Wednesday Cocktail Adventure: Cocktails in Pint Glasses

The Café Iguana
15, rue de la Roquette
75011 PARIS

I’m a bit behind in my blogging, but that’s probably because I wasn’t particularly inspired by my next bar following La Famille. Sometimes after I go to a place, someone will say “But why did you go there for cocktails?” And, it’s usually a place that I wasn’t particularly impressed with from a cocktail standpoint. But, I do like to make up my own mind & my own cocktail discoveries. Unfortunately, this wasn’t really one of them.

The Iguana Bar is located at the corner of Rue de la Roquette & Rue de Lappe in the busy Bastille. Rue de Lappe is a street jam-packed with bars and in the evenings, groups of tourists roam from door to door of these buzzing establishments. The atmosphere is lively and possibly fun – but I kind of consider it a street for “amateurs”. In full discloser, I haven’t spent a great deal of time there – so, as always, I could be wrong.

The décor is wanna-be-upscale with high ceilings and a grand spiral staircase, which are probably more impressive in the evening when dimmer lights and more cocktails throw a sheen of elegance over it. But, in the daylight at 6:30, the black and red accents made me feel like I had stumbled into a topless dance bar. Their website proclaims that cocktails are king here. So, I sat at the bar and ordered my martini from a very pleasant and friendly bartender. With no discussion on how I wanted it, I got some Bombay and a few drops of vermouth shaken into a glass, followed by actual chunks of ice.

He seemed to do a bit better when we left him to his own devices to surprise us with our second round. He delivered two large (non-fresh) fruit-juice based drinks, telling us that both are great classics when made correctly. Mine was a Shark Bite and Matt’s was a Hurricane. Both were fine – but it gives me the impression that this is a bar where a lot of cocktails are served in pint glasses. Both Matt and I felt like, while it wasn’t a bad place, it just wasn’t as interesting from a cocktail perspective as some of our more recent adventures. But the bar snacks we ordered – a cholesterol raising combination plate of chicken strips, chorizo & nachos – were excellent in that “they’re really bad for you & taste like it” bar food way.

I noticed some The Bitter Truth bitters on the bar & asked the bartender what drinks he used them for. He said he didn’t use them, but apparently the evening shift used them when they were inspired.

Now, I may sound a bit down on the Iguana Bar, but the truth is, I’m not. My overall impression was that I wouldn’t go there for serious cocktails – but Paris isn’t really a city with a large serious cocktail culture. And, I can imagine that if you want big, sweet-ish drinks in pint glasses with lots of fruit juice but without the bothersome taste of alcohol, it could be a lot of fun. With happy hour prices, we paid a very fair 5-ish Euros per drink. They stay open until five, so the draw here is probably more the party atmosphere and perfectly acceptable cocktails for that crowd. Unfortunately, I just feel like I’m getting too old and for that crowd on a regular basis.

About forest 288 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!

2 Comments

  1. I work nearby the Rue de Lappe.
    The "Rotonde" may be a little bit better than the Iguana for cocktails, with a shorter list in the menu, but more choice in vodkas and gin at the bar.
    Those 2 places are definitely not the place for high end drinks, but at Happy Hour time, those bars are good venues for a quick afterwork drink in this neighborhood, and if you want to drink something else than bacardi based mojitod from the Mojito Lab.

    Sony

  2. Sony: thanks for the input. it's an area with so many bars that it's hard to try them all so insider info is always appreciated!

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