A Local’s Guide to the Best Bars in Belleville

Find out the best places to drink in the multicultural Belleville neighbourhood of Paris
Find out the best places to drink in the multicultural Belleville neighbourhood of Paris | © Frédéric Soltan / Getty Images
Vivian Song

The multicultural, creative Belleville neighbourhood has one of the most exciting bar scenes in Paris. From cocktails made by ‘the World’s Best Bartender’ to craft-beer hangouts and rooftop bars with sweeping views of the city, these are the best places for a drink in Belleville.

Some of the most innovative mixologists in Paris have chosen to open their bars in Belleville

Delphine Epron, president of the Ateliers d’artistes de Belleville, which represents 250 artists in Paris, describes Belleville as a young, dynamic, bustling neighbourhood with a strong sense of community. “It’s one of the rare neighbourhoods of Paris where you have a real mix of working-class Parisians, diverse ethnic groups and artists,” she says. “All these people live and work alongside one another.”

It’s no wonder, then, that some of the most innovative and experimental mixologists in Paris have chosen to open their bars in Belleville, giving the community a range of watering holes that cater to cosmopolitan cocktail lovers, beer connoisseurs and arty types alike. Take a tour of some of the best places to drink in Belleville.

1. Brave Le Combat, helmed by a trio of fierce mixologists

Bar, Cocktails

When French friends Elena Schmitt and Margot Lecarpentier met in New York City, they bonded over their mutual love of cocktails. After returning to Paris and mixing drinks at the trendy Experimental Cocktail Club, the duo took the leap in 2017 to open their own bar in Belleville, along with Elise Drouet. Named after the old moniker for the neighbourhood and to reflect the trio’s fighting spirit, Le Combat bar serves up elegant, inventive cocktails like the Nardine, made with calvados, amaro, egg white, lemon juice and hazelnuts; and the Red Star, which consists of gin, thyme-infused gentian flower liqueur, sugar, kiwi and lemon juice. Guests can also munch on sharing plates that include burrata, terrine, olives and artichokes.

2. Sample cocktails from Jennifer Le Nechet, 'the World’s Best Bartender', at Mino

Bar, Cocktails

Jennifer Le Nechet Winner of the Diago World Class 2016
© PETIT Philippe / Getty Images

Of all the bars in Belleville, Mino has the most street cred. In 2016, Paris mixologist Jennifer Le Nechet beat 10,000 bartenders from around the world to claim the title of ‘the World’s Best Bartender’ at a major competition sponsored by booze giant Diageo. She also became the first woman to win the competition. Fast forward to 2018, and Le Nechet has added bar and restaurant owner to her CV with the opening of Mino on rue Ménilmontant in the 20th arrondissement. The decor and menu take inspiration from the Mediterranean: the space itself is bright and airy, with a colour palette of muted blue, beige and greens inspired by sea and sand, while burrata, olives, kefta skewers and Greek yoghurt feature on the menu. Cocktails are also sold in pitchers, perfect for drinking with groups of friends. One of Le Nechet’s signature cocktails is the Bella Ciao, negroni prepared sous vide with confit tomatoes and basil.

3. Park yourself at Belleville institution Aux Folies

Bar, French

Aux Folies in Paris.
© Paris Cafe / Alamy Stock Photo
When in Belleville, Epron recommends making a pit stop here, one of the most popular bars in the neighbourhood. “There’s always a lot of people and a lot of ambience here,” she says. “Stop by for a coffee in the morning or a drink at night.” Before becoming a local institution, the space was used as a cabaret and movie theatre and is located just around the corner from rue Dénoyez, famous for its street art and graffiti. The outdoor terrace is popular among locals, students and creative types on a budget – the prices keep the place democratic and accessible, with beer under a fiver. Best time to see it in action? When night falls and the terrace begins to fill up.

4. Take in a side of art with your drink at Floréal Belleville

Bar, Cocktails

Part restaurant, part bar and part gallery, Floréal Belleville is a hybrid space that opened in late 2018 with the aim of becoming a meeting place for young and emerging artists in the neighbourhood. With its cheerful turquoise Art Nouveau facade that lights up rue de Couronnes, it’s hard to miss. In the kitchen, a roster of rotating chefs – often recruited from local talent – switches up the menu every month. Coffee is sourced from nearby Brûlerie de Belleville, which roasts its own coffee beans, while pastries come from local bakeries. Prices are kept low to make the space widely accessible: entrance is free and a pint of beer is €5 (£4.20) during happy hour. Make sure to pay a visit to the galleries on the ground floor and basement, which showcase emerging artists.

5. Go for a drink, stay for the views at Moncoeur Belleville

Cafe, Restaurant, Contemporary, French

Moncœur Belleville often hosts live music
© Moncœur Belleville
Without a doubt, the star attraction at Moncoeur Belleville is its location; perched high atop Paris, it boasts sweeping views of the city below, including the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Seats on the outdoor terrace come at a premium, especially during warm weather, when Parisians share the same idea: to spend an afternoon or evening soaking in the views while sipping on a glass of organic wine from an independent winemaker from France, Portugal, Italy or Spain, or an organic coffee. In winter, live concerts are held indoors, and in summer, move out onto the terrace. If you’re feeling peckish, chef Etienne Daviau and his staff will whip up small dishes like burrata and tomatoes, salmon tartare, burgers or gnocchi with ricotta, depending on the season.

6. Imbibe on a buzzy rooftop patio at Le Perchoir

Restaurant, French

Le Perchoir | © Le Perchoir
Courtesy of Le Perchoir
Le Perchoir was one of the first rooftop patios to – literally and figuratively – elevate the drinking scene in Paris when it opened in 2013. Six years later, the bar-restaurant, located just outside the Belleville border in the 11th arrondissement, is still popular among locals for its sweeping views of Paris and its energetic nightlife. Set on the seventh floor of an industrial building, the large rooftop patio offers views of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in the distance, as well as Paris’s iconic grey roofs. The decor is bohemian, with mismatched cushions, wooden benches and lush outdoor vegetation. If you’re feeling peckish, head down to the sixth floor, where the chef and menu changes regularly.

7. Enjoy the best of French spirits and liquors at La Commune

Bar, Cocktails

After opening Le Syndicat, now one of the buzziest bars in the 10th arrondissement, owners Romain Le Mouellic and Sullivan Doh went further east to start La Commune, giving young hip-hop and reggae fans in the 20th arrondissement a new weekend bar right in their backyard. Drinks at La Commune are made with liquors and spirits made in France, and ice is carved by hand. Going with a bunch of friends? La Commune is particularly well known for its cocktails, served in classy punch bowls. Punch Combawa, for instance, is made with Nuage vodka, fresh grapefruit and lemon juice, Corsican aperitif Cap Mattei Blanc, green-tea infusion, cucumber syrup and zest of kaffir lime.

8. Head to Les Trois 8 to sample one of their 100 craft beers

Bar, Seafood, French

Attention beer lovers – this bar’s for you. While it might seem as if Paris is all about the wine, those who are more interested in drinking a pint should head to Les Trois 8, which stocks more than 100 different craft beers and keeps eight brews on tap on a rotational basis. The bar’s owners aim to work directly with independent or local breweries, bringing craft brews to punters in Paris. Pair your beer with their locally sourced meat and cheese charcuterie board.

9. Do traditional wine and cheese at La Cave de Belleville

Bar, Wine Seller, Wine

La Cave de Belleville was one of the first natural wine specialists in Paris
© La Cave de Belleville

If you’re a fan of French wine, make sure to put Cave de Belleville on your Paris itinerary. The walls are lined with a curated selection of organic, biodynamic and natural wines from all over France. And along with being a wine shop, the space is also a wine bar, meat and cheese shop and restaurant, where guests can share small plates loaded with seafood tapas, salads, open sandwiches, cheese and charcuterie boards. If you’re sipping on a glass that’s particularly elegant you can take a bottle home with you, or you can ask the shop expert for their recommendations.

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