4, Boulevard Malesherbes
Tel : 01 42 65 37 86
(1 March 2010 update note: I’ve recently been back into the forvm and just loving what they are doing right now. Jerome is kicking ass behind the bar. I’m in a bit swamped right now, but I’ll be doing an updated post for this as soon as I can get in and take some new pictures. But, go visit those boys for some seriously enjoyable drinks!)
I went to Bar le Forum, prompted by an email from my friend Dayne, asking if I had been and pointing out that it had been nominated by Tales of the Cocktail for 2008 Best Classic Cocktail Bar (also among the list is my current favorite Paris cocktail bar: Experimental Cocktail Club.) I have to say I am a tiny bit surprised that it was on the nomination list – mainly because it seems a good cocktail bar for Paris – but that list pretty much covers the world. Now, my impression may be a bit skewed because normally I sit at the bar where I can watch, question and interact if possible. This time the group of 7 or so was larger than usual (including friends, Paul and Lauren, who joined us all the way from Seattle for this Cocktail Adventure) so we sat at a large table away from the bar. So, being happily involved with my friends, I’m sure I wasn’t as attentive to the bar going-ons as usual.
Le Forum has an old-boys’ school feel with its scattering of comfy armchairs, dark wood, low tables and cozy corners. I loved the two old juke boxes in the back, although took issue with what I found to be extremely unattractive carpet. (This certainly doesn’t affect the cocktails – I just often wonder why both public transportation upholstery and business carpeting can be found in such horrendous patterns).
Their menu made me giggle (immaturely) over such drinks as the “Pimp Martini” and the “Porn Star Martini” but I opted for the Dry Ten. This was pretty much a basic martini (Tanquery Ten & Nouilly Pratt) with a grapefruit twist. It was good, but I’ve discovered I’m not so partial to martini’s made with Tanquery Ten. My fellow tasters were generally happy with their various drink and the service was good. For my second round the server brought me something suggested by the bar based on my preferences. (It was gin, house bitters & cassis? I will take better notes next time when I blog so long after the fact!) It was good and I liked the simplicity of not trying to concoct something crazy or distracting me with umbrellas and sparklers.
Overall, at 16 – 18 Euros a drink, I was happy but not over the moon, jumping up and down, impressed by the place. I felt like they were very good, solidly-made cocktails, and did appreciate the interest the server/bartender took in recommending something based on my preferences. However, I feel like I should perhaps give this place another chance and will possibly come back with a glowing review. It’s a good place to check out given the standard of most Parisian cocktail bars and its lower prices relative to upscale hotel bars with good drinks. But, none of the regulars (or semi-regulars) in the group raved about it like they have over a couple of the past places.