The closest you'll get to a real martini from the Bakara Lounge is their website, which features a prominent photo of a martini complete with appropriate glass and olive. However, their bartender now knows how to make one. Sort of. After explaining to the unconvinced barman what I wanted, I got this with 4 parts gin and one part Martini vermouth.
Definitely in the lower rungs of my martini tests, but regardless of
Bakara Lounge is a large restaurant & bar full of red tones and friendly staff. The many tables and chairs were convenient as we had more people than usual for this week's taste testing and it's a place where it's easy to pack in a slightly larger group. We've been trying to track down some decent happy hour cocktails lately, so I wanted to give their 4.50 Euros/cocktail happy hour (from 5 to 8pm) a try.
Their cocktail menu offers a range of so-so cocktails (Sea Breeze, White Russians, Bloody Mary's, etc) at 6 Euros for non Happy Hour prices. Red Bull fans might enjoy one of their five specialty Red Bull cocktails such as the Bad Bull (Vodka, Amaretto, Pineapple juice & Red Bull). However, one of our group tried to order one of these featured cocktails and they were out of enough of the key ingredient to make it. Perhaps since the legalization of Red Bull in France a year or so ago, there's been on a run on this hyper-caffeinated beverage making it scarce? They suggested substituting Perrier, which - presumably - does not "give you wings", so our friend passed.
Following first orders, most of the group stuck with the mojitos which were of decent quality. Little dishes of peanuts eventually arrived on the table. And, although I didn't try one myself, another member of last night's group is a big fan of caipirinhas and passed a pretty mediocre judgement on those that were served here. We spent a couple of fun hours here chatting and sipping. However, there's just not a lot that would get me back to Bakara anytime soon. The drinks were average to below average and the general quality level pretty typical for Paris. But, in the bar-laden Oberkampf area there are just too many places to choose from and you'd have to have a serious draw to get the crowds away from the multitude of other choices.