Having been on the scene since 1918 (under the Biolatto family since 1931), Bar le Forvm is a Paris institution. Sadly, last year, they lost their lease and were forced to close doors after nearly a century in the same location. But the big news for the legion of loyal fans of Bar le Forvm is…they’re back!
Bar le Forvm 2.0 is at the same time fresh but familiar. The new venue is slightly smaller but still recalls the ambience and décor of the previous with all the original furniture, including the two juke boxes and the iconic “BAR” lamppost. And while Mme Biolatto is still behind the scenes and director Xavier Laigle (who’s been there since 1985) still warmly welcomes guests, the rest of the bar team is new, young and infusing some energy into the mix.
In addition to its cocktail reputation, the Forvm has always been known for their extensive whisky selection (one of the bigger and better ones in Paris where there really aren’t a lot of dedicated whisky bars.) With the move, they’ve slightly reduced the number of references on the shelves due to space limitations, making an effort to concentrate on simply the best offerings.
This reduction in number (or what I like to think of as the “conscious concentration of the best aspects of the bar”) applies to the cocktail menu as well. The team intentionally reduced the number of choices on the menu wanting a more focused experience for the clients and also to provide the possibility for more frequent changes to it. They are, however, still capable of going off menu and creating any number of classics or bespoke cocktails to taste at 14 to 16 Euros a drink (regulars might notice that prices have also gone slightly down as well.)
The new selection ranges form the historic to modern. Martini lovers will want to try the Forvm’s namesake cocktail, created by Antoine Biolatto in 1929 as their version of the dry martini (with a touch of Grand Marnier). Moving forward a few decades, you can indulge in the Rose de Varsovie, created by Angelo Biolatto in 1966 for the “Grand Prix Wyborowa,” in which it took first place. Finally, moving into modern times, their recently created Elixir is a simple but elegant aperitif cocktail with a combo of Noilly Prat Ambré, white port and house bitters, which makes a most excellent start to the evening.
If you want to take a more in-depth look at the Forvm cocktails, they also came out with a book, a few years back, which lists out classic cocktail recipes and the Forvm recipes they inspired. In addition to recipes, there are quotes about the bar (including one from Yours Truly), info on techniques and spirits, and staff features (including family member Joseph Biolatto who has since gone on to create his own successful venue, which you’ve likely heard of, Baton Rouge.) In short the book, puts the Forvm’s place in French cocktail and whisky culture in context.
Although it’s not yet set up, they will be putting in a terrace like in the old space. They now also have a food menu with upscale bar snacks like foie gras and fig confiture or artisanal Manchego with black cherry confiture.
While there are many, many new cocktail bars on the Paris landscape at the moment, Bar le Forvm is a classic that has stood the test of time for decades and become an iconic reference in the capital. And for that, I say: Chapeau, Bar le Forvm.
Bar le Forvm
29 rue du Louvre