Considering its glittering reputation, it’s no surprise that Cannes has a steady supply of trendy drinking haunts. Whether you’re hunting down a well-made cocktail, a delicious glass of wine to sip while taking in the views or a more raucous evening, Cannes has something for everyone. Read on for the best Bars in Cannes, where you can feel like a star under the French Riviera sky.
Le Bar à Vin
Bar, Wine Bar, French, $$$
Le Bar à Vin | Courtesy of Tom Mazzarese / Le Bar à Vin
If you’re looking for a traditional wine bar experience, the aptly named Le Bar à Vin might be right up your alley. With various cheeses and around 100 wines, there’s plenty of scope to try different combinations with friends. The outside seating is cosy, with high stools and some tables made from old barrels. Popular with locals for a good reason, this is an intimate venue you’ll be glad you found.
Chrystie is a raucous, late-night place for people who look the part and have money to spend. It centres around a circular bar where people congregate for ‘after works’, which is what the French call happy hour. It has a cabaret feel and you shouldn’t feel shy about dressing up – this place still has a ladies’ night. People love the cocktails, the minibar snacks and the lively atmosphere.
This hotel bar, belonging to the Hôtel Martinez, ranks among the best piano bars in France. Enjoy the Art Deco styling and photos of celebrities lining the walls. You can find live piano and singing on the terrace every evening in the summer season, so pretend you’re in Hollywood and sit with a martini. Over the winter, the musicians are still out – every day apart from Monday. This is old-fashioned glamour, where the barmen often win awards for their cocktails and where you can easily escape the outdoor hustle and bustle.
Just opposite Cannes’ famous Palais, which hosts the film festival each year, you’ll find Zoa Bar. As a restaurant, it serves sushi as well as local dishes and Asian delights. It’s fun because the music is DJed or live and runs until 2.30am, so it’s a very cool way to eat your dinner. It does get busy, so it’s better to book. People like the attentive service, the drinks menu and the cosy atmosphere.
Charly’s is perfect for people-watching; it’s an intimate venue in a small cave-like setting. A former sheepfold, the bar is now decorated with palm trees and lights, rather than sheep. A music venue that doesn’t play generic electronic music, the DJ here spins hits from the ’60s through to the ’90s. The low cavern ceilings, combined with the rich purple lighting, make this bar feel like something out of a fantasy film. For a place like Cannes, which does a good line in understated, traditional glamour, this place can feel refreshing.
Le Grand Hôtel’s bar is a nice spot for enjoying several quiet drinks. Most nights, the bar is filled with music provided by the resident pianist. The lounge is warm and cosy, but outside is pleasantly lit and provides fantastic views of the sea and La Croisette, the city’s two-kilometre stretch of coastline road. It’s one of the oldest wine bars in Cannes and popular among tourists and locals alike. Try the Pastis Provençal, which is made from 60 plants found in the region.
Carlton Bar, Cannes | Courtesy of InterContinental Carlton Cannes Hotel
The Carlton Hotel is where the stars converge during the Cannes Film Festival and so it should come as no surprise that its bar is swanky and refined. Be warned that it’s pricey, so it’s not for the budget-conscious. With a Belle Époque aesthetic, fused with the feel of a modern hotspot, this is a sophisticated venue for enjoying cocktails and snacks. Don your glad rags and keep your eyes peeled to see who you can spot.
It may be a cliché to hang out in an Irish pub – but it feels so good. There are a couple of Irish spots in Cannes, but Morrison’s is the oldest. This is the place to escape from hip clubs and hang out in a more traditional pub setting. The bartenders all speak English (mostly as a first language) and are happy to recommend sights or even give directions if you’re lost. Sports are televised in English and there’s live music from Tuesday to Sunday. Grab a Guinness or something off their cocktail menu and sit outside in the summer heat. They hold lots of events, too, like the language workshop, ‘I Cannes Speak’.
This is a jazz lounge in Cannes that actually exists within another bar, the Auberge Provençale da Bouttau. Along with the wine bar, the Cotton Club has jazz on weekend evenings and is the perfect place to sip a glass of wine in a relaxed environment. It’s definitely a place to see out the day and toast your holiday.
La Chunga, a bar and restaurant that’s been open for decades, is a Cannes institution. The food can be a little expensive, but the drinks are more reasonable – as Britain’s Times newspaper said in 2018, its clientele knows what is in a whisky sour and have enough money not to worry about the prices. With its friendly staff and live entertainment, it’s no wonder that this bar has lasted the years. The fact that it stays open until 5am also helps.