Paris Cocktail Week. For non-drinkers or those looking to take a break from the tipples, try their refreshing, citrusy “Frime”, served in an odd, face-shaped blue glass.
In an effort to be ecologically responsible, the bar is offering drinks whose ingredients are sourced exclusively from French fruits and vegetables, and cutting back on plastics.
Breizh Café Montorgueil
Opened in 2019, this Breton and Japanese-influenced cocktail and cider bar in the heart of the Montorgueil market district has already make a mark with their selection of interested, gorgeously presented drinks.
This year, the bartenders at Breizh have put together two special drinks for the occasion: a gin-based cocktail called Labeda (see image just above), and featuring gin Heol an Oriant 1672, apple liqueur, cashew orgeat syrup with coriander, and a non-alcoholic cocktail featuring apple, apple cider vinegar, honey, verjus and various spices.
Find full info on the bar: Breizh Cocktail Bar & Cider Cellar, in Review
This beloved tiki-style cocktail bar in Pigalle is a preferred watering hole of the stylish and discerning drinker, but with Cocktail Weeks comes the opportunity for the shy among us to try it out.
For this year’s festivities, the talented mixologists at Dirty Dick have concocted a sour and spicy drink dubbed One-Eyed Willie, featuring Monkey Shoulder whisky, Amontillado sherry, citrus fruits, orgeat and spiced cinnamon.
The spirits-free drink is a refreshing citrusy concoction featuring mango and blackcurrant green tea cordial, citrus fruits, pineapple juice and orange blossom, all served in a delightful Polynesian-style glass and garnished with flowers.
- Getting There: 10, rue Frochot, 75009
- Metro: Pigalle or St-Georges
Of course, these are just a handful of the interesting creations that await on an exploration of participating bars. I wholly recommend that you choose a few of your own from the list at the official website.
Special Events, Classes & Soirées for Paris Cocktail Week 2020
In addition to sampling a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic house drinks around the city, you can also get in on a few events during the festivities.
These include bartender demonstrations, masterclasses and special evenings featuring particular cocktails or bases.
There are even a few for the non or light-drinkers out there this year, such as classes teaching you how to make non-alcoholic cocktails and low-alcohol content drinks that are every bit as enticing as those with higher volumes of the stuff.
You can browse events this year at the official website (again, use Google Translate in Chrome to translate the page and narrow down your search).
Places are limited for each event, so to avoid disappointment I recommend you book a spot as soon as possible.
Read related: Learn All About Wine History at Paris’ Musée du Vin
Practical Info & Getting There
In 2020, Paris Cocktail week runs from the evening of Friday, January 24th through Saturday, February 1st.