There are thousands of bars in Paris.
However, there is only one bar that:
- houses the piano bar used by George Gershwin to compose “An American in Paris.”
- was frequented by famous patrons, including Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart, the Duke of Windsor.
- is the originator of the Bloody Mary, Sidecar, and Monkey Gland.
- holds a straw poll that has accurately predicted the outcome of every American election (save 3) since 1924. Side note, even THEY didn’t see 2016 coming!
- should 100% be part of your perfect day in Paris.
- led to the loss of James Bond’s virginity (at least, according to Ian Fleming in 1960’s “From a View to a Kill”).
Boyfriend Perspective: Ian Fleming modeled James Bond after himself, using many of his own experiences as inspiration. Being a James Bond fan, I was excited to visit a piece of history that he thought was memorable enough to include in his writing as part of James’ early life.
If all that sounds up your alley, then…
Head to “Sank Roo Doe Noo”
Harry’s is a little bit of something special, even in a city full of special things.
Its classic neon sign beckons you from a distance. We walked into a cluttered, equally classic barroom filled the pictures, tchotchkes, typical wooden tables and chairs, and warm light. The hostess asked if we’d prefer to be upstairs (where we had walked in) or down, and we both chose down. Down a narrow staircase, and it was like we’d shot straight back to the 1930s.
Packed with red velvet-covered seats and glossy, dark-stained tables, you can find couples canoodling in booths and friends chatting over cocktails. The light is low and the sounds of the live jazz duo in the corner trade off with clicks and clanks from the bar. Black and white pictures of famous patrons line the walls.
We sat right near the front of the room, just across from the jazz. Despite being tired, we both ordered one of Harry’s classic cocktails and settled in to decompress on our last night in Paris.
The music ran the gamut from vintage to modern, covers of all kinds of tunes. And even though most folks weren’t actively listening – until there was a particularly impressive drum solo, that is – the guys looked like they were loving every second of their set.
Then, they played a particularly fantastic cover of “Let’s Do It” by Cole Porter – ladies and gentlemen, this is where you can come to have your perfect vintage night in Paris.
Boyfriend Perspective: And booze. The drinks are expensive, but great. And the setting is pretty damn cool.
This felt for us like a once in a lifetime experience – and we were so sad to have to leave.
This one’s definitely on our list for a second look on our next trip!
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Also published on Medium.