The Paris cocktail scene is alive and thriving. Of course you’d never know it if you visited one of Paris’s many cafés, which all seem to serve the exact same list of generic cocktails that you’d be hard-pressed to find in any of today’s more contemporary cocktail bars. But once you make it past the mojito and the piña colada and the long island iced tea spilling off every café menu in Paris, you’ll find that this city really is filled with awesome bartenders working in some of the coolest bars making the cocktails we all want to be drinking.
You can still go old school, of course. Believe it or not, I’m pretty sure this city holds one of the best mai tais I’ve ever had, along with a few solid margaritas. But you can also find more interesting creations, like from Le Syndicat, a bar in the Strasbourg Saint-Denis neighborhood dedicated to serving a huge selection of French liquors. Speakeasies are all the rage these days in Paris, and Le Syndicat is no different. You won’t need a password, but you will need to make your way past the exterior, which appears to be more of an abandoned storefront than a thriving bar.
Depending on where you are in the city, some good cocktails can come with ridiculously expensive price tags. These cocktails tend to come from the places in Paris that are there for the tourists and the expense account drinkers – not so much your average visitor or Parisian. The good news is that they are easy to avoid as long as you’re searching in the right neighborhoods. In general, the city’s best cocktail bars can almost exclusively be found on the right bank. From South Pigalle (which is, as you might imagine, just south of Pigalle) to Strasbourg Saint-Denis, Canal Saint-Martin and all the way down to Bastille (and plenty of places in between), these are the neighborhoods with the widest variety of trend setting cocktail bars and your best shot for having a modern Parisian cocktail experience.