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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday Cocktail Adventure Part I: Mon Bar

Mon Bar at Mon Hotel
1-3, Rue d'Argentine
75016 Paris
Tel : 01 45 02 76 76

Mon Bar is definitely not mon bar preferé.

Recently my good friend, Cliodhna, was here on a quick visit over from Abu Dhabi. Since Abu Dhabi isn’t exactly rife with cocktail bars, I was hoping we’d hit a really good one for her on a Wednesday Cocktail Adventures. My hopes lasted only until I my martini was delivered.

I entered Mon Bar through the discrete entrance of the not-so-surprisingly named 4 star boutique Mon Hotel. I immediately liked the soft decor in deep purples, plums and browns, ornate but modern chandeliers and the romantic pictures. I didn’t so much like the large screen TV on the wall showing sports.

Their menu is divided into ‘classics’ including martinis, manhattans and sex on the beaches (which will soon be buried at this year’s Tales of the Cocktails) and ‘less classics’, which includes their riff on a French kiss and a treacle, also recently spotted on the Cafe Chic menu. They’ve got a small collection of bottles behind the bar with a gin selection including Bombay Sapphire, Hendrick’s and Tanqueray.

There are no cocktails prices on the menu, but at the bottom of it a small line proclaims “For lovers, room: 100” When I asked the barman what that meant, he said it was left over from Valentines. If that’s really true, that’s a good deal and I wonder if that means for the whole night or by the hour?! (Bear in mind, rooms run between 300 to 600 Euros a night here) The small menu did list champagne prices at 6 - 14 Euros by the glass and a handful of snack to order like Mon Hamburger or nems.

The barman prepared a stirred Bombay Sapphire/Noilly Prat martini. When placed before me, I realized he must have squeezed a whole lot of lemon juice into it as was cloudy with lots of lemon bits insouciantly floating about without a care for my personal taste. Cliodhna got a Manhattan which she said was ‘fine.’ (What a damning adjective that can be) In search of something positive to say, she did comment that the coke she ordered while waiting for me was delivered with lots of ice!

Matt and Violaine arrived and were told there was no fresh fruit or bottled fruit juices in the house (except for apparently the lemon that went into my martini) which limited their choices somewhat. When pressed further on what he could make, he admitted that he was not actually a bartender. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I think hotels that consider themselves upper market, should always have a real bartender behind the bar. At least when that happened at Hotel de l’Abbaye, they politely & apologetically steered us away from the cocktails.

Matt and Violaine opted for a small glass of wine instead while waiting for us to finish our drinks to leave and try elsewhere. Then we waited, alone, in the bar for our bill. Waited and waited and waited so long that Matt had the opportunity to step behind the bar to pose for a pic.

Even though I liked the space, I won’t head back to Mon Bar for cocktails at 14 Euros. But if you do, do yourself a favor and order a nice champagne and tell them for me one more time: nice hotels should always have real bartenders on staff if they plan on serving decent cocktails!

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Gourmantic said...

Hmm... a large TV screen showing sports (of all things) and a bartender who can't make a decent Martini sounds like a recipe for a disaster. Pity, it looks rather elegant from the photo. Was it even busy on the night?

July 8, 2010 at 2:03 AM  
Blogger Forest said...

it was a really lovely little spot but it was completely dead. We were relatively early (7ish maybe) so perhaps it gets busier later...but not with people who want really good martinis!

July 8, 2010 at 2:09 AM  
Blogger Lindsey said...

Sounds kind of pretentious no? They've got the déco, the loungy/parlor feel, but lack quality drinks. I'll put this on my "pass" list!

July 9, 2010 at 1:07 AM  
Anonymous columbine said...

am going to NYC shortly, any recommendations for good bars there?

July 10, 2010 at 4:23 AM  
Blogger Forest said...

Yes lindsey - it is a pass. there are too many other sweet little boutique hotels with nice bars & restos that can offer better drinks!

Columbine - yes! (and I'm jealous!) :) Try: PDT, Little Branch, Pegu Club & Death&Co for exceptional cocktails. Matt and vio just got back and confirmed that these are good recs. I can give you more extensive info if you need. Feel free to mail me directly if you need more or have questions. Have fun & let me know how it goes!

July 10, 2010 at 6:40 AM  
Anonymous columbine said...

thanks! i think i'll skip PDT because i don't like to have to make a reservation just for cocktails but i will try pegu club (sounds awsome) and possibiy death and co although their site seems down at the moment...

July 10, 2010 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Forest that "no bartender" happened to us at Hotel Particular also and it was not a good experience!

Columbine you should get over to Brooklyn and try the newest which is Clover Club http://www.cloverclubny.com/

July 19, 2010 at 1:38 PM  

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