PARGuide

The Best Wine Bars In Paris

The best caves à vins, bars à vins, caves à manger, and combos of all three.

Despite the name of this guide, you won’t really find a “wine bar” in the American sense in Paris. But you will find a lot of different places where you can drink wine. Caves (pronounced “cah-ve”) reign supreme in the capital, are extremely casual, and don’t really have any rules. At one, you might sidle up to an oak barrel on a sidewalk surrounded by unopened cases of Jura savagnin, while at another you’ll linger on the street as the sun sets, sampling a citrusy chablis with a snack before you pick up a bottle to take home.

Then there are bars à vins and caves à manger, where you can pull up an actual stool and order from a bartender (and maybe even off a menu). These are more likely to require reservations and often feel closer to a restaurant—which makes sense since you're legally required to order food if you want to drink at a cave à manger.

To help you navigate it all, here’s our pick of 18 caves à vins, bars à vins, caves à manger, and combos of all three, arranged by neighborhood for your petit barathon (that’s French for bar crawl) convenience.

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MID 11TH ARRONDISSEMENT


Bambino imageoverride image

Bambino

Bambino has an energetic and friendly atmosphere, plus a giant wall of records they spin on a player behind the bar, so it’s an ideal place to drink really tasty natural wines while listening to great music. The fact that they also serve really great bar food, like a rotisserie chicken sandwich dripping in jus, spinach-stuffed calzones, and grilled corn covered in pecorino cheese and crushed hazelnuts, is a bonus. Their wine selection is extensive, but don’t bother with the list: Just tell the somm what you’re after and they’ll make a solid suggestion. The kitchen closes at 11pm, but they keep pouring wine until 2am.


The building that houses Delicatessen Place used to be a shoe repair shop, and with their “Cordonnerie Derby” sign and green facade, is almost impossible to miss. The inside has exposed concrete, wooden walls, and Edison bulbs dangling over the counter, and there’s an Irish barman who will pour you a glass of whatever red or white is open at the time—most likely it’ll be French and natural. For a bottle, pop next door into the wine shop, and they’ll help you pick one, cork it, and send you back to the bar (or the sidewalk) to enjoy it. The snacky food—think oeufs mimosa, pois gourmand (a plate of stewed peas), or just-sliced spicy chorizo—is prepared by the aforementioned barman, displayed buffet-style, and served when he has a moment to get to you.


This bar à vins feels a bit more polished than other spots on this guide, with a wooden counter and high-back leather seats, and a focus on more traditional wines, like Rhone Valley marsanne. But the abstract art on the wall, black-and-white photo of the owner’s grandmother, and Stevie Wonder-heavy soundtrack keep things feeling cool. On weekdays they offer a superb lunch menu, where you can order a tartine (we like the Syrah with fresh goat cheese and fig jam) and a glass of wine for €15. Or, stop by on a Wednesday night for live jazz.


The Brutos team opened this more casual, drink-focused cave à manger next door in June 2021. You’ll find a similar crowd—families with young kids when they open at 5pm, chain-smoking twentysomethings later in the evening—all chatting around tiny round cabaret tables on the sidewalk. The menu here has things like the tapioca cheeseballs that were a hit at Brutos, and buttery but crispy gnocchi with peas and pesto. The wine list is predominantly French, plus has a few international hits, like a €39 liter of gruner from the Czech Republic that goes down like water.


Choosing between ice cream or a crispy pet-nat on a hot summer day is hard, but the team at Folderol knows this and lets you have both in one place. This dessert spot and bar à vins in the 11th Arr. is just a couple hundred feet down from their sister restaurant, the Japanese-inspired Le Rigmarole, and has become increasingly popular since opening in early 2021. If you stay to eat your scoop, choose from the flavors scribbled on the left-hand side of the mirror that might include strawberry shortcake, sesame brownie, and peanut butter crunch. Sip on something from small, independent producers at the horseshoe-shaped bar and snack on some olive oil-soaked focaccia if you're hungry for something other than ice cream.


RIVE GAUCHE / ST. GERMAIN-DES-PRES


This is the most recent (and biggest) addition to the L’Avant Comptoir snack-and-sip family. While the two other locations near Odeon are known for standing-room-only crowds where you might end up elbowed in the face as someone reaches for the giant slab of butter on the bar, this one has plenty of space and even some actual chairs. But there’s still some edge in the form of a grumpy and impatient bartender who won’t pour tasting after tasting (even if you speak French), so come feeling decisive. Luckily, the small bowl of whipped tarama sprinkled with chives and basil pesto gets served with a semi-smile. Paired with a dense corn and wheat flour bread filled with flecks of sunflower seeds, it’s the perfect late afternoon snack when you’re hungry after wandering aimlessly around St.-Germain-des-Prés.


photo credit: Sara Lieberman

Bar Etna  review image

Bar Etna

$$$$+0613885716
Hours:FRI
6PM-2AM

Unlike L’Avant Comptoir du Marché, Bar Etna encourages indecisiveness. There’s no traditional carte du vin here, just a small laminated menu with illustrations of snacks—like truffle gorgonzola cheese, sardines, burrata, and oysters—and instructions to “describe in your own words the wine you like.” And if words fail you, they’ll happily come over and pour you a taste or three of a Sardinian red using carignan grapes or a light Loire Valley chenin blanc. Get there before 7pm to grab one of the corduroy-covered stools at the four standalone wooden tables, otherwise join the crowd of young locals standing around the bar that looks like a giant, hollowed-out canoe.


Rive Gauche is generally known for being pretty touristy and old-school, but Chez Nous is anything but. The long, narrow space with exposed stone walls, sharp steel counters, and a wooden bar makes for a great place to go on a date, or with a group if you’re traveling with friends. The owners know their stuff and are happy to talk about the French-focused list that includes many by-the-glass options and a deep bottle selection, so prepare to be educated but without any of the usual wine snobbery. If you’re hungry, this is an excellent bar à vins for top-notch cheese or charcuterie, like thinly-shaved slices of truffle-inflected gouda, or a plate of creamy goat cheese drizzled in honey.


UPPER MARAIS


This spot from the people behind the fun, small plate-focused restaurant Déviant is located in a large space in the Haute Marais. And when we say large, we mean it: there’s counter seating in the front for seafood snacks and tapas, a main dining room with a full menu where you’ll need a reservation, and a cave downstairs holding hundreds of bottles to browse through and cork on the spot. The restaurant serves classics like onion soup and pot au feu, but we much prefer the front section where you can get tastier small bites and the wine selection without a reservation. They also do cocktails like the Clemintina with pet-nat, clementine cordial, and spices, hold meet-the-winemaker pop-ups, and are open for lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday.


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Everything about this place screams classic wine bar: an oval-shaped, open-kitchen bar, wine glasses hanging upside down from a rack above, and bottles-as-decoration along shelves in the back. You should make a reservation, and while they won’t turn you away if there’s an open seat between bookings, you probably won’t be able to linger. So it’s worth planning ahead to taste the likes of fresh tuna tartare with a kick (thanks to some jalapeños), and a creamy lasagna you won’t want to share. It’s great for a quick glass with a friend or a date to sample crisp crément from the Loire, just know it’s not the best for groups since it’s side-by-side seating only.


LOWER MARAIS


Technically, this place is named after all the 1.5-liter bottles they have on offer, but they also go in hard on the ‘80s TV show of the same name. Despite all the posters of a mustachioed Tom Selleck, there’s nothing cheesy about this popular bar à vins just off rue de Rivoli in the Marais. The servers know their stuff and are happy to recommend something different and new, probably with lots of skin contact. There are a couple of tables outside where it gets really lively thanks to the other bars nearby, but inside has all the character. Did we mention the Tom Selleck photos?


You can’t get more centrally located than Nellu, located a block from the Seine and Ile Saint-Louis. Arrive starting at 5pm for wine and light snacks, or come later on for some larger dishes like an al dente spelt risotto with mussels and bonito flakes. Wash it all down with something crisp and natural, like a weißburgunder, a German pinot blanc, or a sauvignon from independent (and lauded) Loire Valley producer Noella Morantin. The shared plates change up every month or so, and while the wine list has options from the Czech Republic to Croatia, just tell the somm what you’re after and they’ll make recommendations. This is the central Marais, so prices skew a tad higher than other bar à vins (€10-12 for glasses and food from €9-34), and pretty much everybody here speaks English.


EAST 11TH AND 12TH ARRONDISSEMENTS


There’s a reason why duck memorabilia (mugs, salt and pepper shakers, and more) is all over this corner café that’s not really a café: coin, pronounced “qua” in French, sounds exactly like what ducks say. It’s hard to tell whether this spot is more popular during lunch, where reservations are a must and they serve a €20 three-course meal of seasonal dishes, or at night when crowds spill out onto the corner, sipping €7 syrah-grenache blends and snacking on pizzettas. Day or night, come alone and make a friend or two, or come with friends and make a dozen more.


Eretyk is a wine-sake-vermouth cave à manger on a small side street just off rue de Charonne. The Italian owner does all the wine buying and cooking, but don't expect Italian classics—the menu is more "what he feels like" than anything else. In practice, that might mean pasta (a green tagliatelle with peas and bread crumbs, perhaps), but also melon from the Southwest of France with smoked ham in a blueberry sauce. As for the wine, there is a list, but the staff prefer you talk to them and share what you feel like. It’s all natural, so on a hot, sticky night when there’s no table on the terrace, try a crisp, unfiltered muscadet from the Loire Atlantique while sitting inside and listening to the jazz coming from the speakers.


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photo credit: Sara Lieberman

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Pur Vin

$$$$+330144974389
Hours:FRI
11AM-10PM
Perfect For:Drinking Good Wine

Since this spot in the 12th arrondissement is a true cave à vins, it opens early at 3pm, making it a great place for a break during Paris’s off-dining hours. Glass options are displayed behind the bar and change every two days or so, and bottles are in a fridge in the back—after finishing one on-site, they’ll encourage you to write a message on it to be displayed as part of the decor. The focus here is definitely more on drinking, but they do have meats, cheeses, and a few seasonal dishes like zucchini strips topped with shredded smokey scarmoza cheese, strawberries, and hazelnuts.


9TH ARRONDISSEMENT / SOUTH PIGALLE


The small seasonal plates are the star of the show at this vinyl-themed cave à manger in SoPi. Come with a group of friends so you can share a bunch of things, and ask for extra bread to sop up roasted carrot coconut curry and a ceviche marinated in beet juice and ponzu. If you want to sit inside, where there are dripping candlesticks, whitewashed and exposed stone walls, and turntables spinning records from the bar’s collection, you’ll need to book ahead. The extensive wine list covers a bunch of regions, and there are fun descriptions, so you’ll find a Tuscan pinot grigio listed as “punky and aromatic—it changes!" and a Vieux gamay described as “a crush—like an explosion of cherries.”


This bar à vins just off rue des Martyrs is ideal for a tasting with the parents or hosting a big gathering in the downstairs cave. It’s not that things don’t get rowdy at 228 Liters, it’s just that they’ll usually only seat you if you have a reservation (even if there are several open tables). Glasses here are priced a bit higher than other places around town, but this place still isn't expensive and has a more unusual selection of bottles. The food menu is minimal but features small helpings of whelk, bowls of hummus, and a plate of tomatoes and mozzarella.


With records, magazines, and framed event posters lining the white shelves inside, Fro. feels like the apartment of one of your coolest friends. And since this cave at the bottom end of Pigalle opens at 5pm, it makes for a great place to begin your night—whether you’re picking up a to-go bottle or just want to enjoy the sounds of Snoop Dogg while sipping one of the “vins du moment.” The focus here is natural wines at affordable prices, so expect to pay between €5 and €7 for the likes of a Jaunita, a cloudy, fruity chardonnay from Languedoc, or a dry, minerally muscadet from the Loire Valley. They also serve several tasty snacks including a shitake mushroom bánh mì or soja-marinated deviled eggs with a lemony mayo, as well as monthly specials like a hot dog and a glass of wine for €12.


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