The Wine Bars of Paris


Les Papilles, in the 5th Arrondissement, in Paris

Les Papilles, in the 5th Arrondissement. Photo: Meg Zimbeck

The term wine bar can be a little confusing in Paris. All Paris wine bars feature wine, of course, but the bar part is a little more flexible. Some have a counter and tables, and you can show up anytime for a glass of wine and a snack. Others resemble restaurants more than actual bars. In many cases reserving in advance is imperative. Some are cavistes (retail wineshops), which is good to know if you need a bottle to go.
In fact, some of these Parisian wine bars have become very interesting and exciting places to find inventive meals by creative young chefs. Often, natural wines, which are grown using a biodynamic method or organically in sustainable vineyards, are the focus. The concept behind natural wines is that the winemakers are trying to do as little as possible to the wine, and present it in as “natural” a form as possible, meaning very few additives. You’ll find the taste quite different than normal, conventional wines.
What’s clear is that these bars à vin are among the most fun places to eat and drink in Paris. Here are some of our favorites.
L’Avant Comptoir
9, Carrefour de l’Odéon, in the 6th Arrondissement. 01 46 33 16 24.
No reservations. Open daily, all day.

Go early if you don’t want to be packed in like a sardine at this minuscule, standing-room-only tapas and wine bar. Wildly popular and wildly fun.
Le Baratin
3, rue Jouye Rouve, in the 20th. 01 43 49 39 70. Tues–Fri, lunch; Tues–Sat, dinner.
A veritable institution, Le Baratin was an early champion of vins nature. Most people will tell you they come for the food, though. Reservations are imperative.

Le Baron Rouge, in the 12th Arrondissement, in Paris

Le Baron Rouge, in the 12th Arrondissement. Photo: Meg Zimbeck

Le Baron Rouge
1, rue Théophile Roussel, in the 12th. No reservations. Tues–Thurs, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5 p.m.–10 p.m.; Fri–Sat, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sun, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Join the rest of the neighborhood here on Sundays after a stroll through the Marché d’Aligre. Belly up to the bar to order your glass or carafe, then take it out to the sidewalk and mingle. Read a full review here.
La Cave des Abbesses
43, rue des Abbesses, in the 18th. 01 42 52 81 54 (shop only). Mon–Fri, 5 p.m.–9:30 p.m.; Sat–Sun, noon–9:30 p.m. No reservations.
Hidden at the back of this Montmartre caviste is a cozy wine bar serving plates of charcuterie and cheese. There are a few stools at the bar and a handful of tables, so go early if you want to score a seat.
Le Chapeau Melon
92, rue Rébeval, in the 19th. 01 42 02 68 60. Wed–Sun, dinner only.
Just across the rue de Belleville from Le Baratin, Le Chapeau Melon is a caviste by day and a table d’hôte by night, serving a unique prix fixe menu with wines only a few euros above retail. Read a full review here.

Langoustine carpaccio at Le Chapeau Melon, in the 19th Arrondissement, in Paris

Langoustine carpaccio at Le Chapeau Melon, in the 19th Arrondissement. Photo: Barbra Austin

Coinstot Vino
26 bis, passage des Panoramas, in the 2nd. 01 44 82 08 54. Mon–Fri, lunch; Tues–Sat, dinner.
A cool new addition to the old passage des Panoramas, Coinstot Vino serves small plates (charcuterie, oysters) as well as full meals. You can reserve a table for eating, but there are a few spots at the counter to have a glass.
Les Papilles
30, rue Gay Lussac. 01 43 25 20 79. Tues–Sat, lunch and dinner.
Another caviste/bistro, Les Papilles has a few spots at its beautiful bar for casual sipping. If you want to enjoy the prix fixe dinner, be sure to reserve. Read a full review here.
Le Verre Volé
67, rue de Lancry, in the 10th. 01 48 03 17 34. Daily, lunch and dinner.
Reserve ahead if you want one of the few tables at this popular caviste of natural wines. Otherwise this is the place to pick up a bottle for drinking along the canal St.-Martin. Read a full review here.
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