The Parisian Speakeasy

My new favourite thing to do every time N comes to stay is to visit a different Speakeasy bar.

For anyone who doesn’t know what a Speakeasy is, according to Wiki it’s an ‘illicit establishment selling alcoholic beverages’ – popular during prohibition in the US, when clubs couldn’t look like clubs. They had to pretend to be what they weren’t – essentially a bar that looks like something else from the outside.

I’d found a list of Speakeasies on the BHV Marais blog (see the original post here), and was instantly intrigued. We’ve only been to two so far, but they’ve been some of the best nights out I’ve had since I’ve been here.

Le Moonshiner

This place had some of the best cocktails I’ve ever had.

In the front it looks like a regular Pizza restaurant. We arrived a little unsure of ourselves and asked a waitress for ‘Le Moonshiner?’. She gestured towards an inconspicuous brown door at the back next to the till, and we passed through to what looked like a regular storage room with kegs of beer and crates full of potatoes. Just beyond that was another door, made to look like a standard grey entrance to a warehouse, but pass through it and it was the most amazing bar! Soft, golden light, amazing cocktails made fresh, and it was completely packed.

N likes his whisky so he had a degustation or a whisky tasting menu – three glasses, going from cloudy to not so cloudy, and each with its own story.

I had two fruity cocktails – pretty strong and fabulous.

We loved this place, and would definitely recommend if you’re looking for somewhere special and are around Bastille.


This place was so much fun. It just looks like a trendy laundrette from the outside, and actually had functioning washing machines dotted around the room. We arrived and were told that there was a 20 minute wait, so left to get a drink elsewhere and come back, because it looked quiet. This was a mistake! By the time we got back there was a big queue, but we were so determined we stayed, and it took about 25 minutes to get in. I think if you went before 10pm, you’d have no trouble with queues.

We couldn’t find the door at first, but it turned out that it was disguised as a washing machine. You press a button on the machine door handle and pass through up an almost pitch black staircase to a tiny bar filled with nooks and crannies to have a lovely conversation. You’re seated by a waiter and they bring your drink over so you don’t have to wait at the bar.

I didn’t like these cocktails as much as Le Moonshiner, but they had some really interesting flavours so definitely worth trying out. I had a pear cocktail with some chilli in it, which sounds horrible but actually grew on me. If you’re into experimental flavours in your drinks, it might be for you.

Really fun place to come but you’re here more for the experience of walking through a washing machine than anything else.

We loved our time at these two bars, and I can’t wait to work our way through the list and report back. Next up – a bar where the password to get in changes every week. Who knew that walking through a secret door could be so fun? 




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