France

Paris Like a Local: The Best bars & clubs in the Marais

by Akil Wingate  |  Published April 2, 2017

The Marais sits in the heart of the 3rd arrondissement of Paris, its nightlife thriving amid a flourish of boutique shops, department stores, restaurants and upscale hotels. This is perhaps the pride of the Paris LGBTQ community with its diverse offerings ranging from subdued cafe culture to late night debauchery on a crowded dancefloor.

Le Mezcaleria (Photo: Le Mezcaleria)

Le Mezcaleria (Photo: Le Mezcaleria)

In the Marais nightlife reluctantly crawls back into bed when the sun has fully risen. But for now it’s time to lace up those dance shoes and brush off your best moves, polish up your best beer speak and even take in some cool expos. Here’s a look at the top clubs and bars in the merry Marais.

La Mezcaleria – Bar Clandestino

La Mezcaleria sits quietly in the heart of the Marais. That is, until the doors open and a crush of punters cascades through to get their fill of some of the most exotic cocktails in Paris. Mezcal is an alcoholic beverage from rural Mexico. The ambiance is part of the charm here: A wood-finished bar and tables, eerie dolls poised about watching you guzzle down your brew and music that traverses the Atlantic, set the mood. Open from 6pm until midnight, this is usually a great place to jump-start your evening in the Marais.

13 boulevard du Temple

Le Duplex Bar

Le Duplex Bar is a laid-back bar in the northern part of the Marais. It is the place to grab a pint and chat up some new friends in a friendly atmosphere. Weekends prove to be popular as you’ll be jostling for elbow room and talking in close quarters with a crowd overflowing through the door. The bar doesn’t open until 8pm but serves drinks until 2am. If you fancy doing a Marais pub and club crawl, as many are wont to do, you can pop in several times throughout the night. What sets it apart from its neighbors is that it features art shows as part of its subdued, intimate character.

25 Rue Michel-le-Comte

RAIDD Bar

The Raidd Bar is a popular place for drinks in the heart of the Marais (Photo: Akil Wingate)

The Raidd Bar is a popular place for drinks in the heart of the Marais (Photo: Akil Wingate)

RAIDD Bar is a veritable romp through decadence and all-out excess. It’s the Marais’ version of fun for the adult crowd without inhibitions. Open every day of the week, RAIDD offers a bar with a twist: A shower floats above as gogo dancers frolic under the pulsing jets before a crowd of punters. In addition to the steamy showmanship on the bar, there’s a performance stage for late night shows, DJ sets and ample space to bust a move. This is where you come when you really want to let loose.

23 Rue du Temple

Les Souffleurs

Les Souffleurs prides itself as being something out of the ordinary in the rather extraordinary district of the Marais. Instead of going big and bold, it follows a more refined and subdued approach to nightlife. Open from 6pm until 2am, Mondays through Thursdays are a bit more chill, with art expos, performances and an overall sense of easygoing reverie. It’s not until the weekend that DJ sets, which don’t adhere to the typical dancefloor offerings you’d expect in the Marais, kick in. The crowd is a gaggle of all types, typically coming here for the slick European art bar/chill lounge/club vibe. Gently priced happy hour specials are available from 6 to 9pm.

7 Rue de la Verrerie

Les Souffleurs is footsteps away from Centre Pompidou (Photo: Akil Wingate)

Les Souffleurs is footsteps away from Centre Pompidou (Photo: Akil Wingate)

Le Cud

Here’s a two level bar/club where a mix of drink culture fuses with dancing. While it is typically guys only on the weekend, the doors at Le Cud welcome both sexes during the week. And just when you thought the night was winding down, it gets even more animated on the dancefloor after 2am. The playlist traverses a wide range of musical genres, waxing stylishly from soul and R&B to dance and electro. When everywhere else in the quarter slowly shutters their doors, this one is still going strong late into the wee hours.

12 rue des Haudriettes

The Labo

The Labo (Photo: The Labo)

The Labo (Photo: The Labo)

Situated in the heart of Paris, The Labo is just the sort of laidback atmosphere that welcomes the gay and lesbian community as well as the student population. Beers and cocktails flow liberally during the three-euro happy hour. Every Tuesday punters find the liquid courage to jump on stage and partake in the karaoke party. If you’re looking for a casual bar scene with some dancing and karaoke thrown in, this is the place to be. Doors typically open at the end of the afternoon and stay open until late night. A big plus is that happy hour isn’t really a happy hour: cocktail specials and pints run from 5 -11pm.

37 rue des Lombards

Le Mensch

If you’re in the mood to play dress up (of the naughty sort) venture out to fetish bar Le Mensch. With its 400 year old cellar vaults and lively staging areas for playing or simply being a voyeur, Le Mensch betrays its naughty side with an ultimately friendly and welcoming ambiance. It’s a no judgement zone where anything goes. As far as presentation is concerned, the bar is largely inspired by the British pub. Pints flow generously and every night boasts its own theme.

34 rue Charlot

Le Tango

Le Tango Club (Photo: Akil Wingate)

Le Tango (Photo: Akil Wingate)

Le Tango, also known as La Boite à Frissons, is a dancefloor dream: A spacious venue where DJ sets mix with live drag shows, cabaret, and plenty of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. The crowd is often a steady mix of millennials. But that doesn’t discourage anyone over that age from dropping in for a drink or a spin on the dancefloor. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing however, so Le Tango opens its doors on Fridays and Saturdays at 10pm, whipping punters into a fever pitch until 5:30am, returning for one last victory lap on Sunday until 11pm. If you are looking for a guaranteed thrill on the dancefloor, this is just the venue to accommodate that.

13 rue au Maire

Le FreeDJ

Le FreeDJ is a two level bar-club that revels until the late night. Unlike the other venues that shutter their doors around 2am, this one is still cranking out dancefloor beats until 4am. Within spitting-distance of Centre Pompidou, FreeDJ is a stylish mix of bar scene, for those hoping to cradle a pint, and club scene, for those hoping to break out the dance moves. Two dancefloors fill this lively space: one upstairs and one in the back. Two bars, a foosball table and loads of approachable sorts all gather here to make for quite an evening. Despite the rather modern decoration, drinks are fairly inexpensive. Expect a crowd.

35 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie

Cafe Cox

Cafe Cox is one of the more iconic sources of nightlife in the Marais. With a clientele that features bikers and bears and an overall rugged looking type of man, its interior betrays its macho exterior with a gentler, cuddlier side. Happy hour goes late here, so it stays filled to the gills until the wee hours. Cox gets a head-start on its neighbors with doors opening at 5pm and closing at 2am. DJ sets, brown brews and bears abound in this friendly venue.

15 Rue des Archives

La Perle

La Perle is a venue that one would think runs on fumes with its never-ending service that whips through the day and frolics through the night. Should you want to hit the Marais at midday, this is one of the reliable few places that will be open. Come back in the middle of the night to rub elbows with folk who’ve ventured out for fun. The menu is chock-full of choice items fit for a discerning palette: Thick wedges of beef in the cheeseburgers to savory gambas and healthy swallows of wine. It is a stunningly refreshing mix of fooding, cafe culture and nightlife that swill together in one fell swoop of a fork and clink of a glass.

78 rue Vieille du Temple

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