Prune de Nuit
12 rue Marie et Louise
Tel : 01 40 03 63 27
Although curious by nature, I have no desire to know what people are saying behind my back. If it’s something bad, I don’t want to know. If it’s something good, then I’ll just feel an irrational responsibility to live up to someone else’s expectations. Similarly, I get a little nervous sometimes when I’m blogging on a bar recommended by someone I know. I really want my post to live up to their expectations of the bar. But, what if it sucks, and I blog that and the person takes it as a personal affront and never speaks to me again? And what, then, if I need a blood transfusion and it turns out I’ve got a rare blood type and this person has the SAME blood type? However, we’re no longer speaking because of my nefarious post, so they don’t give me the transfusion? Well, fret not, gentle readers. I have not yet lost a potential blood donor!
This week I stopped by the Prune de Nuit, which was recommended by Sasha over at ParisIncognito. She thought it would be up my alley. When I arrived, I immediately saw why she might think so. The arrangements of tiny twinkling lights, the hot pink wall behind the bar and the glowing tables provide a unpretentiously fun ambiance. The banquettes and bar stools are hip and comfy. The purple glowing bar doesn’t scream “we’re going to charge you through the nose” (like the one at Pershing Hall) but rather it says, “We’re fun and a bit funky, but down to earth.” So far, so good.
The cocktail menu, however, did concern me a bit. It wasn’t the 15 choices, which is a decent enough number for a bar that doesn’t tout itself as a cocktail destination, but rather the abundance of cosmo variations and vodka based drinks. For many serious cocktail enthusiasts, there are great cocktails and there are vodka cocktails but never the twain shall meet. In fact, there are many who take this as a measurement of how serious you really are about cocktails. I’m of two minds about this. As my drinking tastes mature, I appreciate that there are many more interesting spirits to put into your drinks and would opt for pretty much anything over vodka. On the other hand, it’s only cocktails, folks, not world peace, so I’ve been known to try and enjoy some vodka drinks myself. So…the vodka heavy menu did not doom it, just encouraged me to watch the barman a bit closer to see what he could do.
And, his martini making did not disappoint. I expected him to reach for Gordon’s, but – surprise – there was none behind this bar. He pulled down the Tanqueray and Noilly Pratt for my martini which was stirred and poured into into a nicely chilled glass. He topped it off with an olive and served it up with some killer bar snacks of chips and guacamole, tiny chicken wings, and olives. He followed up to see if the drink was okay, which is always appreciated. And, I proclaimed it ‘super’.
I followed my martini with le chic (raspberry juice, fig liqueur & champagne), which pleased me when I realized it wasn’t – as I feared it might be – overtly sweet. I proclaimed it interestingly tasty and yummy. By now I know the bartender/owner is named Bruno, so I ask my new friend, Bruno, about the “cocktail du jour.” He tells me he is in the process of creating it and offers me the drink he is currently making on the house. It was a very simple combination of fresh melon juice and vodka. While I would normally enjoy a drink with more complexity, I proclaimed this one (apparently I’m very into proclaiming today) ‘nice, refreshing and very sell-able” And, I meant it. It’s incredibly hot in Paris right now, that cooling little concoction was the best drink I had all night.
While Prune de Nuit is not a craft cocktail destination, I think Bruno is successfully working his cocktail skills behind the bar. And, here was the cincher for us: he’s just really nice. Mylene and Ritu, who both opted for the Chilean wine at 6 Euros/glass, enthused about the place. The prices were reasonable at 10 Euros a drink, but the addition of the many little munchies make this a very pleasing deal. While cocktail elitists may shy away from the many vodka based drinks on the menu, I think even they would find that this little unassuming place has just enough of the good stuff behind the bar to get a well made and enjoyable drink. Well played, Sasha – we can still exchange blood!
18/12 UPDATE: I was just speaking with a reader last night who was in the Prune de Nuit recently and said the drinks are quite up to snuff these days. I haven’t had the opportunity to make it back in and try so just thought I’d pass that info on.