Wagon Bleu 7 rue Boursault
01 45 22 35 25In the course of 52 Martinis research, I frequent a lot of bars that get good buzz. But sometimes I like to try a wild card in hopes I’ll find an undiscovered treasure. I hadn’t heard anything drinks-wise about the Wagon Bleu. In fact, I hadn’t heard anything about it at all. But, when I stumbled across it online, two things drew me to it: 1. It’s partially housed in a restored train car from the Orient Express circa 1925. 2. It boasts the ‘longest happy hour in Paris!
It turns out that the romantic train car portion is tucked away in the back of the establishment for dinner only. So Matt, Vio, Mel and I settled into the pretty standard cafe/bar front area where Hall & Oates music sets the mood. So, the closest we got to experiencing train-themed drinking was feeling the rumble through the floor of trains passing by on the tracks situated just below the bar/restaurant.
The drinks menu features 11 uninspired “classics” that put me in broken-record mode [“caipis, mojitos, cosmos, sex on the beach, etc., etc.] as well as 5 “specials” that are mojito riffs with a lone Long Island icetea to break up the monotony. Each section features a mystery drink with the Crazy Wagon, which is whatever the barman feels like, and L’Omerta with its claims that “you’ll never know” what’s in it – and with a name like that might just be a subtle nod to the Corsican slant to their menu. Cocktails range from 8 to 9.50 Euros and they also feature a selection of rhum and vodka arrange at 4 Euros a shot or for the bargain price of 35 Euros for 10.
There is no dry vermouth behind the bar, so I went straight for a margarita instead of the usual. Notwithstanding the gummy-gator garnish, it was better than I expected. For the rest of the evening, we ordered up tapas of tapanade and buglidicci (fried bits of corsican cheese, brocciu) and dabbled with the happy hour menu. From 16h00 to 21h00, prices drop to 4.80€ for a pint of blonde, 5,80€ for a pint of Abbaye and 5€ for a mojito, caipirinha or ti-punch. While nothing exciting, all were acceptable for the price and fueled a fun few hours of over fried cheese.
For the time we spent there, the place started buzzing with local regulars who chatted with the friendly staff. So, while there were no undiscovered treasures in the cocktails or food, the happy hour could be interesting for those in the neighborhood looking to throw back some reasonably priced pints over a lengthy happy hour.
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!