I’m going to try and not let this post morph into a modern day Abbot and Costello sketch – but with a name like “Why” you see how I might go there. My first impression of this smallish spot is that the dark walls contrast with the stark white tables and chairs to give it a warm but modern ambiance. The background music, while not overwhelmingly loud, was fun and funky – with Boogieman and the nearly forgotten 80’s single Din DaDa making me dance around in my chair just a little bit as I perused the list of cocktails on offer.
I was immediately impressed by the menu which featured a good number of standards such as Manhattans, ti punch and bourbon sours, some new and interesting creations such as the bubble gum, bee sting and Why Paris Chocolate (all of which were a hit with those who favored sweeter drinks) and the unusual: “cocktail destructurés“.
Owner and bartender, Christophe, previously worked atle Forum, so he already had a pretty good arsenal of cocktail making skills before branching out on his own. My Bombay martini was stirred, served up in a chilled glass with a twist and tasted like it was made with love and care (I was given a choice of gins when I ordered, but took the house). With six of us packed around a couple of four tops, we had the opportunity to sample several drinks. Everyone was generally happy with their choices and for the second round I moved onto the deconstructed cocktails.
The Somerset was a measure of tequila with a bit of lime served up on the rocks in a martini glass accompanied by a puree of tomato and avocado. To consume this uniquely presented little concoction, you take a spoon full of the puree and follow it with a sip of the tequila. While I wouldn’t order one after another of these, I did get a kick out of the presentation and enjoyed the one I had.
While I was disappointed with the ‘gimmicky’ drinks i had at the Plaza Athenee some time ago, I felt none of that here. With these drinks – though in a similar vein – i felt like Christophe has much more of a genuine interest in creating and sharing something special with his clients and at a much more reasonable price. Violaine followed up with the deconstructed Planteur consisting of pineapple slices, jellied angostura orange and rum and a mini planteurs.
A few of us girls ended up lingering longer than usual, and after awhile Christophe brought over a small minty drink. While I never think a barman ‘owes’ customers a drink, i think it’s a nice touch when they bring something around on the house after a few rounds. One of the reasons we may have stayed longer than usual were the tasty bar snacks. No mere olives or pretzels, the Why brings out a nice tray of bread, salsa and rillettedeveau. While the salsa was so so (I’m pretty picky about my salsa and could tell this came from a jar) the rillette was the star. Tasty and substantial, it allowed the group to while away a bit more time without having to rush off to get something in our tummies.
Why prices are reasonable for the quality at 10 Euros. However, what I noticed particularly catching patrons and passerby’s eye were the mojitos and caipirihnias at 6 Euros on offer at the moment. And, the few outside tables seem a good place to sample one of these during the summer months while people watching.
So, overall, for the Why bar, I give an enthusiastic “Why not!?”
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!