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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Random Cocktal Adventure: the Bottle Shop

The Bottle Shop

5, Rue Trousseau
75011 Paris
Tel: 01 43 14 28 04

I'm eating take-out Chinese for lunch right now. Take out Chinese is definitely not my favorite lunch, but occasionally it fits the bill: convenient, quick, cheap & filling. So while I wouldn't recommend this place to my culinarily-demanding foodie friends as a must-stop destination, sometimes it's exactly what I need at the moment. Which brings me to my blog (a bit of a reach, but I'm getting there...)

Some 52 Martinis readers have been sending mails asking why I don't hold a higher opinion of their favorite bars. And, here's the skinny: 52 martinis is about cocktail bars in Paris. Even if I don't rate the cocktails highly doesn't necessarily mean I don't like the bar, the bar staff or the clientele. I try to keep it positive and note if there are other aspects of the bar that would draw in friendly folks. As a result, I'm sometimes hesitant to rate popular and long-standing drinkeries like the Bottle Shop because I'll likely get a few more disappointed emails. So, let's try some preventative spin here: While I wouldn't send my cocktailian friends to the Bottle Shop for drinks, sometimes it, too, fits the bill.

A few weeks ago, I made my first visit to this lively little place. But, I'm very familiar with Stolly's & the Lizard Lounge, which along with the Bottle Shop form the CheapBLONDE trinity – a veritable Paris ex-pat institution. I've had many fun nights at these two busy spots filled with Anglos and Anglo-friendly clientele. All three have cracking personalities and a fair number of drinks on offer. The staff is lively and friendly & I'm a big fan of the club sandwich at the Lizard Lounge for a chilled out Saturday afternoon bar-food lunch.

At the Bottle Shop, I ordered a martini from the cute and friendly barman, Joe. He mentioned that he liked his martinis with a few drops of bitters in them. I, too, like this. "Do you have bitters?" I asked. "This is a serious bar!" he replied. (Ah, Joe, you had me at 'bitters') So, I ordered Wendy and myself each a martini and had him throw in a couple drops of Angostura. The finished product was two very pink martinis as a result of a bit more bitters action than I would have used myself. But, in general, they were decent martinis, in cold glasses, served with a smile. Cocktails go for 7 to 8 Euros, with a 4.80 Euros happy hour running from 17h00 to 20h00.

These boys are good fun behind the bar. They chill up the glasses with a bit of ice and build some decent drinks. Overall, I consider places like the Bottle Shop to be part of my “Category I” of cocktail bars. These are bars where you will leave neither overly impressed nor depressed by the drinks. While the menu doesn't feature anything truly inspired, I'm always pleasantly surprised to find mixed drinks that are above Parisian standards. I wouldn't make a special trip to tipple here. But, on the other hand I wouldn't be averse to stopping in for a drink with a good portion of fun on the side. In fact, the evening Wendy, Nicky & I were there, we stopped back in to cause some more mayhem after our dinner at a nearby restaurant.

So, just as Chinese take out's not my favorite haut gastronomy experience, sometimes for other reasons, it hits the mark. So, it is with the Bottle Shop.

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