Situated in the far south of France, on the cusp of the Mediterranean and Catalonia, the Roussillon region – of which Perpignan is the capital – is a land of cultural variety. This quality is reflected in the city’s nightlife, which also demonstrates international influences. Whether letting their hair down in a bar or reposing in a wine cave, Perpignan’s inhabitants know how to have a good time. Read our guide to find out where to join them.
This bar brings the rhythms of Latin America to Southern France. Salsa and Zumba classes are held for free on Thursdays, but even during the rest of the week the atmosphere is as vibrant as the color scheme. Cuban music, food, and decorations add authenticity, as do the mojitos. There’s a shaded terrace outside should you need a break from the dance floor. Beyond the Cuban influences there are other international dishes like tapas, barbecued snails, and beef carpaccio.
Come aboard this pirate-themed bar and feast your eyes on the vast selection of Le Corsaire’s very own rum, all stoppered in large jugs that wouldn’t look out of place in the hands of Jack Sparrow. The rum comes in all manner of flavors, including caramel, pistachio, ginger, and all manner of fruits and is used as the base for their cocktails. Upstairs is a tapas bar and private terrace but if you have energy to burn, it’s worth staying downstairs to listen to the live music and watch the bartenders’ time-honored tradition of setting the bar alight.
An innovative establishment run by people of different nationalities and backgrounds that is intended to be “a place of exchange and sharing,” ChillSpot is a cultural bonanza found in downtown Perpignan. Live music and DJ sets are hosted five nights a week, while creative workshops in writing, art, and photography showcase local artists and musicians and fill out the packed schedule. Affordable tapas and Caribbean-inspired cuisine are sold as well as a range of beverages. The venue is designed to be accommodating to people of different interests as well as cultures: books and board games can be found on the terrace.
Quintessential Irish pubs certainly aren’t the norm in Perpignan, but perhaps that’s because O’Flaherty’s does it so well no one else could compete. The warm, friendly atmosphere is as much of a draw as the Guinness and Kilkenny on draft. Add to this their traditional battered fish and chips, an extensive range of whiskey, a dartboard, Irish coffee, and live sports and you might think you’ve been transported to Dublin. O’Flaherty’s also hosts live music, DJs, and artist exhibitions. The St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza is, needless to say, not to be missed.
Le Zinc has been operating for 24 years in Perpignan near the historic 14th-century monument Le Castillet. Relax and enjoy the ambiance of a cocktail lounge, with smooth jazz seeping through the speakers. Tapas are served throughout the night and a comfortable seating area is provided in addition to the space around the bar. For an added dose of sophistication, come during one of the wine tasting evenings that are organized.
Bar La Source is a hit with visiting rugby league fans as well as those of the local team, the Catalan Dragons. Generously portioned homemade kebabs, pastas, and salads are eaten up by the clientele, and the steaks are unparalleled: the owner, Eric, is a former butcher. Eric is a big part of the bar’s convivial atmosphere, which is added to by the good wine and coffee and a number of varieties of beer.
Mother and son Francoise and Fabien Plane set up Aux Vins 4 Canons in a former armory to share their passion for bio-dynamic wine. The walls of their modern shop are filled with shelves upon shelves of the stuff, all produced with an emphasis on natural and organic processes, and mostly hailing from the Roussillon region. Events are hosted here too, like wine tasting courses and poetry readings. Charcuterie, caviar, oils, vinegar, and ice cream can be purchased as well as over 500 varieties of wine, champagnes, spirits and liquors.
The wines at Les Caves Maillol are arranged according to what food they should accompany, as it is proprietor Guillaume Geniez’s aim to enhance the tasting experiences of his customers. Bottles are arranged by the barrel, over 800 types. The shop holds book signings and exhibits local artists, and private tastings can be arranged where the staff will comment on what you’re drinking. Geniez is conscious of the social and cultural history of wine, and to that end invites individuals to partake in his after work events to relax with friends and colleagues over a glass of wine and a bite to eat.
The motto of Jean-Pierre Rudelle, owner of Le Comptoir des Crus, is “here, we only sell what we love.” This man wants everyone to enjoy wine, going as far as to host a “Wine for Dummies” course on the basics of sensory analysis and tasting techniques. Local products are another thing that Rudelle is passionate about, and he invites Roussillon winemakers into his shop in order to promote their wines. The presence of expert sommeliers and the organization of theme days add to the class of this establishment.