I’m a big fan of wine bars. Not only because there’s nothing more I’d rather do than work my way through a large list of wines available to sip by the glass or pot, but because they’re some of the most enjoyable places to eat in Paris.
And with summer coming up, bringing warm weather and longer, lazier days, I find I’m more interested in eating simply, preferring to snack on interesting cheeses or share a slab of pâté, a mound of unashamedly fat-rich rillettes, and slices of chorizo and saucissons, accompanied by a nice glass of Sauvignon blanc or a cool, fruity-red Brouilly.
Le Baron Rouge is one of my favorites. With the wines on offer, you can make a more than decent meal with a large or small platter composed of various cheeses, or pile up some of their excellent charcuterie on a crust of baguette.
On weekends, the crowd spills out onto the sidewalk, where fresh oysters are heaped in baskets and a young man pops each one open, serving them by the half- or full-dozen on a tangle of gllistening seaweed.
Because I’m trying to be a bit more vert, I’ll sometimes bring my own green-glass bottle and buy wine, which is stockpiled in the enormous wooden barrels lined up by the door. (You leave 50 centimes for the bottle, which I do, and it’s refillable or replaceable on subsequent visits.) I’d call these wines a little “wild” because they vary in quality from “pretty-good” to “what do we do with the rest of the bottle?” Still, that’s part of the fun of exploring new foods and wine—the hits, and the inevitable misses.
And don’t be discouraged by the crowd. There’s lots of regulars hanging out here, which makes you feel like you’ve crashed an insider’s-only place. And if you’re standing at the bar but need more time to make your selection, they might not wait patiently for you to choose from the hand-written blackboard. But if you ask for advice, whatever they point you toward, it’s usually worth sampling. And the mecs that run the place are no-nonsense, but quick with the joke and a they like to give a certain américain a little ribbing when he stops in for his weekly fill-up.
Another downside is they’re not open later in the evenings, which is the time that I usually want to go out and eat. But if you go in the morning, since le Baron Rouge is adjacent to the popular Marche d’Aligre, if you feel like stopping in for a mid-morning glass, you won’t be alone.
Le Baron Rouge
1, rue Théophile-Roussel (12th)
Tél: 01 43 43 14 32
(Closed Monday. The hours are listed on TimeOut, although they’re subject to change.)
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