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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday Cocktail Adventures: Baron Samedi

Le Baron Samedi
12, Rue des Goncourt
75011 Paris

I've been having a little motivation problem for the last few weeks. I can't seem to get on top of a growing list of things to do and could really use a swift kick in my, um, shaker to get on with things. But, it's hard to motivate when last Wednesday's cocktails were so thoroughly uninspiring.

Spotted by Locals, tells me that the Baron Samedi likes to compare itself to "‘a Louisiana cemetery where you drink spiced rum whilst dancing to Desmond Dekker‘, but in reality it is a chilled venue where you feel instantly at home, especially during happy hour when the music is low and you can relax on the Chesterfields." Sounds cool, n'est-ce pas?

I arrived at this "chilled venue" and found a warm and dingey bar with a welcoming bartendrice and a list of 15 or so cocktails up on the blackboard. The intentionally grungy flyer and newspaper-covered walls give the impression that this place has been here for decades rather than just a year or so. The two tables in the back were covered with green felt cloths and clearly ready for several folks to sit down to a bit of poker. A few large and comfy sofas grouped around a low table in the front looked like the spot for us to congregate.

There is no dry vermouth in the house, so I went for a Planters Punch and Matt ordered a Pina Colada. And, that was the end of cocktail sampling in this friendly little spot. Both were watery and completely uninteresting. Usually we might try for a second round, just in case. But, this time neither of us ordered a second and the rest of the people joining all stuck with wine on our recommendation. The wine was fine - drinkable, but nothing I'd drink given any other choice. Drink prices hover around 5 Euros here, a bit more during non-happy hours.

While I've been known to try my hand at a few rounds of poker, I'm not an avid player. However, the people playing were engrossed in their games & I really like it when bars offer something more in the way of things to do while drinking. Those interested in joining in a hand need to sign up online and play is for prizes not cash. And I like that it encourages interaction with the other clientele and provides a bit more entertainment than just standing around the bar knocking back sub-par drinks. And, indeed, there was a lot of friendly interaction with the patrons and it seems like the Baron Samedi brings in a good number of young regulars. I give them kudos for great activity planning, I just can't get rave about the drink choices.

If you're happy to stick with beer and are looking for a place to practice your game, head on down. But, for cocktails....totally unmotivating. I can't even be inspired to come up with a bad poker pun to end this on!

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Blogger Adam said...


As the 'spotter' who recommended this place, I feel I have to add a few points here. Firstly, I've never had a cocktail there and so would have no idea what they would be like. Secondly, poker is just something they do there once a week, and although it has become very popular, they do have many other events during the week that pull people in.

As you correctly point out, this is what makes the bar so attractive. I'm from England and there we have the expression of a bar or pub being our 'local'. That kind of friendliness and 'community' aspect to such a venue is very rare in Paris, but this place really has it.

September 11, 2009 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Forest said...

Hi Adam,

thanks for the comment - which also gives me the opportunity to remind everyone that even if I don't give a positive review on the cocktails in certain bars it doesn't mean that I don't recommend the bar. I fully agree about Baron Samedi feeling like a local. I also feel that way about Rush and Lush (which is my local) bars. Have you been to either of those? there's pretty much always a nice group of regulars and the staff are really cool and friendly. But I don't blog on either one because they really are pubs and not cocktail bars.

I'm also glad that you pointed out the 1/week thing on the poker and they have other things going on - because it's true and I was going to mention it in my post, but was in a bit of a rush and didn't work it in.

September 12, 2009 at 8:47 AM  

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