Cravan Saint Germain

In the heart of the Saint Germain neighborhood in Paris, is the new outpost of Cravan, which tows the brand’s party line of well-executed cocktails served in an historical setting. But unlike the miniature 17 seat original, Cravan Saint Germain is on a much more ambitious scale.

Multiple floors bring many dimensions to Cravan Saint Germain

The man behind this magical, multifloor creation is Franck Audoux. With a background in bars and restaurants (notably as cofounder of Chateaubriand and le Dauphin) as well as his two pronged approach – creative and scientific – Audoux has the skills to pull off something of this scope. With the collaboration of Moët Henney and designer Ramy Fischler, the result is an intellectually stimulating playground for adults. 

Cravan Saint Germain covers four floors of a 17th century building with a surrealism that contrasts against the location’s historic integrity. This very intentional juxtaposition is meant to express the dual world of the bar’s namesake Arthur Cravan, dadaist poet-boxer. The result is a bar furnished and decorated with reclaimed materials from old theaters and luxury textiles scraps that combines the old and new.

The original Cravan (pictured above) is the inspiration for the ground floor of their Saint Germain outpost

The ground floor pays homage to the “little” Cravan, located in the 16th arrondissement with Art Nouveau style and Thonet furniture. One floor up, a shiny drugstore aesthetic reigns with a two tone marble countertop and mirrored panels. In these two bars, the menu features familiar drinks from the original like Audoux’s now famous (and a personal favorite) Yellow Cocktail, time-tested options like daiquiris or modern classics like the Tommy’s margarita. Here you’ll also find chichi snacks such as celery risotto with truffle or blue lobster bisque. Drinks are simple and elegant and highlight Audoux’s talent for putting together a few accessible ingredients in a way that sings.

The latest venue features cocktails that were made modern classics by the original like this Yellow cocktail

Additionally, these two bars feature four upscale sparkling “Royal” cocktails that mix key ingredients with different champagnes. For example, the Royal Immortelle adds a touch of the eponymous flower to Veuve Clicquot and embodies their cocktail ethos of simple elegance. Drink prices are higher than average at 16 – 18 Euros for most of the menu and 20 to 45 Euros for the Royals, depending on the level of bubbles, with the high end being Dom Perignon vintage 2013. 

The library is a lovely spot for a libation and literature

As you climb to the third bar, you pass through the Rizzoli library, named for the publishing house that put out Audoux’s 2019 French Moderne: Cocktails from the Twenties and Thirties. Beautiful books on gastronomy, fashion, design, fine arts, and style line the shelves for your perusing pleasure – made even more pleasurable with cocktail in hand.  The space is a successful collaboration between Audoux and Ian Luna, friend, editor, and fellow writer that features titles reflecting the varied interest of the bar’s namesake.

You’ll still see some of the same friendly faces at Cravan Saint Germain (Head barman, Jeremy Auger, above)

In the third and final bar, entertainment of a different spirit lines the shelves, with the Cravan Saint Germain’s collection of exclusive bottled cocktails – their “DNA” as they describe them. The space makes it enjoyable to work through these collaborative bottled cocktails in cozy little groupings of armchairs. 

It will be interesting to see what kind of regulars congregate over time. With its aesthetics and lofty sensibilities it could pull in the upscale pretty Parisians or with its central location, perhaps, well-healed tourists looking for a peak at the city’s trendy side. Regardless of its clientele, one thing is clear: Cravan has evolved significantly from its humble beginnings as a tiny neighborhood gem in the 16th arrondissement. Reservations are available for those who wish to secure their place in this stylish setting. 

Cravan Saint Germain
165 Bd Saint-Germain
75006 Paris

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