If you’ve been to Paris you probably recall striped sweaters, tiny dogs and a beautiful juxtaposition of green and grey. But do you know Paris’ rock side? From La Mécanique Ondulatoire, to Le Motel to La Feline; France’s capital doesn’t fail to keep its resident and visiting rock fans on their toes. We nabbed this guide to the biggest players in Paris’ rock scene via Posse’s Parisian Ambassador, Bryan Joly:
The best known rock venue in Paris would have to be La Mécanique Ondulatoire (The Wave Mechanic) or “La Meca” as insiders call it. An underground basement furnished with partially destroyed, recycled sofas and with almost non-existent lightning; here you’ll find a grungier, louder side of Paris. La Meca is a world of punk garage, 60s rock and electro DJs brought in to delight the crowd of regulars who seem to drop by every night of the week. A word of advice- don’t attempt to be fashionably late. La Mécanique Ondulatoire is one of the most difficult bars to access after 9pm!
Le Motel is a little less crowded than La Mécanique, but just as underground and offbeat. A small unassuming bar who’s bartenders play a hand at DJing; the decor compares to La Meca: mottled, mismatched, softly-lit and covered with posters. Bands play each week to an encouraging and unassuming audience, which makes for a great music venue for artists on the rise. At the end of the concert, things get a little more social and it’s not uncommon to have your beer paid for by a nearby table. An intimate place… this is rare, especially in Paris!
La Feline is Paris’ rockabilly bar, complete with tattooed pin-up girls and Elvis impersonators who double as hosts. Here you can dance to rockabilly and drink shooters served by bartenders who seem like Tarantino characters, amongst tattooed bikers and Betty Page lookalikes! But La Feline is no impersonator- it’s an authentic rock bar that attracts a very slick, rock’n'roll crowd. Once you pass its gates you can say goodbye to Paris as you know it- you’ll find yourself instantaneously transported to an ultra-vintage location that promises a wild night ahead!
Perhaps the ‘Daddy’ of Paris’ rock bars, Rock’n'Roll Circus is a safe haven for those fleeing loud music and drunken teenagers. A small bar with a regular crowd, it’s a great place to enjoy a cold beer and enjoy rock music at a volume that accommodates conversation. This bar is always packed. Why? Because Rock’n'Roll Circus is different. The clientele is more mature and appreciative of a bar that stays true to its calling.
Not far from the welcoming market Aligre sits The Bottle Shop, a friendly little bar that finds its influences in New York’s hip bars. Like any good self-respecting pub, they serve pints and play a wide variety of easy rock’n'roll music. By night, it’s the destination of young and trendy Parisian rock amateurs and an assortment of foreign students who flow over from the nearby youth hostel. From regular theme nights to daily happy hours, The Bottle Shop is a consistently happy, Parisian mess!
Author: Bryan Joly is one of Posse’s Parisian Ambassador’s. Follow him for more Paris Insider tips!