Très Honoré Bar
35 Place du Marché Saint-Honoré
Two of my favorite things: catching up with good friends and checking out new venues. So, when Dec and Cliodhna were back in town briefly after a few years’ stint in Abu Dhabi, I was more than happy to do both. Considering their time in a region not particularly known for bars, I was looking for a location with wow factor. I settled on the Très Honoré Bar after hearing about its 20’s boudoir glam and checking out some online pics. Yet, when we arrived, I wondered if we were in the right place. Outside is a pretty basic terrace and inside is a hyper-designed restaurant, which feels somewhat dated. We caught up over so so steaks and wine and I still wondered what the fuss was all about.
That was until after dinner when made our way to the downstairs bar, which was much more in line with my expectations. While this large lounge can easily hold a hundred, it still offers an air of intimacy with nooks and alcoves packed with comfortable arm chairs, candlelit coffee tables and heavy drapes. The ladies’ offers up two loos in the same room, so you can gossip with the girls literally nonstop. Dim lighting and an eclectic assortment of choice pieces like the grand piano, vintage prints and framed insects give it a bit of elegance with attitude. Sexy wait staff with just a pinch of the expected attitude themselves make the rounds with menus.
Twelve cocktails are divided between classics (like the bijou or pisco sour) and house creations at 12 to 15 Euros. Cliodhna and I went off menu with a nicely done martini and old fashioned. There was a bit too much sugar in the bottom of her glass for her taste, but I don’t mind a bit of sweet grit in my old fashioned. I couldn’t place the gin and later found out it was Seagram’s, which I haven’t had for years. Although it’s owned by French company Pernod-Ricard, it doesn’t seem to show up in most of the bars I frequent here, and I associate it much more with US gin drinking habits. (Seagram’s 7 and 7, anyone?) Otherwise, nothing too unusual with the other gins on offer of Bombay Sapphire, Hendrick’s and Tanqueray. I followed up with a Très Honoré (Jack Daniels, Chambord, white peach puree, fresh mint, and lime juice.) With its very particular taste, Jack can be a touchy spirit to mix with. However, peach seems a natural pairing for it and the Jack came through nicely without being masked by too much sweetness. We tried a few more, but I must admit that note taking fell by the wayside as Cliodhna and I caught up. But, in general it seems they are making a decent drinks effort.
The night of our visit was pleasantly quiet with just a few other patrons having hushed conversations in other corners. However, its past associations (previous location for the George V group’s Barlotti as well as for last year’s Cointreau Privé pop up), the large floor space and its fashionable address, make it prime real estate for larger and busier events and evenings. And, indeed they were (are?) hosting the Trenty’s soirees and a few weeks after my first visit I returned again for a magazine launch. The night of the launch was not as enjoyable: it was hot, crowded and a twenty minute wait at a bar that wasn’t serving cocktails. But, based on my prior pleasant enough experience, I’m going to hope that was a due to the event organizers rather than the bar itself.
In short, the space is glamorous and they’re making an effort with the cocktails. It’s the type of place that has the potential to pull in everyone from the fashionably understated to the fashion victims, so probably best to time your visit accordingly. But, on my visit with Dec and Cli, I had an enjoyable night. Was it the company or the cocktails? Probably a bit of both, so I wouldn’t hesitate head back and see how things shake out here.