Experimental Cocktail Club
May 11, 2018
Despite turning up just after the bar opened, the sizeable sofas and armchairs were already occupied, so I took a seat at the bar. The lights were up and bar manager Matthew Long’s early-noughties pop classics playlist was making everybody’s shoulders bounce, no matter how hard they tried to suppress dancing along to Des’ree. Every evening here begins with this lounge-like ambience, but newcomers joining in a few hours’ time will step into an entirely different scene: lights lowered, heavy curtains drawn, DJ poised behind the decks. I’m told that if the mood is right, it becomes a full-on party.
Established in 2007, this is the first of several cult cocktail bars under the Experimental Group’s umbrella. Founders Olivier Bon, Pierre-Charles Cros and Romée de Goriainoff were motivated by a mutual fascination the cocktail cultures of London and New York, and are accredited by many with the revival of Paris’ passion for mixology with this unassuming cocktail bar in the centre of the city.
As the name suggests, the Experimental Cocktail Club did more than re-introduce the classics: it shook up the international scene by proposing brand new blends. Alongside the expected spirits – rum, gin, bourbon, vodka – you’ll see surprising ingredients like eucalyptus syrup, elderberry vinegar and tomato liquor. Do not be deterred. The trick is to trust the bar staff. They are more than happy to listen to your preferences and make a recommendation, or even concoct something entirely unique for you!
New, successful experiments regularly make their way onto the menu, but the best place to begin, I’m told, is Experience 1. It was one of the original recipes put forward by the Experimental Cocktail Club and remains on the list as a constant example of this Paris bar’s style: fresh and innovative.