January 30 2013
Belleville. Synonymous with the Chinese quarter, the artists, the steep, narrow streets and the boulangerie "Au 140." The Onze Bar is situated just off the main boulevard, by métro Couronnes, an area where, each time I come by, I see at least a quarter of the entire Parisian police force doing one kind of bust or another.
The bar is just a couple of metres downhill on a nice wide street and is filled with the kind of young French crowd who haven't shaved in a couple of days. It rather reminds me of the warm, friendly youth hostels I stayed in in my younger days.
This is a far cry from the "after-work" crowd - at least it was on the Wednesday evening when I arrived. Entirely French patrons, making sure I was still getting plenty of 'baaaah euuurrrr' for my buck.
I should also dispell any impressions you may have had that I only write about the super chic places. No, the barman was a slightly sweaty Frenchman with a stereotypical moustache but he epitomised what I'm trying to do by getting back to basics with the Paris scene.
Drinks costs 2,50-3€ for a glass of wine and 4€ for a cocktail during happy hour (from 18h30-20h30) and 7€ normally. It's not the kind of place where you can ask who the winemaker was of that little Alsatian riesling you just ordered. But it does me good to let go of that from time to time and it certainly doesn't hurt my wallet either. The super cute girl singing and playing the guitar deserves a mention too.
You come for the steamed windows and the cheap drinks and you can come by yourself, sit at the bar and meet new people or come with a group and take over three tables. Recommended!