Late last year, l’Eclair popped up on the cute cobblestone street rue Cler, which is better known for its markets than mixology. On first glance, it appears to be just another typical Paris cafe, with a busy terrace, strategically distressed decor and a lively crowd of young Frenchies chatting over cheap glasses of wine. But there’s more to this spot than initially meets the eye.
Firstly, the gin selection hints at something a bit more ambitious than the usual with Beefeater, Beefeater 24, Plymouth, Plymouth Navy and Hendricks. While that might not be enough to endlessly entertain serious ginhounds, it’s surely a step beyond the typical terrace offerings.
The menu, as well, offers something a bit more than you might expect with a dozen cocktails for a tenner of enough variety to please a range of patrons from the easily accessible Basil Power (apple aromatized vodka, fresh basil, strawberry puree & syrup) to something that takes a bit more of an acquired taste like the house negroni. Additionally L’Eclair features four Havana rum-based tiki drinks and three “Decadence Martinis” such as the Porn Star Martini and its accompanying shooter of champagne.
While I would have liked a choice of garnish and possibly a colder glass, my Beefeater martini with olives was well-made and a nice surprise in such unassuming circumstances – and further proof that a better kind of cocktail continues to infiltrate more mainstream bar culture. My friend Sebastian’s 666 (Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, Saint Germain, honey citrus) and Sophie’s tiki drink were nicely presented and well enough made. The tiki felt light in alcohol, but these kinds of drinks can tend to be sneaky in this way.