52 Martinis began four years ago, a fortuitous time. While my interest in cocktails goes back further, it was then that I found France’s wine culture alone wasn’t enough for me. I wanted the option to occasionally indulge my cocktail cravings formed in the US and fed by frequent travel. Around the same time, a French trio was looking to indulge as well and had recently opened the Experimental Cocktail Club, kick starting Paris’ cocktail resurgence and providing the venue for my first Wednesday Cocktail Adventure. Since then, I’ve got over a hundred bar reviews under my belt, and the trio has just opened their fifth Paris location: the Beef Club.
The day after their opening, Kim and I made our way down the long, dark spiral staircase that leads to the below ground bar to see if it maintains their cocktail momentum. My first impression is that this seems a more ambitious venture than their Paris priors with its soon to open restaurant and notable involvement of butcher Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec and Tim Wilson of London’s Hawksmore.
My next impression is that the cocktail menu of 8 choices is small but solid. This family of bars has always showcased quality ingredients and superior drinks inline with the latest of cocktail trends. And while I have the impression that this establishment is geared slightly more to the club crowd than the cocktail loungers, they haven’t pandered with the menu.
As with their other bars, there are a couple of more easy-going options for the casual consumer that may end up being the most often ordered off the menu. My money’s on their cardamom infused Fair Vodka based Pondichery Mule – unless the clientele embraces the absinthe aspect of the Marilou along with its sloe gin and champagne.
But, also like their other bars, they take it further. They confidently incorporate interesting ingredients into their short but sweet menu without shying away from those that might require a more acquired taste. I like seeing a French gentian based beverage brought into play with the Salers Smash, which is balanced in a way that lets the bitterness surprise without taking over. The egg white in the Concombre fumant gives this tequila based cocktail a consistency that compliments its smoky side but also provides a nice playground for the piment. And, prices remain in a range of 12 – 14 Euros.
This team is diligently sticking with the formula that’s made their successful reputation: quality ingredients, knowledgeable staff and a stylish décor in which to linger over lovely creations. Considering the place was packed within minutes of opening its doors the night we arrived, I’d say it’s a formula that’s working for them.
Note: Kim also posted more pics and thoughts from the evening that you can read on her post at I Heart Paris.