109 Rue de Bagnolet
Tel: +33 (0)1 43 48 48 48
I have a new crush. And, it’s not just because Nicolas, the head bartender over at Mama Shelter, is a cutie. Really, it’s because he knows his drinks. I arrived to meet Matt and Violaine and Ben (special visitor all the way from Oman) at this sleek, hyper trendy venue tucked away in the remote, but recently buzzing 20th. The hotel is funky hip and very reasonably priced at its current rates of about 70 Euros/room per night.
I imagine people will either love or hate the almost too-cool-for-school feel of Mama Shelter. This Philippe Starck designed hotel boasts a huge bar/eatery on the ground floor, which is covered with fun bits and pieces (writing on the ceiling, guitars on display, glowing bar tops). As I’ve mentioned before, even though I love a slickly designed space, I get a little worried that the effort went into form and not function. My fears were slightly assuaged with a look at the cocktail menu. Mama Shelter offers up a nice selection of solid and classic cocktails (aviation, sazerac, brandy crusta, etc) and a list of what I can only assume are house creations as I’ve never heard of the “Last Thing To Do Before You Die” or “Bubble Bum” They’ve got a few different bitters in stock, which is also a nice bonus.
I went for my usual and got a stirred Beefeater/NP martini with an olive and was very pleased, indeed. I chatted briefly with Nicolas who gave me a rundown on why you shouldn’t keep gin in the freezer. I prefer not to, as well, and didn’t really need this schooling, but appreciated the fact that he seemed interested and informed about cocktails in general. He also got into a bit of a discussion on the martinez (my second round) and Dale Degroff. These aren’t topics that the vast majority of Parisian bartenders will tangent off on.
At 12 – 14 these drinks are a steal. I was a bit like a kid on Christmas morning because you just don’t find this kind of selection on cocktail menus here. Even though this is really out of my way, I will definitely be heading back for another cocktail or two soon. I might even try the food!
NOTE: Mama Shelter has gone through many staff changes since this original post. The drink quality is not nearly the same as it once was.