13 rue des Beaux Arts
+33 (0) 1 43 25 64 81
Oscar Wilde’s famous last words, “Either that wallpaper goes or I do” were uttered three floors above the bar in L’Hotel where you can now order a L’Oscar Wilde. Back then it was called Hotel l’Alsace and he stayed there for some time without paying his bill before (bad pun warning) checking out. The current “Oscar Wilde” room is on the first floor and decorated with various Wilde memorabilia.
L’Hotel is a short walk from Saint Germain des Prés and well worth a visit. Nice hotels are nice and serve up nice drinks and nice food. There are lots of nice hotels in Paris. But, I was especially taken by L’Hotel. I’m trying to come up with a name for the décor. So far, I can only say “nouveau old”. It’s one of those places with well upholstered chairs in comfy arrangements, fireplaces, and bookshelves lining the walls. It looks old, but it’s probably not. Sometimes this look works and sometimes it doesn’t. It did for me at L’Hotel. I would have taken more photos, but tonight there was a camera crew filming an historian for a television show, so I couldn’t really wander about snapping away.
I ordered a “Dry Martini” off the menu. The bartender asked me if I wanted vodka or gin (even though the Dry Martini is listed on their menu as “gin and vermouth”.) House gin is Tanqueray. They also had Bulldog, Hayman’s Old Tom gin, G’Vine and Hendrick’s
My nice bar-guy chilled the glass while pouring my gin. He offered me a choice of Martini or N.P. for vermouth (took Nouilly Pratt). He threw in a few drops of Angostura at my request, stirred it up and topped it off with a lemon twist. A small dish of spicy Japanese crunchies came with my drink.
He did a nice job with the martini, but the crunchies were a bad bar snack with the filming. I only ate the small quiet ones since I didn’t want the big ones to interfere with the recording. I sat there – sucking quietly on my nibbles – and took a closer look at the bar. Apparently, cute famous boys drink here. On the wall behind the bar are photos of other celebrity patrons: Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Sean Penn. (At least I think it was Sean Penn – without my glasses and with the glare, I’m not quite sure)
For my second drink I took – how could I not? – the L’Oscar Wilde. I got a glass of Jameson, red vermouth and Angostura bitters. It was garnished with some seriously alcohol-infused cherries and an orange slice. After eating the hot snacks and the killer cherries, my palate was pretty much shot, so it was hard to judge the Oscar Wilde.
After drinks at La Gare last time, which are around the same price as-off-the menu drinks here, I was thoroughly pleased with L ‘Hotel. Non-alcoholic drinks are around 4 – 5 Euros. A martini off the menu is 13 – 14 Euros. (Mine was a few bucks more with the upgrade on vermouth and gin). I’d like to go back and check out the restaurant whose chef worked at the 3 Michelin star Ledoyan previously. The cocktails were solid for Paris, the prices reasonable for a hotel bar, and the atmosphere was cozy and warm. It’s one of my favorites in Paris for the moment.
NOTE: Carlos is no longer behind the bar here, so there may be some fluctuations in cocktail quality. We’ll get back in to check things out again soon.