June 27 2013
Being a Brit in Paris, I spend a fair chunk of my time hanging around the Eurostar terminal in the grotty Gare du Nord. Either it's because I'm getting away for a weekend or, and more often than not recently, it's because I'm meeting friends who are in Paris for a day or two.
I can't tell you how many times I've received a message along the lines of " Hey, I'm on the 20.13 train, can we meet up for a quick drink after work?" As much as I like receiving these kinds of messages, it puts me at a loss. Where can you go around Gare du Nord that is not as sketchy as sketchy-ville?
My old housemate (@donalde) used to rave about a Thierry Breton restaurant just around the corner, Chez Casimir. It's true that it's good, but it wasn't really that drop-by-for-a-quick-glass place that I was searching for.
Now that Thierry Breton (who also has the Chez Michel restaurant - all three on the same street) has opened up this spacious wine bar, my quest has finally come to an end. It really is right next to Gare du Nord and it's what the French would call "surprenant."
There is no wine list as such - if you want a bottle of wine, you are invited to get it yourself from the cellar. Actually, the wine either comes by the glass or by the magnum here.
Until 8pm, a glass of wine is an absolute steal at just 2€. After happy hour, only the most stingy would have a problem paying 4€.
Ask the barman what he's got and he'll advise you between the six or seven available by the glass. The two that I had there were good-to-average. Not stonkingly amazing, but most definitely drinkable. You need to put aside any snobbism around bulk-wine - this place has also fallen prey to that movement against bottled wine that's been hitting us recently - it's not all that bad.
The food is excellent and great value. Get the planche de charcuterie maison (14€) and the fish soup (~5€). The bread is made on-site. You have to order at the bar and listen out for your number to be called out over the megaphone.
The vibe is cool, a little slapdash maybe, but the service is friendly, everything goes on the tab and, well, just wait until you get round to paying. It feels like a vintage juke box!
Closed weekends. No Reservations