Why Paris Monge
32 Rue Monge
You might not think it, but I’m actually an introvert. I’m not a narcissistic internet-fame seeker nor do I feel particularly comfortable in large groups of people I don’t know. But… I love my blog. Mainly because it gives me the opportunity to interact with and get to know all of you fab readers, Parisphiles and cocktail enthusiasts. And that makes me want to take it further. So, I’m working on an iPhone app for 52 Martinis, which is taking more time than I expected. And, it’s taking time away from the actual blog. And, it’s making me revisit some old stomping grounds to see if they’re still up to scratch. But, it’s hard to keep up with prior reviews when old bars keep spawning new locations. The Why bar, which I reviewed back in ’09 has just opened a second location. So, of course I had to try the new one….
The original Why, under the ownership of Christophe Darmon, hit the Paris scene about four years ago with multiple trendy magazine mentions and a bit of buzz about the deconstructed cocktails. At the time, I thought he was making his own way in the cocktail world by avoiding the general ‘scene’ and bringing something festive and fun to the table while still remaining affordable. And that’s exactly what he’s doing with his new bar, Why Paris Monge.
Located in an arrondissement laden with student bars and divey drink options, Why Monge is bringing a better imbibing option to the area, which is still accessible. This is a good example of what the new wave of cocktail culture has encouraged in Paris: low key, fun locales that surprise with their choice of spirits and a drink selection that goes beyond the basics.
The menu remains a mix of classics and house creations, including the deconstructed cocktails at pocket-friendly prices of 8 to 10 Euros. That combined with the mellow atmosphere makes it an easy spot in which to pass a casual evening with friends. As with the original, upper-end bar snacks further encourage staying in your seat to continue sipping and socializing.
Matt, Vio and Thibault joined me, so along with my stirred Beefeater 24 & Dolin martini, I was able to sample several drinks off the menu – albeit, ones I probably wouldn’t have gone for myself as my friends have different tastes in drinks than I do. And that’s precisely why the Why works for me. I can have a nicely-made martini while someone else can order up a butterscotch-fest of a Bee Sting.
In terms of deco, the new bar is a virtual mini-me of the original with its stone walls, dark brown accents and slick vinyl furniture. Their latest incarnation also offers up a lunch option for those who want a bit of noon-time sustenance.
In short, the latest Why is a laid back little spot that is a breath of fresh air amongst the usual bars you’ll find around Monge. They’re not trying to compete with Paris’ latest wave of craft cocktail bars. They’re just trying to put out some good drinks and give their customers a good time.