The coolest hidden bars

The definitive list of France's best-kept secret (SHHH!)
Speakeasies, underground cellars, even a pirate’s lair… discover the secret bars known to only the locals and those in-the-know.

The bar behind the clock in Bordeaux

At first glance, Symbiose looks like a chic contemporary restaurant, fitted out with lots of wood and an open café space. But look a bit closer… hidden behind the large grandfather clock at the back of the room is a secret bar serving up some of the city’s best cocktails.

Symbiose - Bordeaux, 4 quai des Chartrons

The Narnia-style bar in Montpellier

Une publication partagée par JG (@jkg_1985) le

This hidden bar is almost impossible to find if you don’t know where to look. To get into the Apothicaire Bar, walk through the restaurant Le Cochon Aveugle, located on Rue du Pila St Gély, and open the door of an old wardrobe. Like Narnia, this isn’t any old wardrobe – it’s the secret entrance to a moody apothecary-themed bar.

Facebook (External link) (in french) - 8 Rue du pila saint gely, Montpellier

A taste of 1920s New-York in Rennes

Une publication partagée par Cha (@lemondedecha) le

Step back in time, to 1920s New York. This clandestine bar, just near the Gare de Rennes, is tucked away in the basement of a seafood restaurant. A real pirate’s den, the drink of choice is rum, though there are plenty of cocktails to suit every taste.

Le Speakeasy Bar - Rennes - 47 avenue Janvier (in the basement of Restaurants Les Pêcheurs)

Nice's one stop hotspot

The place to be seen when you’re in Nice. This stylish space is a trendy restaurant, lounge bar and club, all rolled into one. Anything and everything goes here – watch the latest football match one night; the next, party until dawn with world-famous DJs.

Le Consulat - Nice - 26, bd Victor Hugo

An underground trapdoor in Dijon

Le Trou (The Hole) is exactly that: A cellar trapdoor on Rue Vannerie with only a discreet sign to lead you in the right direction. Descend the steep stone steps if you dare, and enter a large cavern where you can eat, drink and listen to live music all night long.

Le Trou (External link) - (In french)

Aix-en-Provence's mysterious Mexican bar

The Cartel Bar Privé in Aix-en-Provence is fairly unknown… and that’s just the way the owners like it. Located a few streets away from the Cours Mirabeau, this Mexican-themed speakeasy is famous for its exotic cocktail creations as well as its exclusive invite-only parties.

Facebook (External link) (in french) - Aix en Provence - Rue Scheurer Kestner

The bar with a classified code in Marseille

Want to visit Le Carry Nation in Marseille? We’ll let you in on the secret: reserve a table via their site, then wait to receive a message with a secret code and an address. However, when you arrive at the destination, you won’t find a bar; only a dimly-lit souvenir shop. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place – simply type in your code on the keypad, push open the door and voilà, you’re in!

Carry Nation (External link) - (in french)

Grenoble's secret sewing shop

Une publication partagée par Cyril (@kirikou6j) le

La Mercerie is Grenoble’s one and only bar with no address – the only way to find this prohibition-style hotspot is by making a reservation on their site. Once you’ve been cleared, you’ll be emailed the address and code. Concealed in an unassuming sewing shop, La Mercerie features dandy bartenders, original ‘20s décor and a selection of classic and creative cocktails.

La Mercerie Bar (External link) - (in french)