Lavomatic hides a cocktail bar within a Paris laundromat

The Pop Art cocktail goes with a classic pairing bourbon with popcorn

Quicktake: Enter this hidden Paris cocktail bar through a public laundromat washing machine.

It’s fun to find Lavotmatic’s hidden entrance among the washing machines

Long before the modern-day speakeasy overtook the cocktail scene, smart business were combining washing machines with bars and cafes. Paris bar, Lavomatic, does both by hiding the entrance to its little cocktail lounge within a coin operated laundry. Locate the right machine, push a particular button and find the doorway to a dark stairway that leads upstairs to a colorful little cocktail bar. It’s an updated take on the hidden entry trend that’s both fun and practical. And everyone loves to be in on a little secret!

Banguettes and cushions make for a cosy and fun space

The upstairs bar area is playful, light and bright with faux detergent box stools or swing-seats suspended from the ceiling. The minds behind this hidden bar are part of the Vgroup, which is an architectural and design firm specializing in restaurant and bar space that is soon to add a component offering bar staff for private events. Knowing it’s from a design group makes one think that it’s more formula than one man’s madcap idea. But it’s a formula that works: cool design and consistent offerings (much like the wildly popular Big Mamma group in Paris).

The cocktail menu isn’t just pretty to look at, but it’s informative with handy flavour profiles

Either way, it’s a design that is fun. That fun is also reflected in the fabulously illustrated and colorful cocktail menu offering drinks from 11 to 14 Euros, including 6 interesting cocktail creations. The Pop Art includes popcorn syrup, Maker’s Mark, smoked hickory spray and paprika filments. It’s creative while still being a solid pairing (popcorn and bourbon are a great combo). It’s a touch on the sweet side, which isn’t surprising given that clientele here are likely looking for something more lighthearted than challenging. 

Other original ingredients include red bean puree or sesame oil honey. For each house creation, the menu indicates what kind of flavor profile to expect, i.e. “fruity and sweet” or “strong and fresh”, which is something I appreciate on a cocktail list. 

Their selection of classics includes many that will appeal to the wider drinking population, and work well in Paris, like the mojito, spritz, and cosmo. They’ve pulled out the Long Island Iced tea which I haven’t seen on a menu for awhile. But, fret not, cocktail connoisseurs, you can still get an old fashioned, negroni or a bespoke drink.

Pretty presentation completes the cocktail picture here

Glassware is interesting and specific to the drink, with the sake based Sakura coming in a japanese-style porcelain cup. Cocktails come with a tiny snack dish, in this case pickled lupini beans (which I love!) And, the menu also offers a nice selection of small plates ranging from a meat and cheese platter to shrimp dim sum or bananas tempura nicely priced at 6 to 12 Euros. 

On my last visit the staff seemed to have a subtle attitude and I don’t know if that’s just a little fatigue as a result of working in a small space and having to shift people around to accommodate new comers or dealing with patrons newly excited or confused having entered through the spin cycle.  Either way, let’s hope it was a one-off.

Soapbox stools add a touch of fun to the cocktail bar

In addition to the clean clothes and fun drinks, they also offer up cocktail classes for private events, which seem reasonably priced at 49 Euros per person with minimum of 6 people. Bonus: they have a second location called L’Epicier where you can find the hidden entrance while doing a little grocery shopping.

Lavomatic
30 rue René Boulanger
75010 Paris

About Forest Collins 360 Articles
Cocktail Expert Forest Collins is the creator of 52martinis, an online guide to the best cocktail bars in Paris and other small batch spirits news from France. We've also recently launched an app so you can keep all that bar info in your pocket!