Montpellier is one of the fastest growing cities in France and with its seemingly endless array of great shops, bars and restaurants it’s easy to see why people are flocking to this southern French city. We take a look at the top 10 bars in Écusson.
Papa Doble first opened its doors in Écusson in 2009 and has garnered nothing short of a cult following ever since for its trendy interior and extraordinary cocktails. The underground bar is set in a building typical of the area. The original vaulted ceilings along with the dark furniture make for a very cozy yet stylish location to sample some drinks from their extensive cocktail menu. Each cocktail is different and they’re often created with a particular theme in mind (such as the Hemingway Daiquiri). Be sure to stop by to admire the incredible presentation.
For a little taste of Cuba in the heart of Montpellier’s old town head to Cubanito Café, just a two minutes’ walk from the stunning Place de la Comédie. The bar is open until late seven days a week. The Cuba-inspired decor, as well as the images of Che Guevara plastered on the walls, make for an entertaining location for an evening spent with friends. The cocktails are great, as are the tapas that you can order all night long. Cubanito Café also offers theme nights and salsa lessons during the week, so keep an eye out for those.
You’ll find Bar Le Foch at a pedestrianized crossroads in the heart of Écusson, standing side by side with a host of other bars and restaurants. Despite the nearby competition, however, Bar Le Foch is a popular option with Montpellier’s young and old any day of the week. The candlelit tables of the indoor and outdoor seating (a must in the South of France’s balmy summers) makes for a cozy ambiance for an evening with friends. There’s a wide selection of beers and wines and the house sangria is worth a try.
On the most easterly edge of Écusson, in the modern Antigone district of the city, stands Les Bistronomes. It is just a stone’s throw from the banks of the river Lez. Les Bistronomes is a typical French brasserie where you can just as easily sample a tasty three-course meal as enjoy a leisurely evening drink with friends and family. The bustling area is great for people-watching and the welcome from the friendly and attentive staff is always warm. The drinks menu is extensive and you can while away the hours sitting and watching the world go by.
If you’re looking for live music in a friendly location, head straight to La Petite Scène in the very heart of Écusson. The Latin-inspired tapas bar serves beers, wines, cocktails – their mojito is one of the best in Montpellier – and soft drinks. There’s also a wide selection of small tapas plates to choose from all night long. To accompany your drinks and snacks, La Petite Scène regularly hosts live music events which cater for all musical tastes. With everything from folk, soul, blues and swing to reggae, pop and rock and roll, you’re sure to find something to suit your own personal taste.
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Nestled down one of the narrow, winding side streets which are so characteristic of the old town of Écusson is Analog Bar, the self-titled ‘bar à bières’. They have a large selection of beers from around the world, all of which have been carefully selected for their great flavors. These are updated regularly. Here, there’s also an emphasis on great music and the walls are adorned with vinyl album covers of the most eclectic old and new music which plays as you enjoy your drink.
Located on one of Écusson’s most animated streets, just around the corner from the Église Saint-Roch, is the lively Mojito Club. This cocktail bar which, as you might have guessed from the name, specializes in tasty, refreshing mojitos. It is just a two minutes’ walk from the hustle and bustle of the central Place de la Comédie. Their signature mojito is undoubtedly great but there’s much more on offer on the menu. Options include an array of cocktails, beers, wines and soft drinks as well as a large selection of tapas dishes to go alongside your drink.
There are a number of English or Anglophone bars scattered around the city of Montpellier but The Shakespeare, located to the north of Écusson, is arguably one of the best. Here you can expect a warm welcome, great beers on tap as well as a large selection of bottled artisanal beers and a friendly, international crowd. The decor is reminiscent of a traditional English pub, but the vaulted stone ceiling is suitably typical of Écusson’s medieval buildings. The Shakespeare also offers a number of different events throughout the week, including darts competitions, pub quizzes and live music.
Café Joseph is the ever-popular French bistro located right in the center of the Place Jean Jaurès, the beating heart of Écusson’s bar and restaurant scene. Visit Jean Jaurès any night of the week and you’ll be greeted by the hustle and bustle of the friendly and energetic crowd who regularly frequent this area. Right in the middle of all this is Café Joseph. It is open all day long and serves hot and cold beverages, snacks and meals. Café Joseph is a great spot to stop for a drink any time of the day.
Venture just a little beyond the picturesque Esplanade Charles de Gaulle and the imposing Le Corum and you’ll reach Bric A Brac, the Écusson bar known for its great drinks, friendly welcome and live music events. Bric A Brac has a chilled, relaxed atmosphere and is a really enjoyable place to go for a drink or two with friends. The bar, like so many of Écusson’s buildings, has the vaulted stone ceilings typical of the area which make for incredible acoustics. Even better, all the concerts that are held here are completely free.