Mojito Cocktail Adventures: Bacardi Mojito Lab
28 rue Keller
Tel : (+33) 1 75 77 23 95
Forest fact: I should probably be ashamed to admit the following, but I'm kind of fascinated by living statue buskers. I always wonder what they do at the end of a shift. Do they take the metro home in full get-up? Do they sit still as a statue on the ride? It seems that I secretly like to watch these spectacles that everyone mocks. I get a kick out of mimes. I own contact juggling balls that I will learn to use some day and wow you with my skills. So, it might not surprise you to hear that I'm also a little fascinated by flair. But that's between me and YouTube....in the privacy of my own home.
However, when it comes to cocktails, I don't need or want living statues, mimes, flair or even contact juggling balls involved, so let's chat a bit about the recently opened flair-o-rific Bacardi/Laurent Greco project: the Bacardi Mojito Lab. Allen and I popped in and found that Wednesdays are "afterworks." From 19h00 to 21h00 it's 25 Euros to get in the door, which gets you two drinks and buffet table grazing.
50 Euros lighter, in we go. Hello, circa 1980's all-inclusive spring break destination dance club! Dim lighting, acid green touches, pumping dance music...you get the picture. The buffet tables were classed up (I use that lightly) with single red roses in tall vases and scattered petals. Flair videos loop on screens from wall to wall. While, I've been told flair bartending is still quite big in France, this is the first place I've actually seen it.
The food was nice little bite-sized nibblies for a buffet, but the set up was annoying. No plates, no napkins - so you either sat directly at the buffet table to pop bites in your mouth while others reached around you to grab said bites, or you reached around the people sitting at the buffet tables. For drinks, you go downstairs.
And downstairs it's all Bacardi and all mojito, mojito or mojito, but with a bit of flair. Sexy barboys toss around shakers and take your order for one of the three mojito variations on offer during the afterworks. This is also a point of contention with me because when the doorman explained the Afterwork concept at 25 Euros, I specifically asked if it applied to the whole menu - because that's what I was here to check out. He said 'yes.' But, no - you get classic, souped up or raspberry mojito. All the other gimmicky, tricked out mojitos are only on offer after the afterworks. On the normal menu, drinks range from 8 to 14 Euros and include things like cotton candy or caviar (cocktail kind, not fish kind)
In an attempt to not be a complete crank, there were a few things I liked. The staff - though a bit spacey - were friendly. I really liked the mint wall and the mint window. I think the boutique, which sells various types of mint and kaffir limes (although not the night we were there) was a fun touch. They also have a smoking room for those who don't want to brave the cold winter months (although it was closed the night we were there.)
I'm not sure what kind of a crowd they expect to draw. They're at Bastille with so many competing (and probably cheaper) bars nearby. You can't spit without hitting a bar in Paris that serve mojitos, so I'm curious as to what they think the attraction will be. I've been told this is a popup - so perhaps they're banking on their ephemeral status for interest. They also offer classes if you want to learn to flair up a mojito at home.
As for me, the only time I want a mojito is if it's being made by old and stoic Felix at dodgy local Bar Castillo de Farnes in Havana where Che and Fidel toasted the revolution (true story - there he is in he picutre). And, he definitely doesn't do flair. Otherwise, Paris, you can keep your mojito trend and I'll stick with the martini search.