Europe, Food & Drinks, France

Culture Bière: beer on the Champs-Elysees

OK, let’s see. Large new bar opens on swanky Champs-Elysees. Said new bar approximately three minutes’ walk from my office. Said new bar seems to have cute waitstaff. Said new bar specializes in beer. Was there ever any doubt I would end up there post-haste in order to bring you an in-depth, blow-by-blow review? Amazingly, even though the place opened several weeks ago, it was only last Friday that I stopped by for a drink, with cousin and work colleague in tow. Culture Bière, as the bar is called, is devoted to all things beer — restaurant upstairs with a menu suited for the frothy stuff, touristy store on the ground level (slickly packaged and vaguely reminiscent of the Guinness Factory in Dublin, if you’ve ever been there), and a large bar-lounge down below. Full report after the jump.

We settled downstairs at the bar, all steel, neon, and spot lighting. Comfortable and trendy in that loungey, corporate way. Waitstaff was friendly (by Paris standards), but a bit slow with only a handful to cover all that square meterage. A very snacky-cake waitress went around giving away, appropriately, free snacks. Clientele made up of suits getting off work, rich hipster locals, and tourists. On to the main event: the menu included lots of beers, but to my disappointment, none of them were micro-brewed on location (unlike the excellent Franco-Brit chain, the Frog Pubs). What the menu lacked in quality it made up somewhat by offering a nice flight-of-beers deal, with three 10cl beers per flight. Murphy, Edelweiss, Affligem, Pelforth, Heineken, all the usual suspects are available for a reasonable price. There’s also some decent but uninspiring food.

Verdict? The place in general has a slight odor of corporate scheme between publicans and beer makers to put up a bar on profitable Champs-Elysees real estate. All in all, pretty standard beers wrapped in a slick, spacious package. But I suppose once you’ve lived in the sardine can that is Paris, you come to appreciate large open spaces like this. Especially after knocking back several rounds early on a Friday night.