Quicktake: Drinks&Co is a pretty, new concept wine and spirits shop with a boutique, bar, restaurant and masterclasses.
It must have been a challenge to launch a business over the last year, but I’m happy that Drinks&Co was up to that task and opened doors to deliver a little drinking distraction to Paris during this down time. The 500m2 space is more than just a bottle shop – it’s a full concept shopping experience with a boutique, bar, restaurant and workshops all around wine, spirits, cocktails and soft drinks. Plus they also have an app that you can use to order from the shop – and presumably other things to come.
While Drinks&Co had to put some of their plans on hold pending confinements, restrictions and curfews in Paris, they did open up their shop. The modern and chic space designed by Olivier Saguez, is full of eye-popping blues and bold organic designs. It’s not just light and pretty, but designed in a way to facilitate movement through the space. Product placement on the shelfs is also made with a logical flow in mind.
The shop carries products from all over the world, but maintains about 40% of the stock focused on French producers. They also make sure to have a good sampling of niche products and innovations. They allow you to try before you buy when possible – important when they are peddling some lesser known products.
And though the bar is currently closed, you can buy (or order for delivery) bottled cocktails from the shop for 10 Euros (or 30 Euros for 50cl, which makes for about 4 drinks). The standard menu includes a negroni, margarita, daiquiri, cosmo or an old fashioned. However, on my visit they offered to make me something off-menu, so I took away a mezcal negroni along with an old fashioned – plus a French hard selter (very on-trend). There is a deposit fee of 1 Euro per take away bottle, which I consider a plus with its more eco implications.
On my visit, I was welcomed warmly and at least so far they are fulfilling their ambitions of making shopping for drinks – especially wine and spirits – less intimidating and more fun. Spirits shopping can be a little scary as less-versed shoppers can feel too uncomfortable to linger long enough to discovery anything new. (There are reasons that big brands invest heavily in marketing to make sure their bottle is familiar to a skittish shopper looking to just grab and go). But, now that consumers have been housebound for so long and have discovered alternative ways to buy alcohol online, I believe we will see a decline in in-store shopping stats even once people can move around more freely. Boutiques and bottles shops may need to up their game to this kind of standard to pull back in the clientele.
Once bars are allowed to reopen in Paris, it will be worth a visit to slide into one of their plush, deep blue barstools and order something off their Mirror cocktail menu, developed by Guillaume Guerbois, which offers a regular cocktail and its non-alcoholic counterpart. There are also plans for masterclasses on various cocktail themes as well as half hour workshops, no reservations required, to teach clients how to make cocktails with their purchases.
Though the full experience is not yet available, I’m impressed enough with the current offerings that I’ll go back for just that and more when it’s available.
106 bis, rue Saint-Lazare