Corsica, an island sitting in the Mediterranean halfway between France and Italy, is a jewel of a place. There are plenty of spots all over Corsica where you can have a good time – but these are the best 10 bars in the area.
A landmark of Corsica’s nightlife, Chez Tao was established in Calvi in 1935 by an exiled Russian aristocrat. It was the first place of its kind on the island. The lavish decorations and vaulted ceilings of the building – formerly home to Napoleon Bonaparte’s godfather – are an apt setting for the bar’s upscale clientele. Enjoy a drink and a dance and indulge your inner hedonist. Take inspiration from the founder’s motto: ‘Be happy today, because tomorrow will be too late.’
A large stone courtyard is the setting for this multi-purpose open-air bar in Porto-Vecchio. Here, guests can lounge around in one of the comfortable seating areas and dine on tapas. They can also sit at the bar with a cocktail, or join the throng around the DJ podium. Take advantage of Le Patio’s 4-7pm happy hour. Try their Love By Passion cocktail, a delightful concoction of Grey Goose vodka infused with vanilla pods, passionfruit, raspberry purée, blackberry cream and soda water.
Here at the family-run Bar de la Haute Ville in Corte, the Simeonis use as much fresh, local produce as they can and support plenty of businesses owned by their fellow Corsicans. They offer the widest choice of wines by the glass on the island as well as a selection of liqueurs and cognacs. These are all from producers across Corsica. Their acclaimed homemade sandwiches use bread from a Corte bakery, the ingredients of which range from cheese, ham, and pickles to fig jam and wild boar pâté.
This well-appointed wine bar stocks more than 1000 bottles, many from Corsican vineyards. Proprietor and former sommelier Christophe Talon is an affable host who will be happy to advise you on which varieties to sample. He can also provide information on how best to set up and maintain your own wine cellar. His knowledge was accrued over many years of work in the restaurants and hotels of Nice. Tables and chairs are provided, as are cheeses and cold cuts to accompany your chosen wine.
For more than 30 years Le Glacier de la Place’s owner, Jean, has been serving up artisan ice cream and sorbet with a smile. But this is far more than an ice-cream parlor: cocktails, rums, and whiskeys are available from the bar. The main draw is the astonishing array of beers in stock from all over the world – more than 130 varieties. Once you’ve settled on your drink, take a seat out on the terrace and gaze at the people filing past in the square or the antique façade of the church opposite.
Located on the sixth floor of Porto-Vecchio’s Hotel Alcyon, Le Point de Vue offers stunning panoramic views of the nearby gulf and surrounding landscape. This bar is the epitome of elegance. The vantage point offered from its balcony only adds to its appeal. Well-formulated samplings of meat, cheese, and wine are curated by resident sommelier Patrick Fioramonti. Cocktails, rums, whiskeys, and tapas can also be ordered. There are few better places in all of Corsica from which to view a sunset.
Below a restaurant and hotel in Bonifacio, on the southern tip of Corsica, lies Le Cellier. Descend the stairs and you’ll emerge into a bar housed in what was once a 13th-century chapel, its ancient stone walls still intact. The setting is beautiful. It contains chandeliers, stained glass windows, towering shelves of wine bottles, a grand fireplace, sumptuous leather armchairs, vintage casks and an illuminated wooden bar. The usual accompaniments of charcuterie and cheeses can be enjoyed with your glass of wine or chosen spirit.
Corbara’s Ghjunchitu beach is where you’ll find this bar. There are few more picturesque places in Corsica from which to look out upon the Mediterranean. Artwork and sculptures are hidden among the trees and there is a profusion of driftwood incorporated into the hip design of the premises. There’s even the shell of an old Cadillac. Take your choice of smoothie, beer, cocktail, wine, or ice-cream. Then, take a seat – either in a hammock, chair, or on the sand – and watch the sun set over this peaceful locale.
This venue hosts regular performances by Corsican singers in the traditional polyphonic style, or pulifunie. The a capella singing is centuries-old. Since its revival – or riaquistu– in the 1970s, it has become an integral part of Corsican identity. La Taverne du Roi is also frequented by guitarists, and guests can choose to sit next to the stage or look down upon the musicians from the mezzanine. Be sure to make use of the well-stocked bar and revel in the festive atmosphere of this cultural hotspot.
The chic Rex Lounge lies at the heart of Corte, showing live sport and serving up drinks and tapas. The free WiFi makes it a useful spot to grab a coffee and get some work done. The bar’s popularity is most evident during the evening, when the place is filled with friends settling in for a glass of wine or an aperitif. The sizable terrace has plenty of seating and is a great place to bask in the Corsican climate while sipping on a cocktail.