As we’re heading into drizzly days and winter weather in Paris, it’s nice to have an address in your back pocket for a place that recalls the sunnier times of 50’s California. And, that place is Bluebird.
Bluebird is brought to you by Liquid Corp, the same group responsible for the ever-popular and always-fun Dirty Dick, as well as some of the city’s other buzzy & busy spots spots like Moonshiner, Kremlin, or Rock’n’Roll Circus. Each of their places has a particular personality and here it’s a Mid-century Cali vibe with a groovy soundtrack and a focus on gin and low octane cocktails.
The combo of dim décor, low light, laidback staff, and neighborhood locals give it an authentic, lived in, insulated feel – and I mean that in a very good way (as opposed to feeling too new or contrived.) The glowing aquarium at the back wall with its slow swimming fish adds a slightly surreal touch. Walking in feels a little like stepping into a different time and place (although primetime on a Saturday night might feel less dreamy and more packed.)
Gin is in… and this is definitely a gincentric bar. Thirty or so references are divided into sections by London Dry, Contemporary, Navy Strength, Bathtub, Old Tom and Genever. I’m curious about the “Bathtub” gin category and wonder if it’s just a cute way to work in the Ableforth’s Bathtub gin brand or if we’re going to see a new style of gin category based on this historically amateur process (because, otherwise, I’m pretty sure they are not serving actual bathtub gin…)
On the menu, six cocktails in the Gin Experience section lead drinkers through a seven-decade stretch from the 1858 G&T (updated with Audemus Pink Pepper) to the 1910 classic Clover Club (tweaked with a cocoa butter fatwashed Beefeater) Here, we also find a well-made Dry Martini made with Fillers; nicely chilled and served in sexy glassware with an option of olive or a twist. Nearly a decade ago when I was forlornly searching the scene for a decent dry, I didn’t ever think we’d get to this day when they could be so readily available. I’ll raise a glass to that (and I’ll even hope that my own little squeaky wheel did a tiny part in bringing that about.)
The next six cocktails feature other base spirits like rum, mescal and vodka. The Provincial Negroni is an excellent twist on the classic with the inclusion of thyme liqueur. It also showcases the Mediterranean touches found on this menu: thyme, basil, olive oil, Italian bitters and syrups (maybe this has to the fact that it’s an Italian/Spanish team behind the bar) olive oil, Italian ingredients, fresh herbs like basil and thyme, Italian bitters and more. A final three offer up something lighter and less alcoholic like the Nutty Cobbler with Sherry Fino, homemade nutmeg syrup and Angostura bitters.
Like many places these days, they are making some of their own syrups. But, they are also going the extra step to make their own tonic, which we’re seeing just a handful of Paris places.
Other positive points: There is a terrace as well as a fumoir in the back. You can order from a selection of small snacks like club sandwiches, olives or cheese, including tete de moine, which is always a fun cheese-choice and somehow seems like a good one for a mid-century modern ambience.
In short: another good option from a group with plenty of personality.
12 Rue Saint-Bernard