Making the Most of Paris Cocktail Week 2018: Part I (Planning Your Route)

Paris Cocktail Talk: Paris Cocktail Week 2018

Next Saturday kicks off the 4th annual Paris Cocktail Week with 75 participating bars offering drinks specials plus master classes and miscellaneous events guaranteed to keep you entertained for 8 straight days. Overwhelmed by all that choice? Fret not! We’ve got you covered with our three-part guide to making the most of PCW2018! First order of business: Decide on your goals for the week and plan your route accordingly.

How you approach the week depends on what you want to get out of it.  Do you want to explore new neighborhoods or flavours? Would you rather maximise the discounted drinks opportunity to try as many Paris bars as possible? Of course, it covers 8 days, so there’s ample opportunity to try a few different approaches, too!

Photo credit: Philippe Levy for Paris Cocktail Week

Explore new neighborhoods: This year, PCW is putting more focus on the left bank, which was notoriously devoid of serious cocktail stops for some time. That slowly began to change and some of the Rive Gauche PCW bars like Prescription, Tiger or Castor Club will likely be familiar names by now. But this year sees more great choices cropping up this side of the Seine. If you haven’t yet tried Solera, perhaps Paris Cocktail Week is the motivating factor you need to check out this newer bar. Christopher Gaglione (previously of the bar at Prince de Galles hotel) is heading up the bar and using the venue to showcase some of the more creative presentation, for which he’s known. For PCW, check out his beautiful Nautilus non-alcoholic cocktail, served up in a Porthole Infuser, a tool originally custom designed for the Aviary in Chicago. Me, I’ll use the opportunity to make a revisit into Fitzgerald which I haven’t checked on since their opening night and a new visit to Gatsby.

photo credit: Philippe Levy for Paris Cocktail Week

Maximize bar visits: If you want to take full advantage of the PCW and squeeze in as many discounted drinks during the the week as possible, head straight for the neighborhoods with the highest concentration of participating bars. The Marais, Sentier or Republique are all good bets and include some of the city’s most well-known craft cocktail venues like Candelaria, Little Red Door, CopperBay, Jefrey’s, Syndicat, Experimental Cocktail Club, and Mabel. That means you can be sure to get good drinks from skilled bar staff. In addition there are a few newer or lesser-known spots on these routes so you can also make some new discoveries with places like le Bel Ordinaire around Republique or Resistance in the Marais.

photo credit: Philippe Levy for Paris Cocktail Week

Discover new flavors: If you’re stuck in a cocktail rut, Paris Cocktail Week is a great opportunity to expand your spiritual horizons and experience some new flavours. Did you know that Nikka is now putting out a gin? Try it in the Ipkiss cocktail at Combat where it’s mixed with matcha honey, fresh melon juice, citrus and chamomile petals. If you haven’t made the mezcal leap yet, head to Popolare where they are mixing it with Italian bitters, manderine juice and egg white in their Albiceleste Love. Over at the Hotel Andre Latin, you can try a Corsican aperitif based cocktail with their Makisard, which comprises an elegantly simple trio of Corse Mattei Grande Réserve blanc, Sencha and gin. The Paris Cocktail Week website has a handy list of all 150 of the cocktails with recipes and locations making it easy to start planning your new flavor discovers before the week even begins.

Another reason planning your route ahead is important:  This year, the Paris Cocktail Week specials only run from 6pm to 10pm, so make sure you schedule in your cocktail crawls so as not to miss the discount window.

Want more PCW18 guidance?

Part II: Going the Distance

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About forest 277 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!