Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by an overabundance of information: blogs, books, guides, and reviews on eating, drinking, sleeping, clubbing, and shopping. It’s all covered. Everything. Everywhere. But a truly good information source is more than a mouthpiece; it’s a filter. And, that’s what I like about the Naughty Guides for Ladies. Author, Heather Stimmler-Hall, has a clear vision of what she’s delivering with her guide and does it well. Recently, Heather, her photographer Kirsten, and I caught up for a drink and some cocktail research for the update to the Naughty Paris guide at one of the city’s latest ‘secret’ addresses, le 25eme Heure.
While just a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe, the unmarked exterior, ring-for-entry policy and quiet side street location give le 25eme Heure a remote and hidden air. Once inside, patrons are enveloped by matte black decor as well as music from the DJ booth. At the far end, funky 50’s style chairs surround a low table with built in champagne buckets and patrons mill about the bar, drawn by its glowing, bottle-lined shelves.
Over a Monkey 47/Noilly Prat martini, rolled and with a twist, one of the owners, Ugo, explained their concept. Le 25eme Heure is one of the latest Paris bars to set up shop with the intention of keeping it real. Their cocktail approach is meant to be more all encompassing, i.e. they won’t refuse to make a mojito. However after a mojito, head barman, Benjamin, (previously of le Carmen) may gently nudge patrons to follow up with something else: something novel, yet maintaining a mojito essence. And working without a cocktail menu as they do, my guess is they do get a lot of requests for mojitos.
The bar stock is on the small side, but combined with the fresh ingredients and homemade syrups Benjamin has enough to play with to create unique cocktails at around 12 Euros a drink. A limited selection of beer, wine and champagne are also on offer.
This bar will appeal to those who like the nightlife, but don’t see the allure of clubs overrun by up-their-own-arse clientele. It’s accessibly clandestine and feels more intimate and discrete than some of the bigger clubs that you’ll find off the Champs; a more laid back alternative. Similar to the (now closed) le 29 in its somewhat off-the-beaten path locale and wee-hours possibilities, it’s more of a destination drinking spot for late nights and winter months that may prove to be the next nocturnal playground for Parisian night owls up for setting their own trends. Plus the cozy fumoir downstairs means smokers can stay all night without slipping out for a ‘breath of fresh air.’
So, will 25eme make the cut for the new Naughty Paris update? We’ll have to wait and see if it makes it through that ‘filter’, which keeps her readers loyal. And, that is what will make the 25eme Heure a success, too. If they stick with their ethos of an all-encompassing drinking policy, personalized service and friendly manner, they’ll end up with a loyal following that will happily make this drinking detour.