Red House: Best Good-Time Cocktails in Paris

Red House
1 bis rue de la forge royale
75011 Paris
01 43 67 06 43

A renewed dialogue on customer service in the cocktail industry has been happening over the past few years. The idea of placing more importance on the cocktail than the customer has resulted in a growing number of grumbling guests and some amusing viral videos. But, the conversation is happening on both sides of the bar, with the topic cropping up more in forums, drinks seminars and industry discussion focusing on giving the customer what they want.  As a result, some of Paris’ newly opened bars are building their business on claims of great drinks minus the attitude.  It seems, “speakeasy-fatigue” is leaving customers looking for a bit fun over fancy.

As a customer, I get that.  And, when I’m looking for a bit of fun over fancy, I head to the Red House. This latest addition to the Cheap Blonde group (Stolly’s, Bottle Shop and the Lizard Lounge) has been pulling in a nice and diverse crowd since opening about a year ago. At the helm, Joe puts a lot of personality into the place, with its longhorns overseeing the bar and a solid list of 17 or so classics and house creations.  In this House, you can order a shot, a beer or a rum and coke without judgment – but you can also order a martini which will be made competently.

Red House’s appeal is more large-scale than upscale.  And while they’re not necessarily courting the cocktail crowd, there is enough here to keep someone like me entertained.  The spirits selection is smaller than in most of the city’s best cocktail bars, but it goes beyond the bottom shelf basics that you’ll find in most of the city’s laid back watering holes.

The casual beer crowd will be happy to take something on tap, while the more demanding drinker will notice the bar shelf devoted to bitters, the selection of cocktail books, and solid spirit selection.  Gins include Beefeater, Tanqueray, Hendricks’s, Hayman’s and Bombay Sapphire.  Vermouth’s include Martinis, Noilly Prat, Dolin and Punt e Mes.  What makes Red House different from more cocktail-centric bars is that they have a little something for everyone as opposed to a lot of something for a few.

I’ve visited on more than one occasion and have had the chance to sample a lot of their selection including juleps, aviations, negronis, Joe’s barbecue-infused booze, the exceedingly popular Wild West Side (tequila, lime, cucumber and pepper) as well as the aforementioned shots, beers, and rum and cokes. On my most recent visit, I kicked things off with a stirred Tanqueray/Noilly Prat with a lemon twist.  Another big selling point: occasional themed nights such as New Orleans or tiki parties and a happy hour when prices drop to a very affordable 5 Euros.

I’ve taken friends in who have become repeat customers as a result not just of the good drinks at 8 Euros but because of the down-home, good times attitude that permeates the place.  When I ask industry folks about their favorite bars it’s often not the latest on the cocktail lists, but fun dive bars and laid-back neighborhood locals.  And, the last time we were there, a few celebrities were among the customers partaking in the casual party vibe. And that goes to show that while a sophisticated cocktail soirée can be sublime, everybody – from your average customer, to cocktail fanatics to the downright famous – loves a good time. And that’s what Red House does right.

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