Classique: 19th century pharmacy turned cocktail bar

Quicktake: Classique is a welcome new generation of Paris cocktail bar with a small menu of fancy snacks in an old pharmacy. 

Classique is the kind of bar regularly cited as a favorite by local cocktail enthusiasts thanks to the vision of owners Hugo Combe and Benjamin Le Seigneur (previously at l’Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers) who are part of the current new crop of entrepreneurs bringing something fun and fresh to the city’s drinking scene. 

Housed in a 19th century pharmacy, the decor and style retain some of the ancient drugstore aesthetic. But now, friendly barkeeps replace old apothecaries at the white marble counter to dispense a different kind of pick-me-up. The Classique stylish color scheme of clean white walls, dark wood paneling and furniture, and a chic pale green exterior gives off subtle hints of the location’s prior incarnation – including the traditional pharmacy cross signage. Large ice cubes are stamped with the bowl of Hygeia with the serpent of Epidaurus – or what most people will recognize as the snake coiled around a “martini glass” used to denote drugstores around the world.

The Classique team has created a solid menu with a focus on house made ingredients. Cocktails include unusual but on-trend ingredients like the pandan in the Mayor of Antibes. The base of this cocktail is Calvados from Sassy – another young enterprise that’s celebrating the domestic with their French eau de vie and cider. They also have a small selection of wine, beer, and bubbles. Of course on my visits, I’ve usually also had their very nice head barman, Guillaume Castaignet, stir up an excellent martini. Drinks run 12 – 13 Euros.

Classique head bartender Guillaume Castaignet knows how to shake and stir his cocktails

They have a small but strong selection of small plates and bar snacks like octopus carpaccio or burrata. There is even a crab roll, which is a rarity in Paris. And they offer oysters, which are even nicer priced during the happy hour.

I’ve said for some time that the future of Paris cocktails is partly in its past. Things started to get more interesting around here when bar owners moved away from the standard craft cocktail speakeasy template found everywhere and started looking inward at the country’s history, culture, and terroir to create uniquely French ventures. Bars like Le Syndicat, Danico or Le Gallopin are good examples. And now Classique can be added to the list of bars that are subtly weaving something of France into their programme. One more way this lovely little spot reflects a Parisian attitude is with its large terrace. The capital loves its sidewalk cafe culture, and this is one of the few places where you can get both a solid cocktail and a terrace table. 

And bonus: It’s just next door to Sister Midnight!


1bis Rue Lallier, 75009 Paris

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