Blink and you miss it. A couple of neon lights and a table in the window are the only elements that suggest that this is one of the most highly talked-about drinking spots in Europe.
Smile sweetly at the guy on the door, nudge past the guests sitting at the counter (and scoffing their faces with tacos) and push open the secret door at the back.
Mind your step! You've just entered what is considered one of the world's best cocktail bars and Carina, the leading lady, one of the best international bartenders. (Just ask anyone who was at Tales of the Cocktail this year.)
Inside, you'll find a very tequila and mezcal heavy cocktail list, all carefully crafted to the most miniscule detail. One sip and you realise why this bar is so highly acclaimed. One drink and you find yourself making plans to go back the next day with a group of friends. I warn you now, you'll be hooked.
The only reason why I don't go there more often... the bar is a victim of its own success because after 9pm it can get hot and very busy and becomes nigh on impossible to find a place to sit down. Call me an old fogey, but when a cocktail is setting me back 12€ a punt, I don't like being faced with the decision between knocking it back in one go or have someone else knock it over for me. Having said that, a visit to the Candelaria should be on everyone's Paris bucket list.
The bar is open from 6pm - 2am every day, but the taqueria is also open for lunch during the week and for brunch on the weekend. Come early to be sure of getting a spot.
Essential Information Address: 52 rue Saintonge, 75003 Telephone: 01 42 74 41 28 Website: Candelaria, Facebook Opening Hours: Bar – 6pm-2am every day. (N.B. the Taqueria is open for lunch too.) Reservations: if you want to be sure of a spot, best to call the day before. Suggested footwear: think Kate Middleton’s LK Bennett wedges. Key Words: Mexican, tacos, speakeasy cocktails