Paris cocktail bar CopperBay placed number 94 on the latest list of the 100 best bars in the world – and that’s kind of a big deal.
And just who chooses these “Best bars in the world” anyway….? That would be jury of drinks writers, cocktail enthusiasts and industry professionals who vote for the World’s 50 Best Bars to celebrate outstanding players in the drinks industry. And, although it’s called the World’s “50” Best, they actually publish the full list of top 100 bars.
So, I stopped in at CopperBay to see how hitting the world’s top 100 for the first time has affected them. It turns out, there are lots of new things happening; although, novelties are really nothing new here. Since their opening, CopperBay has been making quality and consciousness improvement tweaks to the space, service and drinks.
The latest change is a dreamy blue paintjob that really pulls the space together. While their original bright white walls were a welcome change from so many dark speakeasies of the time, the new color makes the beautiful brass accents really pop plus it just feel cozier…like the bar is giving you a warm hug. The blue also hints at something more Mediterranean and that works well for a bar with a nautical theme and a tagline of “Mermaids and Magic Potions.” As does the tiny new downstairs playroom, MonkeyBay, where you can literally dip your toes in the sand.
They’ve just dropped their winter menu with a shortlist of drinks that continue to allow for easy access like the zesty, ginger and citrus explosion of the l’Orangeraie as well as explores more creative options. Take, for instance, Le Bouillon with its base of coriander infused vodka and lentil puree that plays with both savory flavors and presentation, which leave it straddling an interestingly fine line between meal and mixed drink.
And, has always been their style, they’re not overtly strong-arming clients into trying the unfamiliar, but rather playfully enticing them. For Tod’s Revenge, the presentation is so fun (and Instagrammable) that patrons can’t help themselves from seeing it and saying “I’ll have what she’s having.” They do so without even realizing it comes with shitake syrup and whisky – something they might not have initially been drawn to on the menu, but will hopefully discover can be a tasty combination. But this is really a menu that should be experienced rather than described, so plan an evening there – preferably with friends, so you can work your way through the full menu and experience the individual personality of each ‘potion.’
Also, they haven’t slowed their creative collaborations with others. They’ve regularly featured SuperProducter’s artisanal savory bar snacks and recently worked with them to launch a new and exclusive to CopperBay rillettes of pastis hake with fennel seed. This hadn’t yet hit the bar on my visit, but I’m very excited by the prospect of trying it in the future. What I did try, however, was the latest batch of the CopperBay gin, which is another of their collaborative projects – this one with La Distillerie de Paris. The current bottling has a fantastic aniseed element that makes it seem almost savory (and tasty enough that I had to get a bottle to take home, too.)
Clearly, of lot of the “change” is kind of just “business as usual” for CopperBay: more of the same but continually a little better. But one of the bigger true changes since hitting the list is that not only are they getting a much-deserved pat on the back from the global community, but they are getting more opportunity to travel and collaborate on events in other bars around the world as well as tempt interesting guest bartenders to come here, too. So look out for more special events happening soon.
Basically, I don’t think we really see a lot of changes as a result of them hitting the 100. I think, rather, they hit the 100 because they are always making changes; small and subtle corrections to keep them on their intended course…it’s all rather nautical in spirit, no? In short, they are a small, local, operation, without a big PR machine behind them who continue to put their heart and soul into a biz without forgetting how to play nicely with others. Proof that nice guys don’t always finish last.
5 rue Bouchardon