Sank Roo Doe Noo

June 14th, 2008

Sidecar cocktail at Harry's New York Bar

On a quiet side street just a short walk from the grand Palais Garnier is a rather unassuming neon-fronted bar called Harry’s New York Bar. Christened the New York Bar in 1911 when Tod Sloan converted it from an existing bistro, in 1923 bartender Harry McElhone took ownership and added his name as a prefix. Harry turned the bar in to one of the most famous in the world, frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Coco Channel, George Gershwin, Noel Coward and Marlene Dietrich.

Today Harry’s maintains its old world charm, with plenty of wood panelling and lots of very old looking bottles in cabinets and behind the bar. I visited on a Thursday afternoon, and the bar was quiet though frequented by a steady stream of older French gentlemen drinking nothing fancier than a whiskey soda. The bartender said the place is much livelier in the evening, and the piano bar downstairs looks like a great place to spend an evening.

There were no cocktail menus, so I started off with a Sidecar, a drink I know the bar claims was invented there by Harry himself. I’ve read stories to suggest otherwise, but who knows. The Sidecar was efficiently made by the bartender, and was served well chilled in a perfectly small cocktail glass. I didn’t catch what Cognac was used, but Cointreau and fresh lemon juice was used and the result was nicely balanced. It was a little light on Cognac compared to what I’m used to and as a result a bit sweet, but still enjoyable.

Monkey Gland cocktail at Harry's New York Bar

We waited quite a while after finishing first drinks before we could get the attention of the bartender, but once we did he was friendly and chatty. I went for another cocktail claimed to have been invented at Harry’s, the Monkey Gland.

An interesting mix of gin, orange juice, grenadine and Pernod, the “dash” of Pernod the bartender added was perhaps a little heavy for my taste, meaning a strong anise flavour dominated the drink. The gin and orange juice mixed nicely underneath though, and the drink was well shaken lending a nice mouth feel. If I make a Monkey Gland myself I will definitely cut back a little on the Pernod, but otherwise it was a pretty good drink.

Places like Harry’s can easily rely on past history for trade, but I was pleased to find that the bar still produces well made drinks. It’s an amazing little bar and worth visiting just because of the history, but combined with decent drinks I’d highly recommend checking the bar out if you find yourself in Paris.

Harry’s New York Bar is located at 5, rue Daunou, Paris 75002 and open everyday between 10:30am and 4:00am.
Tel: +33 (0)1 4261 7114
Web: www.harrys-bar.fr

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Posted in Out and about, Paris

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5 responses to “Sank Roo Doe Noo”

  1. sam sam says:

    Even with just a barspoon of Pernod, the flavor is still very powerful. Basically, if you don’t like anise or Pernod you’re not going to like the Monkey Gland.

  2. Jay Jay says:

    Oh I know Pernod has an intense flavour, and while I wouldn’t say I love anise I don’t hate it. The barman made the drink completely unmeasured, and I think in this case the dash he used was a little heavy. Anise is always going to be a major feature, sure, but here it was oppressive.

  3. tk tk says:

    they claim that bloody marys were invented at Harrys. While I cant vouch for that i can say they made the best i have ever had.

  4. Johnny Bravo Johnny Bravo says:

    After reading this blog, I decided that I would check out Harry’s on the one day I had in Paris a few weeks ago. Great recommendation! I was impressed by the ambiance of the bar with its dark wood paneled walls covered with collegiate and prep school felt pennants. I couldn’t resist ordering a sidecar, which was delicious. My girlfriend ordered a caipirinha, which was also quite tasty. I’m with Jay in recommending this bar. At 12 euros a drink (and being an American) the tab can run up rather quickly!

  5. Jay Jay says:

    Johnny – I’m pleased this post encouraged you to visit, and even more that you enjoyed it! It does have a lovely feel to the place doesn’t it? If you think 12 euros is a lot, head just up the road to the Ritz and try the Hemingway Bar – 28 euros a drink there!

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Photography by Jay Hepburn
Artwork by Craig Mrusek

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