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Thursday, June 17, 2010

First Customer Cocktail Adventures: Wildrik

20 rue de Picardie
75003 Paris

I hold more stock in being right than being first. Even so, I was (unintentionally) the very first costumer to hit Minibar, the newly opened venture from Bakhtiar/España duo who both already have several well-known night spots under their belts. I was later joined by Matt, Vio and Alannah.

The (as of yet?) unmarked entrance was easy to miss and the smell of fresh paint still lingered in the air of this industrial chic little space. Shiny silver animal cages serve as tables, artsy metal lamps provide ambient light, and interestingly off beat touches adorn the walls (horns, suit jackets, a framed collage of actual toy cars...) In the small seating area with high ceilings, each wall is painted a different rich color.

The friendly staff informed me that they couldn't do a dry martini because they hadn't yet received their dry vermouth. Minibar offers "classic cocktails" and a selection of house creations. Prices range from 10 to 15 Euros, with 12 Euros the most common. I ran through the fruit, sweet and vodka heavy list and settled on a Black Label Sour (Black Label, egg white, grapefruit juice, Angostura and lime juice.) The drink arrived with a tiny leaf full of piment d'Espelette, the addition of which upped the interest factor for me.

Violaine had the Best Mojito - a bartender's creation that was voted best mojito (by whom I didn't ask). I found it heavy on vanilla and she found it too sweet. Alannah had a Bourbon New Fashioned which masked the bourbon (in this case Jack Daniels) with heavy red fruits. A Tomato Blitz (tequila, cherry tomatoes, passionfruit juice and peppercorns) was the only other option that didn't seem like it would be too sweet, so I gave it a try and found it my preferred drink of the evening.

Basically, this is a menu that will satisfy a certain portion of the drinking public. Pleasing presentation with 'exotic' fruit garnishes and easily quaffable drinks that tend to taste more pretty than high-proof will pull in patrons who like their drink to look nice but not necessarily pack a potent punch. I do like that some of them featured the piment d'Espelette, giving a kick as well as a French touch. I think they could easily drop the prices by a few Euros, considering I can find bars in the same range with a more serious selection of ingredients and more interesting cocktails.

As a side note: while they didn't have any dry vermouth, they did have Dolce & Gabbana Martini Gold. Cointreau may have Dita, but Martini has hottie Monica Bellucci to push the newest addition to their collection, which seems to target a more (wanna be perceived as?) lux market.

And, there definitely seems to be a market. Soon, the comfy cowhide covered stools and love seats spilled over with chatty patrons. Lots of low-riding designer jeans exposed boxer briefs and a tight white tanks hugged well-toned arms. As the crowd grew, so did the noise level. This is a space that amplifies the din, so don't head here for a quiet conversation during the busy hours.

Overall, my initial reaction upon entering was smitten. After settling in, I realized it wasn't really working it on a cocktail level for my personal tastes. But, I think they will garner a loyal crowd of locals looking for this particular brand of nightlife - especially if they drop the prices slightly or institute a happy hour. So, am I right on this one? Hard to say. First impressions can be deceiving.

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Blogger I Heart Paris said...

Intriguing! Your review certainly makes me want to try this place out, in any event. Maybe they need a bit of time to settle in, too? If you need to go back for a second opinion, I'm your gal!

January 17, 2011 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Forest said...

always happy to grab a drink with you! And, I think you will want to take a peek at this place. We'll catch up soon and I'll give you more detail in person!

January 17, 2011 at 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Corinne @ degustinations said...

This looks like it's the kind of place I'd enjoy, and one would to return to in order to try more of their cocktails.

Prices seems comparable with those in Sydney, though in some good bars, the sky is the limit!

January 17, 2011 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Lost In Cheeseland said...

Being first has its benefits - if they read your review, perhaps they still have some time to heed your advice! Looks great, would love to try it.

January 18, 2011 at 1:27 AM  
Blogger Omid said...

Right trumps first. Monica trumps Dita.

But serving Jack Daniel's as bourbon? I've actually taken money OUT of a bartender's tip jar for doing that.

January 18, 2011 at 1:33 AM  
Blogger Forest said...

yeah, I was thinking the same thing....kind of cheeky to call that a Bourbon New Fashioned...I think they should have just called it a New Fashioned.

January 18, 2011 at 1:43 AM  
Blogger The Mistress of Spices said...

It was nice to meet you last week! Looking forward to joining you on one of your next cocktail adventures :-)

January 18, 2011 at 2:28 AM  
Blogger Forest said...

likewise! i'm on mission this week, but let's grab another coffee soon!

January 18, 2011 at 2:43 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

We saw that martini gold in AMS duty free, have you tried it? What's it like?
That. Jack for bourbon would not fly here for a second!

January 30, 2011 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Forest said...

Wendy: Didn't try it, but it feels a bit gimmacky to me. Will try it when i get a chance, though.

January 31, 2011 at 3:45 AM  

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