When I have an opportunity to go out on the town, I take it because they are few and far between. I blame age and the adult responsibility of sticking to a schedule. “Early to bed and early to rise makes a [wo]man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” (Benjamin Franklin). I’d intended to schedule all of my solo activities during the day so that I’d make it home by nightfall. But when I saw a Parisian speakeasy tour on Airbnb, I couldn’t resist. It began at 7:30 PM and lasted at least till 10:00, way past what my bedtime is supposed to be.
“Explore, speakeasy and hidden bars with fun entrances,” recently renamed “Explore greatest bars – speakeasy & hidden gems edition,” was an experience to remember. I didn’t mind that all of the guests hailed from my home country. The concept of a speakeasy is challenging for non-Americans to comprehend, but because everyone was familiar with the prohibition period of U.S. history, we dispensed with the lesson. After the introductions, we got right to it. A mother-father-daughter trio from Florida, a grandmom-grandson duo from California, our host Ines, and moi.
Mobster Bar was our first stop. Entrance to the establishment was granted after answering a question via the telephone outside. I got a good look at the art deco interior as we were led to a room in the back. I raised a pressing question before ordering. Would we be permitted to pay for our drinks individually? The bartender was happy to bill us for our own alcohol consumption on the way out the door. I don’t remember exactly what I ordered, but I kept all my drinks that night mainly in the lime/mezcal/mojito family—a green Caribbean oasis comes to mind.
The second stop of the night was La Mezcaleria, aka the Oaxaca of Paris (my own coining). Accessed through the kitchen of a restaurant in the boutique hotel 1K, the interior was colorful. The wall-to-wall streamers, tapestries, and prints of the pillows on the low-profile lounge seating gave the space a warm tone. I imagined how the cocktail bar would have looked during the daytime with natural light streaming through the windows in the ceiling.
In contrast, our third stop, Candelaria, was reminiscent of a wine cellar. Accessed through a discreet door at the back of a taqueria, the pulse of the bar was the most vibrant of all three. For this reason, it may have been my favorite. Our host left us here. The trio from Florida had departed after we left La Mezcaleria, so it was up to O., his grandmom, and I to rally to the end, which we did. Our conversation clicked, and we could have talked even longer had it not been for the time. They walked me to République. O. claimed the role of navigator; thank goodness! Line 3 was a straight shot, and I felt safe in transit. As comrades do, we made sure that both parties were home before going to bed. The night was most memorable, and I wish I could repeat it.