a martini in a champagne coupe with micro greens as a garnish seen from above sitting next to a cocktail bar menu

Mesures: a New Paris Vinyl Bar Inspired by Jazz Kissa 

The newly opened Paris vinyl bar, Mesures, draws inspiration from the Japanese concept of jazz kissa. Kissa – shorthand for “kissaten”, a tea room/coffee shop – is a phenomenon that first appeared nearly 100 years ago in Japan. Cafe owners installed high quality sound systems to play their jazz record collections for patrons who sipped and snacked all day, all evening. Today, Mesures brings their own spin to the trend with a unique trio of music, cocktails, and food. 

Mesures cocktail menu offers signature cocktails, seasonal specialties, and elevated classics

Mesures Drinks Menu

Co-owner Guillaume Castiagnet, having previously worked at Castor, Très Particulier, and Classique, has the necessary know-how to create a quality cocktail menu. Each drink has several ingredients, many of which have been worked over even before being added to the mix (e.g. cider popcorn reduction or apple shrub) and others, like vin jaune, are less familiar to the average palette. And, this is where Castiagnet’s technical skill shines as he brings together many different and unexpected flavors into one harmonious whole. 

Straight up Margarita in a coupe glass with black salt on the sides of the glass
Mesures serves their margarita with black olive salt

The cocktails, at 14 Euros each, are divided into three sections: Signatures (unique creations), Seasonal (which vary often depending on what’s available) and Classics (elevated with Mesures’ tweaks). While Mesures takes inspiration from Japan, it doesn’t overdo it. Japanese spirits or those popular there feature in the drinks, but there is a wide range of alcohols and flavors. Their Margarita is made with a base of both tequila and Mezcal and also incorporates olive oil. And despite the “dirty” modifier, their gin martini feels absolutely clean with a touch of sake and its brightly briny finish of samphire umami. 

Mesures decor is simple and chic

Garnishes enhance rather than just decorate the cocktail – like the black olive salt on the Margarita or the toasted rice cracker on the shochu based Naima. The Nice Company customizes ice for each cocktail. Finally, the cocktails are also available in non-alcoholic versions at 10 Euros. And while I didn’t try one, I’d say these are the kind of non-alcoholic cocktails worth a go, given the wide range of unusual flavors.

At lunchtime, they mainly focus on a few light highball style drinks and wine. And that’s just fine by me as they have a small and refreshing list of nicely priced wines by the bottle with a few of my current favorites like pinot d’aunis, Jura wine, and a nice Alsatian Riesling. There are three bubbles, one cider and one beer on offer. Wine by the glass varies, so ask what’s on offer. 

Mesures is the perfect vinyl bar if you fancy a lovely lunch

Mesures Food Menu 

Chef Cyril Pham, previously at Ogata, Dersou, and Guilo Guilo, brings extensive experience in Japanese cuisine to the table. The lunch menu has hints of Japan with choices like a sake laced dessert or a teriyaki touch to an onion starter.  On a recent visit the shio koji was a total standout. But rather than a Japanese menu it feels like a coherent fusion of fresh French ingredients made with Japanese sensibilities. 

In the evening, as the focus turns more to cocktails, the menu of five dishes includes the  comforting classic hayashi rice but also hotdogs and a caesar salad. While the latter options might be surprising, a deeper dive into the history of kissa reveals that these bars were influenced by the U.S. often serving this kind of western fare.

The records are displayed behind the bar at Mesures

Mesures Music

Joining forces with Castaignet is musical artist Benoît de Bonnefamille who created this Paris vinyl bar’s soundtrack. Like the garnishes, the music enhances the overall experience rather than competing with the food and drink. Over lunch recently, the melody of Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue” added an extra layer of enjoyment to my meal. Whereas on a different visit in the evening, things were mildly louder and livelier, but there was still a harmony to auditory and gustatory elements.

Mesures is bringing something fresh to the small but growing ranks of Paris vinyl bars, which includes Frequence, Bambino, and a handful of others. These establishments celebrate the art of music appreciation, creating spaces where audiophiles can also enjoy great food and drink. I hope to see more like these coming to the capital.

58 Rue de Saintonge
75003 Paris

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