Where to Find Paris’ Best Secret Bars (with a map)
I’ve been living in Paris for a while and I’m still being told about secret hideouts that exist around the city by people who’ve been at this a lot longer than I have.
I am told there are some bars in Paris that are so secret they exist completely free of social media and public forum. There are no address or trading hours available. The only way to experience them is the luck of the day; meaning someone who has been there before needs to take you to the location and even walk you in.
Since we can’t all rely on encountering kind, street-smart strangers every time we want a night out, we can instead enjoy all of the following secret bars in Paris. Are you ready?
Moonshiner in Paris
5 Rue Sedaine
Bastille has always been a favorite for concept bar nightlife. The Moonshiner is the neighborhoods very own prohibition themed speakeasy. Just entering the doors here and you’re whisked back to the 1920s.
I use the phrase “enter the doors” very lightly. There aren’t actually any doors specifically attached to this secret bar.
When you arrive at the address you’ll only find a pizzeria, Pizzeria Da Vito. Enter the pizzeria and make your way to the back of the restaurant and into the kitchen’s freezer. Once inside you should be able to spot the secret doorway that will lead you into the bar area.
The Moonshiner is an ambient little bar that is open seven days a week from 6pm until 2am. The music played within the space is usually jazz with a mix of blues. This bar is a great spot for both a full night out or simply an afterwork drink for those residing near the Bastille neighborhood.
Le Comptoir Général in Paris
80 Quai de Jemmapes
The Canal Saint Martin neighborhood is one of the off the beaten track parts of the city . Bars here are notoriously secret purely because no one knows they exist until they’re stumbling down the vibrant alley ways at one in the morning.
Le Comptoir Général is one of these. It is hidden in a quiet side alley near the right bank of the canal. What makes this bar so interesting is that you will rarely find the same decor in here twice.
Le Comptoir Général changes the entire interior of the bar on a regular basis to suit the theme of the week or month. At any given time, you could be walking into a scene from a shipwreck, or a 90s teen film, or your geography teachers classroom.
The retro furniture does well to compliment any radical concept that management comes up with. It’s a fun alternative to the secret bars of Paris that tend to always revolve around the 1920s speakeasy vibe.
Take note that this bar closes it’s doors at 1am each evening.
Candelaria in Paris
52 Rue de Saintonge
Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite Mexican restaurant in all of Paris: Candelaria.
Situated in the northern part of le Marais, Candelaria is both a Mexican taqueria and a secret bar in one. Most people start their evening in the restaurant area, gorging on authentic, homemade tacos and tostadas.
After you eat you can make your way into the back of the restaurant where there is a secret doorway that leads to the cocktail bar section of the establishment.
The bar area is tiny and mostly lit by candlelight. The mixologists here specialized in creating cocktails with the Mexican spirit known as Mezcal (think tequila but much smokier).
In addition to cocktails made with Mezcal, they also do all the usual cocktails you’d expect to find in a well equipped bar in Paris. So well equipped, in fact, that this secret spot has actually won multiple mixology awards over recent years.
Visit Candelaria on Tuesdays to take advantage of those taco-Tuesday festivities.
Le Ballroom du Beefclub in Paris
58 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Le Ballroom du Beefclub is a secret bar in the 2nd arrondissement not far from les Halles. This is an exceptionally glamorous bar with an equal amount of mystery in the mix; many locals of this area don’t even know this spot exists.
To get inside you’ll have to go through the Beefclub restaurant. Behind the restaurant there is a plain black door that appears to be a staff only type entrance. Once you go through it you’ll begin to descend down a deep spiral staircase until eventually you’re thrust into the dimly lit Ballroom — you’ve found it!
Expect exposed brick, old booths, retro lighting and moody music. It’s a wonderful spot to enjoy good drinks and conversation without being drowned out by drunken chaos.
The best part about the Ballroom is that it is open until 5am on Fridays and Saturdays. Neither the restaurant nor the bar are open on Sundays.
Experimental Cocktail Club in Paris
37 Rue Saint-Sauveur
The Experimental Cocktail Club is owned by the same individuals behind the afore mentioned Le Ballroom du Beefclub. When it comes to secret, prohibition style bars these guys know how to do it.
For a secret bar in Paris, the Experimental Cocktail Club is actually quite well known due to its overwhelming success over the years. This unfortunately means arriving early if you’d like to get in. The bar opens at 7pm sharp every evening.
Another bar that takes you right out of the modern day and into a time long before you were born; the Experimental Cocktail Club will have to wrapped up in a range of jazz, blues, hip hop and 80s music as long as the whiskey keeps flowing.
The bar was opened back in 2007 by three friends who sought to bring a new kind of nightlife to the Parisian bar scene. As mentioned, they have since opened another bar/restaurant hybrid close by; Le Ballroom du Beefclub.
It seems when it comes to hospitality, these three know what’s what. The feedback from all of their secret bar spaces are nothing but positive words of enjoyment, satisfaction and being ultimately impressed from the decor to the service.
The Experiment Cocktail Club also happens to be a bucket list venue for mixologists from around the world who would like to visit Paris to further their craft.
Le Carmen in Paris
34 Rue Duperré
Le Carmen is one of the most ambient, seductive and beautiful spaces I’ve explored in Paris. The interior reflects more of a 19th century museum space than a public bar vicinity; the Musée Jacquemart-André and the Cognacq-Jay come to mind.
The reason that le Carmen has managed to stay so under the radar is that it is situated one road south of the main Pigalle strip. Visitors to the nightlife in this area tend to overlook everything that isn’t situated on the main road, as this is where most of the bars, restaurants and clubs are located.
By heading one block south you’re away from the bustling chaos of Pigalle and one step closer to this hidden gem.
I always equate le Carmen to a 1930s piano bar from every mob film ever made. In true mob style, the bar is open from 6pm until 6am; they do not open on Sundays or Mondays.
The perfect place for an afterwork drink in the Pigalle area. This is not where you’ll be fighting the usual cabaret and peep show crowds for a spot at the bar.
Little Red Door in Paris
60 Rue Charlot
The only thing that exists to give this secret bar away is quite literally, a little red door. That, combined with the perpetual queue of people outside of the door all eager to get in!
If you want to take part in this hidden bar then you’ll have to get here early. This is not the place you wander over to at 10pm when your previous spot in le Marais isn’t meeting your satisfaction.
The Little Red Door is open from 6pm until 2am, seven days a week. It has become a bit of an institution for the people of this arrondissement; a consistent place where you can enjoy early evening drinks or a full on night out.
Again, yes, I would classify this hidden bar as a speakeasy. Another space that takes you deep into the 1920s the minute you step inside. Each of the cocktails on the menu is inspired by different architectural eras throughout history.
There is a doorman who handles the front entrance; dress well and be nice.
Lavomatic in Paris
30 Rue René Boulanger
Before I finally made my way to Lavomatic I thought the story behind it was nothing but a poorly worded rumor. A bar behind a washing machine? Non.
To my delight, Lavomatic really is a bar behind a washing machine! And a weird & wonderful bar at that.
By day this is just your regular laundromat. Customers can be seen washing and drying their clothing, flipping magazines and minding their own business.
By night things take a different turn. The rightmost washing machine is where you need to go. You’ll be instructed to press the start cycle button only to find that this opens up the secret doorway behind the machine.
Make your way into the door and down the stairwell. The basement is where the Lavomatic bar can be found.
The bar is inspired by pop-art. It is somewhat of an adult playground if you will, with swings and bizarre seating throughout the space. It is truly kitsch and highly enjoyable.
No Entry in Paris
20 bis Rue de Douai
Another hidden speakeasy in the south of Pigalle that event the free guided walking tours seem to overlook!
No Entry is accessible through the cold-store room in the Italian restaurant at the same location called Pink Mamma. Make your way to the back of the restaurant and through the chiller where you’ll come to a secret doorway and stairwell.
No Entry exists underneath Pink Mamma and is often offered to customers as a waiting area while their tables are being prepared. No Entry is open to all, however, even those not dining up the stairs in the restaurant.
The music is light and the bar is drowned in subtle, red hues that work well to calm the nerves of those of us who are slightly claustrophobic. Being underground, there are obviously no windows in the space and it is easy to lose track of time.
No Entry is closed on Sundays and Mondays. The rest of the week they operate between 7pm and 1am. Once they close, you are a short walk from the main Pigalle strip where you can find many other bars and clubs to continue your night in.
The Library Bar at The Saint-James in Paris
5 Place du Chancelier Adenauer
Over 12,000 books were loaded into the space to create the library nightlife experience that we can now enjoy. The ambiance is exactly what you’d expect of a library from time gone by: old wood, polished leather, portraits of unknown men.
Its wonderful, and not at all as pretentious as you’d expect. Being so far from the city centre means you’re mingling with locals as opposed to just tourists for a change!