There are hotel bars, and then there are the hotel bars of Paris. Sure, some are your standard, run-of-the-mill establishment, but it’s the ones that have gone out of their way to make an impression that stand out. Some have gone cozy, while others prefer a quirky atmosphere, attracting clients whose numbers vie with the endless list of cocktails. The success of these bars usually stems from several elements that make them places that clients want to return to: the décor – often the work of a well-known contemporary designer – the musical ambiance, and the talent of the barmen and the originality of their often exclusive creations.
Such is the case at Ice Kube, the bar of the hotel of the same name. This is, without doubt, one of the most outrageous bars in Paris. (Dare we say, the coolest?) Everything here is about ice, from the furnishings to the drinks. For a 30-minute session, and after having dressed in the necessary warm clothing (chic down jacket designed by Alexis Mabille, fur mittens and chapka), guests enter this cool cave, set to a temperature of -20°C, to enjoy a series of vodka-based cocktails, served in glasses of ice. Like the bar counter, the large armchairs and the rest of the furniture are cut out of blocks of ice.
The Hemingway bar at the Ritz is a memorial of sorts, where time seems to have stood still with supreme elegance. It was here that Ernest Hemingway celebrated the Liberation of Paris on August 25, 1944, and little seems to have changed since. Comfortable leather armchairs, wood panelling on the walls, black and white photos of the author of A Moveable Feast, an old typewriter and bust of the writer create a unique atmosphere. The head barman, the oh-so-British Colin Field, has been shaking cocktails here for more than 30 years. Field is the living and inexhaustible memory of the place and serves alcohol and cocktails that were dear to the writer, including the famous Bloody Mary. History has it that, one day, Hemingway asked the barman of the time to concoct an odorless cocktail for him, to avoid any caustic remarks from his wife about his breath after a night of heavy drinking. An additional and very chic touch to the place, writers from around the world can have a letter sent to them here where it will be carefully kept until they visit the bar!
At the Plaza Athénée, the bar decorated by Patrick Jouin features a transparent counter illuminated by touch when a glass is placed on it, and has very become one of the trendiest places of its kind. The head barman, Thierry Hernandez, is always creating new cocktails, like Fashion Ice – cocktails with an ice lolly in assorted flavors and colors in a glass.
Do you have a favorite hotel bar in Paris? Let us know.
15 place Vendôme, Paris 1st
Tel +33 (0) 1 43 16 33 65
BAR OF THE PLAZA ATHÉNÉE
25 avenue Montaigne, Paris 8th
Tel +33 (0) 1 53 67 66 65
1-5 passage Ruelle, Paris 18th
Tel +33 (0) 1 53 67 66 65