Wednesday Cocktail Adventure: La Fidelite

La Fidélité
12, Rue de la Fidélité

75010 Paris

Tel: 01 47 70 19 34

Located in the somewhat sketchy neighborhood of the Gare de l’est, this hip bar/restaurant created a bit of a buzz amongst the trend-setters when it first opened less than a year ago.The heavy red velvet curtains drawn over the large windows up the exclusivity factor, giving it an air of being closed. So much so, that as I already sat in the bar with Melanie, Matt sent me a text from just the other side of the door saying “Apparently it is closed.”Only those in the know will bother traversing the not-too-inviting entrance.

Mel and I perused the drinks menu while checking out the clientele and noticed it was predominantly male, which provided lots of tasty eye candy for the ladies.One particular Gerard Butler lookalike must have thought I was giving him the once over more than once as I kept turning around to scan the bar (more to get an idea of what kind of place we found ourselves in rather than trying to pick up the boys – but GB lookalike if you’re reading this, feel free to mail me!)

This spacious venue has plenty of delicately pretty touches like ironwork railings on a mini-spiral staircase in the corner, interesting moldings and very high ceilings.The space gives the impression of having been something else before – Melanie guessed a theatre, I guessed a train station.But the barman assured me it had always been a restaurant. The expansive bright white walls and ceilings allow them to dim the lights to an extremely low level without a crypt-like feeling, and the restaurant area was full of happy hipster diners.

The cocktail menu is small with about 8 choices.Their spirit selection is limited to 2 to 3 different brands for each– but decent brands for such a limited choice.For gin you’ve got Bombay Sapphire or Hendricks.For such a short menu, I was impressed to see a dry martini listed amongst the kirs, caipis, mojitos and cosmos, which ranged from 6 to 10€.My Bombay Sapphire/Noilly Prat martini was stirred and garnished with an olive and was one of the more expensive at 10€.I was pleasantly surprised by the quality which was more than acceptable for a Paris bar.The one beef I had with it was that the glass was slightly dusty, making me think that they haven’t used their martini glasses (or at least mine) for awhile.

Melanie took a caiparinia, which she said was decent.We expected the usual munchies, yet nothing came.I went up to the bar and asked the friendly – yet not super observant – barman for something to munch on.He had nothing but pleasantly filled a glass with the olives from the cocktail garnish tray.

When Matt and Caroline arrived, they took a side car and margarita. By that time Melanie and I were ready for a second so she took another caipi and I took a margarita as well.Matt’s Sidecar wasn’t on the menu and the barman asked what was in it. We told him and he didn’t want to hear the proportions after the ingredients declaring that they could figure it out from there.The margaritas were not good at all.There was not enough (or no?) cointreau or triple sec.The side car confirmed Matt’s suspicion that he should stop ordering them if they aren’t on the menu. It consisted of cognac and Cointreau and a chunk of lemon, but no lemon juice.He was very disappointed with his drink and the fact that he paid more than us at 12€.

The most interesting thing about this stop was that Vincent Lindon arrived with a pretty companion and lingered at the bar while I tried to remember the name of this La Moustache star.We decided we wanted one more – but perhaps wine would be the way to go.No one was dying to stay here so we moved on to a busy, bustling neighborhood cafe instead.

La Fidelité has a fun, trendy ambience and is sort of close to home for me, so I might get myself back there for a glass of wine or a cuope of Veuve at 10€ accompanied by a bit of people/star/boy watching, but not for cocktails – which are a bit hit and miss.

12 thoughts on “Wednesday Cocktail Adventure: La Fidelite

  1. Sounds like you were served a new Martini invention, the Dusty Martini! :)

    I too am a regular Martini drinker and I find the idea of hunting for the best Martini in Paris very exciting. Mind you, when I'm travelling there, I always opt for the more traditional French drinks, like a Kir Royale, a pastis and the various digestifs. I look forward to reading more of your cocktail adventures :)

  2. 'dusty martini' – that's great! :)

    I'm a fan of traditional french drnks, too – but when you've lived here for several years, sometimes you just want a good martini…so the hunt continues.

  3. Hey Forrest, after meeting you on the salon des vignerons, i'm meeting with your blog. It is just as you are : original and funky. I look forward to reading your next experiences.

    Armagnac de Briat

  4. hi Jean!

    Well, thanks! (assuming "original and funky") are good! :)

    I've got your card sitting in front of me and have been meaning to email you to say nice meeting you & I want to get in touch with you about a possible tasting for my meetup group. I'm a bit slammed right now, but I'll be in touch later today or tomorrow by email!

    a bientot!

  5. Cocktails: dusty; Ambience: abandoned station-esque; Eye candy: mouthwatering.
    Ah well, 1 out of 3 aint bad!

    And so the adventure continues!

  6. aaah… once again, a great piece Forest! now that i've been in Paris, it's easier to connect with your writing.

    tell Matt to come to the U.S. for a proper Side Car. i know he has to pay for airfare, but think of all the the Euros he could save from paying badly made cocktail.

    looking forward for your weekly adventures! :)

  7. thanks Mel! I'm sure Matt would love to have some sidecars state-side….We've been talking off and on about a NYC trip, so hopefully I'll get him out there sometime this year!

  8. Lovely write up Forest. You are much more patient than i, i would have sent back my Dusty Drinky– politely of course, but come on.

    Matt and i have similar problems we don't understand what is so difficult about making a Sidecar. i spent over a year going into bars trying to order one and then patiently attempting to explain how to make them to no avail..

    There is a 'Dusty Martini' it is Gin/Vermouth with a dash of Scotch.

  9. And if you do come to NYC (or Boston – come on, it's only a 4 hour bus or train ride), you must let me know so I can come in for the weekend and join your state side adventure.

  10. Most definitely! We've been trying to get a girls trip going to NYC for awhile. I haven't been for a few years and there are plenty of new bars I want to try. It will happen eventually and I will definitely let you know. Someone was just mentioning a Boston bar that sounds good called drink. Can't remember if you've been there on your blog but it definitely piqued my curiousity. I haven't been to Boston so it's on my list of places to hit as soon as I can.

  11. Hi Forest, I dropped in to La Fidélité last night…ordered a dry Martini with "trés peu de" Vermouth…but it was still too sweet…When I sent it back, the charming barman took the time to come and find out what was up. Although he insisted that a dry martini was one with 0,5 cl of Vermouth, I was more of the opinion that you should just rinse the glass with vermouth for it to be truly dry. He made another which was perfect. Nice to see such professionalism and willingness to meet expectations…

  12. hi justine:

    I love it when people give me updates on places I haven't been for awhile so thanks for keeping me posted. For martinis, originally they were made with significantly more vermouth. Over time the tendancy because to just rince the glass. I say go with whatever you like best. And, i'm glad to hear the staff were obliging to your request!!

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