Fashion Cocktail Adventure: Hotel de Crillon Vogue Bar
10 Place de la Concorde
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 71 15 39
I first got word of the temporary Vogue/Crillon bar collaboration via tweet from I heart Paris who always has good info on fun fashion and other cool stuff in Paris. During fashion week one of the bars at the upscale Crillon was made over with fuzzy black Vogue emblazoned pillows, cocktail menus resembling fashion magazines, a makeup station and a clientele of models and photographers. Since my usual London cocktail testing partner, Caitlin, and NYC foodie/cocktail friend, Mel, were both in town it seemed a perfect place for a luxurious ladies' drink.
So, after a coffee at Cafe Marly and before a meal at Aki, we stopped in for a predinner cocktail. Caitlin and I had spent the afternoon touring Paris food and perfume shops and were dressed for daytime walking, not swanky evening activities. Slightly embarrassed, I asked the concierge if we could go in as we were. No problem. We wandered down the hall and popped into the small, dim, cozy space with a glitzy bar and snuggled up on the soft sofas to peruse the menu. A ginormous 3 tier offering of pretzels, nuts and chips was delivered by black-clad servers in almost comically large red bow ties.
They gave us the 'fashion' menus and then, for some reason, took them away and gave us the regular ones, assuring us they offered more choice. Perhaps we weren't dressed well enough after all! But, a glance at the clientele reassured me. Everyone was casual, predominately in jeans with a few trainers here and there. Saturday was the last night of the Vogue bar and perhaps it was already demodé. The makeup station was gone and I didn't spot any industry looking types.
The menu offers a few pages of drinks with "longs", "shorts" and "martinis" all at 22 Euros and champagne cocktails at 24 Euros. The 'martini' list begins with an apple martini and carries onward with six other martini choices, minus a classic dry martini and mainly based on vodka.
Caitlin took the Elderflower Collins (Hendricks, St Germain, lemon and club soda) while Mel took the (I think?) Rose de Crillon. Each cocktail was pretty and nicely made - no big surprises and no big disappointments. I asked what gin they use in the martinis and got a long list of the usual suspects, so I specified Beefeater 24 with a zest. My martini was plenty cold and nicely done - with the exception of coming with olives, despite my request. And, I think that's a pretty big mistake to make when a basic martini costs a shocking 29 Euros. (I totally ate all the pretzels!)
The overall ambiance is pleasant and refined. Mel noted she thought the music (5 year old Hotel Costes playlist) was a bit out of date. The drinks are well-made and standard for a hotel of this calibre. However, if I were to go back, it surely wouldn't be for a martini. Perhaps this is a better stop for a simple glass of wine or even afternoon tea.