On a trip to Paris last summer, visiting a friend, I discovered what I believe to be one of the best bars in the city. Arriving fresh from London on a very speedy Eurostar train I rushed to my friend’s flat unpacked my things and joined her, as it was late, at her workplace.
Turning off the wide, whitewashed boulevard I found myself lost in a maze of thin, spiraling cobbled streets. Lit by elegant iron lamps, which gave only a minimal tangerine light, each alleyway looked like the last and I couldn’t find the bar.
I appeared suddenly in a tiny, beautiful square with rows of cream and tan shops lining the centre and could hear vibrant chatter coming from one of the smaller lanes. As I peered down I could see clusters of people, smoking and drinking, and hear the bubbling sound of the underground DJ.
The bar has a double front with arching dark wood doors that are outlined by dust-coloured brick. A long, bright red flag hangs from the doors and unmistakably reads: Lizard Lounge. Dim, low lighting just illuminates the undulating bar that skirts around the whole room. This is a split level bar and while the later night activities happen downstairs, the top floor, a heavy metal mezzanine, has people hanging from its sides. Art peppers the walls randomly, with huge visceral posters mingling with softer smaller pieces. The patchwork effect makes the bar feel even busier and crowded, in a friendly and intimate way.
I join my friend as she ends her shift and we order a mammoth dinner to share. The food and interior have a strong urban American influence. We order colossal salads with burgers and fries, and our drinks are bottles of the cheap, abundant beer. The crowd is multi-national, and discernably made up of many expats and English speakers.
We are served in a flash and presented with plates piled full of hot, fresh food. The burgers are perfectly cooked with thick sweet buns, mountains of onions, tomatoes, leaves, pickles and two delicious sauces. My salad is a generous bed of mixed leaves topped with sharp goats cheese, toasted nuts, roasted squash and a balsamic dressing. The menu stipulates scrumptious American grub and doesn’t disappoint.
As the evening progresses the bar fills, and the noise spills out onto the streets. After the bottled beer we peruse the extensive cocktail list. The espresso martini is a taste of nirvana, the best drink I have ever sipped. The martini is sweet, dark, and punchy, leaving you with a mingled feeling of a coffee high and vodka daze.
Steep bricked stairs lead down to the basement, where the walls are entirely russet brick and curve like aquarium tunnels. Hidden in this bunker is a network of dances floors and seating areas, all clandestine and in the shadows. The music is an eclectic mix of tunes and has everyone dancing. We continue our cocktail sampling and the skilled barman concocts all sorts of house delights and sets them on fire before us. The blue flamed Lizard shots are highly recommendable.
This is the bar to come to in Paris; brimming with vibrancy, music and drinks, the atmosphere is electric and exciting. Located in the heart of Paris, near some of the most incredible and iconic sights you simply can’t miss this place. Possibly a little tricky to find but I’ve never been good at navigation.
Address: 18 Rue du Bourg-Tibourg. Metro stop: Hotel de Ville