The Ultimate Paris Nightlife Guide (Updated 2020)
Paris is a thrill-per-minute city, whether the thrill is a fast-paced one, like zipping through the Parisian streets on a bike tour at night, strolling along the Champs Elysées, or perhaps just relaxing in a bookstore, like the famous Shakespeare & Company. Whether your thrills are a bit more daring, or a bit more low-key, thrill-seekers of all types can often agree that a good cocktail or glass of wine is in order, when in Paris.
So, if you find yourself heading to Paris soon, we’ve got you covered for the nightlife scene, whether you’re in the market for a low-key evening at a funky lounge, a raucous night at the club, or simply a quiet and elegant hotel bar where you can sip on a cocktail.
(And if you’re in the mood for a tour, be sure to pay Fat Tire Tours a visit when you roll through Paris. We’d love to meet you!)
These aren’t the kinds of places you’ll find on busy main streets, but if you’re the type of person who likes to know of hidden gems, take note of these below-the-radar hot spots.
To access this speakeasy-style lounge, enter through an unassuming little red door, behind which you’ll discover a tiny bar that serves simple and delicious drinks. The bartenders are also more than happy to go off-menu, so why not challenge them a bit by requesting a new concoction tailor-made for you?
📍Address: 60 Rue Charlot, 75003
With feathery chandeliers and leopard print furnishings, Shake N’Smash looks like the inside of a genie’s bottle. And the amazing, creative cocktails will keep you coming back for more. Here, you’ll also get free acoustic concerts twice weekly.
📍Address: 87 Rue de Turbigo, 75003
Sure, South Pigalle is the current up-and-coming hipster hood in Paris. But the side streets just north of Pigalle contain a handful of weird places to hang out, like Marlusse et Lapin, a little joint with grandma-style décor (floral wallpaper, velour couches, and an old sewing machine table at which you can sip your drink), and cheap happy hour prices.
📍Address: 14 Rue Germain Pilon, 75018 Paris
For a darker take on the traditional jazz-lounge-in-a-cave jam session, head to Le Caveau des Oubliettes, which is housed in an actual 12th-century prison. Guillotines, secret passages, and torture instruments surround patrons who come for the nightly free concerts. There aren’t many bars like this in the world, so take the opportunity to discover this unusual, if slightly morbid, Latin Quarter spot.
📍Address: 52 Rue Galande, 75005
Le Comptoir Générale describes itself as “a ghetto museum,” and is located behind a guarded gate and down an alley near the Canal St. Martin. It’s full of weird themed rooms; one is a room of curiosities, full of taxidermy animals and odd potions in strange bottles. During summer, they play old movies on a projector in the backyard.
📍Address: 80 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010
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The City of Light becomes especially lit on long summer nights. Here are some of our favorite spots for rooftop sipping.
Point Ephémère, situated in the 10th, is a dynamic arts center, which also just so happens to have the perfect spot for socializing and sipping in summer months. Large umbrellas and lush plants fill the deck as little lights twinkle over the bar. So pull up a chair and get comfortable with your cocktail in tow. The view, which overlooks Canal St. Martin, is the perfect summer scene.
📍Address: 200 Quai de Valmy, 75010
This rooftop bar, Le Perchoir, lays claim to being the first rooftop bar in all of Paris. Nestled in the 11th arrondissement, this fan-favorite bar serves up libations and delicious food throughout the night.
📍Address: 14 rue Crespin du Gast, 75011
This colorful and funky rooftop is the place to be when you’re in the 20th. Huge couches with bright umbrellas, quirky decorative pillows, colorful candle lanterns, and even ping pong tables, all fill this rooftop deck, which will leave you feeling well-lounged, relaxed, and hydrated. If you’re looking to eat dinner too, be sure to book a reservation before stopping in.
📍Address: 109 Rue de Bagnolet, 75020
One of Paris’ most iconic museums, Centre Pompidou, also has a few other tricks up its sleeves besides its Warhol’s and Pollock’s and Rothko’s and the like. Check out the top of the museum; there, you’ll find Brasseries Georges, the museum’s bar and restaurant with some pretty epic views of the Paris cityscape.
📍Address: Pompidou Center, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004
If you’ve been here before, you will have previously known this space as “Sur le Toit.” It has now changed hands and been re-branded as 360 Rooftop Paris. Situated in the 20th, the secret to 360 lies in its understated appeal. The views are, perhaps, less luminous than others found on this list, yet 360 tends not to get overly crowded, which means all the more room for you and your friends to spread out and enjoy (and maybe even stage a photo shoot or two?).
📍Address: 2 Place du Maquis du Vercors, 75020
A trip to the restaurant and rooftop bar at Terrass Hôtel doesn’t come cheap. However, shelling out some extra dough for a stop at this swanky locale will have you feeling like Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan for the night. The head bartender at Terrass, Emeric Aguilar, created 16 original cocktails for the bar above the city. The tricky part will be deciding which one to indulge in first. (For a more affordable option, forgo dinner and give brunch a go instead!)
📍Address: 12-14 Rue Joseph de Maistre, 75018
This bar-restaurant is fun and chic from start, to finish, to website. An adorably designed sharing menu will have your mouth watering at first sight. Reservations can be booked in advance to ensure your spot. Fresh food and fun atmosphere are the names of the game at Perruche, where the sunset glows are the stuff of legend.
📍Address: Printemps de l’Homme, 2 Rue du Havre, 75008
As Samuel L. Jackson says in “Jurassic Park” – Hold onto your butts! La Machine de Moulin Rouge is – well, you have to see it to believe it. This is a multi-level behemoth of Montmartre liveliness. Comprised of a concert venue, a dance club, a mini club, and then le Bar à Bulles, it’s the place to be for some outdoor weekend evening drinks and tapas or morning brunch-time fun.
📍Address: 4 bis Cité Véron, 75018
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There’s just something about a Parisian hotel bar which is so alluring, mysterious, and exciting, mais non? Step inside one (or more) of Paris’ beautiful and elegant hotels for a drink to end your evening with stylish flair.
Okay, so, we’ve got to begin with the Hemingway Bar.
But first, a bit of backstory – if you don’t already know, the bar’s name comes from American writer, Ernest Hemingway. The author became practically synonymous with Paris itself, by way of his seminal work, “A Moveable Feast,” which is set in Paris and chronicles the author’s life there with his wife, as well as fellow artists of the Lost Generation, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, for one. (Read more about the Lost Generation, and Shakespeare and Company bookstore, here on the Fat Tire Blog.)
This bar is one of the finest and most well-regarded hotel bars in Paris. The moment you step inside the elegant interior, you’ll understand why.
📍Address: 15 Place Vendôme, 75001
Le Meurice’s Bar 228 is “the famous bar of a thousand stories.” Nightly, live jazz music will softly tickle your ears as you sip your drink and chat with your friend/partner/new friend, or perhaps you prefer to enjoy it solo. However you experience Bar 228, you will no doubt enjoy it. This hotel bar boasts an excellent cocktail menu, full of classic cocktails and more.
📍Address: 228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001
This exquisite and tranquil bar, located in the luxurious, 5-star hotel Buddah-Bar in the 8th arrondissement, will take your breath away from the moment you step inside. Its interior was said to be inspired by the elements: water, air, fire, and earth. You’ll naturally find yourself settled into the earth of this bar – its cozy, soft seats, or its throne-like bar stools.
📍Address: 4 Rue d’Anjou, 75008
Le Bar-bibliothèque at the Hôtel St. James is a must for bibliophiles. Its jaw-dropping interior, which pays homage to libraries and bookshops in such an elegant way, is the perfect background for a sophisticated sip of a classic cocktail.
📍Address: 5 Place du Chancelier Adenauer, 75116
At the charming restaurant-bar of Terrass, you will find the views that Instagram dreams are made of, as the restaurant windows look out onto the City of Light, with a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower plunked into the Parisian cityscape. “Dine amongst the clouds,” as their website says. This intimate spot is perfect for an evening with friends or a loved one. Reservations can be made online, and prix fixe menus are available.
📍Address: 12-14 Rue Joseph de Maistre, 75018
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In the mood for a rager? Check out these hot spots for a GNO (good night out).
Paris’s party scene only really gets going when the clock strikes midnight. Our best advice? Take a nap and head out late to these spots, and prepare to take the first metro home.
This club was once THE spot for rocking out in the 1960s, and it hasn’t lost its retro vibe since then – from the fabric walls and cushy chairs to the large disco ball dangling from the ceiling. Most of the music tracks are rock-inspired, so if you’re looking to get away from Euro-techno, you’ll find sweet relief here.
📍Address: 6, rue Fontaine, 75009
The Rex is the place to go if all you really want to do is dance. You’d be kidding yourself if you thought you could hold any type of decent conversation in this place, but hey, that’s what regular bars are for, right? The Rex epitomizes the classic Parisian club: underground, a booming base, sweaty dancing, and a line out the door. The dance floor only fills up after midnight so best to rest before and make a night of it.
📍Address: 5 Boulevard Poissonnière, 75002
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