While Paris1 is maybe famous for its pavement cafés, its chic bistros, and its rude waiters, the anglophone ex-pat living in Paris may occasionally feel the need for that little slice of home. Be it a pint of warm beer, a fry up on Sunday morning or simply the chance to make some anglophone friends.
This is the gap filled by the many expatriate bars that are found in any foreign country. This guide attempts to give newcomers to the Paris ex- pat scene an introduction to some of the best ex-pat bars.
For ease of reading this entry has been split into two sections that speak for themselves: 'Chains' for bars that form some sort of loose chain with each other and 'Independents' for those that have no partners.
Situated in the heart of St Germain, the Coolin proves to be a big hit with those new in Paris. Playing on its Irish heritage there are many of the usual Irish bar clichés to be found here. Do not let this put you off the Coolin though, it has a friendly atmosphere, a reasonable Happy Hour and some fun music nights - Jazz Swing on a Sunday afternoon and folk music on a Monday Night.
All the usual beers, stouts, and bottles are served backed up with a fine menu of mixed Irish and French cuisine.
Bombardier (The Bomb)
The Bombardier is situated on Place de Pantheon proving to be one of the more scenic places to grab that relaxing pint. During the summer there is a terrace where you can enjoy your favourite tipple al fresco.
Serving all of the beers that you would expect to find in a normal English bar - real ale, stout, lagers of varying varieties, cider, and a large selection of bottled beers. Through the week a variety of different English and French food is served. On Sundays you can find either a traditional English fry-up or a Sunday roast.
All major sporting events are screened on the televisions through the bar. On Sunday nights there is a very popular bilingual pub quiz where there are various wet and dry prizes.
This bar is this Researcher's favourite bar in Paris if not the whole world. Staffed by friendly outgoing ex-pats and with reasonable prices, a convivial atmosphere, quality music, and a good mixed crowd drawn from many nationalities, all proving that 'The Bomb' is a winner.
The Fubar is one of the lost gems of the Paris expatriate scene. A relative newbie to the scene having only opened a year ago, it is starting to make its mark. A one minute walk from the metro at Odeon puts the Fubar right in the centre of the Rive Gauche
Serving up some of the best and most mind blowing cocktails available, this little bar is one to know. The staff are very friendly and the clientele even friendlier, all the usual suspects are available from behind the bar.
For those of you like a game of chess, the Fubar has several tables with chess boards built in and the pieces behind the bar. There is a chess competition every Sunday night.
Make sure that you try their Apple Martinis. A somewhat spiritual experience.
The Violon Dingue
The Violon Dingue (The Mad Violin) is generally seen as a late night place. The bar to go to when you need just 'one more for the road'. It is open very late, until about 5am, and serves some of the strongest cocktails that this researcher has ever tasted.
Situated on two floors, loosely separated into upstairs for drinking and downstairs for dancing, The 'Dingue' is an interesting place to know for the very purpose stated above.
Again, all the usual drinks are to be found alongside an interesting if inebriated crowd.
As per The Violon Dingue, The Hideout is open until the early hours. Staffed mainly by an Irish expatriate contingent, you cannot fail to have fun in this bar. Situated in a very lively area in the middle of the Latin Quarter The Hideout is the perfect place to go after a nice meal on Rue Moufftard.
The Hideout is very busy at weekends and after normal closing hours (2am) it becomes almost impossible to move. There are, however, a few little corners that if you get there early enough, you can wedge yourself into.
Expect very liberal measures of spirits and a shaky walk home.
The Frog chain consists of three bars - The Frog and Princess, The Frog and Rosbif, and The Frog at Bercy. Located respectively in St Germain, Rue St Denis and in Bercy Village.
The Frog bars are famous for micro-brewing all their own beers. They tend to have a version of all popular beers - stouts, ales, lagers, wheat beers, that are all brewed in house. This Researcher tends to find that they are a bit of an acquired tasted, but isn't acquiring the taste what it is all about ?
Staffed and frequented by an equal number of ex-pats and locals, The Frogs tend to be another first stop for the recently arrived.
Good food and all major sports shown on the large screens.
The Mayday Inns chain has some of the more accessible locations of all of the English pubs in Paris. Consisting of two old Firkin pubs, The Freedom which is just off the Champs Elysee, and The Financier in Montparnasse; The Bowler again just by the Champs Elysee, The Cricketer near Opera, The Long Hop behind Notre Dame, and Le Mazet in Odeon. Herein lies something for everyone.
The Freedom and The Financier, as ex-Firkin pubs tend to have a similar atmosphere to your normal Firkin pub. An 'up-for-it' lively crowd that gets rowdy on the weekend. Both of these bars are open late at the weekends and have discos at the weekends.
The Bowler and The Cricketer tend to cater more for a more mature crowd allowing more room for conversation in their music volume policy.
The Long Hop is traditionally more of a student gathering place and as such is very lively at the weekend. Here too there is a disco although it closes fairly early. If you finish up at The Long Hop and are still in need of partying, The Violon Dingue and The Hideout are not far away from here.
Le Mazet is the last bar in the Mayday Inns chain which is at the time of writing closed for refurbishment.
Rumour has it this is were Jim Morrison of The Doors had his last drink before his rather untimely death and so Le Mazet has kept the reputation of being a drinkers bar. Again, as with all of the Mayday Inns pubs, at weekends it is very lively, having a friendly crowd and well priced drinks and cocktails. It also caters for ex-pats in need of their television fix, several shows such as The Simpsons are screened here on a regular basis as well as the major sporting events.
Of the Mayday Inns pubs this is the least English of the bars retaining a uniquely European atmosphere. Le Mazet has been sadly missed since its closure for refurbishment. Le Mazet's closing night will go down in this Researcher's history as one of his best nights during his stay in Paris.
There are three bars belonging to this chain: two called Corrcorans, one in St Michel and one in Pigalle, and a third, the most recent addition, called McBrides on Rue St Denis.
As Irish bars these three have an active Glasgow Celtic crowd with large gatherings for the Celtic football games. McBrides is situated close to a major local train station and as such is perfect for travelling sports fans to stop off for a drink before going to La Stade de France where major football and rugby games are held.
Good quality food with an Irish flavour is served alongside a well stocked bar. Sunday roast and full breakfast are available.
For the Antipodean looking for a cold VB or a Kangaroo pie then one of the Café Oz bars is a good place to start. Located in popular areas, Rue St Denis, Pantheon, and Pigalle, they are all easy to find.
It sells a wide variety of Australian beers and food, and Australian sports are shown on large screens.
The Auld Alliance and The Pure Malt
For the Scottish contingent looking for the odd pint of Caledonian 80- or a can of hangover-curing Irn Bru, then these bars are for you.
Both are located by metro St Paul on the opposite sides of Rue De Rivoli to each other serving the Scottish expatriate community.
At both there is an enormous selection of Scotch Whiskies to be tested. The Auld Alliance serves food and occasionally haggis if any of you Scots miss it that much.
Events include the Burns Supper every January which is always good fun with pipers and poets turning up to put on the full show. Also preference is given to all Scottish sports when on the television with large crowds to be expected for the bigger games.
What are you waiting for! If you're in Paris and in need of some ex-pat company, then get involved!