In the shadows of the Tour Montparnasse, the only skyscraper in central Paris, you’ll find narrow streets lined with lively bars where the happy hours stretch from late afternoon to well after dinner and the drinking goes on late into the night. Many of the spots on our list also offer live music and tasty tapas.
The Rosebud attempts to recreate something of Paris’ jazz age and it’s the place to go in Montparnasse for an evening of classic cocktails – sidecars, martinis, or slings – and old-school, white-suited table service. It hasn’t much changed since Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre spent their nights here: art nouveau lamps still cast a moody light about the room of dark wood and blue velvet and jazz plays softly from the end of the bar, where a stack of vinyl records waits to be played. The drinks are a little pricey but it’s well worth it for the laidback yet elegant atmosphere and the top-notch bartenders.
Le Smoke was opened on March 10th 1996, by a group of friends equally in love with the Montparnasse district as they are with jazz and its history here in Paris. A bar and a restaurant, it serves lunch, dinner, snacks, and a long list of drinks which you can enjoy in the dining room, on the terrace, or at the bar. Think about calling ahead to check if there will be a live performance on the night you’re thinking of going because, if so, reserving a table is an extremely good idea.
The Blue Sky is one of the better English pubs in Paris, with all the charm of a typical London watering hole and a menu to satisfy its pickier Parisian clientele. This includes a long list of drinks, including a number of specialty cocktails, prepared with absolute secrecy by manager Michel and his number two Gaby. If you’re hungry, you can enjoy some of their French-style pub grub such as tasty croque monsieurs and bulky salads.
Chez Jean-Claude is a chilled bar and restaurant, the perfect starting point for an evening out with friends. Manager Edouard and his team are proud to present their extensive list of innovative cocktails, carefully chosen wines, and luxury spirits, all of which you can sip away on from the comfort of a well-stuffed armchair. If you’re a little peckish but not in the mood for a full meal, you can also nosh on some tapas and sharing plates, featuring delicious local cheeses and Iberian sausage.
Le Scott, with its deep red walls and snug booths, provides a naughty alternative on the rue Delambre to the straight-laced Rosebud. Open until 5AM, things don’t really get going until 2AM when most other Parisian bars are closing. It has been in the hands of the same family since the 1960s and they keep things simple: you won’t find any highfaluting cocktails here, just simple drinks mixed with water or soda and a good glass of wine.
The Hideout Montparnasse is an untraditional Irish pub in the heart of the neighborhood with an exceptionally long happy hour from 5PM to 10PM. You’d be hard pushed to find anywhere in the city with lower prices than here. A pint of Amstel will cost you only €3 and a pint of mojito just €6. Other cocktails in more manageable quantities are available for €5 for a glass and €15 for a pitcher.
Le Petit Bar du Théâtre is the perfect spot to call at for a quiet drink and a bite to eat. The restaurant offers three reasonably priced menus for lunch and dinner. The crêpe menu costs €14.50 and comes with a choice of savory crêpes, the traditional menu at €17.50 offers scrumptous mains like blanquette de veau and poulet frites, and the pie menu also at €14.50 has meals like quiche Lorraine and a goat cheese and tomato tart. With all three, you have a choice of classic French desserts.
Among its many attributes, Le 48 is where you’ll find one of the best mojitos in all of Paris. This warm and welcoming cocktail bar offers great service, a sweet soundtrack to the evening, and a happy hour until 10PM during the week and until 9PM on weekends. Also to be experienced is the bar’s store of Agwa de Bolivia, a herbal liqueur that they’re passionate about and that you won’t find anywhere else in the capital.
Removed from the main hub of bars around Montparnasse metro station, My Baar can be found by Port Royal metro station and the Jardin du Luxembourg. A younger crowd are drawn to the classic French cuisine and cheap prices. During the happy hour, which remarkably runs from 3PM to 10PM, pints of beer cost €3 and cocktails just €5. You can also order some tapas to accompany your afternoon aperitifs. The bar also broadcasts major sporting events.
Le Lock Groove, also removed from the main Montparnasse action but on the other side of the neighborhood’s famous cemetery, is nevertheless a lively bar with a rock atmosphere. Opened in September 2013, it’s a good place for a night out with a big group of friends. On the menu, you’ll find good, simple food like hamburgers and a decent range of drinks.