Left bank versus right bank: an age-old Parisian rivalry. I was right, but now I’m left. South of the seine we just don’t get the same kinda cocktail love as our neighbors to the north. But, I like living la vie gauche. And, I like it even more with our latest opening: Tiger.
While Tiger may not be Paris’ only self-proclaimed gin bar, it’s certainly its best. The selection, curated by Stanislas Jouenne (ex-LMDW), pulls together both the classic and the unusual and will have something to surprise even the die-hard gin drinkers.
The menu itself is pleasing both physically and “spiritually.” There are pretty colored (watercolors?) drawings of each cocktail and taste descriptions (fruity, acidic, etc…) The collection of just under 40 drinks ranges in price from 11 – 20 Euros. A short “mise en bouche” section is followed by gin cocktails, which includes classics (Martinez), modern classics (Gin Basel Smash) and new creations (Oh My Dog!). Then comes the G&T section and finally a small choice of classics based on other spirits.
Martini lovers will be very happy here. In my few visits, I’ve worked through some well-made martinis from classic choices like Tanqueray to a more unusual option like the seasonal Forest Dry (winter edition, which myself & my drinking partner agreed has a crazy litchi element to it, although I don’t seem to find anyone else who agrees on that point).
The G&T section is fresh & refreshing. I’ve said it before: I’d like to see gin tonique step up in Paris as more of a go-to drink. Nearby, England and Spain fully appreciate the joy of the G&T, but for the most part it seems to have eluded the French. At Tiger they are served in balloon glasses (Spanish style or en piscine) with lots of ice, house tonic and a garnish selected specifically for each gin. The house tonic has a richer and less abrasive nature than what you might find in some of the commercially produced tonics.
Also of note, they have a barrel-aged cocktail on the go. Stan was previously running the barrel aged cocktail programme at LMDW and spent some time with Alexandre Gabriel of Cognac Ferrand to perfect his aging practices. On my last visit the Martinez was ready and worked well as a palate opening aperitif style cocktail. They’re currently aging the spicy negroni, which should be ready shortly. When the cocktail has sufficiently aged in the barrel, they move it to a large glass bottle and leave plenty of air space for a bit of oxidization. When it’s finished its time in the large glass bottle, they’ll transfer the cocktail to smaller bottles. Soon, they should have a small but regular rotation of a few different aged cocktails.
They also feature a handful of sakes, a bottle or two of red and white, bubbles and beers plus a small food menu. There is also an overflow bar on the lower level for busy weekends.
The décor is a sort of subdued, sophisticated sexy-Asian-jungle. The design cleverly incorporates the sound system with multiple white spherical speakers hanging from various spots all over the ceiling. This serves form as well as function as the placement ensures that the music level is consistent and audible all over, but still comfortable for conversation.
It’s not just the nice drinks, décor and service that are setting the Tiger apart. It’s also drawing a slightly different crowd. And, I wager it’s due to its left bank location. Tiger’s twitter page recommends “Tu veux fuir les hipsters ? Traverse la seine.” (Want to escape the hipsters? Cross the Seine) See, on this side of the Seine, we’ve got the intellectuals, literature and jazz. We’re more hepcat than hipster. Plus we’ve got the best gin joint in town.
13 rue Princesse