Words: Alex Whyte

While a recent trip to Paris was up and down in terms of the food we were served at the city’s restaurants, great wine was a constant. Away from a few old-school joints doling out stoic fare with terrible wine – the obvious tourist traps – Paris is unusual in that it is a big city where the owners of restaurants and wine bars really look to champion the little guys.

At the places below you can sample wonderful, inexpensive bottles from talented vignerons around France, many of which you cannot find elsewhere in the world. A sweet space, friendly people and something good to eat are a bonus…

L’Entrée des Artistes
This gets my vote for the best bar in town by quite some distance. It’s got a late licence, solid food menu, a tight wine list from which it is impossible to drink poorly and unusually for Paris, a nice selection of spirits and great music. You could end up here well after midnight, drinking Savagnin from Jean-Francois Ganevat and dancing to Marcos Valle – and there just aren’t many places in the world where you can do that.
8 Rue de Crussol, Paris, France; +33 9 50 99 67 11
Monday-Saturday 7pm-2am

The Clown Bar

Clown Bar
Just a short stroll from L’Entrée des Artistes, this wine bar and bistro was opened earlier in the year by the folks behind Saturne, but is free of the pomp which can spoil meals there. It’s a lovely bar replete with original ornate ceiling and a terrace to hang out on when the weather is fair. The wine list is littered with rare gems from the likes of Jean-Marc Brignot, Hirotake Ooka and Bruno Schueller, many of which you cannot find outside of France. Food is served all day long, but it is worth booking in for a meal proper: Japanese chef Sota Atsumi serves up a killer duck en croute.
114 Rue Amelot, 75011 Paris, France; +33 1 43 55 87 35
Tuesday-Sunday 12noon –11:00pm

Café de la Nouvelle Marie
A favourite haunt on the Left Bank, this simple, all-day spot has one of the best terraces in town, the sort of place you’d go for a drink even if the food and wine were well below par. Though it has since changed hands, this was one of the first natural wine bars in town and while the simple bistro fare is solid, it is the deep cellar that lies beneath the main dining room that is the main draw here. A blackboard is chalked up daily with options by-the-glass but befriend a waiter for the chance to try old bottles from the likes of Domaine Peyra and Pierre Overnoy.
19 Rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques, 75005 Paris, France;
+33 1 44 07 04 41
Monday-Friday 8am-midnight

Septime La Cave

Septime La Cave
The folks from Septime have something of a stranglehold on this little corner on the Rue du Charonne, with Clamato and this tiny little bar joining the mothership in the last year. It’s a sweet spot to grab a drink before eating at either but the great selection of drinks and bar snacks warrant a trip alone. Wines from the likes of Michel Guignier and La Sorga are rarely found abroad and there are plates of anchovies and lardo di colonnata served with proper bread to steady you through the night.
3 Rue Basfroi, 75011 Paris, France; +33 1 43 67 14 87
Monday-Saturday 4pm-11pm

Though technically a restaurant, the wine service here is some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable in town so it warrants a mention here. The space is essentially split into two, with the restaurant offering a daily set menu from talented young Australian chef James Henry and the bar simple snacks that include great oysters, radishes with bagna cauda, great charcuterie and raw fish. Just because you are sitting at the bar doesn’t mean you can’t order off the restaurant’s wine list, which has a great depth and breadth, with several vintage available of hard to find bottles from producers like Jean-Yves Person, Frank Cornelissen and Eric Pfifferling’s L’Anglore. Sommelier Pierre Derrien is a lovely chap and it’s well worth taking his lead to discover something great to drink.
43 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac, 75011 Paris, France;
Monday-Saturday 4pm-11:30pm

Alex Whyte is the co-owner of Tutto Wines, a specialist importer of artisan wines from Italy tuttowines.com 

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