Monday Morning Musings - Harry's Bar in Paris

Harry's Bar - the oldest cocktail bar in Europe.
If you start writing "Monday Morning Musings" in the afternoon, do they still qualify as morning musings or evening excogitations?

When Stephane and I were walking behind Sara and Philippe on our way to the bus stop recently, Stephane shouted, "You should see Mom, she looks so happy!" to which Philippe replied, "Ha! I bet she's beaming." And I was - I was beaming because I'm happiest when our family of four is together.

Which probably also explains why American expatriates have been flocking to Harry's New York Bar ever since it was dismantled and shipped from New York City to Paris in 1911. With its faded college pennants and dark wood panelling, the oldest cocktail bar in Europe feels familiar and friendly - kind of like home. As the bar was frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart and Coco Chanel, we decided to go there for Philippe's last evening in Paris. In addition to being known for its distinguished patrons, Harry's Bar is also famous for the creation of the White Lady, the Bloody Mary, the Side Car, the Blue Lagoon and many other legendary cocktails. Even though I don't expect to be a frequent visitor to "sank roo doe noo", which is how ads instruct Americans to pronounce the address for Harry's Bar, the most famous watering hole in Europe, if not the world, is worth a visit if you're in the mood for a bit of camaraderie.

As Harry's Bar has been organizing a straw vote for the American presidential elections since 1924, I plan to return in November. It will be interesting to know the results, which have only been wrong twice in 87 years and 25 elections!

Harry's Bar
5 Danou Street
75002 Paris


  1. Honestly, I didn't know this bar; I only know the one in Venice. And I call myself a Francophile! Maybe I'm partial to wanting to hear a foreign language when I'm abroad and that would certainly keep me out of an American bar. What is the language you heard there most frequently that night?

  2. I'm not sure if Harry's Bars have become a franchise or if the name just spread to other places, but there's also one in Montreux, Switzerland (where we used to live). Philippe noticed that the logo (two crickets?) is the same at both places. From Wikipedia: Several well-known bars exist in the world under the name Harry's Bar, including:

    Harry's New York Bar in Paris, France, Rome, Italy, Venice, Italy, Amsterdam, Australia, Florence, Italy, London, England, Montreux, Switzerland, San Francisco, CA, USA and Singapore.

    Both of the times that I've been there, I've been surprised by the number of French speaking people. They seem to be just as curious about the place as Americans. When I was taking some photos by the bar, a Frenchman, who seemed to be a regular, offered to take a picture of the three of us.

  3. I always love it when the five of us are together. We don't have to be doing anything, it's just having all the kids there. I suppose I value it so much since it's not going to happen all that often any more. Benj has pretty much flown the nest now, and Caiti will be off to Uni (hopefully in Paris!) in September. Sigh.
    The bar looks fabulous. I love that it was shipped out from the States, what a great idea although I imagine it was a tricky thing to do.

  4. Yes, times together as a family are precious, especially once your children go off to uni. and start living their own lives. Enjoy this time with Caiti while she's still at home - I remember how bittersweet that last year is.

    Not only does Harry's Bar have pennants from American colleges, it also has crests from English universities.


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