Best bar d’auteur of 2019
Faithful to its source of inspiration – Arthur Cravan (the poet and boxer who was also Oscar Wilde’s nephew and a precursor to the dada movement) – this unclassifiable comet uppercuts the bistro-logical sky of Paris’s 16th arrondissement. Behind a façade designed by Hector Guimard, there’s an old zinc-topped bar and timeworn mirrors that encourage criminality and anarchically revive an American cocktail bar vibe. The guilty party? Owner Franck Audoux, a late-in-life mixologist formerly of Le Chateaubriand, who plays a radical cocktail score (€12 each): a bitter Yellow combining gin, Suze and yellow Chartreuse; a glamorous Trocadero with Picon, Dolin vermouth and curaçao; a subtle kir royal with basil flower liqueur… And don’t forget about the impeccable finger food: crab taramasalata from Barthouil (€10); exquisite finger sandwiches made on Japanese sliced bread (€12); outstanding lobster rolls (€26, except on Monday nights)… And since four good things are better than one, Cravan is also open in the morning, serving yogurt with granola and fresh fruit (€10), and Hexagone coffee concocted by the barista Youssef Li (ex-Fragments); open at lunch – buttery croque-madame sandwiches (€13); César salads (€12), light Eton mess desserts (€8); and even on the weekend, for the Sunday roast. We went on a Saturday for the leg of lamb that had us weak in the knees, served with plenty of jus and outstanding sides: roasted potatoes, broccoli, spinach, homemade mustard and a classic Yorkshire pudding (€56 for two!) // C.C.