For a city that does not seem to have a particularly feisty nightlife at first sight, Paris has an astounding assortment of bars. There are cafes galore, of course, but a cafe is not necessarily a bar. Though both serve alcoholic beverages, cafes offer a laid-back place to sip at any time of day or night, whereas anything that calls itself a bar usually has an edgier feel and gets going after dark. Two recent developments may be responsible for the per-capital barstool increase: First, France has finally discovered cocktails and is putting its culinary talent to work behind the bar. Second, there is a new fondness for beer, a beverage that has often been treated with scorn and dismay in this wine-drinking country. Artisanal brewpubs are cropping up all around town. Bars, be they beer-, wine- or cocktail-oriented, generally stay open until around 2am.
Wine fans can lose their heads in this city, not because they drink too much, but because there are so many tempting wine bars out there to choose from. Not only can you sample all sorts of delightful fruits of the vine at a bar à vin, but you can usually nibble something salty and delicious (generally cheese or charcuterie) to complement what’s in the glass.
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