Favorite Finds: Colin Field’s Paris

The former head bartender at Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris is charting a new course after nearly 30 years at the hotel. Catch him at the new Maison Proust hotel in January, as guest bartender on Friday nights.

“My dream, ever since I was a teenager, was to work as a bartender at the Ritz,” says British-born bartender extraordinaire Colin Field. “I came to Paris in 1981 and sold my bicycle for 80 pounds—enough to spend six days in a very small hotel and find a job.” Still, at 18, the Ritz told him that he needed more experience. Soon after a stint at FERRANDI Paris, a century-old hospitality school, Field shot to the top of the trade, and no wonder. He is elegant and eloquent, a natural for flowing conversation. Now—after nearly 30 years as head bartender at the Ritz Paris’s Bar Hemingway, where he served his extravagantly original cocktails and chatted with countless celebrities and heads of state—Field is exploring other directions with his own consultancy firm. Here are his favorite spots in the City of Light.

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La Closerie des Lilas

“Besides very nice cocktails, I like that if the bartender is talking to you, it’s because he wants to, not because some boss said he should. The head bartender, Yves Esposito, has been there for more than 30 years.”

Le Basilic

“It’s a lovely little local bar and restaurant on a beautiful square in the seventh arrondissement, next to l’Assemblée Nationale. The food is very good and there’s an interesting clientele. I like to go on Sundays to sit back and watch what’s happening.”

Hugo Desnoyer

“This place is actually a butcher shop but you can eat at the chef’s table, with only about six seats. You don’t know the other people, which is fun. Desnoyer brings out a big bone, cooked in his own way, along with potatoes and vegetables, and a nice glass of wine. Then he starts bringing out pieces of meat that you haven’t even asked for and says ‘try this’ and ‘try that.’” See more

Le Moulin Rouge

“When I was younger in Paris, my life was intertwined with the dancing world. Le Moulin Rouge still puts on a great show today. The French Cancan is very similar to flamenco—it builds up, then gets faster and faster until the dance takes over.”

Palais Galliera

“I love this fashion museum and the history of each period, particularly the nineties with Alexander McQueen. At a recent show, I discovered these incredible glasses etched with white windows by designer Jonathan Hansen from his ‘In the Clouds’ collection, which I’m now using for my own events.”

Galérie-Musée Baccarat

“I love working with Baccarat glasses and their Cristal Room is really ‘wow.’ I go there often to find inspiration.”

Maison Souquet

“I love the neighborhood [Montmartre] and the Art Deco meets Orient Express décor. I’ll be working with the same owners at Maison Proust in January, as guest bartender on Friday nights. It’s a new Belle Epoque-style boutique hotel designed by Jacques Garcia that is a beautiful step back in time and a perfect meeting place.”

Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche

“There’s nowhere like the La Grande Épicérie de Paris inside Le Bon Marché department store. It’s the only place where I can get a load of sweets in various colors, different marshmallows, pink meringues and the best maple syrup for Canadian whiskey cocktails. And I occasionally buy very expensive suits in the men’s department.”

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