The Best Bars in Bordeaux, France

Some of Bordeauxs best bars come with incredible views of the city
Some of Bordeaux's best bars come with incredible views of the city | © Andrey Khrobostov / Alamy Stock Photo
Emma Calley

In a country as wine-obsessed as France, it’s difficult to pinpoint a singular viticultural capital. However, the southwestern city of Bordeaux presents a strong case for the national title – and perhaps even the world. It’s home to 57 protected wine regions, thousands of wineries and more than 120,000 hectares of vines – there’s even Cité du Vin, a wine museum located close to the Garonne River. If you’re imagining a city awash with wine bars, you’re not far off. But Bordeaux is also home to countless pubs, clubs and hidden speakeasies. Head off the beaten wine trail and you’ll find plenty of great bars.

1. Bar à Vin

Bar, Wine Bar, Pub Grub

Maison du Vin, CIVB on Allees de Tourny and Place de la Comedie. Monument aux Girondins. Bordeaux Gironde, France
© Per Karlsson, BKWine 2 / Alamy Stock Photo
You’ll find local reds, whites, clarets and sparkling inside this premier wine bar. Centrally located within the 18th-century Maison du Vin de Bordeaux – seat of the Interprofessional Council for Bordeaux Wines – Bar à Vin is staffed by sommeliers committed to curating a memorable experience. Every detail is accounted for, from the individual glassware to the accompanying cheese platter; all that’s left to do is brush up on your tasting terms.

2. Le CanCan

Bar, Cocktail Bar, European

This speakeasy-style bar, buried in the backstreets of Bordeaux, is dedicated to cocktails made with French spirits. Its warm interiors and leather couches create a cosy atmosphere, inviting you to stay a while. But don’t be fooled by its entrance: in order to get in, you’ll need to enter a library and call the staff via a phone booth – prohibition style.

3. Mama Shelter

Bar, Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, French

Bordeaux,France: the bar at Mama Shelter hotel. Image shot 03/2016. Exact date unknown.
© ilpo musto / Alamy Stock Photo
Mama Shelter is one of the trendiest hotels in town – greenery lines the sides of its sixth-floor rooftop bar and patrons dine at multi-coloured tables, illuminated by fairy lights. The bar overlooks the Saint André Cathedral and is thought to have one of the best sunset views in town. Come nightfall, order ‘Mama hugs you’ – a fruity Absolut Vodka cocktail – and admire the sparkling city lights.

4. Bar Jeux Barjo

Bar, Cocktails

France, Gironde, Bordeaux, area listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, game bar Jeux Barjo
© HAUSER Patrice / / Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

This isn’t your average Bordeaux bar. Bar Jeux Barjo is a board game bar in the city centre, equipped with hundreds of games for both foreigners and French speakers to play. Tell the staff what you’re interested in and they’ll make custom suggestions. Prices include a game and drink – like draught beer or local vin – plus a tutorial, so you can enjoy a night of wholesome fun while sipping on a local drinks.

5. The Houses of Parliament

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub

Bordeaux old town aerial view
© Kabataan / Alamy Stock Photo
Known to its regulars as ‘HoP’, the Houses of Parliament is an English-style pub in the lively Vieux Bordeaux (Old Bordeaux) district. It has everything you could expect of a British bar – from a hefty beer menu to live music, a pool table and even a Sunday quiz. Both local and international beers are available at HoP, but the emphasis is on craft brews.

6. Vintage Bar

Bar, Pub, Cocktails

Vintage Bar in central Bordeaux, France
© Jeffrey Blackler / Alamy Stock Photo

Vintage Bar is a rhumerie (rum bar) on the busy Rue Saint-James, just metres from the iconic Grosse Cloche. The busy bar offers happy hour specials from four until eight every day, making it a popular hangout among the young Bordelais. Grab a spot on the terrace between Monday and Friday if you’re keen for a quiet drink in the heart of Old Town Bordeaux – or if you’re up for a night out, there are live DJ sets on Saturdays.

7. BAM Karaoke Box

Bar, Cocktails

Karaoke is a popular night-out activity across Asia, but it’s still a relatively new concept in Europe. BAM Karaoke Box is changing this, one tropical-themed private booth at a time. Their Bordeaux location is in the busy Chartrons district, and encourages visitors to pick up a mic and sing their hearts out. No need to be nervous – their cocktails will quell any pre-song jitters.

8. Le Siman

Bar, French

Pont de Pierre at dusk. Stone Bridge & Garonne River. Bordeaux, Gironde. Aquitaine region. France Europe
© Jerónimo Alba / Alamy Stock Photo

Situated by the Garonne River, Le Siman may just have the best views in all of Bordeaux. This rooftop bar and restaurant looks out over the city’s historic skyline and the famous Pont de Pierre. Order a drink and some hors d’oeuvres on the scenic terrace, no matter the season – it’s ideal on a balmy evening and heated during the winter.

9. Symbiose

Restaurant, French

By day, Symbiose is a Michelin-starred restaurant plating up modern French cuisine – but head beyond the looming grandfather clock when the kitchen closes and you’ll discover a hidden speakeasy, serving some of the best cocktails in Bordeaux. Just like its avante-garde food menu, the drinks at Symbiose are exceptionally creative and curated based on an annual theme.

10. La Comtesse

Bar, Pub Grub, Cocktails

From the quirky decor that frames the entry to the well-loved vintage furniture within, La Comtesse exudes French charm. This intimate hole-in-the-wall bar is a haven from the busy Rue Parlement Saint-Pierre, and attracts both locals and visitors most nights of the week. On a cool night, snuggle up by the fireplace with a glass of red or sip a refreshing ginger cocktail outside in the summer.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Alexandra Jones.

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