Quick Take: le 1905 is a hidden Paris cocktail bar with a cute terrace, fumoir and shabby chic decor above a busy, trendy neo-bistro
Back in the day, early adopters of the cocktillian lifestyle felt quite comfy in the prohibition-style “speakeasies” that reintroduced the public to craft cocktails – but over time, this particular type of cocktail bar became a bit passé as new venues looked to update and differentiate themselves. Snappy suspenders and waxed mustaches might not be the draw they once were, but it’s still exciting to find a “hidden” spot that successfully combines an under-the-radar feel with something fresh and fun. Want some of that in Paris? Head over to rue Beautreillis.
Rue Beautreillis is a street with some interesting history. Not only will you find Baudelaire’s old living quarters but also the apartment where Jim Morrison lived and died. And at number 25 is Aux Vins des Pyrenees, a restaurant that’s been on that site under the same name – though different owners – for over a century. Back in the day, Morrison was a regular customer and would stop in to buy a bottle or two. While this main floor bistro is busy and buzzy, in-the-know patrons can bypass the downstairs and head into the discreet door to the right of the restaurant, taking the stairs up to a hidden bar, the 1905.
When Florian Cadiou took over the main restaurant downstairs, he imagined the upstairs as a magical escape. With his background as both restaurateur and actor, he created a space with the 1905 that not only works successfully as restaurant and bar but delivers a sort romantic theatrical flourish. It’s belle epoque shabby chic; a confidential address minus snobbishness.
The menu is an intentional mix of base spirits and styles, for a choice of 8 or so cocktails at 13 Euros. Guests seeking something stronger can go for the Al Capone, in which cognac plays nicely with a mix of sherry, cacao liqueur, Ferent Mento and Angostura bitters. It’s simple and elegant. Otherwise, those who fancy something lighter can go for the vodka based Raspoutine, which follows a familiar formula including cucumber, elderflower and bubbly water. However, this one is made with cucumber shrub and topped with a crunchy walnut, which brings welcome texture to what would otherwise be a bit of a basic drink. And, classic cocktails are also an option – both of my martinis on separate visits were well made and prep was accompanied by the right questions (gin preference, shake or stirred, olive or zest, etc.)
Also, in a detour from the new speakeasies of the cocktail revival, the spirits selection is more limited. Rather than trying to impress with a list of options as long as your arm, their gin selection includes the ubiquitous but hip turned mainstream Hendrix – but you’ll also find solid choices like Plymouth Gin or Monkey 47 and even something a little more offbeat and interesting like the NY based Brooklyn Gin. Basically it’s a small selection that’s accessible but also offers a few standouts.
1905 isn’t just about tasty cocktails. Other goodies: The leafy green terrace is super sweet. Entrees or small plates are available from the restaurant menu. On Sunday’s the bar transforms into a playground for les petits while their parents enjoy a quiet and calm brunch in the restaurant below. And, occasionally they do a rollicking 20’s themed party with music, costumes and lots fun.
In short, you’ve got a lot of good things going on at 1905, making it a Paris cocktail bar worth a detour.
Bar le 1905 at Aux Vins des Pyrenees
25 Rue Beautreillis