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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Salacious-glam Cocktail Adventures: le 29

le 29
29 rue Vineuse
Paris 75016
06 18 40 89 93

I've said it before, but I have a fascination with the seedier side of Paris. I live near Pigalle, so I get daily doses of kinky sex shops, working ladies in action and the famous museum of erotica. So when i heard that Greg (formerly of Costes, le Secret and Royal Monceau) was opening a spot in a former girlie-type club in the relatively quiet neighborhood near Trocadero, I was clearly intrigued.

Still sporting the sign of the prior establishment, le 29 is somewhat sketchy (in a good way) and unassuming from the outside. With no windows, red lights to signal they're open and an imposing heavy closed door, you've little idea what you're in for when you buzz for entry. But when I slipped into this modern day den of sin, I was completely enamoured by the decor. I'd heard that they'd done little in terms of remodel when taking the place over and fortunately
that's true. Instead of having eradicated all traces of its prior existence, they play it up. It retains a slightly naughty and underground feel with its red walls and cushy red armchairs and lounges and the remaining shiny dance poles (check it out - you can see one in the pic). Yet elegant touches like the silver bar accessories, cocktails picks and gorgeous mixing glasses elevate it to something more luxurious and classy. I'd call it glamorous salacious boudoir chic at its best.

I stopped in early evening around 19:30 when mellow jazz and soul music played and I was joined by one of my usual cohorts, Matt, as well as Susie and visiting Seattle LUPEC ladies Courtney and Tracy. Similar to a few other spots like le Carmen and un Dimanche a Paris, le 29 doesn't have a printed cocktail menu. Options vary depending on what's fresh and what kind of new syrups are lined up behind the bar. So, Greg chatted with us to get an idea of what we might want to get in our gullets. I started with my usual and had a very nice No. 3/Noilly Prat martini, stirred with olives. Matt started with a side car variation that included lemon grass and the girls had some well-made Manhattans.

Thus began a couple of hours of tasting and sampling and general conviviality. My next drink was a margarita with thyme and salt infused syrup. I lost track of what everyone else was sampling and sipping for each one. But I do recall an Armagnac, red vermouth and bitters combo as well as another with gin, Thai basil, green chartreuse, absinthe and syrup. The booze selection, while not huge, is very respectable. Gins available were Tanqueray, Monkey 47, Junipero, Gordons, No. 3 and Hendrick's.

I've also said before, I think it can be intimidating for customers faced with no cocktail menu to order without knowing the prices. In this case, they run about 14 Euros a cocktail (similar to any other bar in Paris going sans carte) which are prices I'd be happy to pay here.

I love seeing a worthwhile bar arrive in this area, which previously had nothing cocktail-worthy to boast. Other things of note: For night owls, this is a spot that stays open until 4am (sometimes as late as 6am). It looks like they'll hopefully be bringing in some finger foods come October or so. Smokers will appreciate the discrete and comfortable fumoir in the back with more cushy red armchairs and elegant lamps. Also, for the moment they don't have a card machine, so take cash. Lots of it, because you can easily get sucked into the underbelly elegance of the place and not want to give up your bar stool for awhile.

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Blogger Sugar Daze said...

Now this looks just perfect for me and my man. In fact, I was up around 2AM catching up on your blog and sent him your review of this place. I know he was up a little later (insomnia runs in our family!) and the reply I received from him this AM said "When are we going? Tonight!!!" I love the idea that they have left all the original "artifacts" from the previous onwers, and something about the red boudoir decor speaks to me! :)

October 7, 2011 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger gastronomic nomad said...

I have two more nights in Paris...maybe I will try and squeeze this place in. it looks DIVING!! God knows good and interesting cocktails in Paris are hard to find.

October 8, 2011 at 5:58 AM  
Anonymous Sweet Freak said...

Wow, this place sounds pretty kickass! And I love your "Salacious-glam" title!

October 8, 2011 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger The Sentimental Suitcase said...

Well I guess it wasn't the Comedy Club in the 10e! ;)
Yum that green chartreuse one sound divine!

October 9, 2011 at 2:54 AM  
Blogger Forest said...

Sugar Daze: I think this one's going to be right up your alley! let me know what you think if you check it out.

gastronomic: hope you squeezed it in before you go! :)

Sweet Freak: one for your next visit out here.

Sentimental Suitcase: pretty much everything we tasted was really lovely!

October 9, 2011 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Gourmet Food Truck said...

This looks awesome, we are staying in Trocadero area in November when we come to Paris.

October 9, 2011 at 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Hubert said...

Just ask Greg for his secret decoction of the moment. Had a fantastic cocktail few days ago made out of cucumber and lavander syrup (house creation). This place will remain one of my fav for a while...

Also, I wonder how Greg will manage to deal with the cocktail crowd for you next get together at le 29 Forest.

October 14, 2011 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Forest said...

Gourmet Food Truck: perfect for that area!

Hubert: i wonder the same thing. Although have been talking to him about it and we think we'll be able to manage as long as people are good with their RSVP's so we have a good idea of numbers (hope so because I think it's going to be a fab spot for a meetup) :)

October 17, 2011 at 5:59 AM  
Blogger Travel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 20, 2011 at 3:32 AM  
Blogger The Sentimental Suitcase said...

Thanks for this review Forest! It's so great that you went there cause I have always secretly wondered what it was like!
Maybe I'll just got to see that big Buddha then?!

November 2, 2011 at 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Tiph said...

It seems that they are now taking credit card as well. Thanks for the discovery Forest, this place is just perfect to me!

November 5, 2011 at 4:30 AM  
OpenID ifidontlivetoday said...

This looks amazing! Will definitely try!

November 13, 2011 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger Lost In Cheeseland said...

Just getting around to reading this now but boy am I intrigued! You sold me!

November 21, 2011 at 10:58 PM  

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